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California Bookwatch

Volume 10, Number 4 April 2015 Home | CALBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Needlecraft Shelf Education Shelf
Health/Medicine Shelf Autism Shelf Computer Shelf
Literary Studies Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Art Shelf
Christian Studies Shelf Audiobook Shelf Biography Shelf
Social Issues Shelf Criminology Shelf Self-Help Shelf
Agriculture Shelf Travel Shelf Metaphysical Studies Shelf
Antiques/Collectibles Shelf Mathematics Shelf American History Shelf
World History Shelf Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf Automotive Shelf
Crafts Shelf Music Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Science Shelf Photography Shelf Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf
Political Science Shelf Business Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Gun Shelf California Shelf Ebook Shelf
Independent Publishers Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

Barbara Summers with Carey Blakely
Select Books
87 Walker Street, Suite B1, New York City, NY 10013
9781590792933, $16.95,

Next! A Matchmaker's Guide to Finding Mr. Right, Ditching Mr. Wrong, and Everything In Between offers a fun motivational psychological guide to dating and uses psychology to consider the mercurial world of matchmaking and romance. It comes from a matchmaker who has successfully matched hundreds of married couples based on her psychology background and knowledge of what makes a relationship successful, and it incorporates this success into a book that covers everything from dating and marriage to divorce and rebound. Its objective is to transmit the skills that lead not just to romance, but to a successful, lasting relationship, and this approach differentiates it from competitors who would stop at the 'romance achieved' level. So if you're looking for something that walks up to the door of success and stops on its threshold, look elsewhere. Next! is for the woman who is after more.

The New "I Do"
Susan Pease Gadoua and Vicki Larson
Seal Press
1700 - 4th Street, Berkeley, California 94710
9781580055451, $17.00,

The New "I Do": Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels considers modern marriage and its challenges and offers a creative, critical look at how one can marry more consciously and creatively. It takes traditional marriage arrangements and turns them upside down in an exploration that focuses on innovative approaches to marriage and partnerships and how to achieve greater success with nontraditional approaches. These approaches are outlined in a set of chapters clear about the politics, policies, and different options for reshaping such a union, offering keys to better arrangements that work differently on more than just emotional or financial levels. Any looking at a different definition of marriage and its arrangements will find this filled with new ideas.

The Mr. Porter Paperback
Jodie Harrison
Thames & Hudson
500 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10110-0017
9780500291528, $29.95,

It's difficult to neatly categorize The Mr. Porter Paperback: The Manual for a Stylish Life; and perhaps opportunity lies in this very challenge, for the result is recommendable to a wide audience from arts collections strong in fashion to general-interest readers interested in subjects of style, business, branding, and male-friendly advice. For those not 'in the know', Mr. Porter is the global online men's fashion retailer whose business model includes providing advice as well as clothing. This third volume in the series for modern men provides tips not just on clothing, but on etiquette, travel, grooming, and more. Interviews with an array of style-oriented modern men accompanies new features and tips ranging from "How to Undress in Front of a Lady" to acing that job interview and handling weddings. The result may not be easy to categorize, but it's sure easy to recommend as a lively, readable discussion of all the variables that go into style in general and modern men's makeup in particular.

Death: The Last God
Anne Geraghty
O Books
c/o John Hunt Publishing, Ltd.
Laurel House, Station Approach, Alresford, Hants, SO24 9JH, UK
9781782797098, $22.95,

Death: The Last God is difficult to easily categorize: at first it looks like a story of grief and bereavement (the author's son suddenly dies) - but it's more. It looks like a new age read as she embarks on a spiritual journey to search for her lost son and consider the meaning and realm of death - but it's still more. And it seems like an investigation into spirituality and the presence of death in modern society - now we're closer to the mark. In fact, this book embraces all three approaches - memoir, new age spiritual journey, and examination of how death is treated in modern societies - and offers new insights about not only death and dying, but what death really is. This is no scholarly treatise; it's an emotion-driven survey from a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist who attempts to heal herself in the aftermath of her son's demise. As such, it examines myths, theories, the language of death and loss, and more in an unusually multi-faceted, recommended pick for any exploring grief and loss.

The Paladin Book of Dangerously Fun Stuff
Paladin Press, Publisher/Editor
Paladin Press
5540 Central Ave Suite 200, Boulder, CO 80301
9781581606898, $41.00,

The Paladin Book of Dangerously Fun Stuff comes from a publisher focused on adventure, firearms, and survival, but this book offers something different: a collection of new articles produced for this volume focusing on 'dangerously fun' topics that range from how to fight a duel or handle crazy co-workers to becoming a sports bookie, starting your own country, or avoiding a fight. The subtitle here is 'For Boys Who Never Really Grew Up' - and they must not have stopped dreaming, either, because topics are wide-ranging in their consideration of what defines fun, from making a fortune as a televangelist or faith healer to constructing homemade rockets. Warning: a taste for adventure and a sense of humor are prerequisites for enjoying this how-to book with a difference!

The Italians
John Hooper
Viking Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780525428077, $28.95,

The Italians comes from a British journalist who considers not just the country's history, but its underlying psyche as well as its culture, and should be considered a 'must' for any interested in understanding the nature and heritage of the Italian people. It's a blend of history and cultural observation that fills many gaps in understanding the politics and obsessions of the country, using facts to analyze stereotypes and Italian habits - but it's not an outsider's report; it comes from an author who lived in Italy for over 15 years. It's this experience, combined with his journal expertise, which lends to more than a casual observation of the Italians. Add photos and maps for a truly compelling result that is recommended for general interest as well as history and social issues holdings.

The Needlecraft Shelf

Pick Your Stitch, Build a Blanket
Doreen L. Marquart
Martingale & Company
19021 Avenue NE, Bothell, WA 98011
9781604484483, $24.99,

Pick Your Stitch, Build a Blanket blends knitting stitches with afghan construction to provide a basic tutorial on counting, creating and applying stitches, and more. It packs in instructions for some 80 stitches plus 11 projects, it teaches how different stitch count approaches can produce different block results that can be blended for unique creations, and each project includes samplers as well as repeat-block and single-stitch designs. From ribs and lacy patterns to 'twigs' and more, the book begins with a focus on these knitting stitches and progresses to the more advanced and finer art of combining them into a completed afghan. With full-page color photos, step-by-step photos of the process, and more, it's hard to go wrong, making this tutorial a special pick for relative newcomers who want to get up to speed with a range of projects and choices that build skills.

Quilts from Concept to Contest
Suzanne Marshall
American Quilter Society
PO Box 3290, Paducah, KY 42002-3290
9781604601664, $24.95,

Quilts from Concept to Contest: Advice from a Hand Quilter provides a fun survey of quilt competitions and shares judges' comments about the author's quilt entries - both positive and negative - as it explores how quilts are entered into competition, judged, and found winning or lacking. It also provides keys to some applique techniques, offers some 16 background quilting designs, and is directed to hand quilters who want a set of practical tips for inspecting quilts, producing better stitches, and adding dimension to applique work. The result is an outstanding survey, recommended for any hand quilter who wants both a practical project guide for refining skills and insights into the quilt judging world.

Recreating Antique Quilts
Wendy Sheppard
Landauer Publishing
3100 NW 101st Street, Suite A, Urbandale, Iowa 50322
9781935726630, $24.95,

Recreating Antique Quilts: Re-envisioning, Modifying and Simplifying Museum Quilts takes five antique quilts from four museums and adapts them for modern quilting methods and styles, offering 10 projects for all skills levels. There are plenty of books on the market that teach various techniques, but too few that pursue the differences between antique and modern quilts and how to incorporate both into a pattern. From piecing and applique to quilting notes and construction methods simpler than those used in yesteryear, Sheppard's instructions come with full-color illustrations, diagrams, and photos of finished products. The result is a winning production any quilter will relish.

The Education Shelf

Science Formative Assessment Volume 2
Page Keeley
Corwin Press, Inc.
2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320-2218
9781452270258, $30.00,

Science Formative Assessment Volume 2: 50 More Strategies for Linking Assessment, Instruction, and Learning shares techniques for identifying student understanding before, during and after instruction, and shares strategies that support the Next Generation Science Standards. Teachers receive a compendium of tools that apply uniformly and easily to any science curriculum, with strategies for integrating them into the classroom and explorations of how each technique links to better comprehension and learning. The tools are designed to encourage students to develop skills lending to scientific inquiry and analysis, and comes packed with notes, examples, discussion points, and descriptions of how each pointer augments instruction. The result is a 'must' for any teacher who would consider how formative assessment processes apply to science, Next generation and classroom standards in particular.

Teaching Machines
Bill Ferster
Johns Hopkins University Press
2715 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218-4363
9781421415406, $34.95,

TEACHING MACHINES: LEARNING FROM THE INTERSECTION OF EDUCATION AND TECHNOLOGY considers how attempts to automate instruction have posed challenges in the past, and how entrepreneurs who developed various instructional technologies have made great headway in enhancing classrooms with machines. It's a necessary coverage because it reviews the events surrounding older technologies with an eye to exploring how teachers can understand the history and concepts surrounding modern applied technology and teaching, and it shows the results of how this technology has traditionally worked, from early radio, books, and television to computers. Teaching machines have not lived up to their promise of changing educational processes: this tells why, and considers the events surrounding those who fostered such believes about the power of technological change to improve education.

The Power of Play
Dorothy Stoltz, Marisa Conner, James Bradberry
ALA Editions
c/o American Library Association
50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611
9780838912553, $55.00,

The Power of Play: Designing Early Learning Spaces is a pick for librarians who want to do more than build a solid collection for young children: it's for those who intend on making the library a destination choice for early learners and their parents, and provides a step-by-step guide to designing a space that fits both existing building limitations and library budgets. The approach here involves making a study space a welcoming play space that children and their parents or caregivers will turn to, while reducing library staff stress and maintenance. This volume uses the latest research to link play to literacy development, shows how a range of spaces of all sizes can be turned into play spaces with a minimum of effort, and suggestions how adults and librarians can interact with these early learners in their newly designed spaces. Packed with tips for toys, worksheets for design, and keys to making a play space part of a community, this is a pick any children's librarian will want to look at.

Let's All Play
Jeff A. Johnson and Denita Dinger
Redleaf Press
10 Yorkton Court, St. Paul, MN 55117-1065
9781605543642, $17.95,

Let's All Play: A Group Learning (Un)Curriculum is a recommendation for any teacher involved in early childhood education who seeks an activities guide, and encourages hands-on child-led group learning and play. Each activity comes with a review, simple materials that are easily found and inexpensive, and discussions of adaptations and what can be learned. Each activity is tailored to allow kids to learn on their own and explore the world around them with minimal adult intervention, and each offers a range of ideas educators can use to expand upon classroom and early childhood practices. Worksheets, notes, and black and white photos and illustrations throughout make this a fine discussion of how to take the structure away from play curriculum.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

CURRENT Medical Diagnosis & Treatment Study Guide
Gene R. Quinn,
c/o McGraw Hill Professional
1221 Avenue of the Americas, 45th Floor, New York, NY 10020
9780071799775, $55.00,

CURRENT Medical Diagnosis & Treatment Study Guide provides medical students and technicians a basic review of some 80 diseases and disorders in a study guide tailored to the primary CURRENT Medical Diagnosis and Treatment volume, and is highly recommended for any with this volume who want a specific link to using it for exams. Each topic here is provided in an in-depth overview that emphasizes problem solving techniques, with topics selected for their importance to internal medicine. From learning objectives and an outline of symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment to sections covering when to admit and when to refer and how to understand all aspects of internal medicine and patient management, this is a study guide that will prove key to acing any test on the primary volume.

Intolerant Bodies
Warwick Anderson and Ian R. Mackay
Johns Hopkins University Press
2715 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218-4363
9781421415338, $25.95,

Intolerant Bodies provides a fine history of science and medicine in its discussion of autoimmune diseases and their courses, and represents a fine collaboration between Mackay, a founder of clinical immunology, and Anderson, a historian of biomedical science. Chapters discuss treatments, laboratory research, the history and evolution of social theories revolving around autoimmune diseases, and how doctors and patients have dealt with a new concept of pathogenesis which has only been around since the 1950s. It details the history of chronic diseases and their management and provides an accessible biological survey perfect for general-interest or college-level medical collections alike.

You Can Say No to Chemo
Laura Bond
Conari Press
c/o Red Wheel/Weiser
65 Parker Street, Suite 7, Newburyport, MA 01950-4600
9781573246408, $18.95,

You Can Say No to Chemo: Know Your Options, Choose for Yourself provides an outstanding, non-technical discussion from a health coach and journalist and her mother who visited over fifty world cancer specialists and healers who are successfully treating cancer without radiation or chemotherapy, and it shares these new therapies and their options. What's refreshing about this varied approach is that it's not advocating a single program or treatment as the 'ultimate' for all cancer sufferers: every cancer and every body is different. Her approach advocates thinking about alternative options for a range of reasons and in a range of ways, and focuses on positive choices that can be made in the face of a devastating diagnosis.

The Evil Hours
David J. Morris
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
97805449086616, $27.00,

The Evil Hours: A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome begins with the author's on struggles as a war correspondent and former Marine and evolves to consider the overall phenomena of PTSD and its effects. While this order affects as much as 30 percent of veterans, it actually extends into the general population and many who have experienced all kinds of trauma live with it. But how? The Evil Hours tells how, using interviews with people living with PTSD, adding literary, psychological and historical background, and covering the realities of the disorder and its lasting impact on families and loved ones. From modern trauma and generational traumas from shared experiences to therapy and ultimate recovery, The Evil Hours is a powerful documentary and a 'most' for any health collection or general-interest library.

Acupuncture: An Anatomical Approach, second edition
Houchi Dung
CRC Press
6000 NW Broken Sound Parkway NW, Suite 300, Boca Raton, FL 33487
9781466581920, $132.95,

The second updated edition of Acupuncture: An Anatomical Approach is directed to medical professionals who may not have a clear idea of how acupuncture can fit into a traditional medical paradigm, and is a recommendation not for general-interest readers so much as medical collections and healthcare professionals. It presents a scientific, anatomical approach to acupuncture, discussing the nervous system, acupuncture points and nerve locations throughout the body, applications of acupuncture in clinical practice, and how traditional Chinese approaches can be tailored to modern settings. The author not only holds some 40 years of research and clinical experience in his field, but has provided a different, anatomical approach to his subject that translates well into modern medical pursuits, making this a top recommendation for any health collection.

Handbook of MRI Technique, fourth edition
Catherine Westbrook
Wiley Blackwell
350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148
9781118661628, $75.00,

Handbook of MRI Technique appears in its fourth updated edition and has been completely revised and updated to include new technologies and new best practices for MRI deliverers: as such, it's a recommendation for any medical practice looking for a combination of tips on getting equipment, using it, and managing patients. Chapters are written by an international team of technologists from around the world, so the perspective and experiences are broad but universally applied to MRI technicians. Color-coded sidebars of key points such as patient positioning, equipment protocol, and patient considerations are provided in such a way as to lend to quick browsing, while the MRI images throughout pack visual examples into a detailed reference. From contrast usage possibilities to equipment and common indications for particular imaging choices, this is a solid, detailed reference healthcare collections will find specific and informative.

Outsmarting Overeating
Karen R. Koenig
New World Library
14 Pamaron Way, Novato, CA 94949
9781608683161, $16.95,

Outsmarting Overeating: Boost Your Life Skills, End Your Food Problems belongs in any health and wellness collection and many a self-help gathering as well, and comes from an expert on the psychology of eating who shows readers how to change eating habits by transforming one's life and developing new life skills. With these skills, mindless eating impulses are thwarted. Using these abilities, overeaters will gain a better understanding of not only why they have uncontrollable impulses to indulge, but how to hone other skills to get through the days. Chapters examine all facets of physical and emotional health with an eye to considering the 'trigger points' where overeating impulses kick in, and how to redirect these points to healthier routines. From building relationships and support groups to handling emotions that are typically translated to the fork and knife, Outsmarting Overeating is more than a diet plan and even more than another lifestyle change guide, but draws specific connections between food and emotions, making it a powerful pick for psychology and self-help readers looking to make changes.

The Man Who Touched His Own Heart
Rob Dunn
Little, Brown & Company
c/o Hachette Book Group
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780316225793, $27.00,

The Man Who Touched His Own Heart: True Tales of Science, Surgery, and Mystery provides a fine history of cardiac research and treatment, exploring the heart's strengths and weaknesses using profiles of scientists, researchers, doctors and others who worked with the heart. These true stories of medical history, physiology and science offer a lively discourse that will reach well beyond the usual audience of medical practitioners and into general-interest circles. It excels in a mix of high drama and science to bring information into the hands and attention of non-scientist readers, making for a title recommended not just for health and science holdings, but for general-interest readers.

Paths to Healthy Aging
Mehrdad Ayati, MD and Arezou Azarani, PhD
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781502321176, $12.99,

Paths to Healthy Aging: A Workbook comes from a husband and wife who collaborated in creating this book, and provides a fine key to staying healthy during the aging process; whether it be physical health, nutrition concerns, or mental health changes. Action plans for adjusting routines, changing habits, and incorporating supportive therapies are based on the latest research and focus on blending these findings with routines any individual can easily adopt. If you're over 50 and just beginning to acknowledge the effects of aging - this book is a good introduction to understanding the process and how best to handle it.

The Autism Shelf

Helping Adults with Asperger's Syndrome Get & Stay Hired
Barbara Bissonnette
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Inc.
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
9781849057547, $24.95,

Helping Adults with Asperger's Syndrome Get & Stay Hired is, perhaps, one of the most important Asperger's adult guides on the market today. It tailors the usual career coaching tips for professionals and parents of adults on the autism spectrum, and it comes from an employment expert who provides strategies to help these people gain employment, manage work, and keep them on the job. From common challenges faced to matching individual with job and improving the on-the-job skills that led to continuing employment, chapters offer advice, assessment tools, and profiles of clients and the companies who are successfully utilizing their skills. Few other books even come close to this one's powerful guidance, making it a standout and a 'must' for any working or living with an autistic adult capable of employment.

The Computer Shelf

Programming Fundamentals Using Java
William McAllister and S. Jane Fritz
Mercury Learning
c/o Stylus Publishing, Inc.
22883 Quicksilver Drive, Sterling, VA 20166-2012
9781938549762, $89.95,

Programming Fundamentals Using Java: A Game Application Approach provides not a light coverage, but a basic Java textbook for beginning programmers who are interested in game programming. This audience received a blend of Java instruction and game-specific programming tools, with material in compliance with computer science curriculum guidelines and designed to provide a detailed discussion of graphical user interfaces and programming applications. The accompanying DVD includes a game environment that can be used to create projects with Java. From variables, analysis, and calculations to making layout decisions, understanding exceptions, and working with GUIs, this textbook's object-oriented approach to learning Java creates a technical, informative, and games-oriented approach that will delight.

3D Printing with Autodesk 123D, Tinkercad, and MakerBot
Lydia Sloan Cline
McGraw-Hill Professional
1221 Avenue of the Americas, 45th Floor, New York, NY 10020
9780071833479, $30.00,

3D Printing with Autodesk 123D, Tinkercad, and MakerBot teaches the basics of how to turn ideas into physical products using the free software from Autodesk and the consumer printer MakerBot to achieve the most. The joys of this approach by Lydia Sloan Cline lies in the fact that no special prior knowledge of these programs is required: novices and hobbyists will learn the basics, from installation of the software to creating and printing the design, and will find the videos and digital files that accompany this guide leave nothing to wonder about. Examples are specific, useful, and reinforce the process of learning all the programs and applying them to 3D hobby printing objectives.

Ubuntu Unleashed, 2015 edition
Matthew Helmke
c/o Pearson Technology Group
801 East 96th Street, #300, Indianapolis, IN 46240-3759
9780672338373, $54.99,

Ubuntu Unleashed appears in a new 2015 edition to cover 14.10 and 15.04, and has been completely revised and updated by a longtime Ubuntu Forum community participant to reflect its latest details. It provides a fine survey introducing Ubuntu's key tools, programming languages, and more, and lends the same attention to teaching the basics of configuring and customizing the program. From automating tasks and managing kernels to using virtualization and building a private cloud with Juju, as well as integrating it with popular programming languages, this is no casual read but a weighty, in-depth reference recommended for any Ubuntu user who wants to learn about its latest features and possible applications. The inclusion of Ubuntu 14.0 on DVD enhances its importance as a reference for any using the program!

Perl By Example, fifth edition
Ellie Quigley
Prentice Hall Professional
c/o Pearson Technology Group
801 East 96th Street, #300, Indianapolis, IN 46240-3759
97801373760811, $49.99,

The fifth updated edition of Perl By Example is a recommendation for programming reference holdings strong in Perl tutorials, and provides the latest update for modern applications that gathers Perl best practices and techniques under one cover. Students learning Perl will find this packed with classroom-tested code examples that show code, input, output, and line-by-line explanations of how the code works. It covers everything from basic Perl syntax to using modules and pointers and more advanced topics, and it provides a powerful survey that includes an introduction to Dancer. Updated code examples accompany descriptions, exercises, and discussions, making this a solid survey that expands well on previous acclaimed editions.

Learning Angular JS
Brad Dayley
c/o Pearson Technology Group
801 East 96th Street, #300, Indianapolis, IN 46240-3759
9780134034546, $39.99,

Learning Angular JS is all about learning web development and programming starting with a powerful, efficient code base that is easily created and maintained: that's what Angular JS is all about, and this coverage is the key to its successful applications. From understanding best practices for its applications and how to build templates with built-in directives to customizing the program, creating a set of custom reusable services, and applying industry design standards to the Angular JS environment, this is a teaching tool that is packed with code and implementation strategies. The result is a survey recommended for those with programming and web design background who want specifics to apply to Angular JS.

The Literary Studies Shelf

The Hobbit and History
Janice Liedl and Nancy R. Reagin, Editors
c/o Wiley Professional Trade Group
111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774
9781118167649, $17.95,

The Hobbit and History is recommended for two types of audiences: those who are interested in Tolkien's epic saga, and those who want more historical examination than the movie offers. It comes from an Associate Professor of History at Laurentian University in Canada and the chair of a women's studies program who is also a history professor, and it explores the medieval languages and literature behind Tolkien's scholarship. From how European myths inspired Tolkien's world to discussions of magic in medieval Europe, Gandalf's resemblance to Odin the god, and the abilities of heroes to survive in the wilderness, The Hobbit and History is not only recommended for Tolkien fans, but for students at the high school and college levels who may normally be reluctant readers of the history genre, and who will find much to like in this unique story of connections.

Via Incanto: Poems from the Darkroom
Marisa Frasca
Bordighera Press
c/o John D. Calandra Italian American Institute
25 West 43rd St., 17th Floor, New York NY 10036
9781599540764, $12.00,

Via Incanto: Poems from the Darkroom comes from a Sicilian-American author who transforms her journey and immigrant experience into verse, and is a special recommendation for any collection strong in the Italian-American experience. Via Incanto is loaded with metaphor and surreal landscapes, so don't expect this experience to come in a neat collection of poems easily understood and strikingly clear. Frasca's free verse is dense, often dark, and always compelling: "Here I build a bonfire under a comma in the sky, and I will burn/cloth with tightly finished seams keeping us stiff and upright,/shoulder pads that lift us higher than the next guy..." From the "shocks and aftershocks in the 21st century/That don't come from active volcanoes" to the author's plaintive wondering "Why is my soul trapped in my mothers' Sicilian hell?", this is an observational piece filled with emotion and observations of modern social challenges alike.

The Chelsea Green Reader
Benjamin Watson, Editor
Chelsea Green Publishing Company
85 North Main Street, Suite 120, White River Junction, VT 05001
9781603586016, $15.00,

It would have been too easy to place The Chelsea Green Reader in our Science/Nature or Home and Garden section, as many of the articles selected here, which come from 30 years of independent publishing from 1984-2014, center around these topics - but then, what to do with the large sections that include food topics, or politics and social policy? The unifying themes with all these diverse reads is that they appeared in Chelsea green works and they reflect a special kind of craft in writing that represents a well-done story no matter what the topic - and so it's recommended here, for literary readers and collections seeking exceptional, literary works. Diverse in nature, this anthology holds everything from a canoeist's diary to discussions of fermentation and whole foods, the idea of low-maintenance edible forest gardens, and the 'end of money' concept. All are exceptional reads, making for a powerful gathering recommended for a wide audience.

Letter to a Future Lover
Ander Monson
Graywolf Press
250 Third Avenue North, Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55401
9781533977061, $22.00,

Letter to a Future Lover: Marginalia, Errata, Secrets, Inscriptions, and Other Ephemera Found in Libraries provides an unusual literary focus on the slips of paper, highlights, inscriptions, and relics of book readers, and gathers seven dozen essays written in response to 'library ephemera', which is defined as personal and university collections. It considers how works are preserved and maintained, how readers influence other readers, and how libraries can serve as repositories of not just written words, but reactions to them. Witty inscriptions, pointed reactions and observations, works both long and short, and tips on how to insert your own errata into a book to give others food for thought make for a lively and unusual catalog of the relationships between readers and books. There's nothing quite like this on the market, and it's especially recommended for avid book lovers who like a blend of whimsical observation and serious analysis of reader reactions.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Tim Johnston
Algonquin Books
PO Box 2225, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2225
9781616203047, $25.95,

Descent tells of the Courtlands, a family from the plains who suffers a devastating loss on a vacation to the Rocky Mountains. It's thriller writing at its best, primarily because a sold thriller will involve the reader at every step, creating powerful protagonists, big questions, and suspense. Johnston is a master of the latter: pages are dark with struggle and angst, descriptions of living, breathing, emotional protagonists draw in the outsider/reader until the book's hard to put down, and the story line delights with the unexpected. All these qualities pull together in a literary production that will have readers on the edge of their seats, unable to quit reading until its final explosive conclusion.

Arsenic and Old Books
Miranda James
Berkeley Prime Crime
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780425257296, $25.95,

Arsenic and Old Books provides a fine 'Cat in the Stacks' mystery and returns Diesel the Cat and librarian Charlie Harris to a new case. When you pair an investigative librarian with a curious Maine coon cat who walks on a leash, anything c an happen - and in this book a new acquisition of Civil War-era diaries tips the balance between rarities and murder. Add in a political confrontation, Southern heritage, a controversial set of books, and a determined history professor with a different interest in the materials and you have all the elements of deadly confrontation, with Charlie and Diesel standing right in the center of a storm of controversy. A satisfying drama centered around rare books will invite even non-mystery genre fans to partake.

The Abduction of Smith and Smith
Rashad Harrison
Atria Books
c/o Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
9781451625783, $25.00,

The Abduction of Smith and Smith is a recommendation for any who enjoy good, solid historical fiction and tells of the aftermath of the Civil War and its effects on Jupiter Smith, a former slave and Union solder who finds his greatest challenges in a new life are just beginning. He returns to his former plantation home but his old master is mentally ill and his wife has vanished. As an act of mercy Jupiter strangles his old master before he takes off in search of his wife; but when the Colonel's son arrives home to find his father murdered, he vows revenge. The Abduction of Smith and Smith chronicles their journeys and confrontations in a satisfying dark saga of social and personal change.

Trigger Warning
Neil Gaiman
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062330260, $26.99,

Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances provides a new collection of stories and verse and is recommended for followers of Gaiman's evocative writings who will appreciate over twenty stories and poems that consider imaginative worlds. From a story made entirely of short vignettes about the months of the year but which range from pirates to igloos to a different kind of Sherlock-style whodunit, these are varied works that all contain a touch of twist and a touch of the odd and macabre, making them an excellent survey of the unexpected. Gaiman's works all hold fine and winning blends of compelling characters and unusual spins on life and perception, making them special recommendations for the follower of macabre short fictions.

The Great Zoo of China
Matthew Reilly
Gallery Books
c/o Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
9781476749556, $26.00,

The Great Zoo of China sounds as though it's nonfiction; but it's actually a fictional story - and an engrossing thriller at that. The Chinese government has kept a big secret: a species of animal no one ever believed existed. They're going to reveal their discover while uncovering the greatest zoo ever built in the world, and a select group of journalists and important people have been brought to the new zoo to observe it's amazing creatures - including reptile expert Dr. Cassandra Cameron. There's only one problem (which may be somewhat predictable, given the precedent set by Jurassic Park): the animals in the best zoo in the world may have found a way out. And, herein lies the story. Recommended for enthusiasts of Jurassic Park and scientific thrillers, The Great Zoo of China is especially powerful at developing believable protagonists, scientific possibilities, and a story line that is totally engrossing despite its few predictable elements. Readers who enjoy a vivid, science-based thriller will find this an exceptional read.

The Nightingale
Kristin Hannah
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780312577223, $27.99,

The Nightingale is set in 1939 Franc in a quiet village where a woman is bidding farewell to her husband as he heads for France. She believes she's far from Nazi threat; but when they invade France and a German captain takes her home, she and her daughter are forced to live with the enemy and must confront impossible odds to stay alive. How a family struggles under Nazi rule and manages to make the kinds of compromises that ultimate lends to life and safety makes for an engrossing read of love, life, and conflict, set in a world marked by resistance and change. If it's a realistic historical setting that is of interest, backed by powerful protagonists and believable settings, then The Nightingale should be the item of choice.

The Diabolical Miss Hyde
Viola Carr
Harper Voyageur
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
978006236084, $16.99,

Take one Dr. Eliza Jekyll, a crime scene investigator operating in Victorian London who is hunting down killers who harbor new technological toys. Add a new killer who enjoys mutilating his female victims. Now toss in a dose of angst because Eliza is harboring her own closely-held dark secret about her seductive, wild alter ego Lizzie Hyde and you have an amazing take on the traditional Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde scenario that employs a feisty female protagonist confronting shades of Jack the Ripper. The setting of Victorian London is well drawn and compelling, the character of Eliza is simply delightful and draws readers into a blend of investigative mystery and quasi-science fiction, and the result of these unique pairings is a genre-busting read that's hard to put down.

The Art Shelf

Impressionist Painting for the Landscape
George Gallo and Cindy Salaski
North Light Books
c/o F+W Media
1140 Broadway, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10001
9781440337277, $29.99,

Impressionist Painting for the Landscape: Secrets for Successful Oil Painting provides some 50 lessons and tips for composition and brushwork and uses the Impressionist artists themselves as inspiration for any who would duplicate their works. Seven step-by-step painting demonstrations teach the basics of capturing light, color and more in a manner consistent with Impressionist works, while discussions provide lively topics and surveys of common dilemmas, as in the problems posed by gray days in 'Your Subject is Always the Light'. With its detailed insights on how Impressionist-specific results are achieved, this title will appeal to any who have some basic painting ability but who want a specific guide to learning how Impressionist techniques are achieved.

Abandoned NYC
Will Ellis
Schiffer Books
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
9780764347610, $34.99,

Abandoned NYC captures the urban decay and abandoned places in the country's most populated urban area, pairing some 200 images of this decay as captured in abandoned factories, railroads, schools, and more. It's packed with forgotten history behind these abandoned spaces and chooses artistic and revealing color photos to draw readers into the text history that follows. Don't expect high-profile familiar places in many pages: even New Yorkers will find much new here to marvel at, with images driving a series of pointed stories about what urban areas become abandoned, and why.

White Heat 25
Bov Carlos Clarke
Mitchell Beazley
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9781784720001, $39.99,

White Heat 25 is a cookbook - but it feels and looks like an art production, appearing in a 25th anniversary edition to celebrate the youngest chef ever to earn three Michelin stars. It's a portfolio of dishes pairing amazing full-page, full-color food photography with recipes, and quotes from "rock star chef" Marco Pierre White's perspectives on food - and it'd be a shame to limit this to cooking collections alone. With its gorgeous setup and recipes, paired with lively discussion, this is a winner!

Listening to Distant Thunder
Philippa Hobbs and Elizabeth Rankin
Fernwood Press
9781775841616, $34.00,

Listening to Distant Thunder: The Art of Peter Clarke provides a powerful tribute to an artist who created works for over six decades, from the time he left his job as a dockworker to his last productions, and considers how the South African artist captured the social history of South Africa from the 1940s to modern times. His images captured the social changes of a nation and documented many struggles. In later years he moved beyond his unique printmaking approach to expand his perspective and mediums, choosing paintings and collages while journeying abroad to America and Europe in the 1970s. This isn't just a photo album of his works, however: it's more all the more valuable by in-depth text commentary on his life, times, and sources of inspiration, and makes for a documentary that belongs in arts holdings and, especially, any collection about South African social and political change.

The Christian Studies Shelf

Kelly M. Kapic, Editor
InterVarsity Press
PO Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 605151426
9780830840625, $28.00,

Sanctification: Explorations in Theology and Practice is a recommendation for scholarly theological studies collections and provides a new examination and viewpoint of sanctification and its relationship between faith and human responsibility. This effort came from the Edinburgh Dogmatics Conference, where theological scholars from the Reformed tradition discuss the modern debates surrounding sanctification and its relationship to justification. From how God's image is represented and restored to relationships between sanctification, faith, and law, this is a powerful study that will absorb any scholar interested in issues of church and modern practices.

From Here to Maturity
Thomas E. Bergler
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
2140 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802869449, $20.00,

From Here to Maturity: Overcoming the Juvenilization of American Christianity discusses the concept of spiritual maturity: one that has been largely neglected in Christian circles. It defines such maturity as basic competence in the Christian life, and it reinforces the idea through pertinent New Testament passages and guidance on how Christian leaders can use these Biblical references to encourage community strengths. Chapters apply theory to daily living concerns and are directed to Christian leaders who want to continue to bring the living Bible into their community circles.

In the Face of the Absolute, revised edition
Frithjof Schuon
World Wisdom
1501 East Hillside Drive, Bloomington, IN 47401
9781936597413, $19.95,

In the Face of the Absolute: A New Translation with Selected Letters reflects the philosophical, spiritual probe of an author who considers different modern spiritual challenges in life, and presents a newly revised edition of his classic writings, retranslated from the original French and including previously unpublished writings, new notes, a glossary of foreign terms, and an index. This is no light reading, but a serious philosophical examination of different concepts of the theology of Christianity and Islam, probing connections and differences between the two. As such, it will appeal to and is recommended for a scholarly audience who will find these polished and detailed letters and writings to be at once insightful and challenging.

In Subjection
Jessica Madison
Mercer University Press
1400 Coleman Avenue, Macon, GA 31207-0001
9780881465006, $35.00,

In Subjection: Church Discipline in the Early American South, 1760-1830 will appeal to both Southern history and religious collections as it offers a college-level study of church discipline cases describing subjection as a system which held opportunities not for oppression, but for routine and organization. It uses Baptist church record books from across North and South Carolina to consider how churches regulated the behavior of their members, from how the system worked in cases of contention between church members to disciplinary actions. The result is a scholarly history that is particularly recommended for collections strong in Southern spiritual history.

Second Wave Spirituality
Chris Saade
North Atlantic Books
2526 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA 94704-2607
9781583947661, $18.95,

Second Wave Spirituality: Passion for Peace, Passion for Justice comes from the author's work as a spiritual teacher who interacts with activists and spiritual seekers around the world, and charts a 'new wave' of spirituality that embraces not just religion, but social consciousness. His focus on this wave considers the new trends of thought that are turning churches into centers of social change, and which are involving spiritual leaders and followers alike in a new kind of 'sacred activism'. Second Wave spirituality is a call to love and favors neither individual nor organization in its message and mission: as such, it's an evolutionary step supporting diversity and change, and it promises much even as it asks much from spiritually-inclined readers also interested in social justice.

The Audiobook Shelf

It Was Me All Along
Andie Mitchell
Random House Audio Books
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 5th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780553545255, $35.00,

It Was Me All Along is narrated by the author, who provides an unabridged memoir about her uncontrollable eating habit, which led to her clocking in a weight of 268 pounds at age twenty. It covers her life, the patterns that led her to that point, and how she changed her love of food and disdain for her body into a better-balanced life. While it's a story of successful, lasting weight loss in the face of an ongoing passion for food, it's as much a story of self-acceptance and bodily image than anything else, and offers a passionate saga readers will find absorbing, especially in vivid audio!

Private Vegas
James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Hachette Audio Books
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9781611130478, $35.00,

Private Vegas is narrated by Jay Snyder, who has performed on Broadway and Off-Broadway and acted in regional theater, TV and film. His experience shows, in this audio, which comes to life as it tells of a man's unique Las Vegas business: he wines and dines beautiful young women, and then teaches them how to kill. Jack Morgan has been hired to track down two murderers, but what he finds in Vegas goes beyond two men: it's a ruthless scheme with no clear leader and no easy end. A powerful, absorbing listen evolves.

The Brain's Way of Healing
Norman Doidge, MD
Penguin Audio Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9781611763829, $45.00,

The Brain's Way of Healing comes from a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, is narrated by film actor George Newbern who adds an evocative voice to the subject, and considers how scientists and practitioners have learned how to use neuroplastic therapies to address common conditions of the brain. This healing process is based on the brain's inherent methods of recovery and is one of the best breakthroughs - and best-kept secrets - of modern science. Doidge uses case histories and reports from brain science to bring together the research and its applications, making for a lively, positive survey that's recommended reading for any interested in health and recovery processes.

The Biography Shelf

Painted Pebbles: A Hungarian Memoir
Peter Stangl
Fithian Press
c/o Daniel and Daniel, Publishers
Box 2790, McKinleyville, CA 95519
9781564745675, $15.95,

Painted Pebbles: A Hungarian Memoir didn't come from the usual intention to publish a book: it was written as a gift to the author's son and daughter as a family history, and took on a life of its own in seeing publication in a book that will now reach a wider audience. The story begins with a description of the author's early childhood during World War II, as he recalls air raids, being Jewish in an increasingly Nazi world, and becoming trapped in Budapest's ghetto until the Soviets arrived in 1945, there to experience a different kind of totalitarian rule under their hand until he escaped to the West during the 1956 October uprising. Political and cultural survival techniques, insights, and experiences mark a journey that led to his eventual success as a Yale student in a new world. Anyone interested in accounts of European history will find this memoir an engrossing story of survival.

Frank Close
Basic Books
c/o Perseus Books Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780465069989, $29.95,

Half-Life; The Divided Life Of Bruno Pontecorvo, Physicist Or Spy comes from an award-winning writer who considers the mystery surrounding the physicist's sudden disappearance and reveals his involvement in passing blueprints of a nuclear reactor, stealing materials for an atomic bomb, and efforts to give the Soviets atomic secrets. As such, it reads like a biography packed with scientific detail but with a healthy dose of political insight and a probe into the process of spying. This is no compilation of newspaper articles, but an in-depth researched biography that connects the dots between some suspicious behaviors and documentation, and reveals the life of a physicist who remains one of the more enigmatic figures of modern science. Pontecorvo's move to the Soviet Union split his life into two nearly equal halves as a devoted scientist also secretly committed to communist ideals. This book offers a powerful testimony of his life and times, and is a 'must' for both science and biography readers alike.

Merlin Stone Remembered: Her Life and Works
David B. Axelrod, Carol F. Thomas,
Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.
2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125
9780738740911, $21.99,

Merlin Stone Remembered: Her Life and Works considers the personal and professional worlds of a woman who was a feminist, author, artist, historian, and more, and comes from a researcher who enjoyed unique access to Merlin's unpublished writings, photos, and memoirs. While Stone is best known for her revolutionary work When God Was a Woman, in fact she achieved so much more, and this new biography closely examines her philosophy and world, filling in many gaps and providing a lively work that places Stone's achievements in perspective. It's to its credit that Merlin Stone Remembered doesn't assume a singular or limited focus, but embraces all of her talents, achievements, and perspectives, offering a well-rounded survey, making this a 'must' for not just new age holdings, but collections strong on biography, feminist works, and spirituality.

Barbara Egger Lennon
Tina Stewart Brakebill
Westview Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780813347974, $20.00,

Barbara Egger Lennon: Teacher, Mother, Activist covers Lennon's life not only as a union organizer and political activist, but as an ordinary white Midwestern teacher and mother, and points out how she balanced these different roles in her life. It's based on years of diary entries that she wrote, and discusses how choices are made, how work, family and political activism can co-exist without impacting the home, and how she met the demands of family, friendships, and society alike. As an addition to any women's issues or feminist collection, as well as many a union history holding, this offers an unusually well-rounded balance surveying different issues and how they are managed, making it a recommendation for a range of collections; not just those interested in women's biographies or history.

Taking on Theodore Roosevelt
Harry Lembeck
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781616149543, $27.00,

Taking on Theodore Roosevelt: How One Senator Defied the President on Brownsville and Shook American Politics investigates the actions taken by an otherwise celebrated president and the response of a senator of his own party, Senator Joseph Foraker, and considers how in 1906 black soldiers stationed in Brownsville, Texas were accused of going on a rampage. Roosevelt discharged all one hundred sixty-members of the black battalion on duty with little investigation and even though the perpetrators were never positively identified. This book uses primary sources to reconstruct the events, comes from a Roosevelt historian, and assesses the issues of racism at the time. The result is a powerful survey that belongs in any college-level American history or racial issues collection.

The Art of Not Having it All
Melissa Kite
Thomas Dunne Books
c/o St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250055149, $24.99,

The Art of Not Having it All: True Stories of Men, Sex, and Other Disasters provides a fun memoir that details the author's realization that she will never 'have it all', as defined by the traditional home and family structure that forms the foundation of American goals and ideas. Most of Kite's friends had families and homes as well as jobs: in contrast, her journey was one of independence even as she fielded attractions and possible attractions. From calling off a near-wedding to fleeing a vacation in the middle of the night and nearly causing a good friend's death, this collection of stories is vivid, immediate, and fun and will enhance any general-interest collection.

Born to Be King
Catherine Mayer
Henry Holt & Company
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 400, New York, NY 10010-7725
9781627794391, $28.00,

Born to Be King: Prince Charles on Planet Windsor provides an in-depth account of Prince Charles and uses numerous interviews with his friends, palace workers, critics, and even the Prince to discuss his private life and his interactions. It details family relationships, his marriage to Diana and their divorce, his relationship with Camilla, and more, and it surveys the politics and practices that have led Charles into the limelight. There have been plenty of biographies of royal figures; but Mayer's access to royalty lends this one a tone of authority and insight that no outsider can claim, making this a 'must' for any interested in Prince Charles and his world.

Gods and Kings
Dana Thomas
Penguin Press
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10014
9781583204944, $29.95,

Gods and Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano follows the rise and fall of two seemingly different individuals who shared as a source of their downfalls the experience of conflict between art and commerce. They both arrived on the fashion scene when the industry was in a rut, they both produced daring designs and paired them with showcase approaches to fashion that rocked the industry's foundations, and they both struggled with their talents and enjoyed early critical acclaim. How each helped build the luxury fashion market and how these highs became lows that led to their downfalls makes for an engrossing, involving story line that captures not just the lives of two disparate individuals, but their effects on an industry and the business forces that ultimately affected their art and lives. Business as well as fashion-oriented art holdings and collections strong in biographical examinations will find this an unusual but powerful pairing of personalities and an approach that is lively and thought-provoking.

Bella's Gift
Rick & Karen Santorum
Thomas Nelson Publishers
PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214
9780718021955, $24.99,

Bella's Gift: How One Little Girl Transformed Our Family and Inspired a Nation tells of the authors' special-needs youngest child, born with a rare genetic condition called Trisomy 18, or Edward's Syndrome. Only a fraction of kids born with the syndrome survive - most don't make it to their first birthday - and so the family was counseled to prepare for her death. Instead, they decided to celebrate her life. Seven years later she is still alive, they have created a family of joy and inspiration, and have overcome adversity. The story of Bella's life has never been fully told until now: its appearance will not only inspire parents of special-needs kids, but will inform a wider audience about Edward's Syndrome and, more importantly, how to turn tragedy into not just success, but joy. It's this element that sets this story apart from most others and makes it a special recommendation for a wide audience.

The Social Issues Shelf

Assisted Dying
Lesley Close and Jo Cartwright, Editors
Peter Owen Publishers
c/o Independent Publishers Group
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9780720610147, $24.95,

Assisted Dying; Who Makes The Final Decision? is all about making better choices for care and end of life experiences, and belongs in not only ethics but social issues collections alike. Assisted dying is one of the most debated issues of our times, with numerous countries facing major decisions on the issue. This title is published in conjunction with the organization Dignity in Dying and advocates for this right using the commentary and observations of a range of experts in fields ranging from medicine and religion to social organizations. Case studies, legal concerns, ethical considerations, and more tackle different pieces of the greater issue and provide powerful insights that can be applied around the world to local struggles, making for a solid reference for any debating the pros and cons of assisted dying.

Tsem Rinpoche
New Page Books
c/o Career Press Inc.
220 West Parkway, Unit 12, Pompton Plains, NJ 07444
9781601633538, $15.99,

Peace: Steps to Achieving Happiness Through Acts of Love, Compassion, Kindness, Tolerance, and Forgiveness is listed as a recommendation for collections on Eastern religion and Buddhism, but is featured here for its broader implications for any social issues holding. It considers what it means to create peace on a personal, then a wider social, level, and it is grounded in Buddhist beliefs and perspectives that pairs philosophy with discussions of common barriers to personal happiness and peace. In the process of exploring how individuals can achieve peace within, the ultimate result is peace in social settings. Chapters discuss everything from problems with people at work to handling challenging misunderstandings with the objective of peaceful resolution in mind. So while this book's identifiers slate it as a recommendation for spirituality holdings, this reviewer also recommends it be considered for its 'bigger picture' applications to social issues holdings, as well.

Right of Boom
Benjamin E. Schwartz
The Overlook Press
141 Wooster Street, New York, NY 10012
9781468309942, $27.95,

Right of Boom: The Aftermath of Nuclear Terrorism comes from a national security expert who considers what could happen after a nuclear explosion takes place in the United States; the greatest security threat faced by the nation today. Envisioning such an explosion in Washington, D.C., Schwartz proceeds to extrapolate the social, political, and global impact of such an event, considering what a President's options could be and how such an explosion could change the world. From methods of countering terrorist activity and lessons learned by nuclear deterrence practices to the global impact of cyberattacks, this considers past, present and future challenges to national security in the course of its deliberations, making Right of Boom a powerful pick for any discussing the ramifications of nuclear deterrence and its possible failures.

Therapeutic Nations
Dian Million
University of Arizona Press
355 South Euclid Avenue, Suite 103, Tucson, AZ 85719-6654
9780816531417, $26.95,

Therapeutic Nations: Healing in an Age of Indigenous Human Rights takes the theories produced by native healing and organizing projects and runs them through various disciplines and different scholarly fields to produce a new indigenous feminist critique of the healing process. College-level audiences will find the blend of theory and original research offers a broader perspective than most Native collections can offer, discussing in depth the trauma theory regarding human rights and Western government interactions with indigenous nations. It provides a Canadian focus but compares this with U.S. and Australian populations as it considers trauma and its relationship to history in different nations. The result is a wide-ranging discussion that won't be limited to one nation, but the shared experiences between many populations.

Lentil Underground
Liz Carlisle
Gotham Books
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10014
9781592409204, $26.95,

Social science collections as well as holdings strong in agriculture and farming will delight in Lentil Underground; Renegade Farmers and the Future of Food in America. It's the story of third-generation Montana farmer David Oien, who is idealistic, stubborn, and who has influenced fellow farmers to take up the reigns in adopting a more sustainable approach to crop management and climate change challenges. He took a huge risk in promoting organic lentils as a cheap, healthy source of protein that is both drought tolerant and hearty, and departed from pressure to farm traditional American grains as his forefathers had chosen. Oien didn't expect to become a leader of an organic farmer's movement, but he did: their story is told here, along with how a small underground movement became a million-dollar business.

The Moral Arc
Michael Shermer
Henry Holt & Company
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 400, New York, NY 10010-7725
9780805096910, $32.00,

The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity Toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom comes from an author who examines why scientific rationalism has led to Americans living in the 'most moral period' in our species' history. It draws important connections between morality, the changing perspectives and awareness of humanity, and how human rights, animal rights, women's issues and more have impacted abstract reasoning processes to change how morality itself is identified, perceived, and employed. The result is a discussion that is especially recommended for philosophy and ethics classrooms at the college level: a lively discourse skirting the boundaries between science and philosophy with a positive bent that makes it a pleasure to absorb and consider.

The XYZ Factor
Nancy Lubin and Alyssa Ruderman, Editors
BenBella Books
10300 N. Central Expressway, Suite 400, Dallas, TX 75204
9781941631638, $29.95,

The XYZ Factor: The Guide to Creating a Culture of Impact posits a new kind of culture where innovation is the norm, and encouraged in an environment created to foster intergenerational relationships and a new kind of office. In such an organization, employees are challenged to produce, engaged in the structure, and excited. How does one make the change into or create an 'XYZ' company? That's the meat of The XYZ Factor: anyone can create an ideal, but it's the 'how-to' piece that often eludes. Leaders receive chapters that are all about this part, from how to form good partnerships that strengthen a business brand to how to reach the Millennial generation and how to move a traditional business structure into a new environment. In a world where 'okay' just isn't good enough any more, The XYZ Factor stands out as a new approach to a more engaged community-oriented business structure, and will prove especially inviting to businesses actively looking to change.

Coming Back to Life
Joanna Macy and Molly Brown
New Society Publishers
PO Box 189, Gabriola Island, BC, Canada, V0R 1X0
9780865717756, $21.95,

Coming Back to Life provides an updated guide to The Work That Reconnects and links that work to creative action and efforts to turn angst into social change. It uses the basic tenants of the Work to consider such facets as how to honor pain and turn it into something cathartic for world change through art and expression, reconnecting past and future generations through storytelling and other kinds of participatory exercises, using the Work to reconnect with teens and one's children, and more. The result is a powerful series of specific exercises and applied lessons that is especially recommended for prior followers of the idea of the Work, who want to understand its translation to the wider world and its connections.

The Almost Nearly Perfect People
Michael Booth
Picador USA
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1800, New York, NY 10010
9781250061966, $26.00,

The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia provides a lively survey by an author who has lived among the Scandinavians for over ten years, and is thus in the perfect position to observe them both as an outsider and as an insider. Booth is frustrated with the usual bright view of Scandinavia that Western media present, and his journey from Denmark through all five of the Nordic countries is designed to consider the myths and realities of the region as a whole. From who the Scandinavians are and how they differ from the rest of the world, chapters are at once lively and intriguing, documenting the bright and dark points of the Scandinavian countries. Is the region really as peaceful, progressive and prosperous as Western reports say? This book arrives at the heart of matters with insights based on travel, study, and personal encounters.

Development Projects Observed
Albert O. Hirschman
Brookings Institution Press
1775 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20036-2188
9780815726425, $18.00,

The trouble with most college-level writings that offer denser, more involved discussions of social issues is that they only reach an audience of relative specialists in their subject; but Albert O. Hirschman's Development Projects Observed has bucked the odds and become a genre classic in its own right, which makes this reprint of the 1967 classic notable for college-level collections strong in economics, history, and social science alike. The work is widely recognized as one piece of a groundbreaking trilogy on development and enhances the overall social science contentions of his later writings. Don't anticipate an easy introduction, however: students well-grounded in social science will find his themes challenging and his discussions of development essential to understanding the discipline as a whole.

The Age of Dignity
Ai-Jen Poo with Ariane Conrad
The New Press
126 Wall Street, floor 31, New York, NY 10005-4007
9781620970386, $25.95,

The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America states several fairly well-known facts: that there are more seniors in America today than at any other time in history, with more coming on board as they turn 65. By 2018 the home health care demand will have almost doubled, and by 2050 long-term care needs will have skyrocketed. Ai-Jen Poo worked as a student volunteer with immigrant women in Manhattan, observing the problems of caregiving. Her personal stories of these seniors blend with a wider examination of the state of caregiving and caregivers across the country, considering the lives of seniors and their support systems. It also offers some positive solutions to common issues, and indicates a path whereby caregiving can ultimately become more humane. The result is a powerful blend of personal and social observation, recommended for general-interest and social science holdings alike.

Social Movements and New Technology
Victoria Carty
Westview Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780813345864, $30.00,

Social Movements and New Technology could have been featured in our sections on science and computers, as well, but is considered here because it's actually a powerful examination of social movement activism and how social movements have been affected, for better or for worse, by digital technologies. It's a blend of history and theory, using real-world examples to consider hacking, emails, global online protest systems, social media marketing's ability to provide viral news, and reports of uprisings around the word. More than just a survey, it pairs case studies with invitations to readers to examine the movement or organization and how they used digital tools in the framework of traditional social movement theory. Discussion questions at the end of each chapter make this a special recommendation for college-level classrooms interested in debates and dialogues based in social movement theory and the latest technological impacts on its concepts.

The Criminology Shelf

Jill Leovy
Spiegel & Grau
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780385529983, $28.00,

Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America comes from a crime reporter who began a blog called "The Homicide Report" for the Los Angeles Times, covering all 845 murders in Los Angeles County that year. From this project came the inspiration to write Ghettoside, which follows the murder of a young black man in South Los Angeles and the efforts of detectives to investigate the crime. While it's a narrow focus on one man, one murder, and one investigation, what it achieves is a powerful survey of homicide in America as a whole, considering the special circumstances surrounding black murder and its growth. From how different scenarios surrounding such deaths come to make sense given the bigger picture to insights based on the author's six years of embedded with the LAPD, Ghettoside is a powerful survey that's more than just a true crime saga: it's a microcosm of American racial issues.

The Self-Help Shelf

Build the Strength Within
Dr. Deborah Carlin
Select Books
87 Walker Street, Suite B1, New York City, NY 10013
9781590791479, $16.95,

Build the Strength Within: Create the Blueprint for Your Best Life Yet is packed with guides to finding joy from life, comes from a psychologist and business consultant, and pairs personal experience with theory and studies designed to help readers establish a clear life plan. Such an endeavor could all too easily have been filled with theory and ideals; but this book grounds itself not only with solid data, but exercises in the form of eleven self-assessments designed to help readers customize a plan of action for changing their lives. The result is a powerful survey recommended for self-help collections and those serious about turning their lives around and heading in another direction.

The Agriculture Shelf

Dirty Chick
Antonia Murphy
Gotham Books
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10014
9781592409051, $25.95,

Dirty Chick: Adventures of an Unlikely Farmer tells of an urban girl born and raised in San Francisco and used to interacting in a liberal urban society - until she becomes the mother of a child born with a rare genetic condition. Their search for a quiet community led the family to move to Purua, New Zealand, a rural farming community. In their efforts to blend in and slow down, the family found new challenges and purpose in artisan farming and faced the reality that their choice would bring to their family's life. Dirty Chick is at once poignant and hilarious: there's comedy as well as thought-provoking scenarios that play out against the backdrop of family interactions and a dangerous illness, and there's plenty of insights into the process of moving to another country and interacting in a very different community. Any general-interest reader will find this inviting and fun.

Exercises in Plant Disease Epidemiology, second edition
Katherine L. Stevenson and Michael J. Jeger, Editors
APS Press
3340 Pilot Knob Road, St. Paul, MN 55121 USA
9780890544402, $199.00,

Epidemiology is key to biology and to crop management and health, and involves identifying the causes, effects, and spread of plant diseases. It's a cutting-edge field that requires the latest resources to keep up and apply: one that challenges plant pathologist to stay current - and Exercises in Plant Disease Epidemiology is one tool in this effort. It comes from two editors who together hold some sixty years of combined experience teaching and researching their subject, and offers a structured approach that supports classroom instruction or independent learning. Moreover, it comes packed with exercises, bibliographical references, and tips on understanding procedures and applying them to plant management. This second updated edition features chapters written by experts that include both lab-based exercises and discussions of statistical applications and assessments: perfect for college-level biology courses.

The Travel Shelf

Convergence: A Voyage Through French Polynesia
Sally-Christine Rodgers
Paradise Cay Publications
PO Box 29, Arcata, CA 95518-0029
9780986217104, $24.95,

"Convergence: A Voyage Through French Polynesia" is a multi-faceted book that has the rare ability to reach well beyond a sailing audience. It's refreshing to note the balance between text and color photos in this large-format armchair narrative. Packed with full-page color photos that capture the life and culture of French Polynesia, Convergence isn't just a beautiful coffee table book, it's a highly readable, personal account of one woman's travels, as she observes and experiences life at sea, the Polynesian peoples, the ecology of the islands and more. Exploring the history of these fabled islands, the author reminisces about her father's travels in 1930s Polynesia, reflecting on what has changed and what remains the same. Ever passionate about the oceans and their conservation, she offers readers a colorfully close encounter with the beauty of and threats to the ocean environment. Convergence will attract and educate cruisers, armchair travelers, and readers of ecological issues alike.

Never Mind the Bullocks
Vanessa Able
Nicholas Brealey Publishing
20 Park Plaza, Suite 610, Boston, MA 02116
9781857886122, $17.95,

Never Mind the Bullocks: One Girl's 10,000 km Adventure Around India in the World's Cheapest Car offers a lively, engrossing autobiographical travelogue by an author who wanted a truly independent Indian adventure, far from the usual tourist routes and guided paths. Her solution: to drive 10,000 km around the subcontinent in a Tata Nano (the world's cheapest car). Anticipate hilarious encounters, mishaps galore, a sense of fun, adventure, and disaster, and a first-person survey that white-knuckles the experience of solo travel. From the start, the author seems to excel at narrowly escaping death - but she can't escape love, even if it does come in the form of the worst driver she's ever met. A fun, deliciously vivid perspective of India will delight armchair travelers who will find themselves on the edges of their seats with pleasure.

Journeys Home
Joyce Maynard, et. al.
National Geographic Press
145 - 17th Street N.W., Washington, DC, 20036-4688
9781426213816, $26.00,

Journeys Home: Inspiring Stories, Plus Tips & Strategies to Find Your Family History comes from authors who all found life meaning in their travels, reconnecting with family, discovering marriage partners, probing ancestors and coming to understand their heritages and, in the process, more about themselves. More than your usual travelogue, Journeys Home writers all set out with one goal in mind; to retrace the roots of their families, and their stories thus go beyond your usual focus to consider the heart of these connections. While travel holdings will be the most likely to pick up Journeys Home, it would be a shame to limit its audience to would-be adventurers; for any interested in family history and genealogical exploration will find this a winner, as well.

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

Incense, expanded edition
Carl F. Neal
Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.
2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125
9780738741550, $19.99,

Incense: Crafting & Use of Magickal Scents appears in a new, expanded edition pairing recipes and information on dozens of new ingredients with a guide to making homemade blends using natural ingredients, and is a top recommendation for any who would use incense in their lives. Some 125 ingredients, nearly thirty basic materials, and accompanying rituals are provided in a new age discussion that teaches how to make loose, stick, coil or cone incenses. It's more than a collection of recipes, however: included in the directions are expanded sections on natural charcoal and supermarket ingredients, keys to drying and using incense, and discussions of how to craft different, customized scents. The result is a top pick for any new age collection, in particular.

Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self
Robert Waggoner
Moment Point Press
P.O. Box 920287, Needham, MA 02492
9781930491144, $18.95,

Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self is a recommended pick for self-help and new age holdings alike, and takes the topic of lucid dreaming to new heights by covering the range of insights to be gained from the process of learning how to harness its powers. One can become awake and aware while asleep, and can use the strengths of underlying consciousness to make changes in waking states. Unlike similar books on lucid dreaming, this offers a number of perspectives and approaches, from understanding the methods and perceptions of experienced lucid dreamers as they harness and manipulate the subconscious pathways of the dream state to personal experiences with telepathy and developing creative focus. The author's own experiments and discoveries fuel a wider consideration of the five stages of lucid dreaming and their promise of accessing deeper levels of understanding than the conscious mind can approach, offering an excellent set of insights any can apply to their own concepts of lucid dreaming's applications.

The Antiques/Collectibles Shelf

Pleasure & Profit
Robert W. Shippee
Whitman Publishing
4001 Helton Drive, Florence, Alabama, 35630
9780794842437, $9.95,

Pleasure & Profit: 100 Lessons for Building and Selling A Collection of Rare Coins comes from a collector who tells how he started in the business of building a serious rare coin collection, and it's a lively, wonderful pick for any interested in how he made a profit from collecting coins. Chapters cover his successes and failures, moving novices gently through the world of the coin collector and providing good-sized color photos of the key coins in his collection - some one hundred of them. Included in the coverage is practical advice on acquiring coins, storing them, making money from sales, and understanding the process of grading them correctly. From how auction houses work to market forces dictating the business of collecting and coin rarities, this is a lively yet informative approach that blends serious coin collecting advice with a lively delivery that assumes no prior knowledge of the field.

The Mathematics Shelf

Multivariable and Vector Calculus: An Introduction
Sarahan M. Musa and David A. Santos
Mercury Learning
Stylus Publishing, Inc.
22883 Quicksilver Drive, Sterling, VA 20166-2012
9781936420285, $79.95,

Multivariable and Vector Calculus: An Introduction is designed as a technical reference for undergraduates in math, engineering and the physical sciences and provides a host of examples and exercises to support the basic concepts of vector geometry, variables, and applications. Computer illustrations and tutorials were generated for this book using MATLAB and MAPLE, and add a computer perspective to the tutorials that involves numerous illustrations in the form of charts, graphs, and visual representations of calculations. College-level audiences strong in vector calculus tutorial guides will find this an important text.

The American History Shelf

A Legacy in Arms
Richard C. Rattenbury
University of Oklahoma Press
2800 Venture Drive, Norman, OK 73069
9780806144771, $59.95,

A Legacy in Arms; American Firearm Manufacture, Design, and Artistry, 1800-1900 provides collection photos by Ed Murno and a powerful history of American firearms development that belongs in the collection of any serious American history holding. It uses images from the collections of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City to accompany a lively text discussion of the business and production of guns from America's early frontier days to the turn of the 20th century, and packs in over 200 images - most in color - in a survey that considers the influences on commercial arms making. Included are details not only on manufacturers, but on regional trends, design influences, how mass production's advent changed the nature and development of firearms in America, and more. The result is an outstanding coverage, highly recommended not just for fans of firearms collecting, but for American history holdings in general and those interested in Western vintage photography presentations.

The Train to Crystal City
Jan Jarboe Russell
c/o Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
9781451693669, $30.00,

The Train to Crystal City: FDR's Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America's Only Family Internment Camp During World War II discusses the secret history of an American interment camp in Crystal City, Texas, which incarcerated some 6,000 American civilians: Germans, Japanese, and Italians. Many of these citizens were taken from them homes across the U.S. and Latin America: they weren't arrested, they weren't charged with a crime - and American legal process was suspended in favor of wartime decisions. Jan Jarboe Russell conducted her own research and investigation to probe the events of Crystal City and its lasting impact. Interviews with two women who were interned there provided the foundation for her probe, and thus this book includes archival and family photographs and vastly expands understanding of the events and conditions of Crystal City, until now a very under-publicized aspect of World War II.

The Haight: Love, Rock, and Revolution
Joe Selvin
Insight Editions
PO Box 3088, San Rafael, CA 94912
9781608873630, $50.00,

The Haight: Love, Rock, and Revolution: The Photography of Jim Marshall is a 'must' for any interested in the culture and images of the 1960s hippie era, and packs in a weighty collection of rare photos of San Francisco in the 1960s as captured by photographer Jim Marshall, who is best known for the works he published in Look and other magazines. Accompanying text comes from author and San Francisco music journalist Joel Selvin and the powerful pairing of the two results in an iconic, oversized presentation packing in hundreds of photos of rock musicians such as the Jefferson Airplane and Janis Joplin, counterculture figures such as Timothy Leary, and stories that capture the sights, sounds, and sentiments of the times. Of course, there have been many books on the topic - many histories, many photo collections - but what makes this a special standout is its oversized (9.25 x 12.75) presentation and its attention to detail - not to mention the joined talents and strengths of a reporter and a photographer who lived their subject and moved in the circles they sought to document. Few other examinations of the era can claim such intimacy with their subject; and few others offer the combined talents of two powerhouses of word and image, making this a top recommendation for California and American history collections, arts holdings, and general-interest libraries alike.

The World History Shelf

Europe on Trial
Istvan Deak
Westview Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780813347899, $30.00,

Europe on Trial: The Story of Collaboration, Resistance, and Retribution During World War II comes from a historian who provides the comparative history of the three elements in the Western and Eastern European countries that suffered under German rule, and makes for an engrossing probe into the decisions made by political figures and individual citizens during this period. After the war there was lynching, revenge, forced retirements, civil rights violations, mass deportations and more: this survey documents all these and the events that followed World War II and provides an eye-opening account of the ongoing confrontations between individuals and nations during this period. No college-level study of post-World War II events would be complete without this analysis.

The Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf

Blessed Assurance
Marion Castleberry
Mercer University Press
1400 Coleman Avenue, Macon, GA 31207-0001
9780881465051, $35.00,

Blessed Assurance: the Life and Art of Horton Foote is a recommendation for biography and theatre collections alike and chronicles the life, times, and traditions of American dramatist Horton Foote. It uses the author's complete access to Foote's personal papers and conversations with the writer, family and friends to consider the evolution of his life and career, including important discussions of his Christian faith and how this influenced his passion for drama and his work as a screenwriter and independent filmmaker. His work earned him numerous awards, including an Emmy, an Academy Award, and a Pulitzer Prize: this story of his life and times is a 'must' for any who would consider the evolution of his works.

The Dawn of Technicolor
James Layton & David Pierce
George Eastman House
900 East Avenue, Rochester, New York 14607
9780935398281, $65.00

The Dawn of Technicolor: 1915-1935 is a gorgeous presentation that's a 'must' reference for film and photography holdings alike, published to coincide with Technicolor's centennial in 2015. Technicolor's development of various film processes heralded the dawn of full-color photography and printing, but it was developed against all odds and its success translated to the only commercially applicable process for producing color motion pictures. All this history is recounted in a color photo-filled production that pairs film and photo notes with a history of the first two decades of Technicolor advancements and its contributions to a process that not only contributed to but defined the boundaries of today's film pursuits. Chapters reflect a passion for motion picture color and production technology as they document how Technicolor was developed, how it went to and grew in Hollywood, and how a series of technical developments, business investments and chance encounters grew an industry. The pre-Technicolor history and technical explorations are particularly inviting in a survey packed with details and accompanying historic images. While many a general-interest reader with a special affection for film history or technical advancements will likely enjoy looking at this book, it's the reader interested in film history's concurrent technological influences and possibilities who will find the technical details to be intriguing and specific, making this a special recommendation for any film library.

Justified and Philosophy
Rod Carveth and Robert Arp, Editors
Open Court Publishing Company
70 East Lake Street, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60601
9780812698763, $19.95,

Justified and Philosophy: Shoot First, Think Later may join others in the publisher's extensive 'Popular Culture and Philosophy' series, but it's also recommended here for TV and film collections, using the TV show Justified to blend in philosophical thought on the ethics of good and evil in the West and depictions of its struggles. The essays offer both important and unusual connections between film, Westerns, and modern philosophical dilemmas and how they are portrayed in cinematic productions, and provide keys questions on behavior patterns and politics in the course of its analysis. College-level readers with prior familiarity with Justified in particular and Western film in general will find this a thought-provoking analysis that joins many seemingly-disparate subjects under one cover and successfully makes sense of them all in a philosophical realm.

The Automotive Shelf

The Great Race
Levi Tillemann
Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
9781476773490, $28.00,

The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future comes from an entrepreneur and energy policy expert who here tells of the blend of technology, innovation and global economy involved in creating the 'car of the future' and is a recommended pick not only for transportation collections and fans, but business holdings, accounts of world economic interactions and global technological and cooperation, and more. It tells how a small group of regulators from California - Team America - is working with a strange cast of participants to create the better auto, and it offers an account of struggles between nations and individuals as it follows the century-long battle between automakers for market share and profits. With its focus on the global auto industry, one might expect this book would be of primary interest to transportation buffs - but the inclusion of plenty of economic and political insights makes for a far weightier coverage that's wider-ranging than an auto history could be, offering insights that hold important ramifications for studying not just global economies and politics, but the impact of technology and individual effort upon world socioeconomic development as a whole. Lively and engrossing, this is a highly recommended pick.

David W. Temple
CarTech Inc.
39966 Grand Avenue, North Branch, MN 55056
9781613251591, $39.95,

Motorama: GM's Legendary Show and Concept Cars provides a visual history and comes from an automotive historian and GM Motorama expert who bases his book on new information on the show and its cars. As a result, there are many new and previously unpublished photos to consider, setting this in-depth coverage apart from any other. Temple takes time to consider not just the glitzy show side of matters, but the design and assembly of these concept cars. His technical approach includes consideration not just of bodies, but of engines, transmissions, and suspensions to consider the overall innovations in the car package as a whole. Where other books might focus on pomp and circumstances, this one shows how GM used its show to assess interest in styles and uncover evolving trends in consumer interest. The yearly shows, their displays, and their eye-catching cars thus all receive equal attention here, making this a special pick for any car enthusiast.

Show Rod Model Kits
Scotty Gosson
CarTech Inc.
39966 Grand Avenue, North Branch, MN 55056
9781613251560, $29.95,

Show Rod Model Kits compliments the author's previous America's Wildest Show Rods of the 1960s and 1970s and covers the sources of inspiration for these show rids: the model kits. It gathers the kits, provides a collector's history of their importance, and features insights from manufacturers and designers as well as kit builders and car financers. With such insights added to color photos throughout, Show Rod Model Kits becomes a lively discussion that will attract not just collectors, car enthusiasts and hobbyists but many a reader who has previously harbored only a casual interest in show cars. The 'Q and A' section documents the human element of these model kit productions and enhances a colorful history and discussion recommended for a wide range of readers.

Paul Parker
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9780760346440, $75.00,

Klemantaski: Master Motorsports Photographer is the only book in print to gathers the extent of Louis Klemantaski's legendary photography, in effect cornering the market and making this a 'must' for any collection serious about motor sports. He worked from the 1930s to the late 1960s and specialized in capturing racing competitions on film, from road races and Le Mans to Grand Prix. His racing focus knew no limits and his approach to photography ranges from action shots on various types of tracks to behind-the-scenes portraits from the pits. Some 300 images were gathered from The Klemantaski Collection and include Parker's historical notes and captions, making for a feature that provides equal, solid information on the race history involved and the photographic achievement itself. The result is an opulent 'must' especially recommended for motorsports history holdings interested in visual works.

The Crafts Shelf

Fiber & Cord Jewelry
Ashley K. Bunting
Kalmbach Books
21027 Crossroads Circle, Waukesha, WI 53187-1612
9781627001212, $19.99,

Fiber & Cord Jewelry is packed with fun jewelry made from a range of basic materials, from ribbon and leather to cotton and cord. It's directed to the novice to either these materials or to jewelry-making in general, and offers easy instructions paired with step-by-step photos for over twenty designs created by the author. So many jewelry-making titles focus on complex projects and, often, expensive or hard-to-find materials, so it's especially pleasing to recommend one that shows how to produce professional, polished results from relatively common basics. Newcomers to both the fiber and cord options and to jewelry-making options will find this unusually inviting, as a result.

The Music Shelf

1965: The Move Revolutionary Year in Music
Andrew Grant Jackson
Thomas Dunne Books
c/o St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250059628, $27.99,

1965: The Move Revolutionary Year in Music chronicles the social, artistic and political events of one year with a focus on how they affected music's evolution - and it was a pivotal year, indeed. It was the year Bob Dylan rose to the forefront of folk music, when James brown invested funk, when psychedelic music introduced by the Beatles fostered a new appreciation for the sitar and eastern mystics, and when political changes brought counterculture and traditional culture to clashes. While many books on the 1960s focus on social conditions with an aside to music; 1965: The Move Revolutionary Year in Music takes the opposite approach in offering up stories that many may not have heard before, from how two very different folk musicians - Donovan ad Glenn Campbell - came to cover Buffie Saint-Marie's 'Universal Soldier' in very different manners to the rise of female musicians and girl groups in Motown. The result is a musical window into the 1960s and its changes: highly recommended for any interested in not just the history of the era, but the particular changes popular music was undergoing at the height of social and cultural controversy.

Rebel Yell
Michael Buffalo Smith
Mercer University Press
1400 Coleman Avenue, Macon, GA 31207-0001
9780881464955, $24.00,

Rebel Yell: An Oral History of Southern Rock opens with a survey of Southern rock music icon Charlie Daniels, but it doesn't stop there. It's an overview of the musical style shared by many Southern bands, and it surveys the musicians, genre, technicians and more that make Southern rock what it is today. It's a history of the region as much as a history of the genre, following bands from Georgia to Florida in 1969 and the height of its success in the 1970s and offering a story by the musicians, fans, and record companies who participated in its culture. Hundreds of hours of interviews conducted by the author went into the making of this survey - and it shows. Enhance by many photos from different photographers, this is a history not to be missed by any interested in either Southern culture or rock music.

The Cookbook Shelf

Gluten-Free Baking
Kristine Kidd
c/o Weldon Owen, Inc.
415 Jackson Street, San Francisco, CA 94111
9781616286105, $24.95,

Gluten-Free Baking tackles head-on the most challenging aspect of gluten-free cookery: baking. It's the cornerstone of challenge because almost all mainstream baked goods include gluten, and making substitutions tends to be far more complex than a straight-across flour substitution because doing so changes the nature of the baked dish, often rending cakes and cookies inedible. Here are 50 tested recipes plus variations for gluten-free baked goods from breads to cakes, pies to puddings. The object is to make them so appealing that they will be chosen not just because they are gluten free, but because they are inviting to anyone. Thus cookies such as Fudgy Ginger-Nut meringues or Coconut Macaroons, cakes such as Cheesecake with Blueberry Sauce or Chocolate-Cherry Torte, and puddings such as Maple-Orange Rice Pudding will appeal to the whole family. Color photos throughout and plenty of notes on handling gluten-free products make this a winner.

Mr. & Mrs. Sunday's Suppers
Lorraine Wallace
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9781118175293, $24.99,

Mr. & Mrs. Sunday's Suppers takes the complexity away from the Sunday meal for home cooks, and applies the author's own personal success strategies for producing easy Sunday suppers from scratch. To this end she has developed recipes that are both foolproof and streamlined so that cooks can produce winning results with relatively little effort - and this family-oriented cookbook thus includes many comfort items, from a Beef Stew with Winter Root Vegetables to Shepherd's Pie and various casseroles. Dishes don't just apply to Sundays: they can be made by busy working cooks for weeknight dinners, or served at holiday celebrations. The basic idea is to produce meals families enjoy with a minimum of fuss but an attention to detail that pairs comfort dishes with expanded themes - thus alongside the embellished Beef Stew above are Lobster Pot Pie and a healthier Southern "Not Fried" Chicken Supper. Highly recommended for busy cooks looking for appealing family fare.

Jenni Muir
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
97806006239931, $29.99,

Supergrains is all about the alternative natural grains that are gaining in popularity and appearing in conventional supermarkets - quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, wild rice, and more - and provides an inviting cookbook that covers how to use these grains and understand their nutritional benefits. Some 150 recipes accompanied by full-page color photos throughout need only access to the grains and an interest in cooking something different to prove exciting and attractive. From Millet and Grape Clafoutis - a type of country pudding - to an unusual Herring in Oats, these dishes are packed with appeal. Another bonus: if the local supermarket doesn't have a grain (and most will, today), the local health food store will, making access to special ingredients a non-issue, here.

More Than Meatballs
Michele Anna Jordan
Skyhorse Publishing
307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018
9781629145808, $19.95,

More Than Meatballs: From Arancini to Zucchini fritters and Everything in Between provides over fifty recipes that take the meatball theme and expand upon it. While those who somehow still expect the result will be meatball-oriented meat dishes (despite the subtitle's warning) may be disappointed, there are plenty of meatball cookbooks on the market right now - and few holding the wider vision of the idea than this. Dishes come from around the world and feature all kinds of ball-shaped dishes from appetizers to main courses, non-meat balls for soups, salads and pasta, and fritter-type arrangements made with carrots and other vegetables. Liza Gershman's color photos throughout lend to a survey of mouth-watering themes based on meatballs. What's in a meatball? That which is called by any other name makes for a different approach that broadens not only the definition of meatballs, but their uses - and that's what makes More Than Meatballs more substantial than most of its competitors.

Real Food for Everyone
Ann Gentry
Andrews McMeel Publishing
1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO 64106-2109
9781449466534, $19.99,

Real Food for Everyone: Vegan-Friendly Meals for Meat-Lovers, Vegetarians, and Vegans doesn't seem, at first glance, as though it would be for 'everyone' in the family: surely the approach leaves out the meat-loving member of the group? But this offers something different: it comes from a Los Angeles vegan chef and restauranteur, it focuses on quick, easy dishes anyone can prepare, and it provides over a hundred easy recipes designed to appeal not just to committed vegans, but omnivores alike. From Lasagna Rolls and Split Pea Soup with Root Vegetables to Cool French Fennel and Lentil Salad, this is packed with surprising flavors, combinations that don't rely on exotic, hard-to-find ingredients, and dishes designed to attract families. Color photos throughout complete this book's appeal.

Della Fattoria Bread
Kathleen Weber
Artisan Books
c/o Workman Publishing Company
225 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014-4381
9781579655310, $29.95,

Della Fattoria Bread: 63 Foolproof Recipes for Yeasted, Enriched & Naturally Leavened Breads offers a different emphasis than most home bread-baking guides: a focus on creating bakery-quality productions based on the author's journey from being a self-taught hobby baker to the proprietor of one of the top bread bakeries in the country. She began her art in college baking breads for dinner parties and then baked more as a homemaker on a family ranch, evolving into producing loaves for restaurant purposes and, finally, her own establishment. Her book of recipes is accompanied by photos and sidebars of information that not only give instruction, but offer insights on how a bread should look and feel at different stages of its incarnation. Notes on how to work with challenging doughs and how to handle puzzling situations contribute to a positive survey that is packed with handy information hard to uncover elsewhere; even in the fast-rising industry of bread-baking cookbooks.

Charlottesville Food
Casey Ireland
The History Press
420 Wando Park Blvd., Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
9781626190276, $19.99,

Charlottesville Food: A History of Eating Local in Jefferson's City is at once a food guide and a travel and history title, so it could be challenging to neatly catalog and categorize its audience: does one appeal to American history buffs, culinary readers, or travelers to Charlottesville? In the end, put this book on display and catch the eyes of all three audiences, because the book offers something special to each. For history buffs, it follows the early days of Charlottesville's culinary history, following its changes and transitions to modern times. For the foodie, it considers local ingredients and the evolution of the whole foods revolution. And for travel buffs, it offers up a serving of farm profiles, markets and restaurants that make one want to pack up and go visit. All these audiences will thus find Charlottesville Food a winning presentation, with color photos throughout reinforcing its appeal.

The Cabot Creamery Cookbook
Cabot Creamery
Oxmoor House
c/o Time Inc.
3000 University Center Drive, Tampa, Florida 33612-6408
0846743989, $22.95,

The Cabot Creamery Cookbook is all about the Cabot Creamery Cooperative and recipes that stem from its farm families and friends, and is packed with down-home cooking and 'from scratch' ingredients made from creamery output. From cheesy Vermont Cheddar Puffs and Tomato-Cheddar Soup to a vanilla-enhanced, sausage or ham embellished cheesy Ver-Monte Cristo sandwich or Lemon-Yogurt Pound Cake, these dishes come from a range of families, so they offer a diversity (despite the emphasis on cheddar cheese, a staple ingredient of this cookbook!).

The High-Protein Vegetarian Cookbook
Katie Parker with Kristen Smith, PhD, RD, LD
The Countryman Press
43 Lincoln Corners Way/P.O. Box 748
Woodstock, Vermont 05091
9781581572636, $23.95,

The High-Protein Vegetarian Cookbook covers the heart of vegetarian concerns: the protein that comes from plant-based foods. The author is a vegetarian living with a meat-eater, and has developed her own recipes for every meal of the day which are high in protein and appeal for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Thus, you'll find exceptionally filling dishes that range from Chunky Potato and Lentil Soup to Chickpea Gnocci with Whole-Grain Mustard and Mexican Fajita Pie. Yes, there are desserts and some bread products included; but unlike too many vegetarian cookbooks, this book doesn't 'pad' its pages with drinks, desserts, and carbohydrates: the focus on protein addresses one of the most essential concerns of vegetarian fare and makes this cookbook particularly inviting and useful.

The Science Shelf

Nature Anatomy
Julia Rothman
Storey Publishing
210 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247
9781612122311, $16.95,

Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts & Pieces of the Natural World comes from the author and illustrator of Farm Anatomy and adopts a similar focus blending art and science in a visual survey of the natural world. It covers everything from bird feathers to animals with antlers and horns, offers up its engaging large-size drawings in full color, and holds the added effect of packing in anatomical insights on bats, insects, plants, and even something as vague as fog and mist. This approach succeeds in creating an exciting visual interplay of parts and pieces, all done in a light-hearted, whimsical manner designed to get non-artists interested in art and non-scientists intrigued by scientific concepts. Thus, Nature Anatomy holds great potential for attracting two audiences not usually drawn to one another, or to reading the same genre.

The Science of Water, third edition
Frank R. Spellman
CRC Press
6000 NW Broken Sound Parkway NW, Suite 300, Boca Raton, FL 33487
9781482242935, $129.95,

The third updated edition of The Science of Water: Concepts and Applications belongs in any serious college-level or engineering library covering water science and technology, and packs in scientific information blending with real-world water management and science. It updates the second edition by offering the latest revised data and research, considers the growing problem of water contamination, examines sources of freshwater and accompanying issues of sustainability, and considers the impact of human use habits on freshwater and wastewater. From how policy makers influence water use and distribution to the science of water management and stabilization ponds, this weighty coverage is replete with the tables and formulas professionals need to understand the concepts and applications of water science in the field, making it a pick for any involved in water or wastewater management.

The Chimp and the River
David Quammen
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9780393350845, $13.95,

The Chimp and the River: How AIDS Emerged from an African Forest provides a fine consideration of the singular event that marked the transfer of AIDS between one chimp and one human, sparking an epidemic that lasts to this day, and is a recommendation for health and science readers alike. AIDS is a zoonosis infection that lurks in animals before it transfers to humans. This book considers now only how AIDS emerged from Africa to change the world, but this general 'class' of infections and how they operate: information not readily available elsewhere. As such, it's a powerful recommendation for any health or science readers seeking a lively, accessible, and specific discussion of how AIDS really got going.

The Wilderness of the Upper Yukon
Charles Sheldon
Boone and Crockett Club Collection
250 Station Drive, Missoula, MT 59801
9781940860084, $24.95,

One might anticipate a travelogue from a title like The Wilderness of the Upper Yukon; but such would actually be a wrong guess. This is a combination of scientific study of the wild sheep of Yukon Territory from 1904 to 1905 and a hunting saga and comes from the unusual perspective of a hunter interested in natural history and hunting adventure alike. Sheldon traveled by steamboat, canoe, pack horses and on foot and encountered explorers in the course of his investigations. Nearly 100 black and white photos and paintings from the trip, four detailed travel maps, and a wealth of wild sheep natural history accompanies his hunting stories. The result is a dual recommendation for sportsmen and naturalists alike: an unusual marriage between the two? Surprisingly the two are often entwined: consider Ducks Unlimited, for example. This concept is reinforced in a lively read recommended for any audience able to appreciate a hunter's enjoyment of nature.

Caddo: Visions of a Southern Cypress Lake
Thad Sitton and Carolyn Brown
Texas A&M University Press
4354 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4354
9781623492397, $30.00,

Caddo: Visions of a Southern Cypress Lake is as much a visual portrait of a natural history area packed with alligator, fish, and cypress as it as a travelogue capturing a photographer and a historian's impressions of the region, and is a recommendation for any collection interested in the region of Texas and Louisiana in general and the natural history of a little-covered sprawling wilderness in particular. Caddo: Visions of a Southern Cypress Lake can be used as either a coffee-table addition or as a natural history treatise; but its strength lies in the latter, pairing evocative imagery with impressions of the region to accompany the lovely visuals. The result is a celebration of a little-known natural area that will interest armchair naturalists and would-be visitors alike.

A Rough Ride to the Future
James Lovelock
The Overlook Press
141 Wooster Street, New York, NY 10012
9781468310467, $25.95,

A Rough Ride to the Future presents an intriguing concept that's actually two ideas in one: the first is that when the steam engine was invented, it began a planet-affecting event called "accelerated evolution" that is bringing about planetary change a million times faster than Darwinian evolution. As a result humanity has become a major force in the planet's self-regulating system - and is changing the atmosphere to the point that human changes, too, will become necessary from an evolutionary standpoint. Unlike other titles on change, this doesn't intend to foster guilt nor advocate vast system adjustments, but points out the possible ways humans can survive as a species and guide the next evolution of Gaia. His wide-ranging discussions skirt the edges of science, philosophy, and social issues and will provide readers in all three areas with a powerful survey that is as suitable for classroom discussion and debate as it is for reading in conjunction with surveys of human impacts on Earth's systems.

The Photography Shelf

How to Photograph Weddings
Michelle Perkins
Amherst Media
175 Rano Street, Suite 200, Buffalo, NY 14207-2176
9781608957590, $27.95,

How to Photograph Weddings: Behind the Scenes with 25 Leading Pros to Learn Lighting, Posing, and More packs in professional advice from 25 leading professionals and explores what makes their work stand out. One might anticipate this exploration would prove technical and weighty, but one of the solidly good points here is that it's presented in short, at-a-glance sections to help busy photographers understand the stages involved in creating wedding photos. From handling location challenges and selecting settings to posing, handling bride and groom, and more, this examines everything from on-camera bounce flash usage and bridal styles to theme photos and how a photographer can build a brand name with a particular 'look' and style. Any wedding photographer who has the basics down but seeks more specific details on what separates the pros from the novices, needs this.

Horse Medicine
Photographs by Tony Stromberg
New World Library
14 Pamaron Way, Novato, CA 94949
9781608683130, $45.00,

Horse Medicine comes from an equine photographer who gathers his best photos from six years of work in a collection designed to bring out the underlying meaning and importance of horses as lovely animals with healing potential, and provides readers with a gorgeous set of color and black and white images that could only capture this approach in one way: through full-page, oversized images. Some of the horse photos actually run into a two-page, side-by-side spread while others are single panels. There are horses running, galloping, playing, and pensive; horses featured close-up in all their muscles and movements and horses captured from a distance. Most of all, this artistic and celebratory presentation is meant to convey beauty - and it does so with striking representations. The result is a pick recommended for a wide range of collections: photography holdings and arts gatherings, of course; but also those concerned with nature and wildlife, and those new age collections interested in the power of the horse as represented in a series of captivating approaches.

This is Not a Photo Opportunity
Martin Bull
PM Press
PO Box 23912, Oakland, CA 94623
9781629630366, $20.00,

This is Not a Photo Opportunity: The Street Art of Banksy provides a fine art/graffiti gathering of the works of one of Britain's legendary "guerrilla" street artists, and is a fine portrait documenting dozens of his political statements created on walls and once viewed as vandalism by authorities. Banksy has painted on streets, bridges, and more - not just in Britain, but around the world - and since many of his works have been removed, this book is an important tribute created over the course of a decade and featuring some 200 color photos of his public art. It's a 'must have' not just for photography and arts collections strong in graffiti art productions, but for any social issues holding.

The Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf

American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1970s
Jason Sacks and Keith Dallas
TwoMorrows Publishing
10407 Bedfordtown Drive, Raleigh, NC 27614
9781605490564, $41.95,

American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1970s continues the series of color hardcover histories exploring each decade of comic book history from the 1940s to modern times, and is highly recommended for any collection strong in graphic arts presentations, comic book history and culture, and 1970s American society. This latest addition for the 1970s documents the advent of new comic artists, revisions to the Comics Code that led to different trends and themes in the industry, the introduction of Jim Shooter's influence, and much more. The inclusion of comic book covers and panels in full color is a big 'plus' to a lively text history that considers the industry's changes and how they happened, creating a uniform exploration especially important for newcomers to comics. From the challenges of comic book lengths - never more than 11 pages - that proved stumbling blocks for team writers and stories to economic influences on what an artist chose to draw (and how), this is more than a light examination and provides the kind of depth that lends to a complete understanding of the industry's evolution and challenges.

The Political Science Shelf

Thinking the Twenty-First Century
Malcolm McIntosh
Greenleaf Publishing
9781783531738, $39.95,

Thinking the Twenty-First Century: Ideas for a New Political Economy is a pick for college-level collections interested in considering the new frontier of cross-sector leadership skills and partnerships that translate well into political and economic change, and provides a dense, analytical read that comes from one of the early pioneers of global corporate responsibility. Academics and students of political and social process will find this identifies five system changes key to this process, then analyzes these changes with an eye to considering how science and decision-making processes can be re-balanced to make for a different kind of global system with different values and approaches to sustainability and social awareness. Although this could have been featured in our social issues section, it's reviewed here because its insights into political applications can't be beat.

Eliza S. Maalouf
Select Books
87 Walker Street, Suite B1, New York City, NY 10013
9781590792865, $24.95,

Emerge! The Rise of Functional Democracy and the Future of the Middle East offers a rare glimpse into the political forces that cause cultures to prosper or fail, and considers the Middle East as a prime example of how this occurs. Maalouf is the founder of the Center for Human Emergence Mideast and the Build Palestine Initiative, and is an expert on the region's social and political atmosphere and influences. In Emerge!, she's collaborated with a colleague and mentor, Don E. Beck, to create not just an analysis, but a model for the new paradigm for political transitions in the region. The book includes many of her previously unpublished works, the new value system model, and an in-depth discussion of various Middle East cultures and patterns, creating a survey that is especially recommended for college-level students of democratic and political processes in general and Middle East culture in particular.

The Business Shelf

The Big Data-Driven Business
Russell Glass and Sean Callahan
c/o Wiley Professional Trade Group
111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774
9781118889800, $30.00,

The Big Data-Driven Business: How to Use Big Data to Win Customers, Beat Competitors, and Boost Profits draws important links between analyzing data, uncovering the trends and truth it reveals about consumer habits, and understanding how they translate to marketplace actions, and shows how the benefits of such data are available to any size company in any industry. Its purpose is to show how to establish a system for gathering and analyzing customer data in order to link business pursuits to better customer satisfaction, and it offers a consideration of how businesses can use this data for a better understanding of how their products rate in the customer's eye. Chapters discuss software, data management platforms, and strategies for blending data gathering with business pursuits, and provide important keys to understanding how this all leads to improved revenue. The result is a business title that should be on the shelves of any collection.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Team Dog
Mike Ritland
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780399170751, $27.95,

Team Dog: How to Train Your Dog - the Navy Seal Way uses the author's experiences as a trainer and breeder to teach how to train a pet at home, and even more importantly (and, unusually): how to conduct oneself to achieve a dog's trust. It provides guidelines based on the SEAL team perspective called 'situational awareness' and command and control routines, and shows how to establish a position as Team Leader (read: 'alpha dog') in the process of communicating with a pet. From clicker training to considering what constitutes effective routines, this provides a very different approach than your usual pet training guide, and will appeal to any who want to incorporate an element of respect into the equation of dog training.

Sleeps With Dogs
Lindsey Grant
Seal Press
1700 - 4th Street, Berkeley, California 94710
9781580055476, $16.00,

Sleeps With Dogs: Tales of a Pet Nanny at the End of Her Leash comes from a professional pet nanny who cares for pets and who is used to their sometimes-strange demands. Chapters chart the personalities of pets and their owners and provide a series of fun encounters of the furred and feathered kind, creating a fun series of observations of not just pets and their quirks, but the odd owners who often accompany them. Lindsay Grant's affection for animals is evident as is her penchant for collecting fun pet stories and making them accessible to general-interest readers. Any who love animals will find this a fun, poignant read.

The Gun Shelf

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Small Arms
Rupert Matthews
Thunder Bay Press
c/o Baker & Taylor Publishing Group
10350 Barnes Canyon Rd, Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92121
9781626860896, $34.95,

Some 1,000 small arms are profiled from around the world and across history in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Small Arms From Hand Cannons to Automatic Weapons, with good-sized color illustrations accompany historical discussions of weapons development and their unique brands and attributes. While it's intended as a complimentary volume to the prior Illustrated Encyclopedia of Weaponry, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Small Arms, this book succeeds in standing alone as a survey that goes beyond collector identification specs to include some remarkable background history. An example: "When World War I began, all armies viewed handguns to be distinctly second-rate weapons. Infantrymen were equipped with rifles that could shoot accurately over distances of 600 yards or more, as well as machine guns that were scarcely less accurate." This story of how weaponry evolved and applications changed is key to collectors and historians alike, charting the progression of small arms throughout history and making it a 'must' for any firearms historian.

The California Shelf

Surfing Guide to Southern California
David H. Stern and William S. Cleary
Echo Point Books & Media
Brattleboro Business Park
22 Browne Court, Unit 100, Brattleboro, Vermont 05301
9781626540569, $18.95,

If Surfing Guide to Southern California sounds familiar, that's because it first appeared in 1963 to become a rare classic coverage and the first guidebook to California surfing. One might expect that such a status would wane over time, or that the appearance of numerous California surfing books since would have made this guide obsolete: such is not the case - and such is the hallmark that makes a classic timeless, as the reprint here shows. From water temperature and public beaches to wind, swell classifications, and a history of surfing, add over 100 black and white aerial and surfing photos and maps and you can see why the guide remains unparalleled despite the presence of glitzy color surfer's guides that don't hold half the practical information of this book. Critical overviews of La Jolla, sites along the Palos Verdes Peninsula, the Imperial Beach area, and more offer the practical assessments and details any surfer needs to locate the right environment. Today too many surfing books focus on colorful photos alone. This is the practical reference of choice for Southern California surfers to pack up along with their boards.

Dan Chavkin and Lisa Thackaberry
Pointed Leaf Press
136 Baxter Street, New York, NY 10013
9781938461163, $55.00,

Hand-in-Hand: Ceramics, Mosaics, Tapestries, and Woodcarvings by the California Mid-Century Designers Evelyn and Jerome Ackerman provides the first monograph of the artists who set the tone for California modernism, and tracks the careers and output of a couple whose influence on the decorative arts led to an overall shift in the nature and designs of California artists. After nearly thirty years of work they continued to develop their styles and became best known for their work in a range of mediums. Their techniques and results are featured in a survey that includes many preparatory drawings and color plates that have not appeared in print before, making this not just the story of two modernist artist collaborators, but a real key to understanding and appreciating one of the major influences on the California modernist art movement.

The Setup
Peter Crooks
BenBella Books
10300 N. Central Expressway, Suite 400, Dallas, TX 75204
9781940363318, $24.95,

The Setup: A True Story of Dirty Cops, Soccer Moms, and Reality TV provides an intriguing twist on the true crime genre as it tells of a retired cop, Chris Butler, who runs a PI firm in Concord, California - staffed entirely by soccer moms trained in investigative techniques and self-defense. It's shades of 'Charlie's Angels' once again - only this one explores how the initial concept proved to be nothing but a scam as author Pete crooks investigated further and found not a real firm, but a bid for getting a reality TV show. Engrossing and revealing, this probes the roots of a scam's evolution and makes for a gritty story of deception and media involvements, perfect for readers of either media studies or true crime scenarios.

Craven Street Books

Elias Castillo's A CROSS OF THORNS: THE ENSLAVEMENT OF CALIFORNIA'S INDIANS BY THE SPANISH MISSIONS (9781610352420, $19.95) re-considers a part of California history that has largely been forgotten: the enslavement of California's Indian population by Spanish missionaries from 1769 to 1821: this even though California's Spanish missions are one of the state's major tourist attractions. Across the state, children are taught that the relationship between friars and Indians was a friendly, peaceful one: A Cross of Thorns defies this myth and presents the real facts of the Spanish occupation of California and their cruelty to the Indians. How did this piece of California history become so warped and its myths so universally accepted? This, too, is part of a historical survey that considers the truth of matters, what really happened, and how we come to have the different accounting of events today. No California history holding should be without this! Also highly recommended for California collections is Pat Hunter and Janice Stevens' AN ARTIST AND A WRITER TRAVEL HIGHWAY 1 CENTRAL (9781610352192, $26.95) which packs in over a hundred color Hunter watercolors capturing images of the California central coast as Stevens provides the insights on California history and culture. There are plenty of travel guides that cover the region, but none adopt the unique approach of blending an artist and a writer's personal journey off the beaten path in this particular area. The result is a production that may be enjoyed as an artistic landscape collection, a work of California history, a travelogue, or all three. California collections will find it a lively, appealing addition.

The Ebook Shelf

The Inconvenient Process of Falling
Katie Neipris
Creators Publishing
737 3rd St, Hermosa Beach, California 90254
Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
9781942448051, $7.99 Kindle,

Seven childhood friends plan a camping trip after their first year in college: the sort of reunion intended to bring them back together after months of separation and new experiences. There's only one trouble with such an ideal: you often can't go home again and even in a few months' time, people change - sometimes drastically.

In this case, none of the protagonists realize how much they've changed until they get back together - and this process is presented in The Inconvenient Process of Falling, a novel about evolution in its truest sense.

Now, plenty of stories have been written about coming of age, or old friends getting back together. Usually these take place over quite a long period of time (often, years) and usually they revolve around different personalities and their choices in life.

The difference here is a focus what a short time frame can bring in the way of changes when it comes to youth; and the fact that all the friends are over-achievers who share similar backgrounds and traits.

Against this backdrop it's intriguing to see how events transform people. Advanced young adult readers on the cusp of adulthood (especially those in their senior year of high school) will find The Inconvenient Process of Falling to be a particularly inviting approach that plunks a group of individuals into the wilderness and proceeds to neatly outline the differences between high school and college friendships: "She'd spent eighteen years cultivating the image that she would present in college. Her apathy towards her high school classmates gave her confidence; she really did not care what they thought of her, but she realized that she really did care what her college friends thought of her. They were the ones that mattered."

This story is for anyone who has come to believe that what was important or apparent in high school has changed, and it charts the process in a story that seniors, especially, will appreciate.

Read My Song Read My Heart Read My Soul
Awen Finn
Studio 8 Publishing
9780994167217 $9.99
Kindle eBook ISBN: 9780994167224 $ .99 &qid=1426378927&sr=8-1&keywords=9780994167217

Read my Song, Read my Heart, Read my Soul: The Secret Messages In Your Favorite Music is for those who love music and who use it to change their lives, and is a guide that specifically focuses on using the hidden meaning in music reach into spiritual and psychological realms.

This process will be especially relevant to readers who recognize the music Finn has chosen to illustrate her points, and who are already on a path of spiritual change and self-analysis. It also helps to feel connected to music and to recognize the power the music in the process of reaching into one's soul and psyche: those not on such a course or who don't relate to music will be less likely to appreciate the message here.

And that would be a shame; because more so than general psychology, spiritual or self-help titles, Read my Song, Read my Heart, Read my Soul holds the potential for linking right- and left-brain thinking with a system for resonating with positive change processes and using music to fuel self-knowledge and growth.

Will this system and this process 'speak' to every reader? Likely not: there is no singular path to enlightenment and no one self-help program that reaches all. But given the wide-ranging emotional appeal of music, this approach is likely resonate with a far greater audience than most.

RoadWise: Don't Die By Accident
Tony Balis
ASIN: B00Q3NAVYI $5.99

While on the face of things RoadWise looks like another book to hand to a new teen driver, it's actually much more than a discussion of safe driving habits, and promotes a recognition of the underlying responsibilities that driving presents to anyone behind the wheel.

This message is long overdue, as over a million people die from often-preventable road accidents each year. Tony Balis explains that this is frequently because drivers fail to embrace the social responsibility inherent in negotiating the highways of the world.

Most auto accidents can be prevented with a simple combination of respect, awareness, and driver insight, and all these come together in a discussion adults should embark upon with any new young driver.

While some topics might seem obvious (such as what a stop sign really means), others (such as how to navigate an unfamiliar roadway, drive in foreign country, or deal with animals that run out in front of the car) offer concrete information which many an adult driver (even with years of driving experience) will want to know.

Of special note are the reasons why certain kinds of devices aren't a good idea behind the wheel: "We need our ears to drive well, primarily to hear the warning of nearby car horns or the sirens of emergency vehicles. Earplugs and earphones are therefore always a bad idea."

Plenty of driver's education discussions stop at "don't". Too few take the time to explore the "why". The aim of RoadWise is to create better understanding and, thus, better drivers. Towards this goal, it more than succeeds with an eye to encouraging not just better driving skills, but better social interactions; of which encounters on the roadway are only one piece of the puzzle.

Mortal Bonds
John Tsilimparis
Amazon Digital Services
ASIN: B004KABI9S $8.99 =UTF8&qid=1424734894&sr=8-3&keywords=Mortal+Bonds

The author's mother and father died only thirteen days apart, so he lost his family relatively quickly, even though he'd already been helping them through their terminal illnesses. But Mortal Bonds isn't just about John Tsilimparis's mother's diagnosis and his father's suicide attempts: it's about family dysfunction in the face of illness and the inevitability of death, and thus it's a memoir that goes beyond the usual story of end times to probe the twilight zone between diagnosis and demise.

Yes, there's plenty of autobiography here, as Tsilimparis weaves together the accounts of his family relationships and personalities. There's also a strong attention to detail as he narrates the results of his mother's diagnosis of liver cancer, which coincides with the 9/11 attacks on the twin towers: a surreal time for him in which death appears everywhere.

Descriptions are tenderly and explicitly presented, even when emotions are heart-wrenching: "The thought of her suffering silently, as if to spare me her torment, was killing me. It would also be typical of her role in our family, where she exercised an almost pathological forbearance in relating to us - especially to my father."

Family history is well done also, with an attention to describing all facets of individual personalities: "Before he met my mother in 1956, my father had lived his entire life as a nomad seeking his fortune. In a sense, the road or the ocean was his only companion. And, although his memory banks recalled only the companionless days, he still now wished to be young again. At least being young and lonely, a man could be hopeful. But being old and lonely, he could feel only despair."

Evocative, compelling, and fulfilling in describing the love of a son for his parents despite their human failings and dysfunctional habits: these are the hallmarks of a powerful memoir of not just death, but survival, in Mortal Bonds!

The Independent Publishers Shelf

Plats Du Jour
Sondra Bernstein
Cameron & Company/The Girl and the Fig
#6 Petaluma Blvd. North, Petaluma, CA 94952
9780615513646, $48.00,

Readers who reside in Sonoma County and who hold any degree of interest in food and restaurants will be familiar with the landmark wine country establishment The Girl and the Fig. Restaurateur Sondra Bernstein and chef John Toulze cull dishes from this effort to provide Plats Du Jour: The Girl & the Fig's Journey Through the Seasons in Wine Country, a visual exploration that reflects their interest in Sonoma County cuisine. It's a fine journey that presents not only recipes but a sense of place: and that place is Sonoma County at its culinary best.

The name 'Plats Du Jour' comes from a popular menu at the restaurant: a three-course menu consisting of an appetizer, main dish, and cheese or desert that changes weekly as seasonal ingredients come on line.

This approach emphasizes a diversity and freshness that relies on seasonal specialties and local availability, which means that nothing is old and nothing depends on ingredients that may be abundant one year and scarce the next. Climate changes and soil conditions: everything affects and defines how well a plant will grow (or not) - and so Plats Du Jour is a fluid idea based not on featured recipes, but seasonal fluctuations.

One might expect a book of over 300 pages to be packed with recipes; but there's much more: almost twenty-eight three-course menus, arranged by season and accompanied by wine pairing tips. Many full-page color photos capture ingredients and the animals and landscape of Sonoma County, and there's discussion of local ingredients, including notes on variations available in markets and the pros and cons of different approaches (i.e. the two types of scallops available to Bay Area residents).

Plats Du Jour is thus a special recommendation for California food enthusiasts, in particular, who wish their cookbooks to be full-bodied, luscious 'bigger picture' productions taking into account the origins of superior ingredients and their sometimes-unpredictable availability.

Jennifer Caloyeras
Ashland Creek Press
2305 Ashland Street, Suite C417, Ashland, Oregon, 97520-3777
97816182203470, $16.95,

Strays isn't just a dog story; it's about the changes a pet brings into the life of Iris, a teen who is angry at the world. She has plenty of reasons for rage: her mother's dead, her father's barely home, she's been dumped by her boyfriend and she struggles with school.

When a journal entry written in anger is misinterpreted as a threat against her teacher, she gets in even more trouble. In addition to summer school, she's sentenced to a summer job rehabilitating troubled dogs - and she's afraid of dogs.

Strays tells what happens when two wandering creatures find one another, overcoming their fears to make friends and rise above their dark reputations.

One doesn't expect humor to evolve from such a serious theme; but, it does. One doesn't expect Strays to use the intersection of two fearful personalities to explore positive change and courage - yet, it does. And any who anticipate Strays to be a dog story alone may be disappointed only because it's so much more: it focuses equally on pet and person, and the situations that get them into trouble.

Young adults who want a story of more than an animal rescue or a sixteen-year-old's angst will find Strays a compelling saga.

Wild Women: Painters of the Wilderness
Joyce Bruckholder, Kathy Haycock, Linda Sorensen
Inanna Publications and Education, Inc.
210 Founders College, York University
4700 Keele Street, Toronto ON Canada M3J 1P3
9781771331548, $34.95,

The authors of Wild Women: Painters of the Wilderness are three painters who share an attraction to wilderness and who trek the backcountry of eastern Ontario and Algonquin Park to gain new artistic inspiration from the landscapes they observe. Their processes are shared in a lovely collection of images that capture both the artists' talents and the Canadian wilderness, recommended as both a coffee table addition and as an exploration of the art and methods of three remarkable painters.

One expects such book to be slightly oversized with many full-page color paintings, as is presented here. The surprise element lies in a section that captures the artists' own words about how they created their works, and in sections reviewing female nature painters and their influences.

More than just a collection of art, each painting is accompanied by insights on how and why the artist was attracted to the scene, and is paired with natural history placing each painting in its environmental perspective.

Discussions range from autobiographical to artistic: thus readers should be prepared for this combined approach, which offers insights into the influences, process, and ambitions of not just each artist, but each landscape.

This makes Wild Women an evocative and insightful probe into the finer art of capturing wilderness on canvas: a perfect addition to women's issues, arts, and natural history holdings.

The City on the Edge of Forever: The Original Teleplay
Teleplay by Harlan Ellison; Adaptation by Scott Tipton and David Tipton
IDW Publishing
5080 Santa Fe, San Diego, CA, 92109
9781631402067, $24.99,

The City on the Edge of Forever was one of the original Star Trek's greatest episodes, winning acclaim above and beyond almost any other story; so it's a surprise to see its return after decades of acclaim (waning today, to be sure, as the original series is now well-aged).

Fans of Trek might anticipate a rehash of the original TV series and show; but to its tribute, the Tipton Brothers have produced something satisfyingly different here: a graphic novel that actually enlarges and embellishes upon the original saga, creating a script for five issues; each with different covers.

From prejudices against foreigners and Spock's experiences during Earth's troubled Depression years to their search for a madman who can change time, the teleplay in graphic novel format succeeds in capturing the drama of the original story while adding elements typical of a graphic novel, from wordless panels that focus on protagonist expressions and reactions to mirror effects, artistic embellishments, and more.

It's important to mention the artists' notes at the conclusion of this production, which lend insight into how scenes were created, from backgrounds to layout inspirations from other Trek sagas. It's here that the book's major achievement lies, providing readers with keys on how the graphic novel milieu translates film scenes into a different medium.

Add an afterword by Harlan Ellison and you have a unique addition to the Star Trek archives that too easily could have just duplicated or re-rendered the classic story; but in this case becomes so much more: very highly recommended for Trek fans and graphic novel enthusiasts alike.

Gabi: A Girl in Pieces
Isabel Quintero
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas, El Paso, Texas 79901
9781935955948, $17.95,

At age sixteen, Gabi is a senior in high school who faces too many adult problems, from a girlfriend's pregnancy and a classmate's coming out as gay to her father's meth habit. It's not as if any of these forces of angst haven't existed before: just that being on the cusp of adulthood makes her life feel more intense, unpredictable, and out of control.

With a home that offers no more stability than the uncertain outside world, friendships that prove mercurial, and Gabi's own choices proving elusive and challenging, the crux of Gabi: A Girl in Pieces lies in a saga that takes a typical American girl and adds a dimension of ethnic understanding into the mix: "I don't necessarily agree with that whole wait-until-you're-married crap though. I mean, this is America and the twenty-first century, not Mexico one hundred years ago. But, of course, I can't tell my mom that because she'll think I'm bad. Or worse: trying to be White."

Gabi's changing world requires her to shift as well; something her parents don't always understand or support: "When I used to be friends with Sandra, my mom was (and sometimes even now) always comparing me to her. She can't seem to understand why I'm not friends with her anymore. I try to explain, but she just doesn't get it. There are things I can't tell my mom either. I can't tell her how Sandra used to make me feel like shit. Especially around boys. Boys like her skinny hips, big butt, long hair, white teeth, big smile and stylish name-brand clothes. Because price is no object when you're a Sandra."

From sexual awakening and exploration to self-assessment, Gabi's journey is anything but 'vanilla'; and while its tone may offend some (it's not recommended for collections that are stricter about sexual mention and teen pregnancy, for example), it is a powerful account for those seeking realistic urban characters.

Gabi's eyes are wide open to the world and this includes a healthy dose of frank assessments, swearing, and a gritty, observational style. Gabi is anything but demure, and her world is anything but WASP - thus the nuances of Mexican-American culture aren't just captured, here: they're embedded, making Gabi: A Girl in Pieces a highly recommended pick for any collection looking for a story told in letters, vignettes, diary entries, and candid color.

High on Low: Harnessing the Power of Unhappiness
Wilhelm Schmid
Upper West Side Philosophers, Inc.
P.O. Box 250645, New York, NY 10025
9781935830283, $14.95,

High on Low: Harnessing the Power of Unhappiness is difficult to easily categorize; and that may prove its ultimate strength, even though it presents somewhat of a marketing challenge.

It's of diminutive stature (less than a pocket-sized paperback in height), it toes the line between philosophy, spirituality, and self-help guide, and it posits a surprising thought: does the definition of living a full, successful life mean never (or seldom) being unhappy? Wilhelm Schmid offers the perspective that discontent, sadness and depression are actually an important part of leading a well-rounded, active life - and that unhappiness should not be 'treated away' so much as accepted as part of this process.

In the ongoing search for chronic happiness, have we forgotten the underlying benefits of sadness? This little book covers the gray areas between melancholy and depression, finding meaning in a sense of place where one is unhappy, and pinpointing the real values in life.

Unhappiness holds its own strengths in powers not to be found in an ongoing state of contentment, and this book shows how to recognize and accept these positive points.

Without the bad, there can be no adequate recognition of what is truly good: this and the idea that melancholy actually brings with it its own form of strength makes High on Low an unusual perspective recommended for any who would understand the formula of real psychological and spiritual success and its many underlying influences.

Self-Aid: Inspirations to Turn Struggles into Success
Helen Woo
RockStar Publishing House
28039 Smyth Drive, Suite 102, Valencia, CA 91355
9781937506889, $15.99,

Self-Aid: Inspirations to Turn Struggles into Success is packed with affirmations and inspirations designed to encourage readers to actively participate in creating their own positive course in life, and comes from an author who shares her personal tools for breaking down barriers she imposed upon herself in her own life.

Now, there are many books out on the market that provide positive affirmations and inspirational readings; so what's different about Self-Aid? Part of this difference lies in the author's roots: born in a traditional Chinese family and as a single mother in her forties, Woo faced a series of life challenges that led her in a different direction: there to gather inspirational affirmations to help guide her.

That's the foundation of Self-Aid's inspirational collection, which offers its advice in snippets of wisdom that make it digestible and accessible by even those with limited attention spans under emotional turmoil.

One might anticipate such words of wisdom would come from famous leaders or philosophers, but Woo gathers these pieces from all walks of life wherever they are to be found - thus Ellen Degeneres, Gandhi, Jim Morrison, and Martin Luther King Jr. all share the stage. This and the fact that these short words of wisdom can be quickly accessed make Self-Aid an exceptional gathering.

Everlasting Lane
Andrew Lovett
Melville House
145 Plymouth Street, Brooklyn, New York 11201
9781612193809, $25.95,

Everlasting Lane is based on the Andrew Lovett's own childhood: perhaps this fact is what gives his novel a more powerful feel than most coming-of-age sagas as it follows a nine-year-old whose father dies and whose mother moves them from city to country, where Peter is a new, shy kid who associates with school outcasts and misfits.

Their escape from the (predictable) bullying that results leads them into the countryside; there to encounter other loners and outcasts who have also been rejected by their peers.

Everlasting Lane is darkness and light at its best. On the one hand it deftly captures a young boy's vastly changed world. On the other, it introduces the difficult side of a seemingly bucolic British countryside and culture, documenting the odd characters who inhabit these places and exploring how grief changes landscapes.

The mysteries of new places, relationships old and new, and changed worlds steeps Everlasting Lane with a kind of surreal focus that captures the nuances of daily life: "From up here it was hard to believe that there wasn't some kind of fountain high up in the hills, pumping out field after field until they flooded the land as far as I could see. Of course, usually they'd be all different shades of green and maybe yellow but that day, that summer they were all brown, dry and crispy like pie crust. I looked down to the village sparkling like gold at the bottom of a clear, glassy pool."

This gentle haunting, evocative tale will appeal to any who want a different approach to the traditional coming-of-age theme.

I Await the Devil's Coming
Mary MacLane
Melville House
145 Plymouth Street, Brooklyn, New York 11201
9781612191942, $16.00,

One doesn't expect raw, heady prose from a young adult whose 1902 diary came to be associated with sexuality and feminist thinking and sold 100,000 copies in its first month of publication. It's especially shocking to consider that since then, this classic has been nearly forgotten - until now.

I Await the Devil's Coming is a milestone acquisition for any collecting feminist books that are an intrinsic part of women's history. It comes from a young woman whose stories of her romantic interludes caused a furor, and who died alone at forty-eight years old in Chicago's poorest neighborhood.

Readers will find this isn't just a 'sex book' - it presents her emotions and analyzes them, it considers her culture and her influences, and most of all, it provides a vivid and engrossing saga filled with emotion, observation, and insight.

Heartwarming, sensual, and candid, I Await the Devil's Coming offers reflections that likely were quite scandalous in their time and remain evocative and powerful today: "We do not love each other, Death and I, - were are not friends. But we desire each other sensually, lustfully....sometimes I suppose I shall yield to the desire. I merely play at it now - but in an unmistakable manner. Death knows it is only a question of time. But first the Devil must come. First the Devil, then Death: a deep dark soothing grave - and the early evening, "and a little folding of the hands to sleep."

Rabbit on a Bumpy Road
Tom Hom
Sunbelt Publications Inc.
1256 Fayette Street, El Cajon, CA 92020
9780932653444, $21.95,

Rabbit on a Bumpy Road: a Story of Courage and Endurance is a memoir with a difference: it tells of a boy born into a Chinese family in the year of the Rabbit in the 1920s, an era when much of American society was segregated. He went to school in San Diego speaking only Chinese, and despite facing much discrimination throughout his lifetime, went on to achieve much of the American dream.

But readers expecting a typical immigrant family story or even one steeped in Chinese culture might be in for a surprise, here, because Rabbit on a Bumpy Road is as much a story of achievement as it is of endurance, and it charts Hom's successful entry into the world of San Diego business in addition to his struggles with discriminatory attitudes and acts.

Stories presented in his memoir are lively, fun reads that don't just talk about family and social interactions: they reach out and immerse readers in events which serve as building blocks to economic and financial success. In the end, observers are steeped in the Asian American experience: warm, inviting, and filled with stories of how one California Asian-American family grows and changes.

It's one of those warm family reads you don't want to put down - and will regret when it's over.

The Glow of Paris
Gary Zuercher
Marcorp Editions
P.O. Box 53231, Washington, DC 20009
9780990630906, $49.95,

There are three distinct audiences who will relish The Glow of Paris: those who hold affection for the city, image-driven viewers who enjoy photographs of cityscapes and bridges, and readers interested in histories about bridges in general and Paris in particular.

Zuercher spent five years photographing the 35 bridges of Paris at night during the winter months, but he didn't stop there. He spent an additional year researching their history. His approach was to pair his gelatin-silver photo prints with anecdotes and history, and the result is an artistic collection of black and white photos that gathers rare information about the bridges, and so enters the realm of a history as much as an artistic, photographic display.

It's relatively rare to see an art production so well-supported by accompanying historical facts and information. Anyone interested in bridge construction will also be fascinated - which means that this will reach an unusual audience of structural engineers who aren't typically attracted to artistic photography productions.

Even Parisians who live in or are used to their city will find this new book captures many scenes by night that transform what they are familiar with in daylight. Photography is all about shadows and lighting. History is all about exposing rare facts and (hopefully) adding a lively tone in the process.

The Glow of Paris: The Bridges of Paris at Night brings these two elements together in a marriage that proves more than its parts - and that's the difference between a one-dimensional approach and one that cultivates added perceptions and, ultimately, added value and new audiences.

Helena Rubinstein: The Woman Who Invented Beauty
Michele Fitoussi
Gallic Books
59 Ebury Street, London, England, SW1W ONZ
Meryl Zegarek Public Relations
9781908313461, $15.95,

Helena Rubinstein: The Woman Who Invented Beauty follows the story of Rubinstein, starting with her birth in 1872 in Krakow's Jewish ghetto as the oldest of eight girls in a poor family. The normal course of events for Jewish girls of the times was to enter into an arranged marriage; but when Helena refused, she was banished to Australia to live with relatives - and it's there that her ambitions took root when she noticed that Australian women never took care of their skins.

Her pots of homemade creams grew her reputation and were the early impetus for a cosmetics line that would propel her into success. Despite this achievement, relatively little has been written about Rubinstein's life. This book discusses the beauty industry and her role in it.

Add a lovely centerfold of black and white photos of Rubinstein and her product line and you have a discussion that reads with the passion of fiction, but packs in plenty of details not just about Rubinstein's life, but her times and the overall course of the beauty industry in general and cosmetics in particular.

Inga Tells All
Privately Published
9781502303868, $12.99 paper, $5.99 Kindle,

Inga Tells All pretty much sums its contents up in its subtitle: A Saga of Single Parenthood, Second Marriage, Surly Fauna, and Being Mistaken for a Swedish Porn Star - and if this doesn't grab you, nothing will.

It's a lively memoir and a fun read that follows thirty years of life events with a kind of humor that's often attempted but too rarely seen: "Olof has always maintained that I married him for his skills with a sewer augur but that's only partially true. It wasn't long after my first husband and I divorced that a friend perused my 11,000 square foot lot and observed, "You need a lover who likes gardening and pool maintenance."

Twelve years as a single mom. Experiences with "old people yoga". A "partial Catholic" who struggles with saints. Encounters with pets ("If I had one piece of advice for parents, it's to never let your kids get pets with a life expectancy greater than yours. We know of what we speak."). Social observations and wry ironies.

Getting older? Inga is too. On her daughters-in-law: "I was thinking about writing a guide on how to be a good mother-in-law, but truthfully, it can all be summed up in two words: "Shut. Up" And then there are those adult sons: "I get that sons need to separate from their mothers. But do they have to be so mean about it?"

All of these experiences in Inga's life are here to laugh over and learn from - and that's the best opportunity a memoir can offer to its readers; especially with an account that doesn't come from a famous name, but makes a stand on its own merits.

Selected Translations
W.S. Merwin
Copper Canyon Press
PO Box 271, Port Townsend, WA 98368
9781556594090, $40.00,

Selected Translations is a landmark production not just because it comes from a former U.S. Poet Laureate, but because it gathers poetry from around the world to present translations of classic works and poets who made their names in their own countries.

This book is the third selection from Merwin's translations; but it's the first since 1978, and thus represents the return from a long hiatus in producing collections of songs, sayings, and various poetic forms from Latin to Japanese haiku.

One would think familiarity with Merwin's writings or his other translations would be a prerequisite for enjoying this literary production; but it's not. Translations are broken down into chapters by era (1948-1968, 1968-1978, and 1978-2011) and excel in presenting works that might otherwise have fallen by the wayside outside of their own countries.

The result is a presentation that is diverse in scope, varied in tone and content, and highly recommended for any collection strong in poetry from notable writers around the world.

Punk Elegies
Allan MacDonell
c/o Rare Bird Books
453 South Spring Street, Suite 302, Los Angeles, CA 90013
9781940207612, $17.95,

Punk Elegies: True Tales of Death Trip Kids, Wrongful Sex, and Trial by Angel Dust is set on Hollywood Boulevard in the 1970s and presents the reflections and delusions of a young man who liberally partakes of a counterculture immersed in drugs, sex, and swearing. So if it's a gentle story that's desired, look elsewhere. But it'd be a shame for any truly interested in this underworld to leave this story before imbibing, because Punk Elegies isn't just a depiction of this world - it is this world, in book format.

During the rise of the L.A. punk movement, a young California man comes of age. Through his eyes, readers receive a gritty, candid view of life on Hollywood's sordid streets, and through his experiences come a bewildering staccato of life (and life-threatening) experiences that swirl around the vortex of drugs and mental instability.

Not all will want to enter this world, even through it's an evocative and different kind of coming-of-age story; but those who do will find Punk Elegies a compelling saga replete with heart-wrenching moments and rampaging hormones.

The TV Sutras
Dodie Bellamy
Ugly Duckling Presse
Old American Can Factory
232 Third Street #E-303, Brooklyn, NY 11215
9781937027391, $18.00,

The TV Sutras is recommended for literary audiences and provides a series of essays that wrap a memoir into a new age focus. Dodie Bellamy probes the outer limits of religious experience: she spent five months receiving psychic communications from her TV set and writing commentaries on them, and her aptly-named book gathers these reflections for any who would learn about spiritual insights that can evolve even from inanimate objects.

Don't such experiences qualify as 'crazy', undeserving of a book? It's a matter of perspective: when the author is able to synthesize image and intention into a coherent collection, use these experiences to present a different kind of spiritual inspection, and add commentary on the nature of cults, messages from beyond, and the possibilities of aliens - then you have a work defined not so much by its psychological ramifications but by its underlying message.

A prerequisite for enjoying and absorbing The TV Sutras will include affection for literary and spiritual pieces whose wellsprings stem from uncommon sources - such as TV.

In a world where memories of Jupiter mingle with the aftereffects of rejection, nothing may be taken for granted - and nothing is commonplace. And that's the special attraction here, in a satisfying marriage between admonition, spiritual reflection, and life experience.

The Stolen Light of WoMen
C.C. Campbell
Anu Esoteric Press
6525 Gunpark Dr., Suite 370, PMB 170, Boulder CO 80301
9780986276118, $18.00,

The Stolen Light of WoMen: A Quest for Spiritual Truth Beyond Religion comes from a mystic who explores the spiritual truths in some of the most controversial Biblical writings, and is recommended for spiritual thinkers looking for a feminist analysis and approach that goes beyond most Biblical examinations.

Through this consideration of a woman's soul and acceptance of spiritual revelations comes an awareness of how Biblical texts have been purposely used to repress women and men alike, and why current religious climates don't necessarily represent the reality of Christian teachings.

From sexual diversity in the ancient world and the trinity of Satan, God, and Man to a unique vision of faith brought about by one who died and returned, The Stolen Light of WoMen is no simple read and offers many concepts which may prove indigestible to those immersed in traditional belief systems.

The oppression of women and the control of their sexuality may be the singular most scandalous story of human history. Presented here from a new perspective, The Stolen Light of WoMen makes for a gripping, critical new vision of women's issues and is quite a different version of Judaic and Christian history.

Brewing Beneath the Perk
Teri Meehan
Tattered Cover Press
9781938859793, $16.00,

Opening and managing a neighborhood coffee shop sounds relatively simple: after all, it's a limited product line with predictable customer hours - what could be challenging about getting involved in such a business?

The realities simmer here, though, and the result is compelling in Brewing Beneath the Perk: My Journey Through a Coffee Shop Business... to Me, a blend of autobiography, business, and barista encounters that will delight any coffee fan who dreams of owning their own such establishment.

This was no idealistic venture or viewpoint: Teri Meehan found possession of such a business demanded ownership of her own failings and strengths as well, and she grew not only a business, but her own personality as a result.

When Meehan and her partner Debbi moved back to Denver after a stint in California, they had no idea they would become involved in a coffee shop business; much less manage young baristas who often came with their own attitudes. Wash Perk linked into all the angst and unresolved psychological attitudes that simmered beneath Meehan's own surface, and took over her life as she struggled to make a success of the business in a tough economic climate that was especially crushing for new start-up ventures like hers.

The challenges read like blows, with Meehan facing problem after problem in a realistic assessment that pulls no punches and crushes many an idealistic vision of business in general and the coffee industry in particular. So if it's a sunny tale of success that is desired, be forewarned: Brewing Beneath the Perk holds a lot of insights into business startup, incentive programs for employees, customer experience, and mixing personal into business values.

As such, it's a special recommendation for any who would venture into the realm of small business in general and coffee shop management in particular, offering candid stories of what the author did wrong, right, and everything in between.

Binary Star
Sarah Gerard
Two Dollar Radio
141 East Town Street, Suite 200, Columbus, OH 43215
9781937512255, $16.00,

Hard drinking, anorexic habits, changing lives, a long-distance relationship, and love that burns out quickly: all these are facets of Binary Star, a poetic and evocative read that tells of death, rebirth, and change.

Its metaphors are exact and visual, its sense of setting and character is compelling, and yet there's fluidity about its countenance that creates a blend between observation and impression - something that may stymie readers who expect their stories to be handed to them on one-dimensional plates.

The narrative is charged with scientific allusions and imagery: "I sleep a deep, hyperbolic sleep all the way to Raleigh. I awake with my face in the sun. It is wet with sweat. I'm nauseous. My mouth tastes like acid." Heavily subjective and descriptive, this approach may not be for everyone; but it should be noted there are plenty of novels on the market that are singular. Binary Star shines even as it charts the breaking apart of worlds and the spiral-in of events, and is a special recommendation for the surreal poet-turned-reader who will find its scientific links to psychological states of mind to be inviting.

Poverty Creek Journal
Thomas Gardner
Tupelo Press
P.O. Box 1767, North Adams, MA 01247
9781936797509, $16.95,

Essays by Thomas Gardner in Poverty Creek Journal capture the author's year of reflections while running the nature trails near his home, and consist of a blend of physical self-assessments and philosophical insights on life and nature.

From personal reflections on the loss of his brother to moments in life captured and saturated in feeling, expect a surprising account that links running with recovery and pinpoints exactly what the reflective process is in a runner's mind.

It should be noted that there's no spine lettering (the slim 54-page book could have barely sported such), which will make library filing impossible and lend to its becoming lost on a bookshelf. And that would be a shame, because the uplifting words within will illuminate many. Perhaps that merely means the book should be displayed not spine-in, but outward on a shelf; that it not become lost in the crowd.

Hearing Loss Facts and Fiction, second edition
Timothy Frantz, MD
The Hear Doc, LLC Publishing
P.O. Box 338, Red Bluff, CA 96080
9780990854302, $16.95,

One might anticipate that a book from a certified ear, nose and throat physician would include a promotion for hearing aids and an assessment of their pros and cons; but the second updated edition of Hearing Loss Facts and Fiction is actually so much more, and is recommended for any who either have hearing loss or know a friend or family member with such.

Chapters focus on how we hear, what happens during (and influences) hearing loss, and how to achieve better hearing through a combination of approaches.

Even more importantly, it provides plenty of tips on how to interact more effectively with those suffering from hearing loss, providing invaluable insights that include assessments of the pros and cons of various over-the-counter products, discussions of various ear conditions (such as ear wax) that can affect hearing, and options for affording hearing-improvement devices, from veteran's benefits to insurance.

The result is a wide-ranging discussion recommended for any who find hearing loss confusing and challenging.

Daring to Date Again
Ann Anderson Evans
She Writes Press
1563 Solano Avenue #546, Berkeley CA 94707
9781631529092, $16.95,

Daring to Date Again: A Memoir is a sassy internet dating memoir with an attitude, and comes from a woman who offers tales of romantic ventures in cyberspace and how they led to adventure and changes in her life.

Before she re-entered the dating world, Ann Evans was celibate for twelve years and in her sixties - and not contemplating becoming sexually active. But sexual activity isn't the heart of this memoir: hers is a fun story of a search for love using the internet circles, and as such, it provides a story of overcoming two divorces to re-enter the world of romance.

One doesn't expect wit along with the wisdom, but it's there. What's also unexpected is the spirit of adventure in a sixty-something who is willing to travel halfway across the world to Zimbabwe to meet an internet contact - but it's there, too. Most surprising of all is the quest for sexuality in older years: something few dating books even discuss. The result is best viewed as a rollicking train ride that leads to a few wrecks, excitement, and a lot of fun.

Flesh & Bone Books

Book One of the 'Dark Horse Trilogy', Woman King (9780990365617, $12.95), is key to following the progression of a powerful, San Francisco-based blend of supernatural influences and P.I. investigation, and tells of an empath who spends her life blocking her abilities - until she meets an ancient time-walker who reveals that a demon has been stalking her.

But if you're expecting the usual genre read that blends fantasy into a supernatural investigation, you'll be disappointed. Woman King is, in fact, a superior production that focuses on political consultant Olivia Shepherd's psyche and her process of adjusting not just to her special abilities, but to a new awareness of supernatural forces in the world. There's a spiritual purpose to the story line that has placed her on a certain trajectory; so readers who want shallow entertainment with predictable characterization should look elsewhere.

Olivia's story is for those who look for depth and psychology in their story lines, who take pleasure in explicit details that leave little to wonder, and who will follow the progression of Olivia's world with an appreciation for the little things that make up that world.

If this is perceived as slowing the plot progression somewhat, that's only because in a nonstop staccato world of thriller action, Woman King takes its time to build its story and protagonist. And that's not a bad attribute.

There are a lot of loose ends to Woman King's conclusion; but the fact that readers have been duly forewarned that this is part of a trilogy makes these loose ends just more of an invitation to read on.

Dark Horse (9780990365648, $14.95) continues the saga with Book Two. Having set the scene with characters, motivations, and perspectives, it presents the ongoing impact of a family secret and the continuing involvement of a vampire with evil designs.

The smooth evolution of scenes between the setup of Woman King and the continuing adventure provided in Dark Horse creates a compelling story that follows the continuing uncertain progress of Olivia's life.

Here she's exploring her newfound powers, faces down her vampire adversary with renewed feelings of revenge, and is drawn back into a political quagmire even as she fights for her life and everything she loves in it.

There are more than vampires afoot: there are witches, time travelers, and an ongoing learning curve that keeps Olivia at the forefront of self-discovery.

Again: readers looking for psychological depth and intricate descriptions of evolving scenarios will be delighted by a fantasy series that takes its time to build a solid foundation for its adventures.

Birding with Yeats
Lynn Thomson
House of Anansi Press
110 Spadina Avenue, Suite 801, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5V 2K4
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 West 57th Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10107
9781770893894, $15.95 US / $22.95 CAN

Birding with Yeats: A Memoir is more autobiography than birding guide, although birding was the impetus that sparked this mother's newfound connections to her son. As such, it will be applauded more by memoir enthusiasts than by avid birders looking for yet another guidebook, and fulfills its promise to show how birding can be used as a process to change lives.

Lynn Thomson raised a 'blended family' and started her youngest, 13-year-old son on the process of bird watching as a way of sharing a hobby.

This memoir describes their time together on these early birding expeditions and presents observations of a mother's feelings and all kinds of nature - not just birds.

While the title Birding with Yeats might imply some kind of literary association relating to natural history, be forewarned: Yeats is the name of the author's son, and 'birding' holds a wider embrace of (and appreciation for) nature than just feathered fowl.

Within the process of identification, appreciation, and evolution comes the changes between mother and son in a deeply felt, gentle memoir that is recommended for those seeking a poignant, easy read that blends nature observation with personal lives.

Alicia's Misadventures in Computer Land
Belinda Vasquez Garcia
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781502913906, $10.99 PB, $3.99 Kindle,

Alicia's Misadventures in Computer Land: Hackers and Heroes provides a zany take-off on Alice in Wonderland by presenting the story of sixth grade computer hacker genius Alicia, president of the school's Chaos Computer Club, who is known as 'White Rabbit' amongst her computer geek peers.

In quite a different, modern take on the original, a storm and computer interactions shrink her into a tiny 'virtual girl' and send her into cyberspace, where she becomes trapped in a computer, facing down a virus.

In such a world, a hacker named Caterpillar and other characters both challenge and help her along. There's enough allusion to the original Alice to prove satisfying; especially to middle school readers who will find comparisons between the two books to be lively and fun.

From an ant army anti-virus whose program involves combat and who marches into a WAR file to Alicia's ability to reach her brother in the real world through his obsession with computer games, Alicia's Misadventures in Computer Land is a hilarious, refreshingly different read that will engage middle school grades on up with quite a fun, different perspective on Alice and her modern-day Computerland tribulations.

And while its audience is the middle grade levels, it should be mentioned that any adults partial to the old Alice, computer environments, and fantasies featuring a sassy, fun protagonists will find this a compelling, absorbing saga.

Chef Interrupted
Trevis L. Gleason
Coffeetown Press
PO Box 70515, Seattle, WA 98127

Seattle chef Trevis L. Gleason was diagnosed with MS, and decided to travel while he could; journeying to Ireland where he rented an old cottage for a winter and reflected on his future. Chef Interrupted: Discovering Life's Second Course in Ireland with Multiple Sclerosis documents this journey and offers a lively memoir serving up a healthy dose of reality combined with insights on how new dreams may be constructed from trying moments in life.

When he left Seattle, Gleason believed everything had ended: his marriage, his career, and all he held dear. His experiences in Ireland would help him create a new life and values, and these are recounted in a fun story that peppers recipes into a memoir about this process.

While many a reader will pick up Chef Interrupted expecting some kind of culinary history or memoir, in fact it's much more: it's about survival and living with MS, and about envisioning and forming a new life. Through Gleason's eyes, more than Ireland comes to life - and more than cooking becomes the focus, making for a recommendation to travel and self-help readers as well as audiences with an interest in culinary memoirs.

The Edible Garden
Alys Fowler
Viva Editions
2246 Sixth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710-2219
9781936740543, $19.95,

The Edible Garden: How to Have Your Garden and Eat it, Too offers a dual focus on creating a garden that is both edible and beautiful, and comes from a master gardener and BBC personality who teaches folk how to grow their own 'floral food'.

There's the usual gardener's focus, from how to sow seeds and use compost to using a garden's bounty; but here's where The Edible Garden departs from some others, discussing how to use flowers and leaves in contrasting pairings for better visual balance and attraction, how to create a low-maintenance 'forest garden' with no digging or composting involved, and how to choose between and incorporate different varieties for better results.

A better title might have been The Edible Visual Wonder Garden, because this book's dual focus on both (as well as recipes and tips for using one's crops) sets it apart from books that adopt more singular approaches to either visual productions or edible results.

So, don't expect a book JUST about vegetable gardening. The satisfyingly different approach to both visual and culinary results makes this a standout for any who would garden with both objectives in mind.

Changing the Way We Die
Fran Smith and Sheila Himmel
Viva Editions
2246 Sixth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710-2219
9781936740512, $16.95,

Changing the Way We Die: Compassionate End-of-Life Care and the Hospice Movement is all about options surrounding the end of life, and is recommended for any facing those issues. It is specifically focused on hospice care and better ways to die, and it uses stories of patients, caregivers, and the latest research to examine how practices around death and dying have changed.

Most books with such an emphasis examine psychological factors and physical health; but this includes consideration of ethical, business and philosophical concerns as well, and uses these diverse stories to tackle all the related topics involved in final rituals and experiences.

From what patients get from hospice care (as opposed to other options) to the quality of life for a seriously ill patient, Changing the Way We Die is a 'must' for any concerned about care giving for terminal patients.

The inclusion of profit and business viewpoints makes it a standout and more well-rounded than most books on death, dying, and compassionate care.

Jane Eyre's Sisters
Jody Gentian Bower
Quest Books
P.O. Box 270, Wheaton, IL 60187-0270
9780835609340, $18.95,

Jane Eyre's Sisters: How Women Live and Write the Heroine's Story isn't just a survey of Bronte's writings or relatives (as some might expect from the title): it's a collection of examples of women who search for love, self-actualization and life's meaning (often in the wrong places) and it is packed with considerations of how women's fiction reflects this process of exploration.

Women's studies readers will find Jane Eyre's Sisters filled with revealing portraits that use women's fiction to examine traditional psychological devices considering heroic quests, relationships between parents and children, images of goddesses and other women of power, and how new lives are forged from influential stories.

While all this sounds daunting, the approach is through a blend of analysis of archetypes and literature, and adopts an accessible tone even as it makes its scholarly points and references - which means it's accessible by a wider audience than college-level literature students alone.

The Naked Truth
Jean-Pierre Dorleac
Monad Books
9780974551111, $24.99,

Anyone who knows movies well has heard of (if not seen) the movies Somewhere in Time, Blue Lagoon, or Battlestar Galactica. There's a common denominator in these seemingly-disparate films, and that's Jean-Pierre Dorleac, who chronicles his years in the film industry as a costume designer in his new autobiography The Naked Truth.

Because his story does not come from the usual producer, director or screenwriter's perspective, it succeeds in adding insights on the industry that are fresh and different; and because this story covers a dozen years in the industry (from 1973 to 1985), it succeeds in capturing the final years of a film era that saw its glamour fall to the lure of television. Also, because the author spent his early years as a childhood actor, he offers a unique blend of perspectives that are presented with a humorous tone but include very real insights into the film industry's transitions.

Chapters are packed with anecdotes both from the author's own background and from those who shared their own stories with him. They probe the world of professional costume designing and detail a time period rarely covered in Hollywood exposes, when corporations moved in like vultures to peck at the dying carcass of Hollywood's glamour days, selling off decades of props and costumes that should ideally have been preserved in museums.

Anticipate first-person encounters with the stars, funny mishaps and union confrontations, and brutally candid observations of the industry: "I think this business is like King of Hearts, where they opened the asylum doors and let the patients loose. No one in production knows much about anything, and all the behind-the-scenes people are merely pretending, just like actors. They have no inkling regarding good taste, flair or panache, or the ability to create."

The Naked Truth is hobnobbing with the stars, autobiography, and Hollywood history and politics in one book, and will delight any who want a personal, lively expose of the industry's heyday. The chatty tone sets the stage for a rollicking good leisure read; so if it's serious analytical history that's sought, look elsewhere. Just because it's 'the naked truth' doesn't mean that Jean-Pierre Dorleac has gone light on its entertainment value: lively storytelling devices the norm, here: not the exception.

Polly and the One and Only World
Don Bredes
Green Writers Press
9780989983891, $14.95,

Fifteen-year-old Polly lives in a future where America has fallen, environmental catastrophe has decimated the world, and her magical skills are viewed as dangerous: ironic in a setting where the world's threats are far more deadly than any powers she could muster.

Still, Polly sees even more trouble coming: something she may be able to stop, if she isn't burned at the stake for being a witch, first - and it's up to her, her raven familiar, and one teen friend to fix this broken world.

Polly and the One and Only World explores Polly's powers and provides the lively story of a girl whose world is ruled by the ideals of gods and uncaring religious zealots. As she escapes one hotbed of contention only to land in another, Polly comes to redefine choice, freedom, and even the meaning of attempting the impossible to save all she loves.

What sets Polly and the One and Only World apart (and in a class of its own) is its attention to detail and to rebuilding not only civilization, but elements of humanity itself, which have been lost in the cataclysmic events that happened prior to the story: elements such as tolerance, wonder, acceptance, and connections between animals and people.

Young readers will follow spunky Polly's journey into the unknown with much interest, will appreciate a saga devoid of swearing and untoward violence, and will find plenty of inspirational food for thought. Is it a requirement to kill one life to support another? Are witches more closely attuned to the Earth and nature than other believers? Polly's exploration of what remains 'wonderful' in a broken world and life carries all ages on an unforgettable journey, and is recommended for anyone who wants an ultimately uplifting adventure.

My Watery Self
Stephen Spotte
Three Rooms Press
9781941110164, $15.95,

My Watery Self: Memoirs of a Marine Scientist is the autobiography of a marine scientist who reveals how he entered his profession and what he finds satisfying in his 'watery world', sharing stories of his adventures both under water and on land.

Now, one might expect a stiff, science-oriented account with such a topic; and even though science is (of course) a big part of his experience, these linked stories are as much about a progression from mining camps to respected professional circles as it is about marine science itself.

My Watery Self surveys the people and situations Spotte encountered in the course of his journey, adding a dose of spiritual and social reflection into a surprising set of insights into his countercultural roots and inclinations, and it includes many eye-popping experiences, such as an acid trip taken under water.

While readers who anticipate a purely scientific discussion may be disappointed, others who want a lively survey that blends marine insights with a first-person autobiography will find this a particularly inviting read that stands out from the crowd of either science books or autobiographical pieces.

The Joy of Ballpark Food
Bennett Jacobstein
Ballpark Food Publications
88 Bush Street, Unit 4160, San Jose, CA 95126
9780692336540, $27.50,

While the $27.50 price tag for a standard 8.5 x 11 paperback might give a jolt, it should be noted that a hundred percent of the sales royalties from The Joy of Ballpark Food are donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, and it should also be mentioned that color food photography by Deborah L. Jacobstein appears on nearly every page, further adding value to this coverage on baseball and food.

The Joy of Ballpark Food from Hot Dogs to Haute Cuisine traces the history and evolution of ballpark food, from how the hot dog came to America and came to be associated with baseball to other foods associated with ballpark events, from Cracker Jack to the later appearance of nachos and knishes.

From the foods offered by particular stadiums to descriptions of different kinds of sausages and hot dogs and their changing emphasis over the decades, The Joy of Ballpark Food will appeal to baseball fans who love park food and want to know more about how it evolved both regionally and in specific situations.

A culinary tour of major ballparks in America takes readers on a cross-country journey that includes descriptions of how the foods are served. The result is a mouth-watering education on how ballpark food developed, especially recommended for any who hold affection for either subject.

Greater Mekong
Luke Nguyen
aHardie Grant Books
5th & 6th Floors
52-54 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1UN
9781742705125, $39.95,

Luke Nguyen's Greater Mekong pairs adventure travel with culinary insights from the greater Mekong area of northern Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, and Vietnam, and explores the author's journey through this region as he floated down the Mekong Delta surveying the river's different regions and the area's diverse cuisines.

Readers who anticipate more of a cookbook format may be disappointed at first to see there are a lot of travel photos of the countryside; but any disappoint should quickly dissipate because these lovely color photos are accompanied by a wealth of recipes from each region (something not usually achieved in recipe collections that narrow the focus to a specific country), presenting such dishes as Tamarind Crab, Steamed Fish in Banana Leaves, and a spicy Ingle Stuffed Fish.

The result is highly recommended for any who love Asian fare and want a specific focus on the communities and cuisines along the Mekong.

Double Exposure: Through the African American Lens
Smithsonian and Earl W. and Amanda Stafford
D. Giles Limited
Suite 3, The Hive, 66 High Street, Lewes, BN7 1XG
c/o Allison McCormick (publicity)
9781907804465, $16.95,

Double Exposure: Through the African American Lens is the first book introducing a major new series based on the photo collection at the Earl W. and Amanda Stafford Center for African American Media Arts at the Smithsonian Museum, and heralds the visual history of how Afro-Americans have used activism and community to fight for civil rights and justice.

There will be at least two other future books in the series following the same format used here: a compact, affordable approach that takes some sixty vintage photos and pairs them with history and essays covering key events and points in Afro-American history. The images range from pre-Civil War daguerreotypes to modern digital images.

All are simply identified; so don't expect extensive references, here. The point is to create a 'living history' through vintage images; thus the book's focus on ordinary individuals and eye-catching, memorable events makes for a winner especially recommended for Afro-American history holdings seeking image-driven accounts.

Mouse in Transition
Steve Hulett
Theme Park Press
9781941500248, $17.95

Mouse in Transition: an Insider's Look at Disney Feature Animation comes from an author who is such a Disney 'insider'. His father had been an artist at the studio for nearly forty years, and so Hulett was hired as a story man just after Disney died; a period of time when the studio was in transition and considering new directions.

This story of this process is central to understanding the modern Disney environment and animation in particular: chapters document changes in the feature animation industry, follow Disney Studio's successes and failures, and even provide lively commentary and insights on office politics and confrontations.

The focus on these Disney Studios events and its transition from Walt's initial vision to a new world without him makes for a lively account that could only have been written by an insider: an essential acquisition for any film collection strong in animation history in general and Disney in particular.

The Joy of Green Cleaning
Leslie Reichert
The Cleaning Coach
978150779378, $15.95,

The Joy of Green Cleaning advocates finding alternatives to toxic commercial household cleaners, and provides a collection of 'green recipes' that tells how to locate such cleaning solutions in everyday pantry items ranging from baking soda to vinegar.

But where other 'green' books might stop here, Leslie Reichert moves on to address the heart of why many went to commercial products from home remedies: pleasing scents. Thus, a daily dish soap recipe calling for only two ingredients can be made using drops of any kind of essential oil one is partial to, counter cleaners of vinegar and water can include lemon-scented oil, and a tub scrubber can be made using vitamin C tablets and castile soap.

Recipes are provided for everything from hardwood floor cleaners and laundry whiteners to scouring powder and blind cleaners, and pack in a truly impressive collection of specific solutions to common cleaning problems: solutions that are versatile, 'green', and easier than their toxic alternatives. All that's required is an interest in green cleaning and mixing up home remedies using the instructions outlined here. It is that simple!

The Lightning Horse
John Moore
Yard Dog Press
710 W. Redbud Lane, Alma, AR 72921-7247
9781937105679, $14.00,

Andy has a summer job any classmate would envy: he's an assistant to a Mad Scientist fixated on helping some poor gamblers create a 'super horse' to win the Durk's Classic. In true Frankenstein form, however, something goes awry in the lab and the potential racehorse winner is given the wrong brain, with predictably evil results.

Where the classic Frankenstein was intended for an adult audience, The Lightning Horse is a middle school read that takes some adult concepts (a gambling syndicate, mob action, and a madman or two) and injects them with youthful excitement appropriate for middle school readers on up.

The result is hard to easily 'peg': at once a fantasy, a mystery, and a horse lover's story of intrigue, The Lightning Horse offers a rollicking good ride through the world of experimental horses and strange attractors, and is a fun read for all ages.

The Human Equations
Dave Creek
Hydra Publications
1310 Meadowridge Trail, Goshen, KY 40026
9780996086790, $14.99,

Fans of short speculative stories will readily recognize the value in these tales: they all offer action and adventure but imbed their sagas with tangible moral and ethical messages that are satisfyingly diverse.

In too many a short story collection, the tales often sound similar. Author techniques which offer something refreshingly different in one story may, by the third or fourth stories in the book, feel less unique. Not so with The Human Equations, which offers an attention to diverse plots and themes throughout, and which focuses on discoveries of self and aliens both off-planet, on-world, and within. Because of this approach, not every story will be considered as 'science fiction' in the usual sense. In fact, many are about evolving life wonders and changing attitudes; so readers anticipating a collection of purely sci-fi futuristic settings will be in for a bit of a shock: this provides more of a literary focus than the traditional sci-fi short story compilation.

Take 'The Day That Reveals', for example. As with other stories in his collection, Dave Creek provides a framework for reference in an opening paragraph that states the story was written post-9/11, and considers how religion, violence, and intolerance operate in the life of one man who is faced with choosing between "the narrow path and the one that opens outward." The course of his journey reflects both a spiritual and a physical course of events that will ultimately change his world.

From lives that are "more than just existence" and purposes that are transformed by time, anticipate a wide range of worlds and tales in The Human Equations which ultimately define the nature of what makes humanity vibrant and ever-changing.

Sharks: An Eponym Dictionary
Michael Watkins & Bo Beolens
Pelagic Publishing Ltd.
PO Box 725, Exeter, EX1 9QU, United Kingdom
9781907807930, $53.00,

Scientists interested in the origins of species names in general and sharks in particular will relish Sharks: An Eponym Dictionary, with its attention to covering the vernacular and scientific names of sharks and their relatives.

More than just a word origin guide, it expands each entry to include stories and facts behind each name, adding describers and authors of the original descriptions alongside names that appear to be eponyms.

Now, one would think the audience for this book would be limited to scientists alone; but in fact any reader with an interest in word origins - especially those harboring a special interest in natural history - will also find it accessible, pairing an in-depth survey of shark words with inclusion of these involved in naming a species.

Discovering Autism Discovering Neurodiversity
Stephanie Allen Crist
Stephanie Allen Crist, Publisher
9781507791585, $15.95,

Discovering Autism Discovering Neurodiversity presents an increasingly common scenario: the author discovered her children had developmental delays and had no clue about the special education system and how it operated.

She would learn only after she sought a diagnosis for her older son and discovered autism was a thread affecting the entire family; but she would also come to realize that a diagnosis or the availability of special education alone would not be enough to help her family.

Discovering Autism Discovering Neurodiversity follows Crist's learning curve as she came to realize what an autism diagnosis meant for her three children. It offers one woman's inspiring battle against a world that would consider her children flawed and expendable, and it provides insights, hope, and inspiration for any parent who finds themselves with a new diagnosis and concerns about the future.

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

Diane C. Donovan, Editor & Senior Reviewer
12424 Mill Street, Petaluma, CA 94952
phone: 1-707-795-4629

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