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California Bookwatch

Volume 12, Number 2 February 2017 Home | CALBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Education Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Parenting Shelf Comix/GraphicNovel Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Crafts Shelf Psychology Shelf
Technology Shelf Needlecraft Shelf Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf
Political Science Shelf Art Shelf Computer Shelf
Holocaust Studies Shelf California Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

The Geography of Genius
Eric Weiner
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
9781451691672, $16.99,

The Geography of Genius: Lessons from the World's Most Creative Places provides a blend of travelogue and philosophical search for the world's most inspirational locales, and follows the author on a world journey as he explores the history and settings of various places that have inspired some of the world's most notable geniuses. Connections between genius and geography are made, chapters examine influences on creativity and the social, political, and geographic influences on genius, and offer a survey that reinforces the notion that culture and place play major roles in how genius develops and is nurtured. The result is a powerful account that will delight readers of sociology and culture, travel, or creative inspirational inspections.

The Education Shelf

Computational Thinking (and Coding) for Every Student
Jane Krauss and Kiki Prottsman
Corwin Press, Inc.
2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320-2218
9781506341286, $22.00,

Computational Thinking (and Coding) for Every Student provides teachers with a basic guide to fostering computational thinking in students, pairing lessons and activities for all grades with an approach for K-12 educators that blends computer science into typical curriculum studies. From key computer science terms and coding approaches to examples of automation and mathematical functions, this book is filled with tips on how to plan lessons with everyone in mind, and how to provide activities that require minimal teacher supervision.

Perfect Pairs
Melissa Stewart & Nancy Chesley
Stenhouse Publishers
480 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101-3451
9781571109590, $37.33,

Perfect Pairs: Using Fiction & Nonfiction Picture Books to Teach Life Science, Grades 3-5 provides twenty lessons that are each built around a pair of books that introduce life science basics and encourage students to apply investigative techniques to explore particular ideas. The focus on both fiction and nonfiction picture books to reinforce these lessons creates a three-stage process that opens with a statement and engages students, using the book pairs as a foundation for helping students review, analyze, and understand the information. The process encourages logical thinking, independent investigative skills, and collaborations that cross the line between fiction and nonfiction reading applications, making for a fine approach teachers can use to reinforce life science concepts.

Embracing Rough-and-Tumble Play
Mike Huber
Redleaf Press
10 Yorkton Court, St. Paul, MN 55117-1065
9781605544687, $39.95,

Early childhood educators interested in books about physical play and interactions will find Embracing Rough-and-Tumble Play of special interest because it provides a step-by-step guide to encouraging safe physical interactions and movements based on boisterous activities. There are many early childhood books about play, but this book's focus on active engagement processes is directed to teachers and parents who would encourage rough-and-tumble activities. From visually tracking thrown objects to establishing rules to guidelines, this is an excellent survey highly recommended for any adult interested in physical activities for early education.

The Cookbook Shelf

The Cooking Lady
Ann Hollowell & Tom Henkenius
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053-2246
9781455622870, $24.95,

The Cooking Lady: Real Food from My Southern Kitchen comes from the host of The Cooking Lady, who adds humor to kitchen wisdom as she presents her favorite dishes and discusses how they were created. Recipes from an author born and raised with Cajun and Creole food range from staples such as a Homemade Mayonnaise handed down by the author's grandmother to Roasted Brussels Sprouts newly discovered by the author in her adult years, Crawfish Po'Boys with Seasoned Mayonnaise which is a producer favorite during filming Hollowell's TV show, and Microwave Pralines which come not from French Quarter traditions but from the convenience of one's microwave and which require only brown sugar, chopped pecans, butter and Cool Whip. These are delectable delights cooks will appreciate.

Vegan Mexico
Jason Wyrick
Vegan Heritage Press
P.O. Box 628, Woodstock, VA 22664-0628
9781941252215, $22.95,

Vegan Mexico offers something more specific than most general vegan cookbooks by narrowing the focus to Mexican cuisine redone using vegan standards. Tamales, enchiladas, burritos, and tacos thus receive variations on traditional approaches with such fare as Salted Lime Plantain tacos made with cabbage, salsa, plantains and limes, Veracruz-Inspired Tamales made with chiles, green olives, raisins and cooked black beans, and a Spanish-influenced Olive and Tomato Salsa. Color photos accompany the dishes while a wide range of cooking approaches include both easy, quick dishes and those which require some preparation. Access to a standard health food market or well-stocked supermarket are the only requirements for enjoying this fine title.

Pierre Herme: Chocolate
Sergio Coimbra
9782080202741, $60.00,

Pierre Herme is a world-renowned pastry chef who lends his special talents and creative touch to this oversized pastry recipe collection, and if his name is new to anyone who picks up Chocolate, by its end, familiarity with his new dishes will lend to a delightful appreciation of his talents. Vogue Magazine named him the 'Picasso of Pastry' for good reason: these are artistic culinary displays that demonstrate an attention to both flavor and presentation detail, and offer over thirty recipes of unique flavor combinations and innovative artistic style. It should be noted that every recipe comes with numerous oversized color images throughout - which is why there are only thirty-five pastry creations here. The idea is not to pack in a recipe collection, but to emphasize the techniques and approaches that lend to exceptional pastry creations - and this, of necessity, requires a heavier visual hand than most, making for a cookbook that stands out from the crowd.

Cooking School
Alain Ducasse
300 Park Avenue South, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10010
9780847849949, $55.00,

Cooking School: Mastering Classic and Modern French Cuisine comes from one of France's best chefs and focuses on healthy eating as he presents a 'cooking course in a book' from his Parisian cooking school. Chapters provide a series of foundation lessons on the basics, but this isn't a book just for cooking novices. These lessons include the ability to move ahead based on individual knowledge and are presented in ascending order of difficulty, following the progressive approach of Ducasse's cooking school itself. All the step-by-step directions are enhanced by photographs, while recipes vary from easy and quick at-a-glance dishes to those packed with references and insights on techniques and failsafe approaches. The result is a delicious compendium of kitchen techniques especially recommended for cooks who would either get up to speed from a novice level, or review gaps in their existing culinary knowledge.

Lean for Life
Louise Parker
Mitchell Beazley
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9781784721756, $24.99,

Lean for Life: Transform Your Body in 6 Weeks, Protect the Results Forever is more than another diet plan: it's a culinary approach that presents a method honed by a body-transformation expert and it shares some of the keys to permanent weight loss that are based around a combination of lifestyle changes and lean cooking habits. Recipes are accompanied by color photos throughout and excel in dishes designed to cut fat without cutting flavor. Ingredients are easy to locate and work with and include 'skinny' variations on themes (such as an Eggs Benedict that lacks the gooey sauce) as well as creations that are loaded with vegetables and healthy enhancements, such as a Chilli Chicken Salad made with spinach, tomatoes and cucumbers, and a dressing of lime and red chilli. Anyone looking for a lifelong solution to weight should consider this cookbook not just for its recipes; but for its overall approach.

The Parenting Shelf

The Best of Both Worlds
Beth Brykman
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781633882478, $17.00,

The Best of Both Worlds: How Mothers Can Find Full-Time Satisfaction in Part-Time Work is for mothers who want to return to the world of work, and pairs real-life stories from interviews with over a hundred working mothers with discussions of how to identify the roots of a balanced live/work life, and how to put such a plan in action. Part-time work can be handled, especially with specific knowledge of the possibilities and pitfalls, covered here in a guide for any mother who would redefine goals and family life while retaining high quality in both worlds.

The Sh!t No One Tells You About Baby #2
Dawn Dais
Seal Press
1700 - 4th Street, Berkeley, California 94710
9781580056311, $17.00,

The Sh!t No One Tells You About Baby #2: A Guide to Surviving Your Growing Family is a recommended pick for any parent considering having a second child, and covers All the basic questions about the differences between having one child and two. It gathers advice from mothers who share the information they wished they'd had before their second child, and it provides anecdotes that are both funny and practical as it surveys the various processes and challenges of having two young ones in the home. From changed parenting decision processes to common assumptions about having and handling two children, this book offers a range of thought-provoking insights about the process and how it can better be managed.

The Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf

Bloom County Episode XI: A New Hope
Berkeley Breathed
2765 Truxtun Road, San Diego, CA 92106
9781631406997, $17.99,

Bloom County Episode XI: A New Hope offers new black and white and color cartoon panels of adventures of Opus, Bill the Cat, and other Bloom County characters, gathering new daily and Sunday strips that have not seen print before. This collection is introduced by Berkeley Breathed and panels receive additional commentary by Facebook fans; but the real attraction of this collection for ongoing fans of the Bloom County strips lies in good-sized comic strip panels and fun new stories that are in keeping with past Bloom County adventures. Packed with joyful irony and fun, this collection is a 'must' for any prior Bloom County fan and many a newcomer.

The Audiobook Shelf

Hachette Audio
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017

Alexandra Zapruder's Twenty-Six Seconds (9781478924166, $30.00) is read by the author, who does a fine job of bringing her own personal history to life as she discusses the Zapruder film which resulted when in 1963 Abraham Zapruder captured John F. Kennedy's murder on film. Alexandra, his granddaughter, considers the lasting impact of this home movie over the decades, creating a memoir that uses family records, interviews, and previously sealed archives to recreate the full story of the assassination that was caught on camera. Even more absorbing, related issues of privacy, ethics, and copyright are surveyed, making this a powerful listen not just for those interested in Kennedy's assassination; but for wider-ranging issues of family involvements and information protection. James Patterson's branded 'Bookshots' series are meant to be digested in quick listens, and thus make the most of solid tension paired with succinct plots and stories that are compelling. Jeffrey J. Keyes' Killer Chef (9781478968030) is read by Ari Fliakos, whose solid and evocative voice brings to life this story of revenge and murder. Someone is poisoning diners in New Orleans restaurants, and it's up to chef and homicide cop Caleb to locate the perp before more murders pop up. A solid thriller evolves, spiced with culinary references and revenge. The Daily Show: An Oral History by Chris Smith (9781478936338, $35.00) includes a foreword by show host Jon Stewart as it offers an uncensored history of the show which has embraced comedy, politics, and news for almost seventeen years. The show fostered many new comedians and it also engaged audiences in many ways as well as commenting on current events with a tongue-in-cheek satirical viewpoint. The result is a fun and powerful history that will be a 'must' for any already familiar with The Daily Show, who want a compelling audio story of its evolution and importance. Naomi Judd works with Marcia Wolkie to present River of Time (9781478940449, $30.00) a story of the musician's depression and how she struggled to overcome it. A reading by Judd and Carolyn Cook bring her memoir to life in a vivid story of struggle and triumph especially recommended for prior fans of the country music star who may have known about some of her health issues, but not her mental health struggles.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Rabbit Breeds
Lynn M. Stone
Storey Publishing
210 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247
9781612126029, $10.95,

Rabbit Breeds appears in a handy pocket guide and provides full-page color photos and natural history details on almost fifty breeds of rabbit. Each rabbit receives its own profile page, which includes statistics on its weight, fur type, and uses, a history of the breed, and insights on its colors and country of origin. Any bunny fan who wants specifics about different rabbits will find this easy at-a-glance guide is perfect for both identification and learning more.

The Fiction Shelf

The Flame Bearer
Bernard Cornwell
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062250780, $27.99,

The Flame Bearer continues Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Tales series with its tenth new addition: this one continuing the story of a war between the Saxons and Danes over control of the British Isles. As the reign of King Alfred the Great and his heirs continue, struggles for leadership emerge in the wake of a dubious peace which may only be temporary. Add new enemies into the mix and a chance to regain what was lost through a traitor's plans and fans of historical fiction have a vivid read in store for them.

John Feffer
Haymarket Books
PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618
9781608467242, $13.95,

Splinterlands is a dystopian novel set in 2050, a time when the European Union has ended and great powers are gone. Even the United States has lost its luster and is great in name only. Against this backdrop of a post-apocalyptic failure of all major nations in the world is a haunting look at what such disintegration actually involves on a social and personal scale, with the analysis of events using a round-the-world trip to consider the process and signs of change. Readers who enjoy dystopian stories that hold more than a light look at political structures and their downfall will more than appreciate the in-depth approach John Feffer takes in his novel.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Dead Cold Brew
Cleo Coyle
Berkeley Prime Crime
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780425276112, $27.00,

Dead Cold Brew: A Coffeehouse Mystery follows Clare and her detective boyfriend's search for peace and happiness even as another mystery emerges to plague their engagement. This surfaces at their engagement party, when an attorney gives them a strange letter containing a mystery involving Clare's daughter - but when a poisoning occurs, things take a dark and sinister turn, and their celebrations turn to the grim investigation of a cold-case murder and its impact. Can the owner of a coffeehouse effectively participate in an investigation of an impossible series of events? A complex, compelling story is steeped in coffee recipes to make for an exciting tale mystery writers will love.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Monster Hunter Memoirs: Sinners
Larry Correia and John Ringo
Baen Books
PO Box 1188, Wake Forest NC 27588
9781476781389, $26.00,

Monster Hunter Memoirs: Sinners joins others in the "Monster Hunters" series in combining sci-fi and horror as it tells of Chad Gardenier, a tp Monster Hunter International hunter, whose latest assignment involves a journey to New Orleans to help group members battle a persistent darkness in the City. Facing a host of werewolves is nothing new to Chad; but what is different is the demons, necromancers, and vampires that permeate the streets of New Orleans in increasing numbers. Can Chad survive this onslaught - and can his powers equal those of his enemies? A powerful horror saga evolves filled with satisfying twists and turns that are especially recommended for prior fans of the series, but which are also accessible by newcomers.

The Vindication of Man
John C. Wright
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765381590, $32.50,

The Vindication of Man provides the latest book in the Eschaton Sequence, and tells of Menelaus Montrose, who is waiting for the posthuman princess Rania to return even as his conflict with his immortal adversary Ximen del Azarchel resurfaces. Ages have passed since Rania pleaded for humanity before the forces in the Orion Arm, and man's attention to transforming his world has resulted in a new kind of evolution into powerful machines which control mankind. Are the monsters in this story aliens or human - and can the many species in the universe yet hold connections and surprises to and for the human race and its future? A wide-ranging, mind-boggling saga, The Vindication of Man is not a light leisure read, but a powerful paradigm-altering adventure.

The Crafts Shelf

Origami Finger Puppets
Muneji Fuchimoto
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781631592720, $16.99,

Origami Finger Puppets: Fun Origami for Pinkies, Pointers, and Thumbs offers a very different approach to paper folding and teaches how to put together a range of finger puppets. Some 25 designs and sheets of origami paper for practicing them show how to create fun and diverse characters. While obviously the book isn't suited to library lending, it just as obviously will be a fine addition to the collection of anyone new to origami's many paper-folding possibilities - and to many an advanced folder who may not have thought of finger puppet applications.

The Psychology Shelf

Overcoming the Destructive Inner Voice
Robert W. Firestone
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781633882515, $18.00,

Overcoming the Destructive Inner Voice: True Stories of Therapy and Transformation comes from a psychologist who provides eleven stories about the transformative processes involved in psychotherapy, and captures the struggles of patients who confront issues of control, suicide, regression, and more. Many people have destructive inner forces that drive their behaviors and create ongoing negative patterns and scenarios; but few of their thought processes are captured as deftly as in this account, which charts Dr. Firestone's patients' lives and their struggle to overcome self-defeating habits. Any reader of psychological literature will find this a compelling, engrossing collection.

The Technology Shelf

Complex and Hypercomplex Analytic Signals
Stefan L. Hahn and Kajetana M. Snopek
Artech House
685 Canton Street, Norwood, MA 02062
9781630811327, $169.00,

Complex and Hypercomplex Analytic Signals: Theory and Applications presents professionals with an overview of the theory of multidimensional complex and hypercomplex signals and surveys the math and theory involved, considering the polar representation of analytic signals, and ranking analytic signals and their assignments. Formulas, graphic representations, and equations defining values and shift frequencies make for a technical engineer's guide that is recommended for college-level collections and professional reference.

The Needlecraft Shelf

19th-Century Patchwork Divas' Treasury of Quilts
Betsy Cutchian and Carol Staehle
Martingale & Company
19021 - 120th Avenue NE, Suite 102, Bothell, WA 98011
9781604687959, $27.99,

19th-Century Patchwork Divas' Treasury of Quilts: 10 Stunning Patterns, 30 Striking Options comes from the Divas quilters who show how to stitch detailed 19th-century inspired quilts, and uses antique designs in contemporary patterns that create strikingly different quilt results. From full bed quilts to throws, these quilts display classic Log Cabin blocks, Basket blocks, foundation- and template-based Sunburst blocks, and more. Full-page color photos and patterns compliment an array of traditional approaches that incorporate flexibility into their patterns.

The Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf

The Daily Show: An Oral History
Jon Stewart
Grand Central Publishing
c/o Hachette Book Group
237 Park Avenue, 16th Floor, New York, NY 10017
9781455565382, $30.00,

The Daily Show: An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents, Staff and Guests covers the evolution and contents of a show that toes the line between a TV comedy, political satire, and news coverage, and which launched the careers of many top-name comedians today. Until now the show has been followed by fans and enthusiasts who may not have had the inside details about its development, so having host Jon Stewart's own account, as well as insights from guests and star cast members and writers, adds an extra dimension of understanding on the show's importance and its place in television, comedy and news history. Anyone who has ever followed the show as well as newcomers will find The Daily Show: An Oral History does an outstanding job of exploring the show's origins, influences, and how it's affected television as a whole.

The Political Science Shelf

Governing Under Stress
Timothy J. Conlan, Paul L. Posner, and Priscilla M. Regan, editors
Georgetown University Press
3240 Prospect Street, NW, Washington, DC 20007
9781626163706, $32.95,

Governing Under Stress: The Implementation of Obama's Economic Stimulus Program is recommended for college-level collections strong in public administration and policy, and uses over two hundred interviews and national field research results to consider the ARRA stimulus programs and their long-term impact. Contributors focus on the major challenges facing public policy and management as their consider the benefits of implementing ARRA, funding rates and project timing, allocation and accountability strategies, state and local government roles in monitoring and program implementation, and more. The result is a powerful survey that is packed with important insights from a wide range of administrators and policy makers who hold specific experiences and insights into Obama's stimulus program and its enactment.

The Art Shelf

Palm Beach Visual Arts
Deborah C. Pollack
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053-2246
9781455622221, $34.95,

Palm Beach Visual Arts tells of an artist community that earned a reputation as a tropical island resort appealing to artists and patrons from the start, as it was founded by an oil baron who loved art. The island attracted some of the modern age's most iconic artists, from Salvador Dali to Cecil Beaton, Winslow Homer, and Jean Dunand, and encouraged some of the most famous artists of modern times; yet it's surprising to note that this is the first book to provide an in-depth study of the island and its art community. Full-page color drawings and vintage black and whites accompany a lively survey no art collection should be without.

The Computer Shelf

Murach's Visual Basic 2015
Anne Boehm
Mike Murach & Associates
4340 North Knoll Avenue, Fresno, CA 93722
9781890774981, $57.50,

Murach's Visual Basic 2015 is for VB developers who would get up and running with the basics of Visual Basic, and provides these professionals with a self-paced classroom in a book which assumes no prior knowledge of VB in order to prove successful. It provides an object-oriented approach to applying it to business interfaces, discusses real-world applications, includes black and white screen shots throughout along with descriptions and 'how to' applications keyed to common goals and functions, and even includes code and insights on how best to code fields. The result is a handbook perfect for any VB programmer and computer reference collections catering to them.

The Holocaust Studies Shelf

Hitler's Religion
Richard Weikart
c/o Regnery Publishing, Inc.
300 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001
9781621575009, $29.99,

Hitler's Religion: The Twisted Beliefs That Drove the Third Reich comes from a historian who focuses on Hitler's religious faith, revealing the truth of his belief system and explaining how this unusual system supported his monstrous belief that annihilating 'inferior' humans was part of a greater plan. Hitler's special brand of ethics and belief contributed to his support of an Aryan race and ultimately to the notion that the Third Reich's intentions and approach to managing life in Germany was condoned by a greater power than one man's efforts. Anyone interested in how religion played a key role in Hitler's approach to genocide will find this close inspection invaluable.

The California Shelf

Walking San Francisco's 49 Mile Scenic Drive
Kristine Poggioli and Carolyn Eidson
Craven Street Books
c/o Linden Publishing
2006 South Mary, Fresno, CA 93721-9875
9781610352796, $16.95,

Visitors to and residents of San Francisco well know the seagull-logo directional signs that point the way to a long 49-mile scenic drive's opportunities; but few guides adopt a walker's perspective of what this drive can offer. That's why Walking San Francisco's 49 Mile Scenic Drive is such a winner: it takes routes from this drive and offers nearly twenty walks around them, covering neighborhoods and lakes and supplementing present-day with bygone era notes. Walking these routes provides more historical insights and scenic perspective than just driving them, but readers aren't required to hike 49 miles. They can drive between the stop-off points and can digest the scenery in bits and pieces, making this the perfect accompaniment to the route's many scenic attractions.

The Sea Forager's Guide to the Northern California Coast
Kirk Lombard
Heyday Books
PO Box 9145, Berkeley, CA 94709
9781597143578, $22.00,

The Sea Forager's Guide to the Northern California Coast is a 'must' for any resident or visitor who likes to forage from sea and shore, and provides a lively discussion of fish, natural history, where, when and how species live along the Northern coast, and more. Black and white images of various sea life accompany lively personal stories of fishing and foraging, using them in recipes, and odd notes such as using fish skin for book covers. This lively and fun approach goes beyond the usual foraging guide to inject more than a light-hearted and personal note into the collection of recipes, recollections, and 'how to' insights on a wide range of coastal fish.

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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