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California Bookwatch

Volume 10, Number 1 January 2015 Home | CALBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Parenting Shelf Memoir Shelf
Native American Studies Shelf Audiobook Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Science Shelf Military Shelf Self-Help Shelf
Social Issues Shelf Gun Shelf Philosophy Shelf
Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Education Shelf Music Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Travel Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf Autism Shelf
American History Shelf World History Shelf Sports Shelf
Martial Arts Shelf Christian Studies Shelf Metaphysical Studies Shelf
Art Shelf Genealogy Shelf Needlecraft Shelf
Crafts Shelf Biography Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Writing/Publishing Shelf Literary Studies Shelf Antiques/Collectibles Shelf
Photography Shelf Business Shelf Political Science Shelf
California Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

It Happens at Comic-Con
Ben Bolling and Matthew J. Smith
McFarland & Company
PO Box 611, Jefferson NC 28640
9780786476947, $35.00,

It Happens at Comic-Con: Ethnographic Essays on a Pop Culture Phenomenon seems designed to reach comic fans and college students alike (often the same audience), and packs in essays examining the culture of Comic-Con and its participants. Thirteen new essays uses ethnographic methods, in particular, to consider San Diego's Comic-Con International, the largest one of its kind in North America. Studies of this phenomenon are technical yet engrossing, covering fan practices as well as the marketing of comics in general and Comic-Con as a whole. Comics fans will find this a fine, if not scholarly, assessment of the culture involved.

That's Not Funny, That's Sick
Ellin Stein
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9780393350241, $16.95,

That's Not Funny, That's Sick: The National Lampoon and the Comedy Insurgents Who Captured the Mainstream comes from a journalist who charts the progress and changes of comedy in American mainstream settings, and uses interviews with key individuals in the movement to consider the influence of the National Lampoon on the evolution of American comedy as a whole. Chapters examine both people and cultural trends, following the history and evolution of the Lampoon and its particular style of comedy. The result is a solid survey of personalities and approaches to the genre which is key to any seeking an understanding of comedy's history and culture.

The Parenting Shelf

Parenting With a Story
Paul Smith
Amacom Books
1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
9780814433577, $16.00,

Parenting With a Story: Real-Life Lessons in Character for Parents and Children to Share is based on research into storytelling and considers how to use a great personal story to reach and teach children. It draws on the author's yearlong process of interviewing people from around the world on storytelling processes, and provides a story collection organized by purpose, with real-world stories outlining over twenty character traits kids will need to learn.

The Memoir Shelf

Snowbirds: A Memoir
Jo Ann Bender
Downstream Publishing
60 East 8th Street, New York, NY 10003-6541
9780989757157, $12.99,

Snowbirds: A Memoir tells of the authors' road trip in a vintage RV - one that changed their marriage - and follows their trials, tribulations, and advice as they learn how to take the older TV to different locales. It's a combination autobiography, martial insight piece, and travelogue as readers follow the adventures of a couple searching for both adventure and connection. From how a moving RV becomes a home suitable for staying in while visiting friends and relatives to discoveries of indispensable road trip items, this offers both personal experience and a game plan for other would-be RVers, and is a light, fun read that incorporates practical suggestions for those who dream of hitting the road themselves.

My Wild Life
Roland H. Wauer
Texas Tech University Press
4354 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4354
9780896728851, $39.95,

My Wild Life: A Memoir of Adventures Within America's National Parks comes from an author who spent over thirty years in the national park system, starting as a seasonal ranger until he retired in 1989. His career took him to eight national parks and his autobiography examines his career and the wildlife he observed and interacted with in the course of his work. From owls to bighorn sheep and snakes, this is a vivid story of the National Park System and its creatures, documents how the author created the modern natural resource protection program, and makes for a compelling, absorbing saga recommended for any collection strong in wildlife history in general and national parks examinations in particular.

Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys. Boys, Boys.
Viv Albertine
Thomas Dunne Books
c/o St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250065995, $27.99,

Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys. Boys, Boys. is a fine memoir by the member of a female punk group, The Slits, and the girlfriend of The Clash's Mick Jones. It chronicles the rise of punk music and philosophy, the experience of a woman whose circles largely included punk rock male musicians, and how a music icon became a punk movement leader and inspired a new generation of female rockers. Albertine formed The Flowers of Romance with Sid Vicious in 1976, joined The Slits, and moved in a music culture largely dominated by men. Her memoir of rock and roll and punk politics incorporates feminist perspectives and offers a rare female viewpoint of events of the times, making it a pick for music and biography holdings as well as women's issues collections.

The Native American Studies Shelf

Capture These Indians for the Lord
Tash Smith
University of Arizona Press
355 South Euclid Avenue, Suite 103, Tucson, AZ 85719-6654
9780816530885, $55.00,

It's hard to neatly define the audience for this title: it's reviewed here just because spirituality collections will most likely miss it; but it's also a pick for college-level holdings strong in Native American culture and American history. Capture These Indians for the Lord: Indians, Methodists, and Oklahomans, 1844-1939 provides a close history of the Southern Methodist Church in Oklahoma and its evolution and involvement in the forefront of Western expansion efforts. Many Native peoples accepted the missionaries' practices, but others find ways to reconcile the Methodist message with their traditions. This book discusses the history of Native and Western traditions and religion and looks at the Indian missions and white interactions, exploring how Methodist power weakened and the Indian membership actually used the Church to reinforce their culture. The result is a fascinating examination holding scholarly appeal to a wide audience.

The Audiobook Shelf

Food: A Love Story
Jim Gaffigan
Random House Audio Books
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 5th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780804192217, $35.00,

Food: A Love Story is narrated by comedian Gaffigan, and offers a funny reflection on the finer art of stuffing in food in FOOD: A LOVE STORY. Topics range from health food to forbidden food, follow up on his bestseller DAD IS FAT, and pairs food memories and opinions with hilarious, side-splitting observations of the ironies and inconsistencies of being a 'foodie'. The result, in audio format, is even better than seeing him on stage. Just don't listen to this in a car: the tears of laughter are likely to obscure one's vision!

The Color of Water
James McBride
Penguin Audio Books
c/o The Penguin Publishing Group
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9781611763508, $35.00,

The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother is narrated by JD Jackson and Susan Denaker and provides a powerful tribute as it captures the autobiography of an author who grew up in Brooklyn's Red Hook projects as a mixed-race son. Was he black or white? His mother refused to answer and refused to define race, only saying that "God is the color of water". Her lessons would remain with him for life and paved the way for a journey away from poverty and toward achievement. Any listener interested in family ties and strong lessons will find this a powerful, compelling listen.

The Only Little Prayer You Need
Debra Landwehr Engle
Brilliance Audio
PO Box 887, Grand Haven, MI 49417
9781491534298, $14.99,

The Only Little Prayer You Need is performed by the author and considers the quickest routes to a life of joy and peace. Inspired by A Course in Miracles, this narrows the focus to how to use prayer's power to release burdens and fears to achieve greater happiness. The premise is very simple but its achievement is not necessarily easy: that's why this audio is so important, to reinforce concepts and connect them to real-life approaches.

Why Suffering?
Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale
Hachette Audio
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9781478930228, $25.00,

WHY SUFFERING? FINDING MEANING AND COMFORT WHEN LIFE DOESN'T MAKE SENSE is narrated by the authors and considers the responses to the question of why a powerful, loving God would allow so much pain and suffering in the world. From how evil's reality can make sense to Christian responses to pain and suffering, explanations for trusting God in the face of anguish, and discussions of how divine goodness can conquer all, this is a Christian inspection highly recommended for any questioning why God allows evil and pain in the world. The audio version just brings it home all the more powerfully.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Canine Play Behavior
Mechtild Kaufer
Dogwise Publishing
403 South Mission Street, Wenatchee WA 98801
9781617811531, $24.95,

Canine Play Behavior - the Science of Dogs at Play offers details on how dogs play and how to understand the process of play behaviors to keep them safe, and analyzes play characteristics in all kinds of dogs, from puppies and mixed breeds to those plagued by aggressive behavior patterns. Photos supplement and enhance the concept of canine play and dog training, while research examines the progression of object-oriented play in puppies, different forms of play among dogs, how stress factors affect play, and more. The result is an outstanding survey highly recommended for any collection strong in pets in general and canines in particular.

The Birds of Pandemonium
Michele Raffin
Algonquin Books
PO Box 2225, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2225
9781616201364, $24.95,

The Birds of Pandemonium: Life Among the Exotic & Endangered provides a remarkable look at the exotic birds that comprise Pandemonium Aviaries, a bird sanctuary that gathers some of the world's most amazing birds under one roof. Their stories make up a powerful, fun read that outlines bird personalities, circumstances, and how many disabled creates came to find a home at Pandemonium. Heart-warming and fun, this is an outstanding choice for any who love birds and animals, and who have read zoo stories with great affection.

Ducks, Geese, and Swans of North America, revised edition
Guy Baldassarre
Johns Hopkins University Press
2715 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218-4363
9781421407517, $69.95,

Ducks, Geese, and Swans of North America appears in a revised, updated two-volume edition and is packed with information and images recommended for a wide range of readers, from professional biologists and birders to wildlife managers and collections strong in birding. The first edition was published in 1942: this update covers all the continent's forty-six species, includes maps of winter and breeding ranges, packs in images by top photographers and the art of Robert Hines, and more. All has been updated by waterfowl biologist Guy Baldassarre, and represents a new and definitive version of a classic that should be on the shelves of any even remotely interested in waterfowl or birding.

Secrets of the Oak Woodlands
Kate Marianchild, author
Ann Meyer Maglinte, illustrator
Heyday Books
PO Box 9145, Berkeley, CA 94709
9781597142625 $18.00

Secrets of the Oak Woodlands: Plants & Animals Among California's Oaks lives up to its title as a user-friendly guidebook to the flora, fauna, and ecology of California's woodlands. Beautiful, realistic color illustrations are interspersed among descriptive text, thoroughly accessible to readers of all backgrounds. A wonderful enrichment for hikers and nature lovers, Secrets of the Oak Woodlands is highly recommended. Also a choice pick is Gordon W. Frankie, et. al.'s "California Bees & Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists" (9781597142946, $28.00).

The Science Shelf

Kennewick Man
Douglas W. Owsley & Richard L. Jantz, Editors
Texas A&M University Press
4354 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4354
9781623492007, $75.00,

KENNEWICK MAN: THE SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATIONS OF AN ANCIENT AMERICAN SKELETON is recommended for college-level science holdings and readers of archaeological history, and represents a collaboration between physical and forensic anthropologists, archaeologists, geologists and other disciplines. They join together here to consider forms of analysis and research on Kennewick Man's origins and relationships, compiling the research and data under one cover and applying it to the latest technological approaches to historical reconstruction. The result is for a professional audience interested in Kennewick Man's life and history, and is a strong recommendation for any college-level anthropology or archaeology holding.

The Military Shelf

No Victory in Valhalla
Ian Gardner
Osprey Publishing
4301 21st St, Suite 220B, Long Island City, NY 11101
9781472801333, $27.95,

No Victory in Valhalla: The Untold Story of Third Battalion 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment from Bastogne to Berchtesgaden provides military readers with an in-depth survey of events that took place in 1944, where already-weary paratroopers faced a huge German offensive at the Battle of the Bulge. The 101st Airborne were deployed to face some of the worst battle conditions of any war. This book follows a battle-weary battalion called upon time and again to fight across Europe, and is based on interviews and first-hand accounts. Any collection strong in World War II history must have this vivid story!

Reconsidering the American Way of War
Antulio J. Echevarria II
Georgetown University Press
3240 Prospect Street, NW, Washington, DC 20007
9781626160675, $29.95,

Reconsidering the American Way of War: US Military Practice from the Revolution to Afghanistan is a fine military history analysis that deserves a place in any military or security studies collection, examining how and why this country uses military force to achieve objectives throughout history. From how different wars were unique in approach or event to the connections between military practices and politics, this is a 'must' for military and political science readers alike, considering the truth behind an 'American way of war' that emphases crushing victories often detrimental to its own strategic objectives.

The Good War
Jack Fairweather
Basic Books
c/o Perseus Books Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780465044955, $29.99,

The Good War: Why We Couldn't Win the War or the Peace in Afghanistan comes from a foreign correspondent who provides the first full narrative history of the war in Afghanistan, and documents the military failures and challenges of operations over the decades. From the war's roots to its current state, this details how war and peace is built, how opportunities to change Afghan lives were lost, and how mistakes were made in the course of negotiations, ideals, and strategies both within the country and within the international community. The result is a powerful military analysis that deserves a place in any collection serious about U.S. policies, military history, and Afghanistan's circumstances in particular.

First SEALs
Patrick K. O'Donnell
Da Capo Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780306821721, $25.99,

First SEALs: The Untold Story of the Forging of America's Most Elite Unit describes the wartime formation of a unit that blended the strengths of the Navy's Sea, Air, and Land (SEAL) teams, and is a pick for any collection strong in Navy or military history. It considers the evolution of the Maritime Unit, its work infiltrating Nazi territory and conducting rescue operations, and how it evolved to include swimmer commandos and spies. Its history is unparalleled and vivid and traverses the past, present, and possible future of the SEAL units.

The Self-Help Shelf

Tamara Branch
HeartProject Publishing
9780985964801, $11.95,

ItGirl4Life: How to Bring Out Your Special Something & So Much More offers easy chapters on how to build self-confidence, provided in 'bite-sized', digestible formats that even the busiest person can absorb. Admonitions such as how to dream big and how to practice patience from dawn to dusk to the seven points of building character are covered in a format that lends to quick browsing and easy understanding, setting this little book apart from most other self-help titles that offer too much detail and a depth that injects fear into what should be a relatively simple process of self-discovery.

Of Course!, new edition
Ian Patrick
O Books
c/o John Hunt Publishing, Ltd.
Laurel House, Station Approach, Alresford, Hants, SO24 9JH, UK
9781782707173, $18.95,

Of Course! How Many Light Bulbs Does It Take to Change? provides the author's reflections on A Course in Miracles and its program, and discusses some of the major life challenges involved in the course. It appears in a new edition to provide the author's insights and personal reflections in the course of working with students, it selects passages form over 100 editions of the UK's Course periodical Miracle Worker, and it provides short essays that reveal how a dedicated Course student comes to understand the real miracles in life. A powerful, compelling read, this is a pick for new age and self-help readers alike!

How to Survive Change... You Didn't Ask For
M.J. Ryan
Conari Press
c/o Red Wheel/Weiser
65 Parker Street, Suite 7, Newburyport, MA 01950-4600
9781573246002, $14.95,

How to Survive Change You Didn't Ask For focuses on unwanted changes and how they force people to reinvent their careers or lives, and is a positive way of viewing turmoil and negative life experiences. Chapters offer vignettes and tips on how to view challenges as new opportunities and how to find meaning in chaos and disharmony, blending spiritual with psychological insights throughout and focusing on how fears and common misperceptions change worlds. The result is a powerful survey packed with inspirational methods of changing one's perceptions of adversity.

When Did You Die?
Temple Hayes
Health Communications Inc.
3201 S.W. 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442-8190
9780757318108, $15.95,

When Did You Die? 8 Steps to Stop Dying Every Day and Start Waking Up provides a program that can lead to a happier, healthier life, and is addressed to readers who feel spiritually and emotionally drained. It pairs motivational tools and daily admonitions with spiritual insights, uses storytelling techniques in chapters that teach how to identify moments of change and move through common self-limiting fears and responses, and shows how to transform better self-esteem to the most basic rituals of life, from food choices and eating to obsession with technology. The result is a powerful self-help survey that should be in any serious self-help collection.

The Social Issues Shelf

Carbon Shock
Mark Schapiro
Chelsea Green Publishing Company
85 North Main Street, Suite 120, White River Junction, VT 05001
9781603585576, $26.00,

Carbon Shock: A Tale of Risk and Calculus on the Front Lines of the Disrupted Global Economy comes from a journalist who spent many years investigating the economic disruptions caused by climate change, and considers the heart of questions about carbon and its costs. Chapters don't stop at science but probe economic and political influences on carbon emissions, using as examples the cost of drought in increased crop insurance, the effects of foreign polluters in other countries, and whether Chinese producers or Western consumers should pay for the costs of pollution in one of the world's biggest manufacturing centers in Guangzhou. The result is a powerful survey with wide-ranging implications and details for any social or political science student, and many a general-interest reader.

War Babies
Richard Pells
Cultural History Press
9780990669807, $17.99,

WAR BABIES: THE GENERATION THAT CHANGED AMERICA considers how a 'lost' generation succeeded in changing the country, even more than the more-famous Baby Boomer generation, and it identifies the generation born between 1939 and 1945 as one that hasn't really 'slipped through the cracks' so much as changed them completely. Chapters come from a war baby who considers his generation and their key contributions to changing the nation's culture and politics, from civil rights issues to educational reforms. Nearly every facet of society was affected by these 'war babies', and readers will find here a powerful discussion on their impact and contributions.

The City is Ours
Bart van der Steen,
PM Press
PO Box 23912, Oakland, CA 94623
9781604866834, $21.95,

The City is Ours: Squatting and Autonomous Movements in Europe from the 1970s to the Present compiles local movement histories of eight different European cities to consider the region's squatting movements. Each chapter provides one city and pairs a chronological analysis with photos and illustrations and discussions of events. The writers of these chapters are politically conscious authors who blend academic research and analysis with vivid writing documenting history and social views alike, making for a fine compendium of socially conscious insights.

Common Threads
Sharon Kallis
New Society Publishers
PO Box 189, Gabriola Island, BC, Canada, V0R 1X0
9780865717787, $29.95,

Common Threads: Weaving Community Through Collaborative Eco-Art is all about art, community, and ties that bind, and belongs in any collection concerned about collaborative community efforts. It discusses creative community projects, whether it be creating a work of art or utilizing natural materials to build something, and it shows how nature offers materials and opportunities to connect as a community. Yes, it's about weaving - but to limit its audience to needleworkers would be a shame. Common Threads is reviewed here for its focus on weaving and joining more than just disparate threads of connection, and offers chapters that revolve around how shared projects create shared experience and greater good.

The Gun Shelf

Hands Off My Gun
Dana Loesch
Center Street
c/o Hachette Publishing Group
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017-0010
9781455584345, $26.00,

Hands Off My Gun: Defeating the Plot to Disarm America comes from a talk show host and Second Amendment supporter who considers what is needed to win the gun control debate in modern America, and maintains that anti-Second Amendment activists use fear and emotion from gun incidents to further political agendas and keep minority populations under control. It debates how tougher gun control policies work in some nations and states, packs in research and statistics to support her contentions about gun control issues, and covers many issues that both sides will want to think about, making this a strong pick for social issues and general collections alike.

The Philosophy Shelf

Homeland and Philosophy
Robert Arp, editor
Open Court Publishing Company
70 East Lake Street, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60601
9780812698572, $19.95,

Homeland and Philosophy is a pick for philosophy and media collections alike, but shouldn't be neglected by social issues holdings, either: it considers basics of freedom, terrorism, and deeper questions about who we really are. Chapters link philosophical thinking to wider questions involved in security and homeland perceptions, considering the ways the world and human nature have been shaped by terrorist events. The result is a hard-hitting collection especially recommended for college-level classroom discussion of either philosophy or social change.

The Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf

Everything I Know About Filmmaking I Learned Watching Seven Samurai
Richard D. Pepperman
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd., #1111, Studio City, CA 91604
9781615932115, $19.95,

Everything I Know About Filmmaking I Learned Watching Seven Samurai celebrates the 60th anniversary of Akira Krosawa's Seven Samurai film by presenting it as a master class example of how it succeeded in widely influencing generations of filmmakers. This adopts a step-by-step approach for everything from the moment the music comes into a scene (and the lessons learned from director choices) to how subplots can offer stark contrasts when properly portrayed, as in the differences between interior and exterior worlds. It's rare to find a filmmaking book not laden in generalities: one of the reasons Everything I Know About Filmmaking I Learned Watching Seven Samurai works so well is its attention to detailed lessons at every point of the filmmaking process, celebrating not only Seven Samurai but the art of production as a whole!

Last Night at the Viper Room
Gavin Edwards
Dey Street
c/o William Morrow & Company
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062273178, $15.99,

This biography of River Phoenix and his Hollywood image and encounters belongs in both general biography and film collections and blends biography with a cultural history of the 1990s and Hollywood. It packs in interviews from actor River Phoenix's friends, directors, and fellow actors as it follows his achievements, his short life, and his influence on the roles actors play in the world as a whole. How did River leave such an impact? Last Night at the Viper Room is especially strong in considering this piece of the overall River Phoenix puzzle.

Hollywood Stunt Performers, 1910s-1970s, second edition
Gene Scott Freese
McFarland & Company
PO Box 611, Jefferson NC 28640
9780786476435, $49.95,

Hollywood Stunt Performers, 1910s-1970s: A Biographical Dictionary appears in its second updated edition to consider the lives and film contributions of several hundred unheralded stunt performers who created some of the cinema's greatest action series without credit, and embraces films from silent comedies and westerns to crime and action productions of modern times. It offers entries of each stunt performer, to cover their athletic background, screen credits, and achievements, and is a powerful assembly of little-known figures, essential to any serious film history buff and collections catering to them.

The News Sorority
Sheila Weller
The Penguin Press
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10014
9781584204272, $29.95,

The News Sorority: Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christine Amanpour - and the (Ongoing, Imperfect, Complicated) Triumph of Women in TV News considers how three very different, gifted female journalists used their talents to penetrate a news environment previously dominated by men, to become stars of news delivery in their own rights, using their own styles. It uses insider sources to reveal how each woman achieved this goal, considering their ambitions and sacrifices along the way and blending biography with insider stories of how the media delivery system works. The result is a 'must' for any collection strong in television broadcast history; a fine story that is involving and lively.

The Playbill Broadway Yearbook, tenth edition
Robert Viagas, Editor
Applause Books
c/o Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group
19 West 21st Street, Suite 201, New York, NY 10010
9781480385467, $39.99,

The Playbill Broadway Yearbook appears in its tenth updated edition and takes the form of a school yearbook, packed with photos and history from the entire 2013-14 Broadway season. Over 70 Broadway shows are covered, including headshots of all the actors who appeared in Playbill, photos of writers, designers and other behind-the-scenes workers, and even a map of the Times Square theater district that includes all the places in the Yearbook. The result is a wealth of images and information that will serve as a 'must' reference for any Broadway fan.

The Fiction Shelf

Beautiful You
Chuck Palahniuk
Doubleday & Company
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
9780385538039, $25.95,

BEAUTIFUL YOU comes from the author of FIGHT CLUB and tells of one Penny Harrigan, an associate in a Manhattan law firm who has no love life and a lot of work - until she's invited to dinner by a rich man who lives successful women. And his hidden talent lies in pleasuring them, as well - for days. Penny is in heaven - until she discovers she's an unwitting guinea pig for a new line of sex toys to be marked in a new nationwide chain of boutiques called Beautiful You. And does this marketing ploy mask a greater intent of world domination? A powerful, changing story line makes for an engrossing, unpredictable read.

A.D. 30
Ted Dekker
Center Street
c/o Hachette Publishing Group
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017-0010
9781599954189, $25.00,

A.D. 30 is set in Arabia and ancient Palestine and follows a war between kingdoms that rages around one woman - the outcast daughter of a powerful sheikh. Maviah faces enemies that range from her own people to strangers, and only escapes with the help of two of her father's warriors - a fighting man, and a Jew. Their journey across the desert and through a world replete with uncertain political alliances and spiritual associations will lead them full circle to one man who holds the power to change everything. The result is a powerful, compelling read highly recommended for Dekker fans and newcomers alike who want a sweeping epic saga.

Cattle Kate
Jana Bommersbach
Poisoned Pen Press
6962 E. First Ave., #103, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
9781464203022, $24.95,

Cattle Kate offers a fictionalization of a dark story in the history of the American West as it follows the history of one Cattle Kate, the only woman ever lynched as a cattle rustler. Kate's real name was Ella Watson, she wasn't a rustler, and she was in fact lynched with her husband by their rich neighbors, who wanted their land and its water rights. This novelization of the story will reach hearts and minds with a sweeping Western perfect for genre readers and newcomers alike.

Sentimental Journey
Linda Lauren
Embracing the Universe
1248 Route 22 West, Mountainside, NJ 07092
9780615686141, $7.99,

Sentimental Journey is an illustrated time-travel romance and is recommended for any fans of romance or timeslip stories. It tells of the unusual side effects of a new cold remedy that takes its user back in time by 24-hours (or 48, if one springs for the longer time-release capsule) and it provides a powerful story of Allison, who in 1992 finds her world changed by her involvements in different times. The saga is well done and engrossing, and will please any leisure reader looking for a time travel romance that's just a little different.

The Remedy of Love
Bill Roorbach
Algonquin Books
PO Box 2225, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2225
9781616203313, $24.95,

The Remedy of Love is set in Maine and tells of Eric, who finds himself unexpectedly immersed in a homeless woman's life when he discovers she's squatting in a woods cabin with no electricity or heat, facing the 'storm of the century'. Unable to walk away from her dilemma, which involves far more than a single storm, Eric is resigned to help her - but first he must overcome her distrust and anger. In his efforts to help he finds himself facing the same storm with nearly nothing when his car is stolen and he can't gain help from the woman he's just saved. The twists and turns and psychological tension are exquisitely done.

Jane Peranteau
Hampton Roads Publishing Company
65 Parker St., Ste. 7, Newburyport, MA 01950
9781571747198, $16.95,

Jumping provides a fine work of fiction that begins with the main character's intention to leap into the Void, a mysterious chasm that is more than just a suicide cliff. Duncan is the first to jump - and everyone feels his leap. The Void has always been there - but its powers involve a leap of faith and as others begin to understand its potential jumping becomes not an act of desperation, but of faith. The result is a powerful story that should be in any new age reader's collection and many a fiction reader with affection for Celestine Prophecy and similar approaches.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Knot Guilty
Betty Hechtman
Berkeley Prime Crime
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780425252970, $25.95,

Knot Guilty provides a fine crochet-based mystery that adds a new book to the Crochet Mystery series about Molly Pink and her friends. They are interested in getting people hooked on crochet at the annual show, but this is the first year the knitting show has allowed crocheters - and when its organizer is found dead in her hotel suite, suspicion falls upon a member of the crochet group when a hook is found at the murder scene. Molly's investigation to clear her friend's name results in some unusual twists of plot in this appealing needlework crime account.

The Shaman and the Mafia
Elizabeth Upton
Twin Star/Santa Barbara Press
9780972272155, $14.99,

The Shaman and the Mafia presents one Marietta Collins, who finds herself unexpectedly immersed in two dilemmas: the murder of her close friend, and a torrid love affair. Marietta is a former nun, head of a youth rehab center, and is trying to reduce community crime when the brother of an FBI assistant director is killed. As Marietta finds herself attracted to the investigator, they both find their worlds challenged by events that will ultimately determine their destinies in a tale that leads from murder to the mafia, a shaman, and more. Not your usual crime thriller, this will appeal to any who want more than a touch of romance between unusual protagonists.

The Education Shelf

The Inclusive Toolbox
Jennifer A. Kurth and Megan Gross
Corwin Press, Inc.
2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320-2218
9781483344157, $29.00,

The Inclusive Toolbox: Strategies and Techniques for All Teachers provides powerful tools to incorporate the ideas and approaches of inclusion in an education program, and is a recommendation for any who would design and use such practices in their classrooms. The approach is simple - to design programs that each all students equally - and provides resources based on real-world strategies and applications. From step-by-step approaches to new programs to expanding existing inclusion programs and assessing student impact, this is a workbook packed with resources and techniques teachers will find specific and invaluable.

Grammar Matters
Lynne Dorfman and Diane Dougherty
Stenhouse Publishers
480 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101-3451
9781571109910, $24.00,

Grades K-6 are the focus of this educational text which covers the basics of using mentor texts to explore grammar, appealing to teachers who want tips on how to teach grammar in everyday classroom settings. It's divided into four parts - Narrative Writing, Informational Writing, Opinion Writing, and grammar Conversations - and includes practical teaching tips, assessment ideas, grammar definitions, and conversations that teach how to create or revise lesson plans to include the basics of grammar. From the best fiction and nonfiction books that fit into this approach to appendixes packed with resources on homophones, mentor texts and more, this is a 'must' for any teacher looking to blend basic grammar instruction with Common Core State Standards and lessons that 'stick'.

The K&W Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning Differences, twelfth edition
Marybeth Kravets, MA and Imy F. Wax, MS
Princeton Review
c/o Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
9780804125574, $29.99,

The twelfth updated edition of The K&W Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning Differences profiles well over three hundred schools with services for students with ADHD or learning disabilities, and offers in-depth information not only on their educational programs and how to apply, but what kinds of in-school support systems are available. Chapters range from advice on how to move into the college environment to how to help students locate the best college match, with profiles including both colleges that specialize in such services and those who offer them as an adjunct to their regular programs. The result is a powerful guide that covers everything from taking the SAT, ACT and other tests to understanding the admissions process.

Wikipedia U
Thomas Leitch
Johns Hopkins University Press
2715 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218-4363
9781421415352, $29.95,

Wikipedia U: Knowledge, Authority, and Liberal Education in the Digital Age argues that assumptions critics make about the accuracy and authority of Wikipedia (a crowd-sourced encyclopedia) are often unfounded. Wikipedia's methods and constant revisions of fact actually reflect what happens in research circles as sources are authenticated and studies are conducted. This book considers the nature of knowledge, its authority, and its new challenges in the age of the internet, and considers its role behind liberal education processes as a whole. The result is a fine study that should be in any college-level collection.

A Whole New Engineer
David E. Goldberg, Mark Somerville, Catherine Whitney
c/o Big Beacon
PO Box 699, Douglas, MI 49406 USA
9780986080005, $27.95,

A Whole New Engineer: The Coming Revolution in Engineering Education tells of the small startup Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Massachusetts, which aspired to become a beacon of engineering education everywhere, and a pilot program at the University of Illinois designed to change their engineering program. Both programs ultimately succeeded - but their findings on engineering education and how it works offer discoveries certain to change the future of the discipline. From how engineers educated in narrow constrains work to how changing 'technologies of trust' can promote better academic changes and education, this isn't just a survey of engineering educational processes, but a vision of where they can go. The result is a powerful, unique, and highly-recommended study for any advanced education collection.

How We Learn
Benedict Carey
Random House
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780812993882, $27.00,

How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens is based on the author's two decades of reporting in cognitive science, and explores what is known about learning and memory processes today, and how this information and lead to better learning routines. It considers ideas and concepts about memory, 'spam filters', study rituals, and myths of testing and distractions, using the latest science to support facts as unusual as how sleeping is actually important to absorbing information. Chapters provide educators, students, and any involved in the learning process with specific insights that pair research with new learning approaches, making this a lively discussion accessible to lay audiences and professionals alike.

First Steps to Preschool Inclusion
Sarika Gupta, PhD
Brookes Publishing Company
PO Box 10624, Baltimore, MD 21285-0624
9781598572520, $34.95,

First Steps to Preschool Inclusion is for any educator interested in the concept of preschool inclusion but uncertain of the process, and provides a basic introduction on how to launch a successful inclusive early childhood program. Any involved in early childhood education will find it packed with details that uses the latest brain-based research on how children learn to discuss common barriers to inclusion. From translating concept to classroom and assessing a program's ability to make the leap into inclusion to understanding federal laws, parent and teacher participation and concerns, and how inclusion works in a program structure, this dispels myths and offers a focus on realities of inclusive educational processes. A 'must' for any early childhood educator.

The Music Shelf

The Crisis of Classical Music in America
Robert Freeman
Rowman & Littlefield
4501 Forbes Blvd., Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
9781442233027, $45.00,

Any involved in music or music education will find fascinating and revealing this survey revealing how an overabundance of classically-trained musicians in America is causing employment issues for all. It considers the underlying causes of the dilemma, maintains that music schools need to include wider education if they are to succeed in changing the poor results for classically-trained musicians after graduation, and it considers a range of reforms in education. This could also have been featured in our Education Shelf, but is being reviewed here because no musician should miss its message.

Rock Star
David R. Shumway
Johns Hopkins University Press
2715 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218-4363
9781421313921, $29.95,

ROCK STAR: THE MAKING OF MUSICAL ICONS FROM ELVIS TO SPRINGSTEEN provides a fine introduction to the arena of being a rock star, and considers the careers and lasting impact of seven selected rock stars, from Presley and James Brown to Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Springsteen. It considers the evolution of the rock star figure as a cultural icon, it follows movies, media exposure, and how rock stars replaced movie stars as cultural heroes, and it blends social and political insights in a coverage that will appeal both to music readers and college-level audiences who follow social and cultural trends. This makes for a much wider-ranging survey than your typical music book can offer.

Cold Sweat
Yamma Brown with Robin Gaby Fisher
Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9781883052850, $24.95,

COLD SWEAT: MY FATHER JAMES BROWN AND ME comes from the daughter of a global soul star and tells of how James Brown's complicated musical career created an unusual childhood that challenged Yamma Brown at every turn. Her insights on celebrities, issues of domestic violence at home, and family life that eventually leaked into her own abusive marriage makes for a gripping story that is much more than a celebrity autobiography, but a discussion of how women follow patterns that ensnare them in dangerous relationships despite their perceptions that they won't fall into the same trap. Her struggles make for a gripping read; and while the likely readers of COLD SWEAT will be fans of James Brown, this audience will come away with truly gripping insights on domestic violence and its aftermath.

Gil Scott-Heron: Pieces of a Man
Marcus Baram
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250012784, $26.99,

Gil Scott-Heron: Pieces of a Man provides the first in-depth biography of the musician and combines insights from friends, family and Scott-Heron himself with discussions of the evolution of counterculture protest music. Scott-Heron struggled with personal demons and addiction - which eventually killed him in 2011 - but the roots of his musical prowess and political insights are what fueled his unique brand of social musical commentary. This traces all aspects of his personality and evolution and links it to his musical achievements, making for a powerful survey recommended for any popular music history holding.

Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin
David Ritz
Little, Brown & Company
c/o Hachette Book Group
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780316196833, $30.00,

Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin offers a powerful biography of the singer and is a 'must' for any interested in Franklin's life and times. It uses exclusive interviews with her closest family and friends and follows the highs and lows of both her life and career, from how she became known as the Queen of Soul to her personal tragedies. Aretha's personal highs and lows often mirrored her seesaw career; this book tells why, analyzing her business associations and challenges. The writing is vivid, the references authoritative, and the music industry insights compelling, making this a 'must' for any popular music history collection.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

George R.R. Martin & Melinda M. Snodgrass
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765331953, $25.99,

Lowball provides a fine 'Wild Cards' novel and is set in a new universe created by Martin in a collection edited by Martin and Snodgrass. The Wild Cards series addition features original fiction by a number of names from Walter John Williams to David D. Levine, and adds to a series originally created some twenty years ago by Martin and a group of New Mexico authors. Decades after an alien virus changes mankind, a surviving population in Manhattan struggles with their new abilities and a changed world. Aces, jokers, and more permeate a powerful collection of misfits and high-stakes gambles in this compelling universe.

Harry Potter: The Creature Vault
Jody Revenson
Harper Design
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062374233, $45.00,

Harry Potter: The Creature Vault is the first book to focus on the creatures featured in the Harry Potter films, and is a recommendation for any Potter fan who wants a special focus on these magical animals. It comes in a purple leatherette binding and is packed with photos of the creatures, discussions of the concept art, behind-the-scenes shots and more. A 'must' for any who want a specific focus to add to a growing Potter reference collection.

1636: The Viennese Waltz
Eric Flint, Paul Goodlett & Gorg Huff
Baen Books
PO Box 1188, Wake Forest NC 27588
9781476736871, $25.00,

1636: The Viennese Waltz adds to the 1636 alternate history series and is especially recommended for prior fans of the series as it considers a toppling empire, the influence of West Virginia hillbillies and financiers in the form of teen American girls taking advantage of the Ring of Fire's opportunities, and a world changed by an uncertain emperor. It's an ongoing clash between cultures and worlds as two universes collide, and it's a powerful dance between disparate forces in a novel that injects military sci-fi with a sense of alternate history and timeslip experience for maximum drama and tension.

The Turning Season
Sharon Shinn
Ace Books
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780425261699, $25.95,

The Turning Season introduces Karadel, a shapeshifter who has no control of what she turns into, or when. She's built her life as a rural veterinarian but only longs to be normal - until a murder injects new controversy and angst into her already-turbulent life. Now she's investigating a killer AND desperately trying to gain control over her shapeshifting abilities. And what evolves is a story where the things she curses is the thing that may ultimately save her. A powerful story with satisfying twists and turns evolves.

The Travel Shelf

Best in Travel 2015
Lonely Planet Publications
150 Linden Street, Oakland CA 94607
9781743603628, $14.99,

Lonely Planet's BEST IN TRAVEL 2015 is a 'must' for any independent traveler with wanderlust who wants a quick digest of the best places to see in the world, and why. Colorful discussions of what makes each destination a top pick covers little-known areas of the world and places that have largely been bypassed by the crowds. This isn't to say, however, that they are primitive and backward - or necessarily entirely unknown. Vienna, for example, is included on one list, along with Burkina Faso and Argentina. Chapters offer different focuses on atmosphere and rate countries by different approach, so there's plenty of variety and much to love, whether you're an armchair traveler or, more likely, a destination-oriented reader looking for tips on where to go.

Mexico City
Julie Doherty Meade
Moon Handbooks
c/o Avalon Travel
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781612388267, $19.99,

MEXICO CITY is presented as a take-along tote perfect for pocket consultation, and comes from an author who has lived as an expat in Mexico City. Her insider's perspective lends to a more complete coverage than most as she explores both the usual tourist areas and parts of the city accessible to tourists, from neighborhoods and nightlife to day trips around the city. Color photos and highlighted pages of destination-oriented information pack a travel guide filled with colorful options and candid assessments, all presented in a form that travelers will find accessible for quick consultation.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Herbal Antivirals
Stephen Harrod Buhner
Storey Publishing
210 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247
9781612121604, $24.95,

Herbal Antivirals discusses the basics of using herbs to fight viruses, even those which are mutating and becoming resistant to antiviral pharmaceuticals, and discusses the plants that have proven most effective in fighting viral infections in particular. This doesn't just identify plants: it provides detailed directions on how to prepare them and formulas for success, showing how herbs may be used to boost immunity and fight viruses. These specific instructions make for a powerful survey that's a 'must' for any alternative health and healing collection.

200 Surefire Ways to Eat Well & Feel Better
Dr. Judith Rodriguez
Fair Winds Press
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781592336531, $19.99,

200 Surefire Ways to Eat Well & Feel Better provides a book that eschews the usual diet in favor of promoting healthy choices in eating and lifestyle changes, and is written by a registered dietician and nutritionist who works with a team of professionals to focus on the small steps that lead to greater changes. From secrets on how to cut calories and stay in shape to meal planning techniques and handling restaurants, this is packed with a wealth of health ideas centered around adjusting food and lifestyle choices.

Prescribing Scenarios at a Glance
Emma Baker,
Wiley Blackwell
350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148
9781118570869, www.wiley/com/go/medicine

Prescribing Scenarios at a Glance comes backed by the power of website, key code, and references that create a resource allowing med students and junior doctors to safely prescribe while learning. It compiles fifty acute and on-call scenarios in a hospital setting that link to issuing a prescription, reviewing therapy and understanding drug interactions, it uses case scenarios and mock drug charts to teach the basics of prescribing, and is a powerful companion to building these skills. With its in-depth coverage, this is a 'must' for any medical student.

Emergency Medical Responder, fifth edition
Andrew N. Pollak, MD, FAAOS
Jones & Bartlett Learning
5 Wall Street, Burlington, MA 01803
9781449693008, $115.95,

Emergency Medical Responder: Your First Response in Emergency Care is based on the new National EMDS Education Standards and is a 'must' for any who would take EMR training. It covers all kinds of scenarios and provides a foundation in the basics with reinforcing lessons and exercises to assure the process of medical and trauma treatment are understood as they apply in the field. Each chapter includes four independent case studies that let students test their knowledge, while online support systems help students prepare for the test and absorb these basics. The result will undoubtedly be a go-to text for any student involved in emergency training courses.

The Autism Shelf

Tessie Regan
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
9781849057615, $15.95,

Shorts provides a collection of short stories, poems, and illustrations - so why isn't it in our Literary Shelf section? Simple: because it's all about observations capturing the emotions of Aspergers, alcohol addiction, and mental conditions and it's devoted to stories about Asperger and God alike. This collection is easy to digest, easy on the eye, and easy on the heart. It's a powerful way of absorbing the Aspergers experience and thus is a pick for any health collection.

The Autism Spectrum, Sexuality and the Law
Tony Attwood,
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
9781849059190, $29.95,

The Autism Spectrum, Sexuality and the Law: What Every Parent and Professional Needs to Know deserves ongoing recommendation as a 'must' reference for any interested in the issues surrounding ASD disorders and sexuality issues, and considers everything from how sexual development differs in ASD individuals to legal ramifications and various issues. Legal case histories accompany discussions of parents and others involved in ASD court confrontations, making for a vivid set of examples recommended for any interested in ASD issues and social systems.

The American History Shelf

Star-Spangled Banner
Marc Ferris
Johns Hopkins University Press
2715 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218-4363
9781421415185, $24.95,

Star-Spangled Banner covers the national anthem of the U.S. and gathers all the facts about its history, from why Congress made it the national anthem over a century after Francis Scott Key wrote it to how the song evolved, formed connections to American history, myth and culture, and how rituals surrounding the song - such as removing one's hat - evolved. With its in-depth details not only about the making of the song but its incorporation into American history and lives, this is a powerful pick for any interested in American or musical history.

Kalamazoo Gals
John Thomas
American History Press
404 Locust Street, Staunton, Virginia, 24401-3353
9780983082781, $21.95,

Kalamazoo Gals: A Story of Extraordinary Women & Gibson's "Banner" Guitars of WWII is recommended reading for a range of collections, from women's history and music to World War II and American history. It begins with a photo of a large group of women in front of the Gibson Guitar factory in the mid-1940s - a puzzling mystery that led author John Thomas to find out what he could about Gibson's all-female workforce and a story that began in 1942 and ended at the close of 1945. The author's journey to uncover facts about Orville Gibson and his work introduced him to the bigger picture of the women of Kalamazoo and their experiences from the Depression to the War. The result is a powerful saga that is packed with historical links and rare glimpses of a guitar maker and a war, and a group of women whose jobs changed lives.

Embattled Rebel
James M. McPherson
The Penguin Press
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10014
9781593204975, $32.95,

Embattled Rebel: Jefferson Davis as Commander in Chief argues that in order to understand the Civil War, Davis must be analyzed as a military leader and the president of an aspiring Confederate nation. The author argues that Davis shaped the policies of the Confederacy in the course of shaping early military strategy and was a committed leader to the cause who actually - contrary to popular analysis - was not responsible for losing the war. His influence on the purposes, contentions and process of the Confederate mindset was critical to events that ultimately shaped America. The result is a survey that goes beyond the usual focus on Davis' failures to consider his revolutionary approaches to military strategy and change: a powerful survey highly recommended for military and American history collections alike!

Healy's West: The Life and Times of John J. Healy
Gordon E. Tolton
Mountain Press Publishing Company
PO Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806
9780878426348, $20.00,

Healy's West: The Life and Times of John J. Healy offers the most complete biography of late 1800s Western figure Healy to appear in print, and is a 'must' for Western U.S. history collections. Healy's colorful life helped influence frontier events: he traded with Indians, was involved in frontier politics, hunted down rustlers, and met governments, Native Americans and contemporaries with equal daring. He was controversial, he led a wild and adventurous life, and his stories read like fiction but are backed with much historical research, making Healy's West a recommendation for any collection strong in American history.

The World History Shelf

Medieval People
Michael Prestwich
Thames & Hudson
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110-0017
9780500252031, $40.00,

MEDIEVAL PEOPLE; VIVID LIVES IN A DISTANT LANDSCAPE is a recommendation for college-level readers of Medieval history and uses the biographies of some of the most powerful personalities of the times to bring to life not just seventy selected individuals across Europe and the Middle East, but the world in which they lived. From scholars and artists to monarchs and travelers, all come together in a book that depicts how worlds rose and fall, how cultures were challenged to change, and how they viewed their world. Plenty of history books have covered Medieval times; few assume the intimacy and insights of MEDIEVAL PEOPLE, which is a tribute to its unique approach and presentation.

The Sports Shelf

Delavier's Women's Strength Training Anatomy Workouts
Frederic Delavier and Michael Gundill
Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.
PO Box 5076, Champaign, IL 61820-5076
9781450466035, $19.95,

Delavier's Women's Strength Training Anatomy Workouts provides women with an illustrated guide to toning, shaping, and workouts, and is a collection pairing exercises with anatomy specific to women's strength training objectives. Nearly three hundred color illustrations allow 'inside views' of over 150 exercises and variations, accompanying programs presented for specific goals. The step-by-step directions and supporting anatomical illustration assures that these strength training guidelines will be thoroughly understood.

The Martial Arts Shelf

Tai Chi Chin Na: The Seizing Art of Tai Chi Chuan
Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming
YMAA Publications
PO Box 480, Wolfeboro, NH 03894-0480
9781594393075, $26.95,

Tai Chi Chin Na: The Seizing Art of Tai Chi Chuan provides a newly revised book directed to students who want to move into chin na training - one of the four categories required in a traditional martial art practice. Chin na techniques have been taught since the beginning of Chinese martial arts: this book provides a practical approach to learning the discipline quickly, offering some 900 photos and illustrations accompanied by motion arrows and discussions of both general and specific concepts. The result is a solid pick for any martial arts collection.

The Christian Studies Shelf

Kingdom Conspiracy
Scot McKnight
Brazos Press
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton, Ada, MI 49301
9781587433603, $21.99,

Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church considers the concept of "kingdom" as a biblical term misunderstood by Christians, and considers a different and radical vision for the role of the local church in realizing the kingdom of God. It provides an inspirational vision of the church and its purposes, criticizes those who have misused the term 'kingdom' and failed to equate it to social action, and offers a Christian perspective on the nature of Kingdom and its arguments. The result is a powerful survey highly recommended for any who would understand the nature and purpose of Kingdom in the biblical and social sense.

Compassion Without Compromise
Adam T. Barr and Ron Citlau
Bethany House Publishers
11400 Hampshire Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55438
9780764212406, $12.99,

Any Christian who wants a good, solid discussion of homosexuality and Biblical interpretations and insights will find this solid survey comes from two pastors who consider how to think about and discuss this issue. It tells of author Ron's journey from same-sex attraction to spiritual insight and the subtitle says it all: 'How the Gospel Frees Us to Love our Gay Friends Without Losing the Truth'. Books that offer compromise on this subject are always appealing and too few and far between, making this a winner.

Against the Gods
John D. Currio
Crossway Books
1300 Crescent Street, Wheaton, IL 60187
9781433531835, $17.99,

Against the Gods: The Polemical Theology of the Old Testament is a 'must' for any Old Testament scholar and provides a succinct yet solid examination of how Old Testament writers used ideas from other sources. It comes from a scholar and archaeologist who discusses controversial topics pertaining to biblical text and other Near Eastern documents, and it cites historic events based on archaeological evidence and early theological writings. Any collection strong in theological discussions will find this a solid reference!

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

Harness Astrology's Bad Boy
Hazen Dixon-Cooper and Bridgett Walther
Beyond Words/Atria Books
c/o Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
9781582704555, $16.00,

Harness Astrology's Bad Boy tells of Pluto and how vast changes were caused the last time Pluto and Capricorn tangled, which was when the revolutionary war hit America. Astrologers Dixon-Cooper and Walther here consider the history of Pluto's power and how to use it to change life, and provides a powerful survey narrowly focused on the Pluto-Capricorn dilemma. Chapters provide a fine read as they consider not just astrological concepts, but how to use them to personal advantage.

The Children of Now... Evolution
Meg Blackburn Losey, PhD
Weiser Publishers
c/o Red Wheel/Weiser/Conari
65 Parker Avenue, Suite 7, Newburyport, MA 01950
9781578635658, $16.95,

The Children of Now... Evolution: How We can Support the Fast-Forward Evolution of Our Children and All of Humanity considers the children born into this world with exceptional gifts, first introduced as the Indigo Children and, after generations, as Crystalline children or star children. This followup to her The Children of Now presents Meg Losey's ongoing examination of these children and their evolutionary process, and links their development to autism, ADD, and more. It considers everything from vaccine dangers and food contaminants to our species as a whole is failing these special children, and it considers how the kids are changing society for the good. New age collections will find this a thought provoking read, especially recommended for prior readers already familiar with Losey's ideas.

Living Beyond the Five Senses
Teresa L. DeCicco, PhD
Divine Arts Media
12400 Ventura Blvd., #1111, Studio City, CA 91604
9781611250312, $16.95,

Living Beyond the Five Senses: The Emergence of a Spiritual Being offers a handbook and guide to the next evolutionary phase of human development, and examines how major changes portend the first signs of this transition. It comes from a spiritual psychologist and expert in the field of dreams, and it considers spiritual modifications, the intolerance of negative thoughts and feelings, making connections between physical and spiritual fluctuations, and more. Any interested in changing psychological and spiritual worlds will find this an absorbing study.

Voices of the Sacred Feminine
Rev. Dr. Karen Tate, Editor
Change Makers Books
c/o John Hunt Publishing, Ltd.
Laurel House, Station Approach, Alresford, Hants, SO24 9JH, UK
9781782795100, $24.95,

Voices of the Sacred Feminine: Conversations to Re-Shape Our World raises questions about the Sacred Feminine's role as deity and ideal, and stems from the author's internet radio show which considers the basics of sacred feminine theology and visions and its role in reshaping the world. Contributors to this discussion range from Noam Chomsky and Matthew Fox to Shinoda Bolen and Starhawk - well known names in spiritual and contemporary philosophical circles alike - and provide an intriguing discourse on the images of God and the sacred feminine. The result is a survey that belongs in new age and women's history holdings alike.

Freedom and Resolve
Hampton Roads Publishing Company
65 Parker St., Ste. 7, Newburyport, MA 01950
9781571747211, $14.95,

Freedom and Resolve: Finding Your True Home in the Universe promotes no particular religion or philosophy, and new age readers won't find anything about rituals here. But, it is an alternative spiritual reflection that invites the reader to question one's self and place in the universe - and it offers a series of admonitions and exercises to encourage the process of 'waking up'. Chapters consider how the mind holds on and how it resists, the real sources of confusing and getting lost, and how to understand one's separateness and overcome fear. The result is a powerful yet simple discourse that encourages readers to a path of quiet contemplation, self-analysis, and change.

The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook
Caitlin Matthews
Destiny Books
c/o Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
9781620553251, $19.95,

The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards has been updated for modern times and includes a complete guide to Lenormand card reading and the multiple meanings for each card. From how to lay spreads from the easiest to those which eventually use all 36 cards to how cards in combination can change meanings, this teaches the basics of the Lenormand card keywords and interpretation methods, and offers card readers practice exercises, tests, and more. Any using these cards will find this a complete key to understanding.

The Art Shelf

Knowledge is Beautiful
David McCancless
Harper Design
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062188229, $30.00,

Knowledge is Beautiful provides a fine visual collection of nearly two hundred infogaphics and visualizations, taking information and using it to create visually appealing displays of information which skirt the border of art and data. Computer users and graphic artists will be just a few of the likely followers of this book, which focuses on visualized data and provides full pages of colorful examples of everything from a graphic of 'Superpower Showdown' between China, EU, India and the USA to one portraying the top 500 passwords in visual format. The result is a powerful survey packed with detailed visuals perfect for any interested in how data is visually represented and reinforced.

Arts & Crafts
Judith Miller
Millers/Mitchell Beazley
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9781845339432, $39.99,

ARTS & CRAFTS: LIVING WITH THE ARTS & CRAFTS STYLE explores a powerful design movement that began in the late 19th century and continues to this day, and comes from one of the best-known names in antiques to display some 1,000 high-quality photos on the arts and crafts style and its evolution. Don't expect this to focus on interior design alone: this includes furniture, jewelry, textiles, books and more, along with profiles of key designers of the movement, a pictorial design directory, collector information such as prices, and much more. The result is an outstanding survey recommended for arts and collectors alike.

Strokes of Genius 6
Rachel Rubin Wolf
North Light Books
c/o F+W Media
700 East State Street, Iola WI 54945
9781440330391, $35.00,

Strokes of Genius 6: The Best of Drawing covers value, lights and darks and is a recommended far beyond the usual 'how to draw' crafts collection. It appears in an oversized presentation and explores the nature and appearance of value in drawing efforts, using numerous full-page, oversized examples from art to display the points where light and value can build complexity. Some 144 drawings from over a hundred artists are rendered in charcoal, pencil, pastel and pen and ink and represent a wide range of styles, while comments from the artists offer insights on the process which are not easily uncovered elsewhere. The result is an outstanding survey whether or not the reader's a practicing artist, offering insights on the process of handling values in color and black and white alike.

The Genealogy Shelf

The Surnames of Wales
John & Sheila Rowlands
Genealogical Publishing Company
3600 Clipper Mill Road, Suite 260, Baltimore, MD 21211
9780806319971, $39.95,

The updated, expanded version of THE SURNAMES OF WALES provides historians with a powerful revision of a 1996 classic, which has been considered an indispensable guide to the field. It uses evidence taken from a survey involving over 270,000 surnames found in parish records throughout Wales, and has been extended to cover given names. The result is a powerful key to conducting family research that packs in maps, history, and insights on how family names were formed. Highly recommended for any interested in Welsh history and culture in general and surnames in particular!

The Needlecraft Shelf

Red, White & Quilted
Linda Baxter Lasco
AQS Publishing
c/o American Quilter's Society
PO Box 3290, Paducah, KY 42002-3290
978160601688, $22.95,

Red, White & Quilted takes a private collection of antique red-and-white quilts, creates 12 traditional patterns based on these quilts, and uses modern quiltmaking techniques in the process of exploring how traditional patterns can translate to contemporary new fresh images. Complete instructions are provided with each pattern, while projects range from full quilts to wall hangings. Whatever the desire, there's a wealth of quilting ideas here that makes this a top pick for needleworkers looking for new inspiration from old designs.

Vintage Vibe
Amber Johnson
19021 Avenue NE, Bothell, WA 98011
9781604684117, $24.99,

Vintage Vibe: Traditional Quilts, Fresh Fabrics comes from a quilt designer and blogger who provides vintage projects that blend in touches of the modern. Some fourteen patterns incorporate ideas for fabrics, quilting designs, applique approaches and more, showing how to mix the best of both worlds. There are large and small color photos and illustrations of the entire process for each quilt, there are at-a-glance materials lists and cutting reviews accessible to all levels of quilter, and most of all, there's attention to discussion elements of traditional and modern quilting styles which will delight any seeking to produce a memorable quilt.

The Crafts Shelf

The Art of Mistakes
Melanie Rothschild
North Light Books
c/o F+W Media
700 East State Street, Iola WI 54945
9781440311710, $24.99,

The Art of Mistakes: Unexpected Painting Techniques & the Practice of Creative Thinking links artistic and crafts endeavors with insights into brain power, and comes from a self-taught artist who decided to take a standard art class, and was amazed at the difference between traditional instruction and her own independent artistic efforts. Her book blends anecdotes with exercises and quotes about painting and self-taught merits, and provides a fine guide that includes 16 painting techniques and their link to creative thinking processes. The result is a recommendation for any artist who wants insights on how independent learning works.

The Handmade Skateboard
Matt Berger
Spring House Press
9781940611068, $24.95,

The Handmade Skateboard: Design & Build a Custom Longboard, Cruiser, or Street Deck from Scratch is a fun, unique pick for any woodworker who holds an affection for skateboards, and offers up a definitive book that incorporates not just construction methods, but tips on its history and design. Step-by-step directions for building five skateboards make this a pick for crafts collections, but its in-depth history and profiles of top contemporary skateboard makers also makes this a recommendation for any sports collection. Black and white drawings, color photos, and an inviting format make this a winning addition to any woodworker's library.

The Biography Shelf

American Titan
Marc Eliot
Dey Street
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062269003, $28.99,

AMERICAN TITAN: SEARCHING FOR JOHN WAYNE analyzes the life and achievements of one of the most popular - and misunderstood - movie icons in history, and offers a unique revisionist view of Wayne's complicated persona and achievements. It's published to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Stagecoach in 1939, Wayne's first famous film, and examines his works and how the films reflected his life and beliefs. Any who would better understand John Wayne's roots and purposes will find this a powerful film-by-film analysis of his career and many achievements.

My Best Friend's Funeral: A Memoir
Roger Thompson
Thomas Nelson Publishers
PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214
9781400206131, $16.99,

My Best Friend's Funeral: A Memoir is a story of a lifelong friendship begin between teens and ended early, twenty years later, when the author found himself writing an eulogy for his friend's funeral which turned into the impetus for this book, and it's a pick for any reader of memoirs celebrating friendships. It's about the development of faith, the premature death of a best friend and business partner, and 1980s California culture, all bound up in a celebration of time, place, and people. It's replete with poignant moments, humorous observations, and fine writing that brings the entire package to life, and it's a standout among memoirs, promising a gentle, evocative experience to any who would partake.

Hope: Entertainer of the Century
Richard Zoglin
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
97814139140277, $30.00,

Hope: Entertainer of the Century provides a fine biography of Bib Hope and can easily be considered a definitive survey that includes not only the usual biographical materials on his life, but insights into how his beliefs and approach to life changed worlds as well as his career. His success wasn't limited to one area: he conquered every major mass-entertainment medium of his times, from radio and TV to live stage and even vaudeville. So, it's surprising to note that this is the first biography to consider the extent of his achievements, packing under one cover a history of how Hope's business and entertainment talents worked. From private to public life, this extensive coverage was produced with the cooperation of the Hope family who gave him access to all of his papers, and through interviews with nearly all still alive who ever worked with Hope. It's easy to see why this has already been labeled as 'definitive'.

The Fast Times of Albert Champion
Peter Joffre Nye
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781616149642, $26.00,

The Fast Times of Albert Champion: From Record-Setting Racer to Dashing Tycoon, An Untold Story of Speed, Success, and Betrayal is about American business, the founding of ACDelco and Champion Spark Plug by Albert Champion, and how a man rose from poverty in Paris to fame and wealth both in France and in the U.S. It's a unique survey that discusses the course of his achievements, from how he invested prize money to how his win in the French national cycling championship led to wealth and business savvy. Chapters survey his marketing approaches, his world, and how his love affairs finally resulted in his mysterious death, and almost read like a novel in their variety and inclusion of intrigue and mystique. Any interested in business biographies in general and Champion's achievements in particular will find this a vivid read.

The Cookbook Shelf

Debra Levy Picard
978061572465, $39.95,

Tastosterone: The Best Cookbook for Men is for male tastes and kitchen skills, and pairs some 100 easy recipes with discussions of kitchen tools, techniques, and how to make delicious dishes. Men of all ages learn the basics of cooking not just ordinary daily fare, but meals that are eye-catching and stomach-pleasing, and which look more complicated and classy than they are. Color photos by Stephan Lowy offer full-page photos of finished dishes and accompany a non-cook, male-friendly layout that places the ingredients and shopping lists on highlighted sidebars in good-sized print and the easy recipe on a single page. The inclusion of large-size print for easy kitchen handling should also be noted; something lacking in too many culinary books directed to novices. From Florida Stone Crabs to Bruschetta toppings for meats or breads, this is filled with enticing dishes classy enough for entertaining and simple enough for the non-cooking male to easily navigate. It should be noted that "Tastosterone" is also available in a Kindle edition ($14.99).

Seriously Delish
Jessica Merchant
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544176492, $29.99,

Seriously Delish comes from the creator of the popular food blog How Sweet Eats and adopts an unusual approach to the world of food: switching meal concepts around, turning tradition on end, and providing recipes that encourage regular meals and innovation alike. Thus, you won't find the usual omelets and eggs in her breakfast section (necessarily), but recipes that include ingredients which are hearty and accessible breakfast fare, such as Baked Breakfast Risotto and Breakfast Cookies. It may also sound complicated, but it's not: Merchant attends to meals that take comfort food and give it a simple twist, so while the recipes sound detailed, they're actually very accessible - especially when paired with color photos. The result is a fine survey of unusual fare recommended for its appeal factor as much as its nutrition.

Blue Chair Cooks with Jam & Marmalade
Rachel Saunders
Andrews McMeel Publishing
1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO 64106-2109
9781449427627, $45.00,

Blue Chair Cooks with Jam & Marmalade packs in well over a hundred recipes that doesn't just feature homemade jams, but uses them in a variety of dishes from omelets to meat and vegetables - and that's a satisfying difference, given how many jam and jelly cookbooks permeate the market that focus on making the product rather than using it. It shows how to blend jams into recipes savory and sweet, how to cook with them, and offers a range of dishes from soups to main courses, desserts, and even drinks. The result vastly expands the possibilities for making and using jams and should be on the shelves of any jam or jelly maker as the 'second step' to such production.

Comfort Food Cookbook
Karen K. Will, Editor
Voyageur Press
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9780760345788, $24.99,

Comfort Food Cookbook: 230 Recipes for Bringing Classic Good Food to the Table comes from the revered GRIT Magazine and its editor and blends personal stories with over two hundred tested recipes that bring traditional comfort food up to modern nutritional standards without sacrificing the flavors that billed it as 'comfort' in the first place. Favorite recipes are accompanied by guides for measuring, storing and entertaining and include some unique variations on a theme, from Oven-Fried Honey Chicken to Cheesy New Potatoes with Bacon and a Skillet Peach Cobbler. It's traditional food resurrected for modern cooks, it's fast, and it's tested: what's not to like?

Collecting Culinaria
Caroline Lieffers & Merrill Distad
University of Alberta Press
Ring House 2, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6G 2E1
9781551953243, $39.95,

Collecting Culinaria: Cookbooks and Domestic Manuals Mainly from the Linda Miron Distad Collection offers a wealth of images and history from the collection which ranges from manuscript images to cookbooks centered on food and health to early compilers such as Isabella Beeton whose tips and recipes became household standards, and The Cook Not Mad, which became the first English cookbook to be published in Canada in 1830. This magnificent cookbook history is a top pick for any culinary reference holding, offer plenty of visual interest and supplementing illustrations with history that will juxtapose nicely with any broader coverage.

Magic in a Shaker
Marvin J. Allen
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053-2246
9781455619894, $22.95,

Magic in a Shaker: A Year of Spirited Libations pairs lovely color photos by Ann Benoit with the story of a longtime bartender at New Orleans' Carousel Bar, and pairs recipes with history that lends an extra dash of flavor to a spicy New Orleans account. Cocktail fans will relish the specifics on how to create warm rum cocktails, martinis, and special cocktails, while any with an overall interest in either New Orleans or bartending will welcome a saga filled with history as well.

Fermented Vegetables
Kristen K. Shockey & Christopher Shockey
Storey Publishing
210 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247
9781612124254, $24.95,

Lacto-fermentation is a classic preserving method that is involved in making sourkraut, pickles, and various fermented condiments - but this offers insights on how to ferment over sixty vegetables, herbs, and some fruits, and accompanies these techniques with recipes for using the fermented products. Chutneys, relishes, pickles and krauts can be made in a crock or a pickle jar using a minimum of specialty ingredients. It's surprisingly easy to produce these fermented products, and their health benefits are significant. While some other cookbooks focus on pickle-making, none offer the depth of this survey of fermented products and their use, making this a top pick for any interested in making and working with such products.

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

The Great Grammar Book
Marsha Sramek
Arch Press LLC
27 Innsbrook Road, Asheville, NC 28804 USA
9780984115725, $24.95,

The Great Grammar Book is a top recommendation over other grammar books for several reasons: its format is nicely arranged and logical, grammatical rules are reinforced by over 2,000 sentences in over a hundred practice sessions, and the entire layout and presentation are designed to be entertaining as well as education - which means that information is more likely to be retained. It presents a detailed diagnostic test to identify the user's particular grammar problem areas, it explains only what's needed and avoids flooding readers with too much technical information, and it reinforces concepts with writing exercises designed to improve one's sentences. The result is a powerful and highly recommended pick for any seeking to improve their writing.

The Literary Studies Shelf

A Little Tour Through European Poetry
John Taylor
Transaction Publishers
10 Corporate Place South, Piscataway, NJ 08854
9781412854832, $34.95,

A Little Tour Through European Poetry offers college-level literary readers a sequel to Taylor's previous volume Into the Heart of European Poetry, and expands the theme to include more poets and discussions of the author's personal experience and travels as he surveys the origins of their works. Poetry of the Czech Republic, Denmark, Lithuania, Rumania and other countries were missing from the first discussion and are included here, with chapters enhanced by the author's own ability to read many languages fluently. The result is a fine survey highly recommended for any pursuing European poetry's roots.

The Antiques/Collectibles Shelf

100 Greatest U.S. Modern Coins, third edition
Scott Schechter and Jeff Garrett
Whitman Publishing
4001 Helton Drive, Florence, Alabama, 35630
9780794842352, $29.95,

This third updated edition of a lovely illustrated coin book is a top recommendation for any interested in collecting, and gathers some one hundred coins ranked by the authors and leading coin dealers and researchers as being among the top coins on the market, and is a pick for any collector who wants high-quality images of seldom-seen rare issues and pieces. It doesn't include illegal coins, but it does include coins that are scarce or which saw poor distribution. With its oversized presentation, full-page, large-size close-up images, and lovely presentation, this is a fine guide for any collector interested in learning more about market rarities.

The Photography Shelf

Group f.64
Mary Street Alinder
Bloomsbury Press
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 315, New York, NY 10010
9781620455550, $35.00,

Group f.64: Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, and the Community of Artists Who Revolutionized American Photography ells of a group of artists first identified in a 1932 exhibition who joined together bonded by art and their shared philosophies, and together produced works that challenged the dominant style of Pictorialism of the time. The members believed photography should be defined as its own art through its own strengths: the f.64 movement was revolutionary thinking in 1932, and even today is influencing modern photography, and this book captures its origins, sentiments, and beliefs in a 'must' for any collection strong in photography history.

Underwater Photography
Tobias Friedrich
Rocky Nook
802 East Cota Street, 3rd Floor, Santa Barbara, CA 93103
9781937538521, $39.95,

Underwater Photography is a specific recommendation for any relatively new to the idea, who would choose the right equipment and approach a range of methods for capturing and editing underwater images. It teaches the basics of how to create amazing underwater images and how to process them, using case studies and color examples throughout from the author's own images and approaches. Accompanying the technical photo discussion are images from driving spots around the world, and tips that can apply to beginning and intermediate underwater photographers alike. Pair gorgeous close-ups and surprising images with exact specifics on how they were achieved and you have a winner for divers, photographers, and general-interest sea world enthusiasts alike.

Lighting & Design for Portrait Photography
Neil van Niekerk
Amherst Media, Inc.
175 Rano Street, Suite 200, Buffalo, NY 14207-2176
9781608958153, $34.95,

Lighting & Design for Portrait Photography: Direction & Quality of Light offers basic approaches to lighting with a 'foolproof' focus that shows how to mix different lighting techniques for optimum results. It provides some sixty unique portrait situations, provides step-by-step coverage exploring the process of handling lighting challenges, and it teaches how to use both ambient and artificial light modifiers for best results given not only lighting conditions, but subjects. With its insights on various forms of lighting and portraiture, this is perfect for photographers who are just venturing into the area of controlled lighting.

The Business Shelf

The B Corp Handbook
Ryan Honeyman
Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.
1333 Broadway, Suite 1000, Oakland CA, 94612
9781626560437, $22.95,

The B Corp Handbook: How to Use Business as a Force for Good should be on the shelves of any serious business book collection, and provides a fine guide outlining best practices and approaches of over 100 B Corporations, and comes from a B Corp owner who shows that business interests and positive social influences need not be at odds with one another. Chapters tell how to create a B Corp business, how to manage it, and how to join others in countries around the world. From branding to social improvements that begin at the corporate level and work out into society, this is a solid reference highly recommended for any who would form such an entity and use it to best advantage.

The Political Science Shelf

The Real Benghazi Story
Aaron Klein
WND Books
2020 Pennsylvania Ave NW, #351, Washington, DC 20006
9781936488865, $24.95,

The REAL Benghazi Story: What the White House and Hillary Don't Want You to Know is written as a political expose designed to expose issues relating to the September 11 attack that have been buried, and comes from an investigative journalist who considers such questions as what the U.S. was doing in Benghazi, Lybia, in 2012, why the military was ordered not to intervene in affairs, and more. The events in Benghazi laid the foundation for 9/11: this expose points out questions and considers answers that draw new connections and come from a veteran journalist's pen. Any interested in political affairs and influences will find this an intriguing story.

The California Shelf

Best of the California Coast
Ken McKowen & Dahlynn McKowen
Publishing Syndicate
9780982465424, $21.95,

California has more than 1,100 miles of coastline. The collaborative work of Ken and Dahlynn McKowen, "Best of the California Coast" is a 374 page compendium comprised of lively and easy-to-understand descriptions of California's diverse natural and cultural history, plus firsthand insider information about local, regional, state, and national parks, great museums, historic ships, and more! An ideal planning guide for a short hike, a bird-watching adventure, encounters with elephant seals, a camping trip, or an extended vacation along California's 1,100-mile coastline, this thoroughly 'user friendly' and detailed reference will quickly lead the reader to the best of the best of what California's coast line has to offer from towering redwoods and migrating gray whales to world-class museums, to fascinating historic sites and great surfing beaches. Enhanced with an informative overview of California's tumultuous history, from Native Americans and Spanish missionaries to Russian trappers and the early Americans, "Best of the California Coast" also includes a look at the state's fascinating natural history from earthquakes and tsunamis to ancient forests and migrating birds. Featuring detailed descriptions of more than 300 primary destinations and 500 short descriptions of more special places to explore, and illustrated with more than 300 photographs and drawings, "Best of the California Coast" is also a primary source for contact and website information for hundreds of parks, museums, and more! If you are planning to take a trip along California's diverse coastline, then beginning planning your itinerary with a copy of Ken and Dahlynn McKowen's "Best of the California Coast"!

Pacific Ocean Park
Christopher Merritt & Domenic Priore
Process Media
1240 West Sims Way, #124, Port Townsend, WA 98368
9781934170526, $34.95, 264pp,

Pacific Ocean Park (or as it was commonly known in Los Angeles from the '50s through the '70s, P.O.P) was extraordinary in both its glamorous rise and spectacular fall. As a family-oriented attraction in the '50s with modernist-styled rides designed by Hollywood's best, P.O.P.'s attendance briefly surpassed that of Disneyland. Christopher Merritt and Domenic Priore's spectacular history includes hundreds of images, most of them unseen elsewhere, including original ride designs and illustrations, including Tiki-rich, space age, and nautical rides. P.O.P. was often widely seen in movies and television shows throughout the '60s. Its Cheetah auditorium hosted important early rock shows, including those by Ritchie Valens, The Doors, and Pink Floyd. P.O.P. was located at the dividing line between Santa Monica and Venice, the only spot during Prohibition-era Los Angeles where residents were allowed to dance and consort in a carnival-like atmosphere. "Pacific Ocean Park: The Rise and Fall of Los Angeles' Space Age Nautical Pleasure Pier" also backgrounds the infamous "Dogtown" of the '70s in which surfers took advantage of big waves that rolled through P.O.P.'s rotting piers near homeless junkies. Informed, informative, and profusely illustrated with captioned period photography throughout, "Pacific Ocean Park: The Rise and Fall of Los Angeles' Space Age Nautical Pleasure Pier" is a truly extraordinary history that is delightfully nostalgic to browse through for those who were able to experience P.O.P. themselves. "Pacific Ocean Park: The Rise and Fall of Los Angeles' Space Age Nautical Pleasure Pier" is a unique and highly recommended addition to personal, community, and academic library 20th Century California History collections.

Lagoon Time
Steven L. Swartz
Sunbelt Publications
1256 Fayette Street, El Cajon, CA 92020
9780916251420, $29.95,

Lagoon Time: A Guide to Gray Whales and the Natural History of San Ignacio Lagoon is packed with nearly three hundred images and nine maps, and offers California collections the first complete field guide to the gray whales of the San Ignacio Lagoon in Baja California. From the lagoon's history and appeal to the whale to descriptions of other wildlife to be found there, this outlines the plants, birds and mammals of the region and adds historical background on the 19th century whalers who operated there. The result is a combination natural and human history and field guide, highly recommended for any interested in whales, Baja California, or the region's diverse natural history.

Pynchon's California
Scott McClintock and John Miller
University of Iowa Press
119 West Park Road, Iowa City, IA 52242-1000
9781609382735, $45.00,

Pynchon's California: The New American Canon offers a fine work of literary criticism in an essay collection that groups Pynchon's three shortest novels together and considers them as a trilogy with common themes and insights specific to California's locales and culture. College-level audiences studying the literature of Pynchon and California collections interested in his use of California as a setting in his novels will be particularly delighted with this analysis of his fiction, which includes critical, social and historical reflections that tie California landscape into his choices and works.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
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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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