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California Bookwatch

Volume 12, Number 1 January 2017 Home | CALBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Cookbook Shelf Nautical Shelf
Health/Medicine Shelf Needlecraft Shelf Military Shelf
Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf Education Shelf Computer Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fiction Shelf
Metaphysical Studies Shelf Audiobook Shelf Sports Shelf
Hunting/Fishing Shelf Science Shelf Environmental Studies Shelf
Art Shelf Photography Shelf Geography Shelf
Technology Shelf Music Shelf Crafts Shelf
Social Issues Shelf California Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Wild Beautiful Places
National Geographic
National Geographic Press
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
9781426217401, $40.00,

Wild Beautiful Places: Picture-Perfect Journeys Around the Globe covers the national parks and Seven Wonder of the World as well as many sites which are rarely photographed, to provide engaging insights on the top fifty that impressed National Geographic's most experienced photographers. First-hand accounts of their observations accompany an oversized, lovely collection that gives justice to its format with full-page color images from the best of National Geographic's archives. Etosha National Park in Namibia, a chain of sleeping volcanoes in France's Volcans d'Auvergne, and a national park in the heart of Croatia, Plitvice Lakes, are only some of the profiles even the most nature-oriented or experienced traveler may not have heard about.

The Cookbook Shelf

Sheila G's Butter & Chocolate
Sheila G. Mains
Kyle Books
National Book Network
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
9781909487512, $19.95,

Sheila G's Butter & Chocolate: 101 Creative Sweets and Treats Using Brownie Batter tells how to use brownie batter beyond the usual pan, and features such different approaches as a Brownie Banana Bread, Brownie Whoopie Pies, Brownie Pancakes and Waffles, and more. Full-page color photos accompany at-a-glance preparation time information and easy directions that take the author's custom-made brownie batter and apply them to all kinds of sweet creations. The result is a deliciously inviting gathering of fun and innovative twists on the brownie theme.

The Saffron Tales
Yasmin Khan
Bloomsbury Press
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 315, New York, NY 10010
9781632867100, $35.00,

British-Iranian cook Yasmin Khan traveled through Iran in search of the nation's unique recipes, covering both urban and rural areas as she entered the homes of farmers, teachers, artists, and ordinary people. The Saffron Tales: Recipes from the Persian Kitchen thus stem not from high court or restaurateur circles; but from the ordinary Iranian home kitchen. Pistachio Soup, Smoky Eggplants with Egg and Tomato, Spiced Beef with Egg and Spring Onions, and other dishes largely use ingredients readily available in any supermarket and require access to only a few specialty items (such as pomegranate molasses) to prove completely accessible. Color photos throughout make this a winner.

The Monster's Cookbook
Hoxton Street Monster Supplies
Mitchell Beazley
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9781784722333, $14.99,

The Monster's Cookbook: Everyday Recipes for the Living, Dead, and Undead arrived too late for Halloween mention but deserves ongoing recommendation is a collection of intriguing recipes for all kinds of monsters, of all ages. 70 dishes described in monstrous terms to especially attract the young include Chunky Organ Chutney (made with pumpkin, onions, orange, ginger and spices), Sweet Gooey Baked Brain (made with baked Brie, pecans, and maple syrup), and Mashed Fairy (strawberry) Cupcakes. Drawings throughout provide embellishments to recipe themes centered around party fare and Halloween entertaining.

Institut Paul Bocuse Gastronomique
Institut Paul Bocuse
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9780600634171, $75.00,

Suitable for year-round gift-giving for that serious or would-be serious cook who 'has everything', the Institut Paul Bocuse Gastronomique: The Definitive Step-by-Step Guide to Culinary Excellence is a winning celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Institut founded near Lyon by French chef Paul Bocuse, and is packed with illustrated step-by-step instructions covering basic culinary techniques both in visual and written format. Techniques are arranged by differing levels of difficulty and provide instruction on everything from trimming and preparing meat to cooking and braising. Over 1,800 color photos throughout pack the book, which is the first time the Institut's chefs and their teachings have appeared in book format.

The Nautical Shelf

Tugboats Illustrated
Paul Farrell
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9780393069310, $49.95,

Tugboats Illustrated: History, Technology, Seamanship comes from an architect who happens to also be a tugboat enthusiast as well as an artist, and provides a lively history and visual survey in an oversized presentation perfect for displaying the tug's evolution and different designs. This was no hasty production: Tugboats Illustrated took a quarter of a century to complete and pairs the author's own sketches and diagrams with both vintage and contemporary photos and artwork, along with engineering diagrams. The result is a pictorial survey and history that will delight any nautical collection and any readers with a special interest in tugboat design, deployment and history.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Anti-Diabetes Mellitus Plants
Appian Subramoniam
CRC Press
6000 NW Broken Sound Parkway NW, Suite 300, Boca Raton, FL 33487
9781498753234, $119.95,

Anti-Diabetes Mellitus Plants: Active Principles, Mechanisms of Action and Sustainable Utilization provides college-level health reference and life science holdings with a solid introduction to the latest research and health concerns surrounding diabetes mellitus activities of plant products, and highlights the therapeutic possibilities of blending anti-diabetes phytochemicals with polyherbal applications. Over 300 anti-diabetes compound are covered and updated with pharmacological properties, with features including coverage of all kinds of anti-diabetic applications and how some 400 plants interact. From in vitro studies of propagation and tissue cultures to multiple mechanisms of action, Anti-Diabetes Mellitus Plants is a powerful technical survey packed with the latest research and information.

The Needlecraft Shelf

The Guide to Grids
Gina Perkes
AQS Publishing
c/o American Quilter's Society
PO Box 3290, Paducah, KY 42002-3290
9781683390084, $19.95,

The Guide to Grids comes from an expert quilter who specializes in using grid intersections as visual guides to enhance free-motion quilting skills. Here she shows fellow quilters how to create lovely quilting designs that can apply to any type of machine, pairing step-by-step color photos with patterns and designs that require no backtracking or special familiarity with grid usage. Quilters who want to make the most of quilting grids will find this a winning approach.

Teach Me to Machine Quilt
Pat Sloan
Martingale & Company
19021 - 120th Avenue NE, Suite 102, Bothell, WA 98011
9781604688313, $26.99,

Teach Me to Machine Quilt: Learn the Basics of Walking-Foot & Free-Motion Quilting comes from a quilting teacher and designer who offers the third book in her "Teach Me" series for quilting students. Here she offers step-by-step coverage of the walking-foot and free-motion quilting techniques, using easy projects beginners will appreciate and presuming little prior familiarity with either machine or quilting practices. From how to plan designs and handle the quilt to cutting shapes, finishing, and assembly, Teach Me to Machine Quilt is packed with patterns and step-by-step large and small color photos throughout and is highly recommended for novices looking for solid visual instruction.

The Military Shelf

The Secret History of World War II
Neil Kagan and Stephen G. Hyslop
National Geographic Press
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
9781426217012, $40.00,

The Secret History of World War II: Spies, Code Breakers & Covert Operations provides a special focus on wartime spying and covert operations during World War II, but couches its information in a lively format that pairs visuals of rare artifacts, coded messages, and photos with pictorial essays and six narrative chapters that focus on lively stories of spies and efforts on both sides of the war. The wealth of color maps, vintage black and white photos, color presentations of enigma machines, hunters, and fighters, and more contribute to a lively dialogue that does more than survey facts, but presents them in a format and eye-catching presentation that invites even non-World War II enthusiasts to browse and learn.

Lost Submarines of Pearl Harbor
James P. Delgado,
Texas A&M University Press
4354 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4354
9781623494667, $45.00,

Lost Submarines of Pearl Harbor considers one of the lasting mysteries of the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor as it examines the two-man Japanese Midget Submarines involved in the attack, which were secret weapons deployed for the first time. This in-depth coverage of these subs examines their development in the years before the attack, their deployment, and how they performed in years to follow Pearl Harbor, representing literally decades of research in U.S. and Japanese archives as well as holdings form British and Australian records. The authors directly observed the midget subs - some more than 1,000 feet below the Pacific - and employ a scholarly yet lively tone as they explore all aspects of their development and deployment. The result is a lively, in-depth history packed with images and lively accounts that considers these subs from every angle.

The Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf

Marvel: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know
Adam Bray, Lorraine Cink, John Sazaklis
DK Publishing, Inc.
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9781465452627, $19.99,

Marvel: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know discusses the world of Marvel Comics and it heroes and villains, and is arranged into five chapters that consider various characters, teams, panels filled with official Marvel art pieces, and word bubbles that appear above comic book-like pages. The pages are busy, filled with information, and lend to slow leisure review and browsing as they present supporting facts about Marvel's creations. Readers with a prior affinity for and familiarity with the extent of Marvel's comic universe will find this an engrossing, revealing, and colorful survey packed with information.

The Education Shelf

Education to Better Their World
Marc Prensky
Teachers College Press
1234 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10027
9780807757901, $29.95,

Education to Better Their World: Unleashing the Power of 21st-Century Kids makes a case for and provides a model of a better education system to encourage globally conscious children, and is recommended for educators who want to move beyond the basics and into incorporating an approach that encourages kids to 'Better Their World'. By branding efforts with this overlay, educators can re-examine curriculums and teaching strategies to incorporate life lesson plans that build detailed road maps for success. From integrating and fine-tuning technology to seeing teachers as "empowerers" to improve their students, this encourages a preliminary and basic set of revisions to lesson plan approaches to add value to the educational process's ability to change lives and futures.

Corwin Press
2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320-2218

Jackie Acree Walsh and Beth Dankert Sattes's second updated edition of Quality Questioning: Research-Based Practice to Engage Every Learner (9781506328874, $34.95) reviews the process of "quality questioning" and how it can be used to encourage better thinking and dialogue in students, and provides a newly updated edition of the original best-selling book which uses the GPS Framework and others to facilitate the questioning process and its practices. The authors' own classroom experiences as well as input from other classroom teachers form the foundation of a coverage which gathers together all the graphics and strategies needed to translate quality questioning best practices to curriculum standards and classroom approaches. Black and white photos, charts, and sidebars of information make this an easily-absorbed text that can quickly be applied to existing classroom structures and practices. Edward Fergus' Solving Disproportionality and Achieving Equity: A Leader's Guide to Using Data to Change Hearts and Minds (9781506311258, $30.00) is for school leaders looking at a disconnect between data indicators and what their values and morals would indicate on how to handle inequality in the school setting, and examines the biases against students of color that often lead to skewed data and attitudes towards them. Case studies, vignettes, and clear insights about how data is collected, applied, and interpreted lend to chapters that give specific examples about statements, underlying premises, and root cause analysis of their effects. Any school environment looking to better address equity issues will find this key to analyzing many troubling situations. John Krowanapple's Guilding Teams to Excellence with Equity: Culturally Proficient Facilitation (9781483386980, $31.95) is based on research and packed with strategies for tackling collective efficiency to reduce inequities in the educational system, and addresses professional learning of adults in schools. There are some surprising links between the special challenges and guiding principles governing adult education, and this book offers models for a kind of system that offers solutions to the most common problems encountered in this learning environment. From different areas of competence and their potential for shaping community responses (especially listening skills) to learning how to facilitate educators in seminars, handle questions of differences, and conduct mindful inquiries, this book is packed with specific information and experiences. David S. Sousa's How the Brain Learns (9781506346304, $34.00) blends the latest studies in neuroscience, education and psychology to provide an updated discussion of how technology, psychology, and scientific changes are affecting the educational focus and processes being offered. This revamp represents an extensive revision that includes an expanded resources section, numerous new or updated references, the latest findings on studies about learning, and more, making for a highly recommended 'must' for any educator seeking the latest studies and their applications.

The Computer Shelf

Game Testing All in One
Charles P. Schultz and Robert Denton Bryant
Mercury Publishing
PO Box 605, Herndon, VA 20172-0605
9781942270768, $49.95,

Game Testing All in One provides an updated version of Game testing All in One 2/E, and provides the tools for a testing of game software, discussing how such testing acts in the game development process and how to measure game quality and testing effectiveness. The basics of test design are applied to real game situations, while coverage includes the latest console games and the ne mobile and social games. A companion DVD offers tools supporting these testing methods, while each chapter concludes with a Q&A session designed to reinforce information. From test flow diagrams and different configurations and triggers to cleanroom testing procedures, this is a 'must' for any involved in creating and testing computer-driven games.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Women of Futures Past
Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Editor
Baen Books
PO Box 1188, Wake Forest NC 27588
9781476781617, $16.00,

Women of Futures Past is a powerful gathering of stories by Andre Norton, Ursula K. Le Guin, Nancy Kress and other major figureheads of sci-fi writing, and gathers a host of approaches under one cover, all written by women whose lost classics and foundation writings have formed some of the major themes of sci-fi. These stories, connected by their gender origins, involve everything from time travel to space opera and beyond and are singularly united by their powerful themes; many of which served as predecessors to entire sub-genres in the sci-fi world, but which didn't receive the attention they deserved at the time of their publication.

The Queen of Blood
Sarah Beth Durst
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062413345, $19.99,

The Queen of Blood presents Book 1 of 'The Queens of Renthia' series, and tells of an idealistic young student and a banished warrior who become allies as they struggle to change their world. This opener to a series is especially strong in political intrigue, adding elements of horror into its fantasy as its protagonists vie for control against a crumbling kingdom held together by one woman, the queen, whose magical powers mean the difference between the world's survival and its end. Because it's never good to have all of one's basket, young women are being trained to take her place - but will any of them be able to claim the throne, much less hold it? A riveting story line with powerful protagonists promises a blockbuster of a series.

Gods of Nabban
K.V. Johansen
c/o Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781633882034, $17.99,

Gods of Nabban tells of a fugitive slave, Ghu, who has finally ended the assassin Ahjvar's possession by a dangerous ghost. The cost to him, however, is high: Ahjvar remains haunted by his actions when the ghost took control of him, and is actually a danger to everyone around him. Teetering on the brink of madness, the only thing keeping him from full descent is his loyalty to Ghu, who journeys with him on a trek back to the empire he'd one fled. As the two travel cross a war-torn country, they will find within themselves and each other a newfound power to go on as a god and an assassin struggle against terrible forces of the devil to forge new lives and worlds for themselves. Fantasy readers who like lots of action and not a few introspective moments will find this an absorbing saga, hard to put down.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

The Chocolate Bunny Brouhaha
JoAnna Carl
Berkley Books
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780451473820, $23.00,

The Chocolate Bunny Brouhaha is a 'chocoholic' mystery that revolves around an Easter candy caper featuring chocolatiers and a killer. This unlikely combination, combined with the Easter holidays, creates a delicious mystery revolving around klutzy new hire Bunny Birdsong, an errant entourage of dysfunctional family members, and a dispute that comes to involve the murder of a wealthy aunt. Intrigue ramps up a notch as chocolate it pitted against life itself in a mystery that will delight chocolate fans in particular.

The Fiction Shelf

A World Between
Robert M. Herzog
The Story Plant
9781611882179, $16.95

A World Between surveys a horrifying series of events: parts of the world have disappeared. At first (somehow) this doesn't seem of concern; but as more and more voids disrupt human affairs, they lead to a desperate effort by some of the top scientists in the world to discover what is happening before everything disappears. As physics, politics, and human affairs collide, readers are treated to a sharply engrossing story that's unpredictable and hard to put down as more and more of what is familiar turns out to be part of the past.

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

Dreaming Wide Awake
David Jay Brown
Park Street Press
PO Box 63, South Paris, ME, 04281
9781620554890, $19.95,

Dreaming Wide Awake: Lucid Dreaming, Shamanic Healing, and Psychedelics provides a detailed guide to mastering lucid dreaming, and uses some 20 years of author David Jay Brown's experience using these techniques to illustrate the relationship between lucid dreaming imagery and experiences, healing, and various approaches to promoting lucid dreaming and analyzing its results. From psychedelic drugs and plants to links between lucid dreaming and spiritual development, Dreaming Wide Awake covers everything from herbs and nutritional foods to developing 'superpowers' in the dream realm that can translate into the waking state. New age collections will find this packed with insights and specific applications for lucid dreaming.

A Traveler's Guide to the Afterlife
Mark Mirabello, PhD
Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
9781620555972, $16.95,

A Traveler's Guide to the Afterlife: Traditions and Beliefs in Death, Dying, and What Lies Beyond takes death and afterlife traditions from cultures around the world and blends them into an analysis of the various forms of existence beyond death. Having such disparate views as from the Bardo Theodol from Tibet, the Lieh Tzu from China, and philosophical thinkers such as Plato to literary icons such as Poe makes for a wide-ranging cross-comparisons of various perceptions and afterlife platforms of belief. One thing is for certain: A Traveler's Guide to the Afterlife provides much food for thought and favors no singular tradition as it considers and contrasts various afterlife models and possibilities.

The Circle of Initiates Past and Present
Klaire D. Roy & Djwhal Khul
Orange Palm Publications
9780980969474, $39.95,

The Circle of Initiates Past and Present: Their Incarnations, Hidden Personality Traits, and the Influence of the Seven Rays features over a hundred persons and comes from the thoughts of Tibetan Master Djwhal Khul, whose "who's who" of famous and celebrated figures gathers some unusual facts about each individual and why they appear in this collection. Bill Gates, for one example, would seem an unlikely inclusion in a new age consideration of notable world figures past and present, but his various incarnations as a mathematician and scientist include that of a Buddhist monk. Elvis Presley here is mentioned as a reincarnation of Puccini, and is set to reincarnate again in the future; while Roy Orbison, a gifted musician, had lived two prior lives as a castrato but harbors an ongoing desire over various incarnations to "sing like an angel". Intriguing and packed with insights, any reader of reincarnation literature will find The Circle of Initiates Past and Present quite a different biographical collection and perspective.

Lost Masters
Linda Johnsen
New World Library
14 Pamaron Way, Novato, CA 94949
9781608684380, $15.95,

Lost Masters: Rediscovering the Mysticism of the Ancient Greek Philosophers comes from a long-time student of religious philosophy whose Indian research led her in an unexpected direction: back to Greece. There she discovered some amazing connections between different cultures and India: spiritual ideas neglected by many modern spiritual researchers and historians alike. Lost Masters documents these early spiritual masters, juxtaposing their life stories with their spiritual insights and their connections to Indian wisdom. It's a 'most' for any interested in the connections between early Greek and Indian mysticism and philosophy.

Nick Redfern
Llewellyn Publications
2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125
9780738747101, $15.99,

Nessie: Exploring the Supernatural Origins of the Loch Ness Monster considers the paranormal origins of Nessie, moving beyond the wealth of material written about the Loch Ness phenomenon to blend history and new age thought with photos, theories, and first-hand accounts of Nessie monsters and mysteries. Readers who remain fascinated with the Nessie phenomena to this day will find Redfern's emphasis on the supernatural aspects of Nessie's legend makes for an involving compilation of various sightings, theories, and different connections between the Nessie craze and body, mind and spiritual perspectives.

The Audiobook Shelf

Hachette Audio
1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104

Richard Castle's High Heat (9781478971504, $30.00) is read by Robert Petkoff, who has appeared on film and TV shows and whose many Broadway and film credits lend to a familiar-sounding, smooth voice for this story. An ISIS-style beheading of a journalist doesn't happen in the Middle East, but is carried out by a New York City group, which involves NYPD captain Nikki Heat in a terrible murder video that brings terrorists into her home territory. A powerful listen presents many twists and turns of story. Grace Lin's When the Sea Turned to Silver (9781478912518, $24.00) is narrated by Kim Mai Guest and tells of Pinmei's grandmother's exciting stories, which come to an end when the emperor's soldiers take her away, leaving her granddaughter behind. Pinmei's decision to rescue her beloved grandmother involves a journey, friends and secrets in this moving story. Dana Pernio's Let Me Tell You About Jasper (9781478912910, $30.00) is written and narrated by the author who tells not only of her beloved dog, but how the Fox News host's pet became a familiar, loved face to the nation. Dubbed 'America's Dog', Jasper become part of Dana's life and her show, and this new audio tells stories of politics and canine partners alike. David Baldacci's No Man's Land (9781478930013, $40.00) is narrated by Kyf Brewer and Orlagh Cassidy, who form a powerful team as they narrate the saga of two men whose lives collide: an army investigator and a combat veteran. Fans of military fiction and intrigue will find the story spans time and families in a murder mystery that questions values, psychological profiles, and dangerous presumptions. James Patterson's Cross the Line (9781478928188, $35.00) is narrated by Ryan Vincent Anderson and Pete Bradbury and provides another Alex Cross mystery; this one beginning with a road rage incident that turns out to be much more dangerous. Alex tracks a killer that is not only panicking a city, but is helped by a stalemated police department - all set in Washington, D.C. The narrators bring the story to life in all its gripping tension. Stephanie Meyer's The Chemist (9781478906568, $40.00) is narrated by Ellen Archer, an award-winning narrator whose acting and singing background lends to a gripping thriller about an ex-agent fleeing from her former employers. Her position as an expert gave her access to many dark secrets of a deeply secret agency: now her position as a has-been has led to a life on the run. An engrossing story of threats and struggles makes for a gripping saga that's hard to set aside. All are excellent audio listens.

The Sports Shelf

Yoga for Athletes
Ryanne Cunningham
Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.
PO Box 5076, Champaign, IL 61820-5076
9781492522614, $21.95,

Yoga for Athletes is especially recommended for athletes who would use traditional yoga practices to improve performance and supplement sport-specific training routines, and provides routines for all levels of athlete, from weekend trainers to those who want to use yoga's basic poses for improved strength and flexibility. Color step-by-step photos illustrate the poses while text discusses modifications, safety tips, and reviews muscles being used in the course of the yoga routine. Athletes already interested in yoga will find this a clear, specific set of routines perfect for supplementing their exercise work.

The Hunting/Fishing Shelf

The American Fisherman
Willie Robertson and William Doyle
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062465641, $26.99,

The American Fisherman: How Our Nation's Anglers Founded, Fed, Financed, and Forever Shaped the U.S.A. comes from the star of Duck Dynasty and provides a lively, fun title that combines outdoors lore with history as it surveys the hobby of fishing in the U.S. and how it translates to American national identity and insights alike. Packed with black and white illustrations throughout, it follows the history of fishing in this country from the nation's settlement to modern times, considering lore, legends, the impact of fish on different industries and American progress, and how fishing has changed over the decades. This feisty, fun overview is highly recommended for any collection strong in sports in general and Duck Dynasty fans in particular.

Wild Spaces, Open Seasons
Kevin Sharp, Editor
University of Oklahoma Press
2800 Venture Drive, Norman, OK 73069
9780806154633, $29.95,

Wild Spaces, Open Seasons: Hunting and Fishing in American Art is both an art title with a specific theme and ah history of hunting and fishing in American art from the early 19th century through World War II, and uses a group of American paintings and sculpture to consider not only their subjects, but their artistic value and approaches. This comes not from an artist's perspective alone, but from that of an avid outdoorsman who surveyed a range of major artists to consider how hunting and fishing images in art came to reflect some of the changes facing American society over the decades. The result is recommended not just for arts and history holdings, but for any collection strong in outdoors representations.

The Science Shelf

Little Book of Wonders
Nadia Drake
National Geographic Press
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
9781426216893, $12.95,

Little Book of Wonders: Celebrating the Gifts of the Natural World comes from a science writer who gathers a presentation of scientific wonders in a lovely gift book that blends bright color photos with reflections on the beauty and bounty of the natural world, from the squirrels who forget to recover the nuts they bury, prompting the growth of many trees, to Darwin's astonishing prediction of the existence of the Madagascar sphinx moth with its foot-long tongue forty years before its actual discovery. The lovely survey will make for a perfect gift for anyone who loves nature images and facts.

Roadside Geology of Northern and Central California
David Alt and Donald W. Hyndman
Mountain Press Publishing Company
PO Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806
9780878426706, $26.00,

Roadside Geology of Northern and Central California comes from two authors who began the 'Roadside Geology' series in the 1970s when they published Roadside Geology of Northern California. Though David Alt passed away in 2015, this revision lives on and has been updated to reflect the latest geologic science and research regarding Northern and Central California. Designed to appeal to two audiences - vacationers and geology enthusiasts at all levels - this lively coverage offers the rare opportunity to not only learn about California's unique geologic sites, but to locate and visit them in person. Color photos, maps, and directions accompany a detailed and inviting survey designed for lay readers and neo-scientists alike.

The Environmental Studies Shelf

Protecting the Planet
Budd Titlow & Mariah Tinger
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781633882256, $26.00,

Protecting the Planet: Environmental Champions from Conservation to Climate Change is a weighty volume that both gathers evidence for climate change and examines the history of U.S. environmental policies and the individuals who helped foster environmental awareness. Chapters chart the activities of these individuals, which range from scientists and researchers to artists and activists, and rely heavily on personal interviews to fill in details about these efforts and the politics surrounding them. The result is an important acquisition especially recommended for any science holding strong in charting climate change research, science, and activism surrounding environmental affairs.

The Art Shelf

The Art of Minnie Mouse
Disney Editions
c/o Disney Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
9781484767733, $40.00,

One of Disney's most successful characters was Mickey Mouse, and the second was Minnie. Despite her popularity, Minnie's importance has largely been 'minimized' and overshadowed by Mickey's popularity, until now. The Art of Minnie Mouse points out that Minnie was actually introduced simultaneously, not as an afterthought to Mickey, and this survey of her sassy character and its evolving designs returns attention to her by providing a gallery of full-page, color images depicting Minnie from various mediums, from digital renditions to watercolors, paper and paint, and acrylics. From films and milestones to the evolution of her artistic rendition, The Art of Minnie Mouse allows for side-by-side contrast of her evolving persona and presence, and is a 'must' for any art holding strong in cartoon history or Disney characters.

The Photography Shelf

Shoot What You Love
Henry Horenstein
Monacelli Studio
236 West 27th Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10001
9781580934558, $40.00,

Shoot What You Love: Tips and Tales from a Working Photographer offers a clear message that author and photography Henry Horenstein received early on in his career, from professional photographer Harry Callahan: shoot what you love, because even if the result is lousy, you'll have a good time. What was left unsaid is that one's love of subject does translate into a special attention to detail and presentation that often isn't achievable when shooting something that isn't as beloved. This set of Horenstein images offers a visual memoir of his works, professional stories and experiences, photography tips, and insights that blends autobiography with a photographer's keen eye for detail and achievement. The result is a powerful combination of images and insights that any aspiring photographer at any level will relish.

The Geography Shelf

Map Use, eighth edition
A. Jon Kimerling,
ESRI Press
380 New York Street, Redlands, CA 92378-8100
9781589484429, $99.99,

The eighth updated edition of the weighty geographic reference Map Use: Reading, Analysis, Interpretation is a college-level cartographic textbook that has been updated to reflect the latest cartography concepts and research, and is a highly recommended staple made even more valuable with the addition of a new chapter covering map design, including web maps. Basic information has been updated throughout, while students and professional cartographers alike receive an in-depth coverage packed with nearly 600 color maps, photos, and graphs. From quantitative information and types of map accuracy to map usage for navigation, typical map projections, and visual analysis approaches of cartographic data, this is a 'must' for any serious collection on map technology and applications.

The Technology Shelf

Bitcoin and Blockchain Security
Ghassan Karame and Elli Androulaki
Artech House
685 Canton Street, Norwood, MA 02062
9781630810139, $99.00,

Bitcoin and Blockchain Security joins others in the 'Information Security and Privacy' series and answers basic questions about the security involved in managing Bitcoin, reviewing prior provisions and it underlying blockchain clients. The assumptions surrounding Bitcoin's applications and privacy issues, means of securing Bitcoin wallets, and implementing ZeroCash, ZeroCoin and more considerations are given technical coverage, including privacy-preserving requirements and proposals to improve Bitcoin. The result is a technical survey packed with security protocols and insights specific to Bitcoin's unique commerce environment and applications a 'must' for any IT managers working with Bitcoin frameworks. Christian Bojinca's How to Become an IT Architect (9781630811464, $119.00) introduces IT students and would-be professionals to the routes to becoming a successful IT architect, defining the different types of IT architecture and an IT professional's work. From performance standards and measuring competency to leadership and communication skills needed for different IT architect positions and how employers can apply assessment tools to hiring the best IT people for their company, this is a reference recommended not just for would-be IT pros, but for businesses that would hire them. David B. Cruickshank's Microwave Material Applications: Device Miniaturization and Integration (9781630811013, $169.00) is recommended for college-level engineering reference collections and professional libraries alike, and considers magnetic and dielectric materials for a range of microwave applications. From how new materials work with filter technologies and how new material designs use different properties to help reduce their size requirements to antenna application trends, filters, and absorptive properties, this reference specific to microwave applications includes formulas and technical details key to any engineer working with the latest microwave systems and options.

The Music Shelf

Mark Ribowsky
Liveright Publishing
c/o W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9781631491573, $29.95,

Hank: The Short Life and Long Country Road of Hank Williams details the life and times of the country music star with a special attention to how he rose to fame and made his name, following his songs, recording career, and the evolution of his unique observational style. There have been so many Hank Williams books on the market that one might wonder at the need for yet another; but Hank uses new interviews and insights not available elsewhere to delve into the heart of Hank's career, making it a unique and worthy addition to any country music history holding; even those who already have several biographies of Hank Williams in their collections.

The Crafts Shelf

Creative Origami and Beyond
Jenny Chan,
Walter Foster
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781633221642, $19.95,

Creative Origami and Beyond is especially recommended as a basic beginner's overview of paper folding techniques, and uses a combination of step-by-step large-sized color images and projects to teach different types of origami, from modular, giant and tiny productions to wet origami. Each section offers a different origami approach and builds on skills from the last, while projects range from wall art and jewelry to miniature boxes and figurine models. The result is a 'must', offering enough oversized presentations to make for a clearer how-to guide than most competitors.

The Social Issues Shelf

Privilege: A Reader
Michael S. Kimmel and Abby L. Ferber, editors
Westview Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780813359935, $42.00,

Privilege: A Reader appears in its fourth updated edition to discuss the idea and nature of 'privilege' as it relates not only to class, gender, and ethnicity, but to oppression beyond set categories and approaches. Thirteen new essays appear in this edition, recommended for college-level students who seek to understand privilege, oppression, and the social and political conflicts surrounding the concept. The expansion of these approaches allows for an updated set of discussions and activities that encourage students to more closely consider their own beliefs and presumptions about privilege.

Violent Borders
Reece Jones
20 Jay Street, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201-8346
9781784784713, $27.95,

Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move goes beyond most considerations of refugee history to consider how new borders are formed and policed, and how state attempts to contain and control populations and allocate resources have resulted in many limits to peoples' movements around the world. From migrant history and experiences to the money spent on border security and how the poor are regulated to areas and processes that restrict their abilities to rise above their conditions, this is a powerful contrast between wealth and privilege and unrestricted movement and the lasting effects of border control on poverty and resource allocation, making for a powerful survey that should be a 'must' for any social issues collection.

The California Shelf

Coast to Cactus
Diana Lndsay, Paula Knolls, Terri Varnell, eds.
Sunbelt Publications
1250 Fayette Street, El Cajon, CA 92020
9781941384206, $29.95, PB, 636pp,

"Coast to Cactus: The Canyoneer Trail Guide to San Diego Outdoors" is so much more than just another regional hiking guide. It also field guide to the flora and fauna of the region. Written by citizen scientists trained by the San Diego Natural History Museum Canyoneers, "Coast to Cactus" is the new bible for really getting to know and appreciate the county's biodiversity while exploring firsthand. The guide has 245 hikes and an additional 73 hike options making 318 exploring opportunities. Each hike has its own map and symbols indicating the habits found on a trail, a full hike description with mileage, elevation gain/loss, difficulty rating, directions to the trail-head with GPS, trail use, and special features of a hike. There are 525 species of plants, birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates that are described in detail. Each hike has a focus on a species or natural/cultural history feature associated with that hike. "Coast to Cactus" is a learning tool designed to teach the reader what is special about San Diego outdoors. Published in cooperation with California State Parks, San Diego County Department of Parks and Recreation, Mission Trails Regional Park (City of San Diego), San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority, and The San Diego River Foundation, "Coast to Cactus" is like having a trained San Diego Natural History Museum naturalist with you who will teach you what is special about each trail. While highly recommended for personal, community, and academic library collections, should be noted that a purchase of "Coast to Cactus" supports the mission and programs of the San Diego Natural History Museum.

Craven Street Books
c/o Quill Driver Books
2006 South Mary, Fresno, CA 93721

David Kulczyk's California's Deadliest Women: Dangerous Dames and Murderous Moms (9781610352802, $14.95) provides nearly thirty profiles of some of the deadliest crimes committed in California, with each short survey including a biographical sketch of the murderer's early life, what led the woman to murder, how she was apprehended and punished, and her ultimate place in California's legal history. Collections strong in criminal justice, California history or women's issues will find it a lively survey of women who didn't just join others in crime, but fully participated in them. The short style of the vignettes lends to quick, absorbing leisure reading by a general-interest audience. Christopher Burchfield's Choose Your Weapon: The Duel in California, 1847-1861 (9781610352772, $16.95) brings to life an era in which conflicts in early California were settled by duels, and documents every major duel that occurred in the state. As chapters follow the beginnings and evolution of the duel in this state, using historical archives and newspaper accounts, historian Christopher Burchfield defines and provides a powerful saga of the duel's place in not just settling disputes, but acting as a legitimate legal process and forum for decision making. Anyone interested in California's early history and the specter of the duel will find this book absorbing and intriguing, bringing together many disparate pieces of information.

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

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

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