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California Bookwatch

Volume 1, Number 5 July 2006 Home | CALBW Index

Table of Contents

Donovan's Picks Islamic Studies Shelf Biography Shelf
Education Shelf Automotive Shelf Needlecraft Shelf
American History Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf Literary Shelf
Gaming Shelf Metaphysical Studies Shelf Religion/Spirituality Shelf
Social Issues Shelf Photography Shelf Art Shelf
Fashion Shelf Business Shelf Money/Finance Shelf
Antiques/Collectibles Shelf Military Shelf International Studies Shelf
Science Shelf Environmental Studies Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Criminology Shelf Computer Shelf California Shelf
Travel Shelf Theatre/Cinema Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf Large Print Shelf Fiction Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Homeowner's Shelf Gardening Shelf
Architecture Shelf Woodworking Shelf Food/Wine Shelf
Crafts/Hobbies Shelf Children's Shelf Easy Reader Shelf
Young Adult Fiction Shelf Native American Shelf Books in Series

Donovan's Picks

For the Love of Beauty
Arthur Pontynen
Transaction Publishers
35 Berrue Circle, Piscataway NJ 08854-8042
0765803011 $49.95

FOR THE LOVE OF BEAUTY: ART, HISTORY, AND THE MORAL FOUNDATIONS OF AESTHETIC JUDGMENT provides college-level art students with a survey of why truth in art is no longer acceptable in academic circles. Art history has traditionally followed a positivist approach in emphasizing form and style, fact and history as a way of reference and study: FOR THE LOVE OF BEAUTY follows this thinking and critiques modern aesthetic practice. From belief and beauty to traditions of beauty and aesthetics, chapters analyze the aesthetics of beauty in art and in its representational choices.

Destiny/Bear & Company/Inner Traditions
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767

James Wasserman's THE MYSTERY TRADITIONS: SECRET SYMBOLS AND SACRED ART (1594770883, $19.95) comes packed with colorful images as it surveys the lexicon of occult imagery from the Kabbalah and tarot and other magical traditions. Image importance and history accompany each color design, offering a lovely collection of paintings by significant artists and thinkers past and present. A bibliography of occult works completes the offering. Stephen Harrod Buhner's SACRED PLANT MEDICINE: THE WISDOM IN NATIVE AMERICAN HERBALISM (1591430585, $16.00) examines the relationship between indigenous peoples and plants, considering how these peoples communicated with and experienced the plant world. It's unusual to find a plant guide which includes a healthy dose of spiritual foundation: each healing plant herein includes not just medicinal uses and preparation tips but ceremonial elements. Ross Heaven's THE SPIRITUAL PRACTICES OF THE NINJA: MASTERING THE FOUR GATES TO FREEDOM (1594771073, $14.95) blends martial arts with spirituality, considering the warrior Ninja philosophy and the belief in actualization. Th Ninja believe there are four gates to freedom which are guarded by four initiatory ordeals: succeeding at these enables a combat of fear and a clarification of vision. Ross Heaven is a therapist and workshop leader in healing: his guide covers these four gateways with exercises and initiations to help healing paths evolve. Paul A. LaViolette's DECODING THE MESSAGE OF THE PULSARS: INTELLIGENT COMMUNICATION FROM THE GALAXY (1591430623, $16.00) comes from one who has researched pulsar signals for over a decade: while pulsars have been assumed to be spinning stars, the real nature of these radio transmissions has been misunderstood. In fact, their nonrandom distribution points to intelligence: an intelligence documented in DECODING THE MESSAGE OF THE PULSARS. Stephen Larsen, Ph.D.'s HEALING POWER OF NEUROFEEDBACK: THE REVOLUTIONARY LENS TECHNIQUE FOR RESTORING OPTIMAL BRAIN FUNCTION (1594770840, $19.95) explores an alternative method of restoring brain function using neurofeedback. In addition to offering promising results for those with severe physical head injuries, it also can prove an alternate to chemicals for ADHD, anxiety and depression. Any interested in alternative healing approaches will appreciate this review by a psychology professor at SUNY who has been using the LENS clinically since 1976. Juan Garcia Atienza's KNIGHTS TEMPLAR IN THE GOLDEN AGE OF SPAIN (1594770980, $16.95) provides a survey of a secret society which rarely receives close inspection, by a renowned Templar scholar who surveys the role the Templars played in the Reconquista which drove the Moors from Spain. From mysteries surrounding the Templars to their political and social influences, it's hard to peg this title as a history alone: it promises appeal to a wide audience of both history and new age readers. Maurice Cotterell's JESUS, KING ARTHUR, AND THE JOURNEY OF THE GRAIL (1591430534, $16.00) follows Celtic history from its movement from Asia to Ireland to its secret codes. His knowledge of these codes help him identify the Holy Gail, also, and lends to a description of the Grail and how it contains further secrets and keys to higher spirituality. From who wrote the Bible to the travels of the Celts and their wide-ranging influence, any interested in early European history or spirituality will relish JESUS, KING ARTHUR, AND THE JOURNEY OF THE GRAIL. Peter Marchand's THE YOGA OF THE NINE EMOTIONS: THE TANTRIC PRACTICE OF RASA SADHANA (1594770948, $16.95) blends Hinduism spirituality with self-help advise, surveying the Tantric tradition as it relates to the Rasas for emotions: Love, Joy, Under, Courage, Calmness, Anger, Sadness, Fear and Disgust. Learn how to change the emotional patterns using tools from Tantric and Ayurvedic traditions in this unusual link to using spiritual tools for self-help. Alvin Schwartz's AN UNLIKELY PROPHET: A METAPHYSICAL MEMOIR BY THE LEGENDARY WRITER OF SUPERMAN AND BATMAN (1594771081, $16.95) provides an unusual metaphysical memoir by the writer of the Superman and Batman comics. When a Buddhist monk contacted him about his writings, he set him on the path without Form – a journey he took in the company of spiritual figures in keeping with his works. His personal journey considers Superman as one of the forms that embody reality when we're at our peak: his journey offers paradigms and parables for a new world.

North American Mushrooms
Dr. Orson K. Miller Jr. & Hope H. Miller
Falcon/Globe Pequot Press
PO Box 480, Guilford, CT 06437
0762731095 $25.95

If only one field guide to North American mushrooms is to be obtained for a reference holding, make it NORTH AMERICAN MUSHROOMS: A FIELD GUIDE TO EDIBLE AND INEDIBLE FUNGI. Over six hundred color photos and line drawings offer important identification keys and a comprehensive survey of where and how to gather wild mushrooms. Pictorial keys throughout enhance suggestions for location and identification as well as culinary use, and come from one of the most respected mycologists in this country, also a professor of Botany and Curator of Fungi. He's written six books on fungi and has authored 105 new species new to science in his papers: his is a masterpiece including sturdy binding for solid field use.

Memoirs of an American Housewife in Japan
Pauline Hager
Infinity Publishing
519 W. Lancaster Street, Haverford, PA 19041-1413
0741407477 $14.95

This older title deserves ongoing recommendation for any who would understand the Japanese mind from a Western perspective. The author and her husband lived in Japan for over two years from 1994-96: they lived in the country in housing designed for Westerners surrounded by folk from around the world, learning Japanese culture and customs in the course of their stay. Chapters provide excellent first-person insights on how to survive in modern Japan, and will intrigue and interest readers from those who plan to travel or work in the country to others who seek a better understanding of Japanese culture.

ISA Handbook of Measurement Equations and Tables, 2nd Edition
Jim Strothman, Editor
PO Box 12277, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
1556179464 $99.00

Engineers, technicians and students alike who are designing industrial processes will find plenty of reference materials here on locating key information for solving daily problems. At a glance details make it a snap to locate hundreds of equations, conversion values and tables to speed problem solving. The updated expanded edition provides everything needed to operate and maintain measurement devices and includes new chapters with the details.

Fireplaces, Chimneys & Stoves
Michael Waumsley
Crowood Press
c/o Trafalgar Square Publishing
PO Box 257, Howe Hill Road, North Pomfret, VT 05053-0257
1861267460 $35.00 1-800-423-4525

Any with an old chimney or chimney problems as well as those considering newer construction will want to keep Fireplaces, Chimneys & Stoves close at hand: it considers chimney choices, styles, construction, repair and refurbishment alike, and even delves into appliance installations as it provides charts, diagrams, color photos and clear explanations. A 'must' for any home owner or aspiring home owner wanting to enhance their property with the upgrade and/or installation of a safe and working fireplace.

The Islamic Studies Shelf

Guests of the Ayatollah
Mark Bowden
Atlantic Monthly Press
841 Broadway, New York NY 10003
0871139251 $26.00

GUESTS OF THE AYATOLLAH: THE FIRST BATTLE IN AMERICA'S WAR WITH MILITANT ISLAM is narrative journalism at its best: the Iran hostage crisis of 1979 began conflicts between East/West and here to document it is a title which analyzes and recreates the setting of America's first showdown with Islamist fundamentalism. Using interviews on both sides of the hostage crisis, Mark Bowden examines hostage experiences, American confusion and Iranian sentiments and protests alike. The sweeping epic covers daily lives, social and political experiences, confrontations and influences on all sides of the conflict and connects it with history leading up to modern times.

Saddam's Secrets
Georges Sada & Jim Nelson Black
Integrity Publishers
5250 Virginia Way #110, Brentwood, TN 37027
1591454042 $24.99

Georges Sada was one of Saddam's top generals and a leading military advisor – plus he was a Christian in a Muslim country, and one who would stand up for his beliefs even under a regime of terror. SADDAM'S SECRETS: HOW AN IRAQI GENERAL DEFIED AND SURVIVED SADDAM HUSSEIN exposes the plans and atmosphere of his regime, from secret plans to destroy Israel to plans to control the Arab world. A first-person, moment-by-moment recreation of conversations, events, and insights makes for a dramatic recreation of Saddam's era.

The Biography Shelf

Timothy Leary
Robert Greenfield
15 East 26th Street, New York NY 10010
0151005001 $28.00

Timothy Leary's been a famous name for decades but relatively few books have been able to penetrate the mystique surrounding his name. Enter TIMOTHY LEARY: A BIOGRAPHY to challenge myths and present realities. Robert Greenfield wrote biographies of rock star Jerry Garcia and rock impresario Bill Graham: his study on Leary is the first major biography of the man and provides an in-depth study of his many facets, influences, and pros and cons alike. With a flair for description which helps it read with the drama of fiction, TIMOTHY LEARY is for any who would better understand the man and his times.

Floor Sample
Julia Cameron
375 Hudson St., New York NY 10014
1585424943 $24.95

Julia Cameron's autobiographical memoir FLOOR SAMPLE will be of intense interest to her strong following of fans with respect to her many novels and other fiction works (as well as her writings in other genres) which will makes it a top pick for anyone who has followed and enjoyed her successful literary career. FLOOR SAMPLE: A CREATIVE MEMOIR tells of her courage, illness, heartbreak and recovery. From addiction to depression, Cameron struggled to build herself a normal life. FLOOR SAMPLE recounts successes and failures alike, and is a must for any who would understand the sources of Cameron's fine literary works.

The Education Shelf

Special Education and The Law, second edition
Allan G. Osborne Jr. & Charles J. Russo
Corwin Press
2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
1412926238 $34.95

All facets of special education law right up to the new IDEA regulations are covered in this important survey SPECIAL EDUCATION AND THE LAW SECOND EDITION: A GUIDE FOR PRACTITIONERS. Any operating in the field will appreciate the detailed, in-depth reviews of the 2040 IDEA regulations, along with surveys of related issues, from statues of limitation and cases under other statutes to educational services, attorney's fees, claims processes, and more. Any operating within the special ed system can't be without this guide.

Intercollegiate Studies Institute
PO Box 4431, Wilmington, DE 19807-0431

The 'Student's Guide' series titles from ISI is an excellent set recommended for high school to college level students, offering overviews in subjects and serving as fine introductions to a wide range of liberal arts topics. Each pairs a historical review of the discipline with major ideas and critical insights on the works of contributors in the field, using some seventy pages to create non-complex basic guides to help students decide upon courses of study and interest. While general readers can also use these handy guides, it's the student making decisions on a major who will find these essential, attractive guides. Ralph M. McInery's STUDENT'S GUIDE TO PHILOSOPHY (1882926390, $7.00), John Lukacs' STUDY OF HISTORY (1882926412, $6.95), Paul Heyne's GUIDE TO ECONOMICS (1882926447, $8.00), George Carey's AMERICAN POLITICAL THOUGHT (1932236422, $8.00), Bruce Thornton's CLASSICS (1932236155, $8.00), James V. Schall's LIBERAL LEARNING (1882926536, $8.00), Wilford M. McClay's U.S. HISTORY (1882926455, $7.95), R.V. Young's LITERATURE (1882926404, $6.95), Mark Henrie's CORE CURRICULUM (1882926420, $7.95), Daniel Robinson's PSYCHOLOGY (1882926951, $6.95), D.G. Hart's RELIGIOUS STUDIES (1932236589, $8.00), and Harvey C. Mansfield's POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY (1882926439, $8.00) are all top student picks.

The Automotive Shelf

Revive Your Ride
Larry Lyles
Bowtie Press
3 Burroughs, Irvine, CA 92618
1931993661 $24.95

Owners of old cars who want to try a quality restoration and paint job must have REVIVE YOUR RIDE: SECRETS FROM A BODY AND PAINT RESTORATION PRO. Details range from setting up a perfect shop and finding good tools to repairing damage, painting and refinishing a vehicle from bare metal to finished result, and restoring nameplates, badges and more. Pages for notes, color photos of processes, and tips for applications and surface treatment selection provide the latest in techniques, while sidebars of detail are easy on the eye. REVIVE YOUR RIDE is the item of choice for any restoration pro.

The Needlecraft Shelf

Sexy Little Knits
Ashley Paige
Potter Craft/Crown Publishing
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
0307236579 $21.95 1-800-726-0600

Ashley Paige has produced sexy knits for the stars, with designs which you may recognize from the pages of Seventeen, InStyle and other top magazines: now under one cover are not just photos but how-to instructions for knitted swimsuits, tops, and cover-ups for beach and bedroom alike. Paige's most popular designs are accompanied by patterns, construction tips, and models. A 'must' for avid knitters who want more than blanket designs.

C&T Publishing
PO Box 1456, Lafayette, CA 94549

C&T's books offer a wide range of projects, from quilts to sewing ideas, and these new arrivals are some top picks. Jean & Valori Wells' PILLOWS: 29 PROJECTS FOR STYLISH LIVING (1571203419, $19.95) shows how to blend fabrics, buttons and more to build sewing skills and produce eye-catching, unique home accents. It's easy to find a pillow style with a guide which offers such variety and ideas. Franki Kohler's FAST FUN & EASY FABRIC POSTCARDS (1571203328, $14.95) uses double-sided fusible techniques plus stitching and gluing to provide fabric cards, collages and more. These often require no envelopes to mail and can enjoy a range of variations in style and assembly. Fun, easy embellishments throughout make for a different, appealing project guide for all ages. Deena Beverley's BRILLIANT BAGS: 20 BEAUTIFUL BAGS TO STITCH & LOVE (1571203702, $25.95) offers easy projects which can be made as quickly as in a day. From beaded and embroidered bags to those enhanced by fabric paints, bags for shopping, travel or elegant take-alongs are outstanding with color photos and drawings making them easy to reproduce. Jane Hardy Miller and Arlene Netten's FRENCH BRAID QUILTS: 14 QUICK QUILTS WITH DRAMATIC RESULTS (1751203265, $24.95) shows how to use graduated fabrics to best advantage. You'd think this project would be complicated, but easy piecing and quick quilt construction techniques promise easy duplication of complex-looking designs. Kim Schaefer's FLOWERING QUILTS: 16 CHARMING FOLK ART PROJECTS TO DECORATE YOUR HOME (1571203389, $26.95) comes from a fabric designer and provides her first gathering of quilt projects. From lap quilts to full-sized bed quilts, FLOWERING QUILTS uses fusible applique and easy piecing. Becky Goldsmith and Linda Jenkins' AMISH-INSPIRED: TRADITION WITH A PIECE O' CAKE TWIST (1571203346, $26.95) uses Amish themes and embellishments to create quilts with rich colors. From block assembly to materials and cutting, color photos at each step of the way help and inspire. Paula Nadelstern's PUZZLE QUILTS: SIMPLE BLOCKS, COMPLEX FABRICS (1571203362, $26.95) deserves ongoing mention as an outstanding pairings of blocks to produce different pieces and quilts. Nadelstern's quilts look complex and difficult: here her 'puzzle quilt' techniques receive step-by-step coverage. All are top picks for any handy with the needle.

The American History Shelf

A Perfect Union
Catherine Allgor
Henry Holt
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
0805073272 $30.00

A PERFECT UNION: DOLLEY MADISON AND THE CREATION OF THE AMERICAN NATION is a 'must' for any serious history holding surveying the making of early America. With its focus on Dolley Madison and her husband James, it shows the political influences of the city as experienced by the president's wife, who became one of the most celebrated people in Washington, saving the portrait of George Washington from the White House as it burned. Rich detail probes into exactly why she was so adored – and is so little known today.

University of Oklahoma Press
2800 Venture Drive, Norman, OK 73069

Andrew E. Masich's THE CIVIL WAR IN ARIZONA: THE STORY OF THE CALIFORNIA VOLUNTEERS, 1861-1865 (0806137479, $32.95) is a chronicle of the California Column, the nearly forgotten volunteer soldiers who played a key part in the creation of Arizona territory. Two parts comprise this detailed history: a survey of the Column in wartime Arizona, and a gathering of letters originally published in the newspaper Alta California written by the volunteer soldiers themselves. Would that all histories could blend source materials with historical reviews so smoothly! The letters clearly depict conditions, experiences and observations, while the survey provides needed background for those without extensive Civil War history behind them. M. John Lubetkin's JAY COOKE'S GAMBLE: THE NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD, THE SIOUX, AND THE PANIC OF 1873 (0806137401, $29.95) provides a moving story of a brilliant banker who decided to finance the nation's first transcontinental railroad from Minnesota to Washington. His venture re-ignited war with the Sioux, would bring Custer to fame, would create Yellowstone Park, and would change the face of the nation, and the history of jay Cooke thus makes for a fascinating story of America's growth as a nation.

Broadcasts from the Blitz
Philip Seib
Potomac Books
22841 Quicksilver Drive, Dulles, VA 20166-2012
1597970123 $24.95

BROADCASTS FROM THE BLITZ: HOW EDWARD R MURROW HELPED LEAD AMERICA INTO WAR is for any who would understand early broadcast journalism's effect on war and peace. Murrow's 'This is London' opening brought the blitz home to Americans who would've otherwise been distanced by war events: he told why Americans wouldn't be able to avoid involvement, and he prepared the country with his moment-by-moment broadcasts of events. His agenda was to bring America into the war – and more than any politician, he alone helped prepare the American public for such involvement. This far-reaching story will interest a wide audience, from students of broadcast journalism to those interested in military history and social issues alike. Highly recommended indeed.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

The Migraine Deliverance Planner
Shelly Griffin
Principle Publications
4101 SW Green Oaks, #305-858, Arlington, TX 76016
0976645602 $29.95

Migraine sufferers know only too well that triggers can set off migraines, that their patterns can change over time, and that a range of factors can influence their intensity, onset and duration. For those who find their patterns in flux, THE MIGRAINE DELIVERANCE PLANNER is an item of choice. It's a workbook of observational logs which include checkmarks for severity, length, symptoms and more, and will prove an invaluable key to not only charting changing attacks, but to working with a physician to provide precise records at the time of each event.

The Appetite Awareness Workbook
Linda W. Craighead, Ph.D.
New Harbinger
5674 Shattuck, Oakland, CA 94609
1572243988 $18.95

From binge eating to obesity, Americans are more obsessed with weight than ever – yet diets and food logs often prove impossible to stick with. Try another approach with THE APPETITE AWARENESS WORKBOOK, promoting appetite awareness training as a solution to weight struggles. Learn to recognize the body's natural – and real – hunger cues, and differentiate these from other non-hunger cues in a title which shows how to link emotional eating habits with more sensible routines. The workbook approach lends especially well to home use.

Soul Medicine
Norman Shealy, MD & Dawson Chruch, Ph.D.
Elite Books
10 Hop Ranch Court, Santa Rosa, CA 95403
0971088888 $24.95

SOUL MEDICINE: AWAKENING THE INNER BLUEPRINT OF ABUNDANT HEALTH AND ENERGY is co-written by the publisher who brought THE BIOLOGY OF BELIEF into the world, fostering new thinking on mind/body connections. Here's a further exploration of energy practices and alternative paths of healing, narrowing the focus to the soul's potential for self-healing. The new medicine blending spirituality and consciousness with physical healing is revealed here, with plenty of tips on how to spark the spirit's inner healing flame. This could've been featured in our 'Spirituality' section but is reviewed here for its importance to health readers as well.

A Spiritual Path to Overcoming Infertility
Dr. Matthew McQuaid
Cypress House
155 Cypress Street, Fort Bragg, CA 95437
0977142566 $16.95

This could have been featured in our Health Shelf area but is featured her for its lasting value to any who face infertility and want to try a different approach to having a family. Plenty of books focus on medical issues: this focuses on the spirit, from reducing the stress associated with infertility and using mind/body techniques to improve medical outcomes to undertaking emotional and spiritual changes which can lead to health improvements and fertility. A SPIRITUAL PATH TO OVERCOMING INFERTILITY: CREATING YOUR MIRACLE FAMILY NOW offers all the keys to emotional health and connects them to fertility improvement, making it a 'must' for any with trouble starting a family.

There Is Room at the Inn
Candy B. Harrington
Demos Publishing
386 Park Avenue South #301, New York NY 10016
1932603611 $21.95

THERE IS ROOM AT THE INN: INNS AND B&BS FOR WHEELERS AND SLOW WALKERS could have been featured in our travel section too, but is reviewed here for its interest to any disabled person who wants guides for accessibility. Inns throughout the U.S. are arranged by state and review over a hundred such properties in a range of lodging choices, from Victorian inns to dude ranches and safari parks. Each offers a checklist of questions to ask innkeepers about accessibility, comments from innkeepers on access, sightseeing suggestions in the vicinity, and much more. Any with mobility issues will appreciate a guide just for them.

Taking Out Your Mental Trash
Rian E. McMullin
W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
0393704874 $27.50 1-800-233-4830

How can you get control of your life and overcome negativity? TAKING OUT YOUR MENTAL TRASH: A CONSUMER'S GUIDE TO COGNITIVE RESTRUCTURING THERAPY is one way to attack negative inclinations: it synthesizes over thirty years of author McMullin's professional experience in psychology, and offers consumers an accessible guide to cognitive restructuring therapy's key beliefs and elements. This therapy applies not just to negative emotions but phobias, social anxiety, stress and more, offering a workbook for adopting fresh beliefs and providing invaluable exercises and examples of negative settings which can be analyzed to arrive at deeper meanings underlying negative comments. An invaluable tool for effective change.

Crisis of Abundance
Arnold Kling
1000 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001
1930865899 $16.95

America's health care system is facing its biggest challenge: how to pay for a technologically superior set of services. Economist Arnold Kling argues that current health care doesn't give the best value per dollar spent – and he shows how relying on private savings and market innovations would contain costs and improve quality. Responsibility for health care for the elderly should move away from taxpayers and back to the individual, matching funding systems to needs. A thought-provoking account of placing costs in the hands of those who can afford to pay, not every user.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Amy L. Sutton, Editor
615 Griswold Street, Detroit, MI 48226
078080824X $78.00

The third updated edition of the consumer health reference SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES SOURCEBOOK updates all details about STDs in the general population as well as in specific groups, surveying all kinds of infections, strategies for prevention, and the latest advancements in treatment. The latter includes current research initiatives as well, helping consumers chart the past, present and future prognosis of treatments themselves.

Self, Senility and Alzheimer's Disease in Modern America
Jesse F. Ballenger
Johns Hopkins University Press
2715 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218-4363
0801882761 $43.00

Senility isn't just an issue of the last twenty years, but has long haunted the image of the self-made man. Historian Jesse Ballenger follows its impact from the 19th to the late 20th century, when Alzheimer's became associated with the loss of self. What makes his survey intriguing is his focus on changing American society and culture which fostered the idea of selfhood as a status, and later on as a willful construction. Both science and history blend in a survey of aging and dementia, making for a broad discussion not just of changing American attitudes and culture, but changing health system responses.

Dr. Buynak's 1-2-3 Diabetes Diet
Robert J. Buynak, MD & Greogry Guthrie
American Diabetes Association
1701 N. Beauregard Street, Alexandria, VA 22311
1580402437 $14.95

Type 2 diabetics are always advised to lose weight, and many try: but of all the diets on the market, few provide lasting results. Dr. Robert Buynak provides no instant panacea for weight loss: what he does provide are a series of tips on how to navigate the supermarket more intelligently, how to handle eating out, fighting hunger, and other practical concerns which often negate a diet plan. It's based an a calorie counting program and provides a pairing of lifestyle to weight loss which seems more achievable than most.

The One
Kathy Freston
Miramax Books/Hyperion
161 Avenue of Americas, 15th Floor, New York NY 10013
140135243X $23.95

THE ONE: FINDING SOUL MATE LOVE AND MAKING IT LAST surveys the promises and pitfalls of true love, an idea which all too few find. Kathy Freston is a self-help and spirituality counselor whose first book is dedicated to showing how to visualize a lasting relationship and how to make it last. Soul mate love is both a psychological and a mystical partnership: THE ONE shows how to find it, nurture it, and enjoy its spiritual benefits.

Navigating the Journey Of Aging Parents
Cheryl A. Kuba
270 Madison Avenue, New York NY 10016
0415952883 $19.95

Many books discuss caring for one's aging parents – but here's a twist: a discussion on the topic from the parents' perspective. Interviews with aging people discuss common care-giver mistakes, misinterpretations, and issues, explaining emotional and financial issues and myths. At the heart of discussions are the title's focus: NAVIGATING THE JOURNEY OF AGING PARENTS: WHAT CARE RECEIVERS WANT. It's a perspective all caregivers should consider.

The Literary Shelf

In Pieces: An Anthology Of Fragmentary Writing
Olivia Dresher, Editor
Impassio Press
PO Box 31905, Seattle, WA 98103
0971158355 $17.00

IN PIECES is a fine anthology celebrating modern fragmentary writing the best way: by providing a sampler of fragments from nearly forty different writers. These fragments come from diaries, notebooks and letters and include short prose pieces as well as reflections: they offer up powerful tastes of short ideas and thoughts, gleaning works from all kinds of genres and expressions. Many a college-level course will find it a specific, useful gathering of a form rarely given its own independent recognition.

How Celtic Culture Invented Southern Literature
James P. Cantrell
Pelican Publishing
100 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053-2246
1589803302 $29.95

Ask any student and you'd learn the majority would think the culture and literature of the white South evolved from English roots: not so, researcher James Cantrell reveals in HOW CELTIC CULTURE INVENTED SOUTHERN LITERATURE. His account presents historical and literary evidence that it was the South's Celtic peoples who had the most influence on Southern culture – an influence that can clearly be documented today. Writers published after the Civil War are all featured, with special emphasis on Celtic influences and even Irish Christianity's appearance in traditional works by Flannery O'Connor and others. From the myth of the white roots of the Southern epic novel to the lives of authors inspired by Celtic sources, no serious college-level student of Southern literature should be without HOW CELTIC CULTURE INVENTED SOUTHERN LITERATURE.

Encyclopedia of Fantasy And Horror Fiction
Don D'Ammassa
Facts on File
132 West 31st St., 17th Fr., New York NY 10010
0816061920 $65.00

Any collection strong in fantasy and horror fiction will want to have this reference on hand: it adds to Facts on File's 'Literary Movements' series, providing a guide to the history and current nature of the genre and packing in entries on major writers and works. Both works and authors are covered, receiving half a page or more of detail on plots, themes, impact, and notable uses of language. From children's fantasy author Tamara Pierce to Andre Norton's extensive series titles and Garth Nix's modern dark fantasies, this is a fine reference not to be missed.

The Bible of Illuminated Letters
Margaret Morgan
250 Wireless Blvd., Hauppauge, NY 11788
0764158201 $24.99

Plenty of books describe the literature and art of illuminated letters but few provide instructions for recreating illuminated alphabets from six historical periods, as does THE BIBLE OF ILLUMINATED LETTERS. This could've been featured in our Arts section or even in Crafts but is reviewed here because literary collections should be the last to miss it. Each section explores how these letters can be adapted to create a personal style, with modern examples in full color enhancing step-by-step color photos of production.

The Gaming Shelf

Play Poker Like Johnny Chan
Johnny Chan and Mark Karowe
Top Players Media LLC
409 North Pacific Coast Hwy 430, Redondo Beach, CA 90277
1933074205 $19.95

PLAY POKER LIKE JOHNNY CHAN BOOK ONE: GETTING STARTED provides some of the secrets of one of the world's best poker players. Chan worked his way up from the bottom, starting with the smallest games and working up. His survey uses the most popular casino games to teach the finer art of bluffing, bet and call strategies, understanding crucial turning points in games, and more. Color examples of cards and plays throughout make this a top pick 'must have' for any avid poker player who wishes lessons from a pro.

Six to Five Against
Burt Dragin
RDR Books
2415 Woolsey, Berkeley, CA 94705
1571431136 $17.95

Burt Dragin is a journalism professor and investigative reporter who writes about what he knows best: gambling. His own addition to the game lends a lively and fun tone to a history of gambling, the rise of casinos and big business, and insights from recovering problem gamblers. The fine art of winning, losing, and struggling with too much fun comes alive in SIX TO FIVE AGAINST: A GAMBLER'S ODYSSEY.

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

The Fortune Telling Handbook
Viv Foster, Editor
250 Wireless Blvd., Hauppauge, NY 11788
0764159143 $16.99

Any newcomer to fortune telling who wants to know how it works will appreciate THE FORTUNE TELLING HANDBOOK: A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO PREDICTING THE FUTURE, which goes step-by-step in covering the Zodiac, tarot, and other divination methods. Chapters pair color photos of methods with ideas and interpretations and focuses on the theory behind fortune-telling routines.

Aleister Crowley and The Ouija Board
J. Edward Cornelius
Feral House
PO Box 39910, Los Angeles, CA 90039
1932595104 $16.95

Is the Ouija Board a kid's game or a dangerous portal to the devil that can lead to murder? This history of the 'talking board' traces the origins of the Ouija to Queen Elizabeth's advisor, who used it to contact angels, and follows its use to Aleister Crowley, who created his own version. An excellent survey of its uses, beliefs, and changes makes for a lively, recommended pick.

The Religion/Spirituality Shelf

The God Theory
Berbard Haisch
Red Wheel Weiser
65 Parker Street, Suite 7, Newburyport, MA 01950
1578633745 $21.95

THE GOD THEORY: UNIVERSES, ZERO-POINT FIELDS AND WHAT'S BEHIND IT ALL comes from the unusual vantage point of a professional scientist who has also spent his lifetime as a religious thinker. His blend of science and a background in the priesthood contributes to a survey which crosses religious and scientific barriers alike to consider the deeper truth in observations and findings – thus THE GOD THEORY is presented as not entirely theology, but a presentation of a more flexible worldview.

Belief Works
Ray Dodd
Hampton Roads Publishing
1125 Stoney Ridge Road, Charlottesville VA 22902
157174472X $14.95

BELIEFWORKS: THE ART OF LIVING YOUR DREAMS provides seven key steps to unlocking a real belief and power over life's paths. A diagnosis of cancer changed cyclist Lance Armstrong's life – a change that led him to begin living with more appreciation for himself and others. His subsequent miraculous recovery led to further wins – but the lessons he learned from his life-threatening illness lasted even longer and form the foundations of BELIEFWORKS.

The Social Issues Shelf

W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110

China and India are set to join existing power players as major consumers of resources and polluters too: discussions in both countries at all levels are analyzing paths to follow, from technological choices to economic and ecological concerns. Follow their course in STATE OF THE WORLD 2006: SPECIAL FOCUS: CHINA AND INDIA (039332771X $18.95), which considers actions businesses can take to promote socially conscious development in these nations. Chapters on sustainable development choices, pros and cons chart many of the issues affecting such decisions at both the national and regional levels, making this a 'must' for any who would understand modern India or China. Lester Brown's PLAN B 2.0: RESCUING A PLANET UNDER STRESS AND A CIVILIZATION IN TROUBLE (0393061620, $29.95) advocates using our technology to build a new economy based on energy-efficient designs and renewable resource paths: it goes beyond advocacy in telling how, from reallocating funding and understanding that the western economic models won't work for every country, to making the shift in a logical manner. Plan B has three parts: restructuring the global economy, working to eradicate poverty and reversing environmental destruction. Tall orders, to be sure: but Plan B is here thoughtfully laid out to achieve the seeming impossible – and with an understanding of world trends and cultures, too.

Drones, Clones and Alpha Babes
Diana M.A. Relke
University of Calgary Press
2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2N 1N4
1552381641 $29.95

The star Trek show is one of the most successful popular media productions in our culture, producing a massive amount of books on the topic: but none have examined Star Trek in terms of humanism and the post human, adding in issues of gender perception and development – nothing until DRONES, CLONES AND ALPHA BABES: RETROFITTING STAR TREK'S HUMANISM, POST- 9/11. College-level analysis examines how Trek narratives both influence and reflect changing culture values in this country, offering her Canadian perspective in an analysis of its uniquely American version of liberal humanist values. It will certainly appeal to any Trek fan and encourage the deeper analysis of cultural meanings and values which Trek shows contain.

The Politically Incorrect Guide To Women, Sex, And Feminism
Carrie L. Lukas
Regnery Publishing
1 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001
1596980036 $19.95

A generation of liberated women have been kept in the dark by feminists whose beliefs have wrecked havoc on their lives: go beyond ideals to understand the often-politically-charged truths behind women's decisions in THE POLITICALLY INCORRECT GUIDE TO WOMEN, SEX, AND FEMINISM. From how careers directly conflict with family objectives to daycare delusions and the realities of divorce and marriage, prepare to be amazed – and uncover more than a kernel of truth.

Sesame Street and the Reform of Children's Television
Robert W. Morrow
Johns Hopkins University Press
2715 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218-4363
0801882303 $50.00

By the late 1960s many were criticizing the quality and nature of children's television programming: from this criticism emerged Sesame Street, a blend of entertainment and education aimed at reaching a wide audience of preschoolers. Here the origin and politics of the Children's Television Workshop which fostered Sesame Street to success is told in chapters which consider how it emerged to became a flagship of good network programming. Archival research and a study of sample programs from the show's first ten seasons survey its ideas, organization, and what made it stand out from the crowd. At first glance this would seem of interest only to avid show fans; but look again: any student of film, television, sociology and American history will find it intriguing and educational.

Mangos Chiles & Truckers
Robert R. Alvarez, Jr.
University of Minnesota Press
111 3rd Avenue South, #290, Minneapolis, MN 55401-2520
0816645086 $18.50

MANGOS CHILES AND TRUCKERS: THE BUSINESS OF TRANSNATIONALISM focuses on local groups and individuals and how they foster creative methods in reaction to the global economy. Produce and trucking industries in Mexico are the focus, with Alvarez taking a studied approach on the impact global policies have on growers of mangos and chilies in Mexico, and those who transport the produce across the border. This isn't a broad overview but a precise tracing of connections between politics, nations, and different states as they react to economic changes. In emphasizing the importance and methods of control of the nation-state in the global process, MANGOS, CHILES AND TRUCKERS shows how people adapt to changing economic influences in their daily lives. Robert Alvarez is a professor of ethnic studies at UC San Diego, and his is a well documented, scholarly account.

Beyond the Age of Innocence
Kishore Mahbubani
Public Affairs
250 West 57th Street, Suite 1321, New York NY 10107
158648379X $15.00

Any concerned about America's changing relations with world nations should take a look at BEYOND THE AGE OF INNOCENCE: A WORLDLY VIEW OF AMERICA. Mahbubani expresses anguish over the deepening distrust and resentment of this country: he's a leading Asian diplomat who gets to observe this first-hand. He chides this nation on its indifference to its decisions on others – and advocates recognizing and alleviating the growing gap between America and the rest of the world – and shows how. It's his ability to point out alternative directions and how to reach them which makes BEYOND THE AGE OF INNOCENCE a special recommendation.

Tim Delaney
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
1591023955 $19.00

Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David's syndicated show SEINFELD succeeds in large part because it's packed with social observations blended with comedy. The effect is hard-hitting and fun, and here in SEINOLOGY: THE SOCIOLOGY OF SEINFELD, sociology professor Tim Delaney examines how these social observations work. Chapters consider key facets of sociology and how they relate to Seinfeld shows, using chapters titled after some of the show's famous incidents to illustrate. A top pick for college-level sociology courses which wish to connect to student interests and experiences to teach or introduce the field of sociology.

Biodiesel Power
Lyle Estill
New Society Publishers
PO Box 189, Gabriola Island, BC V0R 1XO, Canada
0865715416 $16.95

Renewable energy is becoming even more important an issue as time goes by and oil reserves become less certain: Lyle Estill's BIODIESEL POWER: THE PASSION, THE PEOPLE, AND THE POLITICS OF THE NEXT RENEWABLE FUEL thus holds value beyond its 2005 publication date as an ongoing primer documenting the importance of this next renewable fuel. It follows the people, influences and history of the biodiesel movement and examines pros, cons, commercial interests and organizations alike in an outstanding coverage promising ongoing relevance.

Social Change in America
Christopher Clark
Ivan R. Dee
1332 North Halsted Street, Chicago, IL 60622-2694
1566636868 $27.50

For decades American history has provided surveys of changing society with a focus on early years: Social Change in America: From the Revolution Through the Civil War offers something different – the opportunity to survey changes and their lasting, far-reaching impact on American society and values. Chapters trace the roots and foundations of social change through all the decades, analyzing families, households, work and more. It's a fundamental coverage for any who would understand how social changes are effected over the long-term.

The Photography Shelf

Life As a Night Porter
Chris Shaw
Twin Palms Publishers
54 1/2 East San Francisco Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501
1931885508 $60.00

Photographer Chris Shaw spent ten years working in London hotels, using his camera to document the hotel's patrons and oddities and keeping himself awake on the late shift. LIFE AS A NIGHT PORTER offers a shelving challenge to libraries; but as an exhibit piece or addition to a serious college-level photography library holding, it can't be beat. Pictures capture the chance meeting and the finer world of hotel life, with large-size, often murky, black and white photos of employees and residents alike capturing and documenting another night world. It's a rich world of the underworld and comes to life in Shaw's presentation.

Photojournalism 1855 to the Present Editor's Choice
Reuel Golden
Abbeville Press
137 Varick Street, New York NY 10013
0789208954 $45.00

Photojournalists have created and presented some of the world's most memorable images of events, and here to celebrate the whole field is PHOTOJOURNALISM 1855 TO THE PRESENT: EDITORS' CHOICES, which gathers some two hundred images from its entire history. From early snapshots of historic figures and moments to images of war and decisive moments, a senior editor of PHOTO DISTRICT NEWS, the trade magazine for professional photographers, gathers photos and makers based on critical reputations and historical importance. Each photographer enjoys a portfolio of representative images in full size along with critical commentary. Black and white moves into color images as eras progress throughout an excellent title promising interest for history buffs, photography and art students alike.

The Art Shelf

Art Market Research
Tom McNulty
McFarland & Company
PO Box 611, Jefferson, SC 28640
0786423722 $35.00

If you've been wondering about the value of art works in your home or in a relative's estate, here's the place to look for guidance: ART MARKET RESEARCH: A GUIDES TO METHODS AND SOURCES isn't your usual valuation attempt but a detailed survey of how to determine the value of art works. Chapters survey major venues of art acquisition, terminology, the basics of analysis and how to research through databases and online. Techniques for authentication and determining art history are also a feature, while the bibliographic references are outstanding for further research detail. Serious art collectors and aspiring collectors alike will find plenty to learn from here, from methodology to art appreciation in general.

How to Draw Fantasy Females
Chris Patmore
Barron's Educational
250 Wireless Blvd., Hauppauge, NY 11788
0764130897 $21.99

Supergirls are a popular feature of cartoons but can be the hardest to draw: how can you render fantasy females who are sexy and powerful alike? HOW TO DRAW FANTASY FEMALES: CREATE SEXY CYBERPUNKS, SEDUCTIVE SUPERGIRLS AND RAUNCHY ACTION HEROINES shows how, using key characters from cartoons, computer games, and graphic novels to illustrate step-by-step processes of creating characters. From plot and background reviews to making characters come to life, pencil drawings and tips in good inking and style abound.

155 Avenue of Americas, 2nd Floor, New York NY 10013-1507

Zak Smith's PICTURES OF GIRLS (1933045221, $30.00) packs in color pages of girls' drawings – and not the usual nudes, either. PICTURES OF GIRLS instead provides fine acrylic paintings of real people, improvising from photos. DADA: ZURLICH, BERLIN, HANNOVER, COLOGNE, NEW YORK, APRIS (1933045205, $65.00) traces one of the most important movements of the historical avant-garde born in the middle of World War I. Within the movement are many key Modernist artists who used new materials and techniques to create styles of art which contrasted strongly with the usual traditions and values of the art world. Works between 1916 and 1924 are analyzed and presented here, with essays adding background history, scholarly and critical insights, and over forty artists' biographies. A definitive 'must' for any who would learn about the movement's premises, art, and influences. BEYOND THE VISIBLE: THE ART OF ODILON REDON (0870707027, $55.00) covers the works and techniques of the turn of the century French artist whose focus on symbolism and nature resulted in a surreal touch to the traditional nature form. From his charcoals and pastels to his paintings and lithographs, all of Redon's works are presented and analyzed, from the holdings of the Museum of Modern Art, which has the largest collection outside of France.

Andy Warhol
Walker Art Center/D.A.P., Distributors
1750 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403
0935640835 $39.95

SUPERNOVA: STARS, DEATHS, AND DISASTERS 1962-64 gathers Andy Warhol's works from a narrow period of time, with a focus on Warhol's paintings of disasters, crashes, and more. Essays by Warhol critics accompany this survey of his works in a range of media, providing a visual catalog of his artistic methods and influence and presenting holdings from the Walker Art Center, which began its relationship with Warhol in 1967. ANDY WARHOL/SUPERNOVA accompanies an exhibition but stands well on its own, packing in large-size black and white and color photos from Warhol's works and including the background commentary and criticism essential to understanding them. A 'must' for any serious Warhol collection.

Art Out of Time
Dan Nadel
115 West 18th Street, New York NY 10011
0810958384 $40.00

Any involved in the comics must have ART OUT OF TIME: UNKNOWN COMICS VISIONARIES, 1900-1969: it celebrates the lesser-known work of Bob Powell, Astan MacGovern, Boody Rogers and others who proved eccentric but influential comic visionaries before the rose of underground comics in the late 1960s. These artists created their own versions of western, romance, humor and horror genres and worked within the confines of popular comics of their times to provide visionary works. Some became famous, others remained obscure. ART OUT OF TIME reprints complete comic book and strip stories: many appear here for the first time since their first appearance. A thematic organization allows for quick access while surveys of pre-underground stars makes for a winning collection. Another big plus: the strips appear in full color, capturing all the nuances of the originals and losing nothing in translation. Readers involved in comic history, evolution and art simply must have ART OUT OF TIME.

The Fashion Shelf

Fashion Sourcebook
Kathryn McKelvey
Blackwell Publishing
PO Box 570, Ames, IA 50010-0570
1405126930 $39.95

The second updated edition of FASHION SOURCEBOOK packs in over 1750 copyright-free illustrations of garments, accessories and details which provides fashion designers with a strong reference. All illustrations have been redrawn traditionally then treated to enhancing computer graphics techniques to clarify shape, style, detail and modeling. The result translates well to representing complex textile patterns in print, and provides excellent patterns for a range of fashion design uses.

Clothing And Textile Collections In The U.S.: A CSA Guide
Sally Queen and Vicki L. Berger
Texas Tech University Press
PO Box 41037, Lubbock, TX 79410
0896725723 $39.95

College-level holdings strong in costume history will find CLOTHING AND TEXTILE COLLECTIONS IN THE UNITED STATES: A CSA GUIDE a fine survey of the collections available – the first such guide in print. Over 2,600 American collections are included in listings that hold location and contact information and often descriptions of holdings. From drama producers and museum directors to students of textiles and costume history, CLOTHING AND TEXTILE COLLECTIONS IN THE U.S. is an excellent guide.

My Mother's Wedding Dress
Justine Picardie
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
1596911492 $22.95

MY MOTHER'S WEDDING DRESS: THE LIFE AND AFTERLIFE OF CLOTHES isn't just about clothes, but about their relationship to human lives. Stories of the author's family, friends, and the fashion business blends with reflections on clothes in culture to consider much more than just style trends. Stories of the author's unusual wedding dress, her own first party dress worn as a child, and inherited family clothing with the power to bridge gaps in relationships and even the living with the dead makes for a blend of memoir and fashion industry encounters with supermodels and designers alike. A warm, rich survey evolves.

The Business Shelf

Beyond Code
Rajesh Setty
Select Books
1 Union Square West Suite 909, New York NY 10003
1590791029 $19.95

BEYOND CODE: LEARN TO DISTINGUISH YOURSELF IN 9 SIMPLE STEPS gathers notes, charts and insights put together by the author over a ten-year period: it comes from one who is chairman of a company that promotes open source in business and outlines many basics, from encouraging customers to learn and grow to understanding job passion's importance to success.

Can Two Rights Make a Wrong?
Sara J. Moulton Reger
IBM Press
c/o Pearson Education
1 Lake Street, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
0131732943 $24.99

CAN TWO RIGHTS MAKE A WRONG? INSIGHTS FROM IBM'S TANGIBLE CULTURE APPROACH teaches how to apply IBM's 'culture transformation techniques' to a range of business environments and choices. Learn how to clarify expectations so others thoroughly understand them, how to measure culture change progress in ways others can comprehend, and how to translate common business practices to practical options and applications in the world market.

Box Boats
Brian J. Cudahy
Fordham University Press
2546 Belmont Avenue, University Box L, Bronx, NY 10458-5172
0823225682 $29.95 1-800-247-6553

BOX BOATS: HOW CONTAINER SHIPS CHANGED THE WORLD tells how the first container ship in 1956 changed the entire shipping industry, introducing a concept and transportation idea which would revolutionize the costs of shipping goods. From the Pan-Atlantic's owner who first thought about loading his trucks on board to his evolving line which grew into a giant container service, Cudahy charts not just the evolution of one company, but its impact on and changes within the world shipping and steamship industries as a whole. A fascinating, detailed account.

PMP in Depth
Paul Sanghera, Ph.D.
Thomson Course Technology
25 Thomson Place, Boston, MA 02210
1598631772 $49.99

Project managers taking the PMP and CAPM exams will want to have this on their study lists: it will serve as a fine guide for many a college-level course and provides details on each exam, assuming no prior knowledge of project management and pairing hundreds of questions with answers. Review questions, key term listings, and a progressive course suitable for understanding group processes and management challenges make for fine surveys of project resources, allocation, activity management and assessment, and more.

Weekend Entrepreneur
Michelle Anton & Jennfier Basye Sander
Entrepreneur Press
c/o The McGraw Hill Companies
Two Penn Plaza, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10121-2298
1932531580 $19.95 1-877-833-5524

If you're hoping to earn some extra money in your free time, this is the book for you: a compendium of details from over a hundred weekend entrepreneurs who share their secrets. Michelle Anton and Jennifer Basye Sander's WEEKEND ENTREPRENEUR: 101 GREAT WAYS TO EARN EXTRA CASH assumes you have time on your hands and a desire to work. From designing women's loungewear and making decorative car magnets to running a freelance power washer for hire business, chapters analyze business pros/cons and how ideas developed into profitable ventures.

The Joy of Sox
Hugh Taylor
John Wiley & Company
10475 Crosspoint Blvd., Indianapolis IN 46256
0471772747 $45.00

Here's a new case for business compliance: a review of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and how compliance has the power to both make demands on American business and advance its purposes. Chapters in THE JOY OF SOX: WHY SARBANES-OXLEY AND SERVICE-ORIENTED ARCHITECTURE MAY BE THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO YOU provide sample company experiences in compliance, covering both painful changes and positive results which can evolve from new business directions. From changes in the IT field which reorganize its purposes to maintaining control under new IT systems and understanding tolerance levels, data integrity, and the review process, THE JOY OF SOX is a 'must' for any forward-thinking business.

Investors in Your Backyard
Asheesh Advani
Nolo Press
950 Parker Street, Berkeley, CA 84710
1413304206 $24.99

INVESTORS IN YOUR BACKYARD: HOW TO RAISE BUSINESS CAPITAL FROM THE PEOPLE YOU KNOW goes beyond most investment or small business guides to tell how to tap into resources of those you know – with respect for all parties and the business under construction. Very few books focus on this aspect of capital and fundraising: INVESTORS IN YOUR BACKYARD offers strategies, insights, tools and secrets to obtaining financing without threatening personal relationships. From preparing a business to attract private financing to developing a loan proposal and documenting agreements and money exchanges, financial calculators and advice provides many options and insights to widen the pool of options and address common issues.

Kogan Page
525 South 4th Street, #241, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Nearly eighty real-life public relations disasters from around the world are documented in a survey which not only presents events, but analyzes the root causes of the disasters and how they hold lessons for other PR efforts. Gerry McCusker has over twenty years' background as a PR analyst and practitioner based in Australia: his background lends an international focus and plenty of background expertise to Public Relations Disasters (0749445726 $19.95), a survey that pairs events with sidebars of invaluable analysis. Mark J. Power, Kevin C. Desouza and Carlo Bonifazi's THE OUTSOURCING HANDBOOK: HOW TO IMPLEMENT A SUCCESSFUL OUTSOURCING PROCESS (0749444304, $55.00) provides a strategy managers can implement at any sized organization, providing step-by-step insights into the process and pinpointing common pitfalls and problems. From locating outsourcing agencies which fit with a company's strategic positioning to negotiating a contracting, considering matters of security, and modifying or terminating arrangements, managers will find THE OUTSOURCING HANDBOOK very specific and well detailed. Peter Goudge's EMPLOYEE RESEARCH: HOW TO INCREASE EMPLOYEE INVOLVEMENT THROUGH CONSULTATION (0749445408, $39.95) covers the basics of market research results which demonstrate how to use consultation to motivate and increase employee involvement in businesses. Key principles are presented, links between employee and customer satisfaction are explores, and qualitative research methods evaluated in a fine survey of practices for HR pros and business managers alike.

The Money/Finance Shelf

Revolutionary Wealth
Alvin and Heidi Toffler
Alfred A. Knopf
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
0375401741 $27.95 1-800-726-0600

REVOLUTIONARY WEALTH: HOW IT WILL BE CREATED AND HOW IT WILL CHANGE OUR LIVES comes from the authors of FUTURE SHOCK and THE THIRD WAVE and examines how tomorrow's wealth will be created. It's not all about money and economics, however – it's also about educational opportunities and advantages, child-raising choices, and the work we do without pay for big companies. Moreover, it covers many connections between daily activities, form hobbies to habits, and wealth-producing non-money economic factors which economists might miss. Want to prepare for the real future? Don't just look at 'how to make money' books – consider the underlying social influences, as in REVOLUTIONARY WEALTH.

Prentice Hall-Financial Times
c/o Pearson Technology Group
801 East 96th Street, #300, Indianapolis, IN 46240-3759

Any serious trader or investor will find equally serious and detailed Victor Canto's UNDERSTANDING ASSET ALLOCATION: AN INTUITIVE APPROACH TO MAXIMIZING YOUR PORTFOLIO (0131876767 $34.99). It's not your usual 'game plan for all' design but in detailed study of how asset allocation works differently for different kinds of investment strategies; thus it teaches the details on locating and analyzing historical data, choosing different kinds of investments, considering value in growth or large/small cap stocks, and more. College-level financial courses will find it very precise and useful, teaching decision-making processes others pass over. Javier Estrada's FINANCE IN A NUTSHELL: A NON-NONSENSE COMPANION TO THE TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES OF FINANCE (0273675400) provides a summary of financial topics for students and practitioners alike. It offers a broad base to address key issues in finance, from the basics of risk, return, and futures to alternative stock models and capital investment. Boxed 'challenge sections' provide exercises for testing and reinforcing knowledge.

The Antiques/Collectibles Shelf

Colored Gemstones
Antoinette Matlins, P.G.
GemStone Press
PO Box 237, Woodstock, VT 05091
0943763452 $18.99

The second updated, expanded edition of COLORED GEMSTONES: THE ANTOINETTE MATLINS BUYING GUIDE is on the market and it's not to be missed for any avid gem collector. Here are all the basic keys to gems; from initial assessment of the factors which lend value to descriptive names, misnomers, facts on hardness and wearability and more. A 'must' reference, especially for consumers just starting out in gem collecting or investing.

Art of the Russian Matryoshka
Rett Ertl and Rick Hibberd
Vernissage Press
2200 Central Avenue, Boulder, CO 80301
0972502718 $40.00

There are many sections this could've been reviewed for: World History, the Arts… but Art of the Russian Matryoshka is featured here because so many of these Russian nesting dolls have become collectible items around the world. Don't expect your usual collector's guide of values, however: here's a history of the dolls, how and where they are made, variations, artists, and more. Themes and symbols of the dolls as well as tools and methods for their making are revealed in chapters packed with color photos of dolls, makers, and Russia. Matryoshka has evolved since the fall of the Soviet Union, and there's no better author to chart these many changes than Rett Ertl, who has studied Russian language and culture since high school and holds college degrees in the subject.

The Military Shelf

A Bloody Business
Colonel Gerald Schumacher
Zenith Press/MBI
380 Jackson Street, #200, St. Paul, MN 55101
0760323550 $24.95

A BLOODY BUSINESS: AMERICA'S WAR ZONE CONTRACTORS AND THE OCCUPATION OF IRAQ tells of a new kind of American army overseas: one which is a private mercenary-run establishments which takes over as the U.S. military shrinks. The lives of such men and women who work in Iraq are controlled by few laws or regulations: they must rely on instinct and their own codes of conduct. Civilian contractors in Iraq number some fifteen thousand: their experiences and daily lives, recounted here, are riveting testimonies to their duties and hardships.

Age of Wars of Religion
Cathal J. Nolan
Greenwood Press
88 Post Road West, Westport, CT 06881
0313337330 $249.95/2 vols,

College-level students of world history or religious history will find an extensive, useful reference in THE AGE OF WARS OF RELIGION: 1000-1650: AN ENCYCLOPEDIA OF GLOBAL WARFARE AND CIVILIZATION. Entries chart individuals, battles, equipment and settlements alike as they provide entries key to understanding different methods of battle and political scenarios. A specialty item, but a 'must' for any collection specializing in the era's history.

Uniforms of the German Soldier
Alejandro M. De Quesada
Greenhill Books/MBI Publishing
380 Jackson Street, #300, St. Paul, MN 55101-3885
1853676799 $34.95

The uniform of the German army has changed greatly over the last 70 years, and here to document it all is UNIFORMS OF THE GERMAN SOLDIER: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY FROM WORLD WAR II TO THE PRESENT DAY. Lovely color photos liberally pepper a guide which analyzes gear, pairing detailed information captains with visual emphasis explaining interesting aspects of each uniform, insignia and equipment piece. Veteran military history writer de Quesada provides a fine resource for a range of readers, from collectors of World War II memorabilia to history buffs.

Jack H. Lucas
Da Capo Press
11 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142
0396814706 $22.95

Anyone studying World War II history will find Jack Lucas' memoir of Iwo Jima a riveting story in INDESTRUCTIBLE: THE UNFORGETTABLE STORY OF A MARINE HERO AT THE BATTLE OF IWO JIMA. Lucas lied about his age and joined the Marines at age fourteen: he rejected a statewide assignment to stow away on a troop ship bound for the Pacific, becoming the youngest soldier of his era and the youngest recipient of the Medal of Honor. His story will intrigue any studying battle history.

Greatest U.S. Army Stories Ever Told
Iain C. Martin, Editor
The Lyons Press
PO Box 480, Guilford, CT 06437
1592288588 $24.95

Take all the experiences of American military men throughout the decades, select the best, and pack them into an anthology covering the most memorable written by solders, journalists and historians and you have a remarkable achievement in military documentation. Stories chart some of the greatest acts of heroism and the most memorable battle experiences, gathering riveting stories of courage from Little Big Horn to World War II.

Osprey Publishing
443 Park Avenue South #806, New York NY 10016

Osprey's fine military series 'Campaign', 'Fortress', 'New Vanguard' and 'Men at Arms' provide excellent surveys military collections will appreciate: visually appealing and packed with color, narrowed focus on battles and subjects for clear detailed reports, and nearly 100 pages each for in-depth reading. Stephen Turnbull's OSAKA 1615: THE LAST BATTLE OF THE SAMURAI (1841769606, $18.95) follows the 1614-15 campaign for Osaka Castle, Japan's greatest fortification – two miles in length with 100-foot high walls! T. McGovern and B. Smith's AMERICAN COASTAL DEFENSES 1885-1950 (1841769223, $16.95) tells of U.S. fortifications during the period from Boston to San Francisco. Their design, construction and American coastal defense systems are all revealed in depth. Gary Nila and Robert A. Rolfe's JAPANESE SPECIAL NAVAL LANDING FORCES: UNIFORMS AND EQUIPMENT 1932-45 (1846031001, $15.95) covers the combat force wrongly termed 'Imperial Marines'. From their Pacific campaigns to their strategies, here's a narrowed focus of events. Gary Staff's GERMAN BATTLECRUISERS 1914-18 (1846030099, $15.95) covers the new German independent reconnaissance division which was to perform special tasks – including fighting in the line. Their defenses and achievements are detailed in a survey of all the classes of German battlecruisers. Ed Gilbert's US MARINE CORPS IN THE VIETNAM WAR: III Marine Amphibious Force 1965-75 (1841769878, $23.95) follows a division command which was formed to commit to Vietnam and which expanded into a reinforced corps of two divisions including air. From its organization to its changing function during battle, THE US MARINE CORPS IN THE VIETNAM WAR is a fine survey. Neil Short's GERMAN DEFENCES IN ITALY IN WORLD WAR II (184176938X, $16.95) follows a specific series of German actions based on defensive lines, following the concept and development of these systems and their key features. All are specific battle guides to be welcomed by audiences who need the in-depth detail without dry, weighty coverage of the entire war. C.J. Peers' SOLDIERS OF THE DRAGON: CHINESE ARMIES 1500 BC – AD 1840 (1846030986, $24.95) considers the many revolutionary changes Chinese armies fostered in world military might, from its first documented civilization through its empire-building and Mongol domination. CJ Peers is an expert on ancient Chinese armies: this expertise translates well to SOLDIERS OF THE DRAGON, pairing color photos of relics, models, and illustrations with survey of different army systems, militia organization and development, and analyses of military might.

Jed Babbin & Edward Timperlake
Regnery Publishing
One Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20706
1596980052 $27.95

What are the possible scenarios for World War III involving China? Extrapolation blends with political savvy and insights to create a survey of China's growing military buildup – more aggressive than that of Nazi Germany before the war – and its potential for challenging its Asian neighbors and U.S. interests alike. Babbin is a former Air Force JAG and Timperlake a former Marine fighter pilot: their expertise lends credibility to scenarios which are backed by the latest intelligence reports on alliances, military strengths, and world interactions.

The International Studies Shelf

Spying for Empire
Robert Johnson
Greenhill/MBI, Distributors
380 Jackson #200, St. Paul, MN 55101-3885
1853676705 $34.95

When the British and Russian empires were in an expansion mode nearly 250 years ago, they commenced struggles which places the nations and peoples of central and south Asia right in the middle of their ploys. SPYING FOR EMPIRE: THE GREAT GAME IN CENTAL AND SOUTH ASIA, 1757-1947 reveals this game, tracing the struggle for imperial influence and an ongoing series of cat/mouse moves which relied on perceived threats, counter-offenses, and military plans. The British intelligence network and its operations are revealed in the course of a strong survey of imperial struggles in area.

Understanding China and India
Rollie Lal
Praeger Security International
88 Post Road West, Westport, CT 06881
0275989682 $49.95

UNDERSTANDING CHINA AND INDIA: SECURITY IMPLICATIONS FOR THE UNITED STATES AND THE WORLD is a 'must' for college-level students of either nation: it covers all the insights needed to understand a national security strategy for Asia and the interactions between two emerging powers who are very different in their approaches. Eighty detailed interviews with government officials and scholars in Beijing and New Delhi profile these differences, defining national interests of each nation and how these interests interact on the global market. From differences in political structure and objectives to party influences and interactions with the U.S., UNDERSTANDING CHINA AND INDIA is an essential guide.

The Science Shelf

The Last of the Great Observatories
George H. Rieke
University of Arizona Press
355 S. Euclid Avenue, #103, Tucson, AZ 85719
0816525226 $40.00

Any involved in studies of astronomy history will find fascinating this inside story of the Spitzer telescope, counterpart to the Hubble, in THE LAST OF THE GREAT OBSERVATORIES: SPITZER AND THE ERA OF FASTER, BETTER CHEAPER AT NASA. The Spitzer symbolized big changes in space science policy and politics when it joined the other tree as the last four observatories: Rieke reviews its founding, history, changing purposes and its reflection of NASA's downsizing process, using interviews from management and project participants alike to examine the underlying politics and economics influencing NASA choices. A 'must' for any who would understand NASA history.

Taking Place
Enrico Baraldi, Hjalmar Fors, Anders Houltz
Science History Publications USA
PO Box 1240, Sagamore Beach, MA 02562-1240
0881352527 $49.95

TAKING PLACE: THE SPATIAL CONTEXTS OF SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND BUSINESS is not for the light reader, but for the college-level student of either science or business who wants to understand the relationships between businesses, scientific pursuit, and the organization of ideas. Not only are interplays between scientific and business processes analyzed, but their relationships to and effects on society are also examined.

Marq de Villiers
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
0802714692 $25.00

WINDSWEPT: THE STORY OF WIND AND WEATHER joins others on the topic of weather but here provides an award-winning nature writer's survey of how weather has been perceived and described through the ages: wind, in particular. From wind's ability to influence world patterns and paths to how wind influences health and crime in human affairs, WINDSWEPT is much more than the usual meteorological analysis: it blends people's encounters and experiences with wind and storms with scientific fact to make for a lively read.

The Environmental Studies Shelf

Heading for Home
Zahva Hanan
Natural Heritage
c/o Chelsea House Publishers, dist.
132 West 31st Street, 17th floor, New York, NY 10001-2006
1896219748 $24.95

Zahva Hanan struggled to save her Alberta ranch from industrial pollution, struggling for twenty years to make a difference. HEADING FOR HOME documents these struggles, the animals that concerned her, and the seemingly insurmountable barrier of politics and money which stood in her way. Her first-person account is filled with interactions with family, friends, animals and others and makes for an excellent portrait of determination.

Infinite Nature
R. Bruce Hull
University of Chicago Press
1427 East 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637-2954
0226359441 $25.00

The direction of environmentalism for the 21st century is floundering, facing rigid ideologies which offer rhetoric pitting man against nature and conservation objectives against growth and development: that's why INFINITE NATURE'S message is so important an alternative. Chapters draw on a range of disciplines to promote environmental solutions which not only foster ecological practices, but enhance human objectives in the process. A 'must' for any who would promote environmental consciousness as a valid objective for human growth and interests.

Flowers: How They Changed The World
William C. Burger
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
1591024072 $23.00

Flowers are one of the most attractive aspects of the outdoors; but they didn't evolve just for humans to appreciate. Botanist and science writer William Burger examines the role of flowers in the natural world, from how their bright colors and shapes attract and induce animals to help with pollination to how they serve as an energy resource. Chapters survey flowers, their pollinators, and how flowers have enabled ecosystems to survive in his lively blend of botanical research and wide-ranging natural history insights. A top pick for college-level students and leisure readers who like science and gardening books.

A Hunt for Justice
Lucinda Delaney Schroeder
The Lyons Press
PO Box 480, Guilford, CT 06437
1592288820 $21.95

A HUNT FOR JUSTICE: THE TRUE STORY OF A WOMAN UNDERCOVER WILDLIFE AGENT provides a riveting story of an illegal Alaskan big-game hunting camp busted by one woman; one of a handful of women special agents with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Her job was to investigate crimes against wildlife, but her role went beyond investigation, leading her to pose as a big-game hunter to infiltrate an international ring of poachers. This is her account of her successful action: a story she couldn't revel until her retirement several years ago. It's a remarkable account -- and impossible to put down.

What's All This Got To Do with the Price of 2x4's?
Mike Aspey
University of Calgary Press
2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2N 1N4
1552381889 $34.95

Author Mike Aspey's career in forestry has spanned nearly fifty years: he's seen many changes both politically and in management, and the rise and fall of forestry management issues in Canada. As such, WHAT'S ALL THIS GOT TO DO WITH THE PRICE OF 2X4S? provides an insider's account of the environmental struggle, based on his lifetime as a Deputy Minister of Forests in British Columbia and his involvement in other councils and coalitions on habitat management. First-person insights include observation of village habits and management's impact on human and wildlife as well.

The Audiobook Shelf

Random House Audio
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

David Bach's THE AUTOMATIC MILLIONAIRE HOMEOWNER (0739324268, $19.95) enjoys Oliver Wyman's theatre background which helps add punch to a survey of why buying a home and investment properties can make you rich. A strategy for real estate acquisition and turnover with an eye to the millionaire goal is presented. Karen Armstrong narrates her own THE GREAT TRANSFORMATION: THE BEGINNING OF OUR RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS (0739325329, $44.95), telling of how peoples of four different regions produced the religious and philosophical foundations of modern culture. The Axial sages provided very important advice on personal responsibility and self-criticism, and THE GREAT TRANSFORMATION follows these traditions over history. Michael R. Gordon and General Bernard E. Trainor's COBRA II: THE INSIDE STORY OF THE INVASION AND OCCUPATION OF IRAQ (0739325167, $34.95) comes from a military correspondent and a retired Marine Corps general, and is read by Craig Wasson who hold many film credits to his name. It offers a moment-by-moment description of America's invasion and occupation of Iraq and reconstructs principal battles from interviews with those who fought.

Brilliance Corporation
PO Box 887, Grand Haven, MI 49417

While Patrick Carman's THE LAND OF ELYON BOOK 3:THE TENTH CITY (1597374091, $24.95) is meant for young adults, it's reviewed here because many an adult fan of fantasy won't want to miss it. Aasne Vigesaa gives a dramatic flair to the story of the final battle, which relies on one girl. If Alexa can overcome many obstacles, she can become a hero and realize her own strengths. Looking for romance? Brilliance has a fine line of new presentations here, too. Debbie Macomber's SUSANNAH'S GARDEN (1423305094, $24.95) receives Laurel Merlington's seasoned and experienced voice as it tells of a teen who goes abroad and leaves many things behind, from budding romance to a brother who dies while she's gone. At fifty and long married yet feeling lost, Susannah goes back to her past to find new connections. Catherine Coulter's MAD JACK (1597378178, $26.95) enjoys Anne Flosnik's ability to dramatize as it reveals 1811 London, and a family changed by one 'Mad Jack', who changes her name and arrives in London to discover a range of zany family encounters – and a secret which could change all their lives. Karen Robards' VANISHED (1423305655, $26.95) benefits from Joyce Bean's smooth reading and tells of am other whose child has vanished. Years later a mysterious phone call holds hop the child is alive – and a close friend/private investigator is called in to help find her. Amanda Quick's SECOND SIGHT (1423314824, $24.95) also enjoys Anne Flosnick's flair for romance and drama as it tells of a dead husband's return from the grave and a remote house's setting for disaster. Add in a photography career, a new romance, and mystery and you have a dramatic set of encounters.

Audio Partners/Audio Editions
1133 High Street, Auburn, CA 95603

For a survey of history and classics you can't go wrong with audio versions: they bring the sometimes-dry written word to life – and these are some fine ways to start. Jonathan Alter's THE DEFINING MOMENT: FDR'S HUNDRED DAYS AND THE TRIUMPH OF HOPE (1572705531, $39.95) is narrated by performer Grover Gardner, who's recorded hundreds of books and received many audio awards in the industry. The unabridged presentation on audio cd provides a dramatic story of Roosevelt's first hundred days in office, when he changed the nation from one in depression and paralysis to one determined to forge ahead. Jane Austen's classic EMMA (1572705326, $37.95) receives a dramatic recording by Prunella Scales, who also has worked extensively in theatre and television and who lends her dramatic voice and flair to the 1815 class of an English life and love. Both are top recommendations.

The Criminology Shelf

Satanic Killings
Allison & Busby
Allison & Busby Ltd
13 Charlotte Mews, London, W1T 4EJ UK
0749082321 $25.95

Any reader of true crime nonfiction should have the well-reasoned SATANIC KILLINGS: it follows the rise of Satanism from early times to the 1960s, with a focus on satanic killings and why they occur. Moorehouse worked on keeping an open mind as he surveyed such killings: his discussion include sociological analysis, religious inspection and surveys of the changing role of violence in society as he examines the beliefs and motivations behind satanic killings.

Dr. Henry Lee's Forensic Files
Dr. Henry C. Lee & Jerry Labriola, MD
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
1591024099 $24.00

Dr. Lee is one of the foremost forensic criminology researchers in the world, having worked on over 6,000 cases and participated in many high-level trails with his evidence, so DR. HENRY LEE'S FORENSIC FILES is a long-overdue focus on his famous works and methods. Beginning with the latest headliner Scott Peterson trial, Dr. Lee focuses on how he investigated the physical evidence in the case, then moves on to the Elizabeth Smart abduction and other notable cases. Chapters survey how physical evidence is reconstructed and applied to the case in this intriguing true crime survey.

The Computer Shelf

Beginning ASP.NET 2.0 in VB 2005
Matthew MacDonald
Apress/Springer, Dist.
233 Spring Street, 6th Floor, New York NY 10013
1590596218 $49.99

Novices and pros alike will find the perfect introduction to 2.0 here: a beginner's guide to the Microsoft server pages that reviews all the latest, new features in the 2.0 version. Especially recommended as a coursebook is a title that assumes only a basic working knowledge of VB: the rest is provided here, in a survey of the basics and how to build upon them. From discussions of the key database and security to more advanced chapter on using object-oriented programming and coding, here's a professional's bible of fundamentals essential to working with and streamlining the environment.

Autocad 2007 and Autocad LT 2007
David Frey
Autodesk/Sybex, Inc.
989 Market St., San Francisco, CA 94103
0470008776 $34.99 1-800-227-2346

AUTOCAD 2007 AND AUTOCAD LT 2007: NO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED lives up to its name, providing beginners with a solid reference offering step-by-step directions for using the latest versions of the CAD software. From planning a complete AutoCAD project to understanding its basic commands, drawing modes, and going beyond the beginner's class, chapters come packed with easy sidebars of tips, charts, and insights: a 'must' pick for any Autocad user; especially beginners.

1005 Gravenstein Hwy N, Sebastopol CA 95472

O'Reilly's advice handbooks are industry references which you can trust: technical experts author topics which are the latest and hottest, providing updates and tips for a range of programs and applications. Jennfier Niederst Robbins' WEB DESIGN IN A NUTSHELL: A DESKTOP QUICK REFERENCE (0596009879, $34.99) appears in its revised third edition to cover just about anything needed to create a web page. It's been rewritten and expanded to reflect the latest standards in web design, and includes a complete HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.0 and 1.1 reference, ten new chapters covering cascading style sheets, surveys of changing web standards, and much more. Michael Jang's LINUX ANNOYANCES FOR GEEKS (0596008015, $34.99) covers all major distributions and everything from desktop setup to servers as it surveys common Linux issues and how to resolve them. Linux's popularity and usefulness is often offset by its quirks: LINUX ANNOYANCES FOR GEEKS identifies and overcomes these quirks. Joey Lott, et. al.'s FLASH 8 COOKBOOK (0596102422, $44.99) provides applied theory to the Flash 8 environment, providing a fine resource for Flash developers and designers and pairing quick reference recipes to four main categories perfect for at-a-glance reference use. Nearly three hundred stand-alone 'recipes' also include brief synopsis of how and why the solution works, lending to future modifications. Rich Shupe and Robert Hoekman Jr.'s FLASH 8 PROJECTS FOR LEARNING ANIMATION AND INTERACTIVITY (0596102232, $34.99) comes with a cd-rom and is directed to newcomers to Flash 8 with but a little graphics background on their resume. Chapters use graphic hands-on examples which teach by projects and provide a thorough grounding in basic design. LEARNING SQL ON SQL SERVER 2005 by Sikha Saha Bagui and Richard Walsh Earp (0596102151, $44.99) provides an excellent introduction to the SQL language and applications. It's based on a college course designed by the authors and lays a foundation of easy SQL ideas, building on that to discuss query development and command sets. From using database interactions to applying theory to projects and objectives, LEARNING SQL ON SQL SERVER 2005 is a must for any beginner. Rasmus Lerdorf,'s PROGRAMMING PHP (0596006810, $39.99) appears in its second edition to provide a comprehensive guide to PHP 5, the open source scripting language for creating dynamic web content. Millions of sites powered by PHP testify to its popularity and easy use: it's used by programmers and web designers alike and this guide covers all its options, variables and basics. Russ Miles and Kim Hamilton's LEARNING UML 2.0 (0596009828, $44.99) covers a topic other computer books seem to, but with a focus on learning the language rather than just using it in a rote fashion. With lesson plans tailored to practice rather than theory, LEARNING UML 2.0 is a winner.

The Pragmatic Programmers
9650 Strickland Road, Suite 103-255, Raleigh, NC 27615

Plenty of enterprises use hundreds and thousands of applications, components, and strung-together databases; some old, some new, some with little documentation. Ruby provides a way of piecing these applications together to solve problems. From automating software deployment to processing XML documents and handling localization and issues, chapters in Maik Schmidt's ENTERPRISE INTEGRATION WITH RUBY (0976694069 $32.95) offer alternatives to XML, remote procedure calls, and more. Justin Gehtland,'s PRAGMATIC AJAX: A WEB 2.0 PRIMER (0976694085, $29.95) demonstrates a new way of envisioning and implementing browser-based applications using open standards. Programmers needn't be technicians of any single language or browser to appreciate the development ease in Pragmatic Ajax: chapters focus on interactive features and the Ajax user experience for web applications and cover a range of custom design options for a range of designers and managers alike.

Windows XP Visual Encyclopedia
Kate Chase, Jim Boyce
111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774
0471756865 $34.99

Windows XP Visual Encyclopedia: Your Visual A to Z Reference provides a winning all-color visual format pairing step-by-step examples with photos, screen shots and more. Half the book provides a reference of XP tools, the second focuses on techniques for using them – and illustrations are packed, not peppered, into the mix. From using the Wizards to backing up files automatically to handling file management, WINDOWS VISUAL ENCYCLOPEDIA most assuredly should have been in the box with the operating system. It's not – so be sure it's on your shelf as a basic, quick, at-a-glance reference.

Thomson Course Technology
25 Thomson Place, Boston, MA 02210

Perl users won't want to miss the basic desk reference by John P. Flynt, PERL POWER! THE COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE (1598631616, $34.99): programmers who have the foundations down will find this an important set of 'learn by doing' tutorials which apply real world scenarios to Perl programming scenarios. From setting up the program's editor for easier interactions to data categories of Perl and how to use them, chapters build on the basics to explore codes, files, and expressions alike. Mike Mostafavi's VISUAL BASIC 2005 BY PRACTICE (1584504412, $49.95) also uses step-by-step guidance to basic concepts, so beginners and intermediate Visual Basic programmer alike will find it an excellent foundation of detail. There are plenty of examples throughout, easy project-oriented explanations, and sequences that build upon a logical progression of programming objectives. A bonus DVD is included in the tutorial PRO TOOLS OFFICIAL COURSEWARE (1598631543, $49.99) which introduces the Certified Pro Tools Training course. From building sessions which include multi-track recordings of live instruments to using MIDI and audio looping with REX files, this is the item of choice for any music engineer and appears in its third updated edition to reach any beginning to intermediate music technology user. Roderick MacDonald's MASTERING DIGITAL NUDE PHOTOGRAPHY (1598630261, $39.99) is a must for any photographer seeking to inject an element of eroticism in nude photography. Serious photographers who already possess visual creativity but need some inspiration receive a range of photographic styles and artistic ideas here, from using models and light to best advantage to what makes an inspirational, successful shot. A.J. Dagys' THE GADGET GEEK'S GUIDE TO YOUR BLACKBERRY AND TREO (1598631713, $19.99) covers everything to know about these handheld smart phones; from determining what model is the best to understanding mobile services, managing pictures and video, customization and finding add-on applications for gaming and more. David Kalwick's ANIMATING FACIAL FEATURES & EXPRESSIONS (1584504749, $49.95) appears in its updated second edition to completely revise and revamp the resource, which was written to teach 3D artists and animators how to add realism. From basic anatomy to recreating muscles in 3D, chapters cover the latest tools and techniques, adding two new sections on animating facial expressions with 3ds Max and Maya. John P. Flynt and Chris Caviness' UNREAL SCRIPT GAME PROGRAMMING ALL IN ONE (1598631489, $59.99) provides a basic introduction to UnrealScript, a part of the Untied Tournament game engine used to create some of the most popular games on today's market. Learn how to develop programming skills to begin working with modifications to Unreal Tournament using beginner-level workarounds to its hierarchy, and learn how to use and test the programs here with chapters from a software developer/teacher and a programmer. Jonathan S. Harbour's BEGINNING JAVA 5 GAME PROGRAMMING (1598631500, $29.99) is less intense, directed to those creating games for the casual game market. Don't use this as an introduction to Java: use it was an introduction to game programming using Java: its step-by-step instructions are specific and easy to follow. The second edition of Robert Firebaugh's ILLUSTRATING WITH MACROMEDIA FLASH PROFESSIONAL 8 (1584504773, $39.95) provides a completely updated new edition to cover the many changes in Flash, offering new solutions and technologies. Learn how to create vector illustrations using the basic tutorials which teach about design interfaces and layout in the process. All are outstanding picks.

The California Shelf

A Hike for Mike
Jeff Alt
Dreams Shared Publications
PO Box 18188, Cincinnati, OH 45218
0967948215 $14.95

A HIKE FOR MIKE could have been featured in our Travel or Self-Help sections, but is promoted here as a fine read for any California enthusiast of hiking or the Sierra Nevadas. A married couple lost a family member to suicide: their response was to trek the 218-mile John Muir Trail through the mountains as a campaign to spread the word that depression is a treatable ailment. The author walked the entire 2160 Appalachian Trail as well as the John Muir: his promotion of walking as a healing remedy involved his wife and fostered not only recovery and healing, but a newfound appreciation for the California mountains. An uplifting story results.

California's Coastal Parks
John McKinney
Wilderness Press
1200 – 5th Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
0899973884 $15.95

California's coastline is long and holds many historic towns and beaches of all kinds: here to describe the best spots between Oregon and Mexico is the comprehensive CALIFORNIA'S COASTAL PARKS: A DAY HIKER'S GUIDE. From family walks and hikes to beaches and off-beat day treks, over a hundred walks cover a range of regions and activity levels and come with maps, trailhead directions, and descriptions of the hike.

The Travel Shelf

Worlds to Explore
Mark Jenkins, Editor
National Geographic Press
1145 – 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036-4688
0792254872 $23.00

WORLDS TO EXPLORE: CLASSIC TALES OF TRAVEL & ADVENTURE FROM NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC provides a gathering of first-person travel and adventure stories drawn from the first half of the 20th century from the pages of National Geographic: while lacking the color photos of the magazines, it still comes with 60 black and white photos and some of the best 'you are there' stories you'll find under one cover. Dramatic, true stories of encounters around the world capture the wonder of experiences of naturalists, anthropologists and adventurers alike, presenting works by a range of travelers. The result reads with all the drama and flair of fiction, but it's all true fact – and impossible to put down.

Lonely Planet Publishers
150 Linden Street, Oakland, CA 94607

These fine travel guides serve as both advance planners and take-along totes, offering formats which lend particularly well to independent traveler resources. Simon Richmond, et. al's TRANS-SIBERIAN RAILWAY (174059536X, $19.99) provides a survey of epic train journeys through Russia and into Mongolia, providing a specialty item – but one which is important to any planning such a journey. Relatively little has been written in one place about such a journey: the author personally researched the rails and includes plenty of maps, tips on navigating the rail system and the land, and more. Tom Parkinson, et. al.'s KENYA (1740597435, $24.99) covers both safaris and big city interests to be found in Kenya, offering a range of details from a color wildlife guide to coverage of all kinds of accommodations and options. A regional organization makes it easy to plan a trip. Andrea Schulte-Peevers' CALIFORNIA (1740599519, $22.99) travels the length of the state, surveying its very different cultural and social aspects, its very different terrains, and its many attractions. Over a hundred maps accompany seven itineraries to help navigate the land, while restaurant reviews, tips on all kinds of accommodations at all budget levels, and many different kinds of urban and rural pleasures. All are excellent guides.

Trailblazer Publications
Old Manse, Tower Road, Hindhead, Surrey GU26 6SU, UK

If you're a rail buff, a journey on the Trans-Canada rail line should be in order, and there's no better guide to point the paths and ways than Melissa Graham's TRANS-CANADA RAIL GUIDE (1873756690, $16.95), which covers the route mile-by-mile. Rail history blends with tips for all budgets, from how to obtain the least expensive rail tickets to accommodations and tour options. Colin Taylor's AUSTRALIA BY RAIL (187375681X, $21.95) provides a fully revised fifth edition which covers the latest train extensions and rail options. 70 rail maps, route guides, tips on cities along the way, and more make this an excellent planner to a vast area filled with trains.

The Theatre/Cinema Shelf

Surviving James Dean
William Bast
Barricade Books
185 Bridge Plaza North, Suite 308-A, Fort Lee, NJ 07024
156980298X $24.95

To hear the name of actor James Dean today, with its instant recognition, one would think he must have made many films: not so, he made only three – and it was primarily his last film which made him a Hollywood star. SURVIVING JAMES DEAN surveys the authors' own five-year relationship with Dean, chronicling his life and including clarifications of the homosexual undertones of their relationship. Any who would understand Dean – including elements of his personality – will want to read this eye-opening analysis.

History in the Media: Film and Television
Robert Niemi
Box 1911, Santa Barbara, CA 93116-1911
157607952X $90.00

It may surprise even avid movie-goers to realize nearly a third of all Oscar nominations have been for films based on historical fact. This fact alone will make HISTORY IN THE MEDIA: FILM AND TELEVISION of interest not just to college-level film library holdings, but to public libraries who want to provide patrons with an in-depth survey. From analysis of historical accuracy and political and cultural influences on movies to a detailed survey of over three hundred films from early to modern times, this history shows how historical films have shaped American minds and image, and makes for a fine survey of historical movie changes over the decades.

Filmmaking for Teens: Pulling off Your Shorts
Troy Lanier & Clay Nichols
Michael Wiese Productions
11288 Ventura Blvd., #621, Studio City, CA 91604
1932907041 $18.95

Young filmmakers will relish the opportunity to turn their dreams into reality – the reality of a finished short film – using the tips and insights of FILMMAKING FOR TEENS: PULLING OFF YOUR SHORTS. Chapter packed with insights on everything from brainstorming a solid, workable plot and setting to producing a first film, scheduling, shooting, and then marketing the finished results. Teens – and many a post-teen – will find all the passion of the new filmmaker translated into a series of practical chapters covering all aspects of one's first film endeavor – and should make this book a 'bible' of introductory steps to turning such a dream into reality.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Living With Bears
Linda Masterson
PixyJack Press
PO Box 149, Masonville, CO 80541
0977372405 $20.00

The news is packed with 'human-bear' encounters these days, making LIVING WITH BEARS: A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO BEAR COUNTRY an essential reference for any who would live with and safely understand bears. From understanding basic black bear behaviors to bear-proofing home and surroundings, hiking and camping safely in bear country, and avoiding attacks, any who live in bear country must have this manual.

Hoflin Publishing
4401 Zephyr Street, Wheat Ridge, CO 80333-3299

The older publication Ruth I. Hannam's HAPPY DOG! CANINE BEHAVIOR AND BASIC TRAINING (No ISBN $30.00) deserves ongoing recommendation for serious dog owners and trainers who want to learn the basics of obedience. Healing, play training and other concepts are reviewed in chapters which pair black and white photos with nights on negative training, levels of obedience training and more. Mardee Farnham Edelstein's OBEDIENCE & TRACKING TODAY (No ISBN, $35.00) also includes sketches by the author as it provides new ideas on dog training. The focus is on tracking, with chapters covering competition, training for open, beginners training and tracking, and much more. Packed with ideas, it's a solid reference for any who would train a dog to track under different conditions.

Alpine Publications
PO Box 7027, Loveland, CO 80537

Three outstanding, breed-specific books in the outstanding Alpine Publications "All About" series are top picks for any with a serious interest in the breeds. Marilyn Drewes' ALL ABOUT THE BULL TERRIER AND MINIATURE BULL TERRIER (1577790693, $19.95) covers everything to know: from choosing the right Standard or Mini bull to keeping it happy, safe, and reliable. A fine contrast of the two breeds and their similarities and differences makes for an excellent survey by one who has been involved with Bull terrier for four decades, both as a owner and as a judge. Robert J. Berndt and Richard L. Myers' ALL ABOUT THE LABRADOR RETRIEVER (1577790421, $19.95) does the same for labs, and is especially strong on training and field routines, show competitions, and conditioning a lab for hunting. Black and white photos throughout blend with breed-specific tips for getting the most from a lab. Kathy McCoubrey's ALL ABOUT DALMATIANS (1577790545, $24.95) comes from a breeder, exhibitor, trainer, and educator who explains what the Dalmatian is really like, and how to work with its personality. From major bloodlines and breed history to activities that can be undertaken, ALL ABOUT DALMATIANS is also a top recommendation.

Advanced Marine Aquarium Techniques
Jay F. Hemdal
One TFH Plaza, Neptune City, NJ 07753
0793805651 $49.95

ADVANCED MARINE AQUARIUM TECHNIQUES: GUIDE TO SUCCESSFUL PROFESSIONAL MARINE AQUARIUM SYSTEMS isn't for the home aquarium owner so much as for marine enthusiasts who already have the basics down and wish to go further. Details on filtration, lighting, ozone, specimens, maintenance and handling problems focus on over a hundred thirty marine organisms including some rare Japanese fishes. Another big plus: data has been collected by the world's leading public aquariums, paired with color photos, and includes the advanced testing methods and theories lacking in more general-interest books. Add graphs, charts, tables, and clear print and you have an outstanding library reference, directed to an advanced level of reader usually not given such fine detail in this subject area.

The Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf

10407 Bedfordtown Drive, Raleigh, NC 27614

Jack Kirby graphic novel fans always wish more, and this fifth volume of his The Collected Jack Kirby Collector V. 5 (1893905578 $24.95) provides such: over two hundred pages reprinting the sold-out issues 20-22 of THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR. Three issues plus three unseen interviews with Kirby and other industry pros pair black and white creations and even add a complete ten-page unpublished Kirby story still in pencil. It's a detailed, celebratory presentation Kirby fans just can't miss: even those who own the popular issues will find much added to make for an invaluable book. Kirby's SILVER STAR: GRAPHITE EDITION (1893905551, $19.95) provides his series from his own uninked pencil art, plus his original screenplay. Black and white comic art captures drama and action in narratives which are classic Kirby at his best.

Fantagraphics Books/Norton, Dist.
500 – 5th Street, New York NY 10010

Charles Schulz's THE COMPLETE PEANUTS (1560976713, $28.95) is a 'must' for any who would have a definitive collection of Charles Schulz's creation: it covers some of the earliest strips wherein Charlie Brown's little sister sally makes her appearance, includes the initial 'Great Pumpkin' series, and is filled with black and white strips from dailies and Sundays alike, introduced by Whoopie Goldberg. A top pick for any Peanuts fan. Hank Ketcham's complete DENNIS THE MENACE 1953-54 (1560977256, $24.95) is the second volume in a series, gathering every Dennis panel over the life of the strip. Full-page black and white single panels capture all of Dennis' finer moments – some six hundred of them – and offers an invaluable opportunity for readers to observe how the strip has changed over time.

The Large Print Shelf

Pocket Star Books
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020

Three slightly oversized pocket books with larger-than-normal print will appeal to any who strain to see small print which packs smaller paperbacks these days. Easy on the eyes is Jeffrey Deaver's TWELFTH CARD (0743491564, $9.99), a master thriller which tells of a civil rights expert and his protegee who must outguess a killer. Civil rights, a dangerous query into past history, and a teen's life is at stake in this riveting best-seller. John Dunning's SIGN OF THE BOOK (0743482476, $9.99) provides a Cliff Janeway Bookman novel of a Denver cop-turned-bookseller. A murder investigation involves him when his lover's life is changed by a estranged childhood friend's murder rap. Can a book collection lend insight into genius, or murder? Mary Higgins Clark's NO PLACE LIKE HOME (0743497287, $9.99) tells of a ten-year-old who shoots her mother while trying to protect her from a violent stepfather. Her adoptive parents try to erase traces of her past and Celia grows up happy – until the past returns to haunt her when she moves back into her childhood home. Another murder and she's again a suspect in this tense thriller. Larger print and larger size makes it easy on the eyes – and easy to handle.

The Fiction Shelf

Maximum Ride: School's Out-Forever
James Patterson
Little, Brown
1271 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
0316155594 $16.99

Written for a young adult audience but recommended here for a wide audience of adults as well is the second book in the 'Maximum Ride' series, a story populated by six kids being hunted by killers. The teens are slated to save the world – if they can survive. And, they can even fly. Fans of THE ANGEL EXPERIMENT will love this second book, but newcomers will also find it highly accessible and impossible to put down. It's a shame to limit its audience to advanced teen readers – so don't: pick up a copy and fly.

PS Publishing
Grosvenor House, 1 New Road, Hornsea, E. Yorkshire, HU18 1PG UK

PS Publishing has some wonderful, involving titles which are not to be missed: highly recommended picks which challenge the imagination and the fiction and short story genres. Zoran Zivkovic's IMPOSSIBLE STORIES (1904619657) specializes in strange people, otherworld events, and impossible encounters, assembling five of the author's story-cycles – nearly thirty stories in all – and providing a fine compendium of intriguing topics. From encounters which should never have happened to linked stories revolving around books or time travel, this gathering is packed with plenty of twists and turns of plot to delight even the most jaded, seasoned reader of horror or short stories. Joe Hill's 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS (1904619460) is an outstanding gathering of modern horror tales, blending in a touch of the supernatural and some short stories in the process to round out the horror focus. From a terrifying assault on a teen that continues to haunt to a creepy black phone and a vanished child, anticipate blood, gore, and suspense.

Sexy Shorts for Summer
Janet Sanger, Editor
Accent Press/Dufour Editions
PO Box 7, Chester Springs, PA 19425-0007
0954489934 $13.95 1-800-869-5677

Fun, raunchy short stories by top writers from Sarah Harrison to Fiona walker serves a dual purpose in pairing heart-warming, fine reads with an effort to raise money for cancer research. Some of the best women's writers of modern times contribute sexy and funny stories: the variety is sensational.

The Seventh Heaven
Naguib Mahfouz
American University in Cairo Press
420 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY USA 10018-2729
9774249402 $19.95

Naguib Mahfouz's supernatural fiction is outstanding, and it's too bad it's lesser known than his other works. The story collection culls his later writings to gather a supernatural presentation under one cover for the first time, presenting very different focuses than your usual ghost story gathering. From a teen facing down a haunted wood in his neighborhood to discover a rare secret to an honest perfume seller accosted by angry skeletons, good and evil are present in the supernatural world, seep into the world of the living, and seep into the satisfying reads here.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Black Library/Games Workshop
Willow Road, Nottingham, NG7 2WS, UK

Dan Abnett's FELL CARGO (1844163016, $7.99) tells of a pirate captain's return from the dead to reclaim his ship and embark on a new mission, racing curses, sea monsters and more as they track down a ship with its undead crew. High adventure and fantasy mingle in a plot steeped with sorcery and action. Sandy Mitchell's new Caiphas Cain novel DEATH OR GLORY (1844162877, $7.99) adds another Warhammer 40,000 adventure; this revolving around the Imperium's needs for a hero, tossing Commissioner Cain again into the spotlight in this fourth book of a popular science fiction series revolving around battles and struggles for control. Lucien Soulban's FLESHWORKS (1844163296, $7.99) provides a Necromunda dark story of an underworld where gangs struggle in battles to increase their standing with decadent families who live on the top of their hive city. Uriah Storm's search for bio-implants brings him down into this dark world as he faces a dangerous encounter with implants' still-alive owner. All are fine, action-packed stories. Nancy Kilpatrick's JASON TO THE THIRD POWER (1844162818, $7.99) adds to the Jason X novels, providing a fine story of a dangerous living weapon who has frozen, but is now resurrected and rebuilt to bring new havoc to the world. Can those who resurrected him find a way to stop his powers? JASON TO THE THIRD POWER is an excellent action-packed good/evil story newcomers and old fans alike will appreciate.

Edge Science Fiction
Box 1714, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2P 2L7

Tanya Huff's STEALING MAGIC (978-1-894063-34-0, $13.95) packs a complete collection of short stories under one cover featuring Magdelen, a powerful and lazy wizard, and Terazin, a thief. Don't expect your usual fantasy adventure here: there's plenty of humor, lots of action, and short stories which are diverse and varied: a set of rollicking adventures which are hard to stop reading. Rebecca K. Rowe's FORBIDDEN CARGO (1894063163, $14.95) is set in 2110: a firstborn daughter of illicit nanogenetics is kidnapped and shipped to Earth as evidence in a tribunal: for her existence is a crime and her creators will do anything to destroy the evidence. Hunted on all sides as a fugitive, Sashimu must find a place where she can survive – and finds some unlikely allies in unexpected places. A fine thriller and science fiction story evolves with splendid twists of plot.

The Homeowner's Shelf

Building with Cob
Adam Weisman & Katy Bryce
Green Books Ltd.
Foxhold, Darington,, Totnes, Devon TQ9 6EB, UK
1903998727 $45.00

If you want to create a cob structure, BUILDING WITH COB: A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE is the item of choice, whether it be for a home or an outbuilding. Photos by Ray Main accompany details on how to pair cob building requirements with local construction codes and standards, offering both construction and overall maintenance guidelines. From different kinds of thatch and their lifespans to manufactured paint choices, BUILDING WITH COB is an essential guide.

Creative Homeowner
P.O. Box 38, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458-0038

If you're working with concrete and masonry, better be sure you consult ULTIMATE GUIDE TO MASONRY AND CONCRETE (1580112986, $19.95) first: it can save a lot of headaches. Popular masonry projects from dry-laid stone walls and brick walkways to patios and tiles are reviewed, with over 900 photos and illustrations accompanying step-by-step visual and written instructions. Included in these directions are overviews of the latest new materials and options, making for a fine guide perfect for either specific projects or for an overview of masonry and concrete techniques and materials. ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BASEMENTS ATTICS & GARAGES (1580112927, $19.95) shows how to add living space to get the most out of an existing basement, attic or garage. These spaces weren't originally designed to be living spaces; so you'll need the conversion advice of this guide, which tells how to tackle common problems and how to do the conversion yourself. Any handy with a toolkit and willing to tackle a conversion will find plenty of specific insights here.

Natural Swimming Pools
Michael Littlewood
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
0764321838 $49.95

NATURAL SWIMMING POOLS: INSPIRATION FOR HARMONY WITH NATURE offers a wealth of insights and tips on how to construct – and maintain – a natural garden pool. Surprisingly they are less costly to maintain than traditional chemical pools, save on water, and beautify a garden area more than less ecological offerings. Full-page color photos throughout illustrate such pools, surveying a range of designs and options and discussing biological conditioning, ecology, regeneration zones, and construction choice alike. It's the multitude of options and in-depth coverage on these options, paired with the color photo coverage, which makes NATURAL SWIMMING POOLS an extraordinary survey.

Homeowner's Guide to Energy Independence
Christine Woodside
The Lyons Press
PO Box 480, Guilford, CT 06437
1592288170 $14.95

There's a lot of worry that fossil fuels are running out, and THE HOMEOWNER'S GUIDE TO ENERGY INDEPENDENCE: ALTERNATIVE POWER SOURCES FOR THE AVERAGE AMERICAN will prove the answer for many who wish to 'get off the grid'. It covers and assesses the most viable, affordable alternative sources from solar panels and wind generators to geothermal heat pumps, showing homeowners how they can compliment energy requirements with alternative technologies. From initial investment costs to realizing real profits down the line, this is the item of choice for any who strive to abandon the grid.

The Gardening Shelf

Growing Unusual Vegetables
Simon Hickmott
Eco-Logic Books/Chelsea Green
PO Box 428, White River Junction, VT 05001-0428
1899233113 $29.95 1-800-639-4099 www.chelseagreencom

Author Simon Hickmott is a seed saver and proprietor of a company specializing in rare edible plants: here he's covering some ninety unusual vegetables, providing the cultivation directions and historical background gardeners need to consider something different. From Egyptian or Tree Onion to Melon Pears, New Zealand Yams and more, GROWING UNUSUAL VEGETABLES: WEIRD AND WONDERFUL VEGETABLES AND HOW TO GROW THEM holds no fancy color photos: just plenty of practical, applied details gardeners will appreciate.

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands V. 1
Brad Lancaster
Rainsource Press/Chelsea Green
PO Box 428, Whit River Junction, VT 05001
097724640X $24.95

The first volume of RAINWATER HARVESTING FOR DRYLANDS is out: GUIDING PRINCIPLES TO WELCOME RAIN INTO YOUR LIFE AND LANDSCAPE, and it offers the core of a three-volume guide on how to design and use sustainable water-harvesting systems in both home and community. Learn about soil, rainwater and plants and how they can contribute to harvesting techniques, benefit from over a hundred illustrations, and enjoy an approach which pairs stories of successful harvesters with practical tips on basic components of a harvesting system.

The Earth Knows My Name
Patricia Klindienst
Beacon Press
25 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108-2892
0807085626 $26.95

THE EARTH KNOWS MY NAME: FOOD, CULTURE, AND SUSTAINABILITY IN THE GARDENS OF ETHNIC AMERICANS isn't just from a single gardener's perspective: master gardener Patricia Klindienst traveled across the country for three years to write this, gathering stories of urban and rural gardens from American gardeners whose immigrant roots reflect their gardening choices. Hers combines a history of how immigrant Americans grew food and transmitted cultural background in the process, with chapters blending their oral stories with such background. It's a wide-ranging title which will interest not only gardeners, but any intrigued by immigrant history and cross-cultural encounters.

Gardening at Ginger
James Raimes
Houghton Mifflin
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116
0618659714 $23.00

Seven years ago the author and his wife bought a country home on nine acres in upstate New York, calling it 'Ginger' and evoking in him a desire to learn about plants and gardening. Raimes grew up in England, so his instinct in this area was always there: his desire to shape a landscape proved challenging, however, and GARDENING AT GINGER: MY SEVEN-YEAR OBSESSION WITH DESIGNING AND PLANTING A PERSONAL LANDSCAPE reviews his efforts, achievements and failures alike. A vivid memoir of the 'gardening bug' involves all.

The Complete Guide to Houseplants
Valerie Bradley
Reader's Digest
260 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
0762106344 $30.00

If you are seeking a single volume guide to houseplants, take a look at Valerie Bradley's The Complete Guide to Houseplants: it packs in details on all kinds of plants, including over three hundred color photos to compliment plant lists and tips. Care instructions include details on humidity, soil, watering and sun while ideas for propagation and descriptions of attributes help homeowners chose the right houseplant.

The Architecture Shelf

The New Glass House
James Grayson Trulove
Bulfinch Press
1271 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
0821262025 $40.00

James Grayson Trulove has written several books on architecture and design: when he visited the Glass House designed by Philip Johnson, he was inspired by its light and inspirations, and decided to view other modern houses which shared such qualities but were more livable for the ordinary owner. THE NEW GLASS HOUSE profiles some fourteen of his findings, which represent very different styles and approaches yet still remain true to the glass house ideal. It's the variety of approaches which are the meat of a rich survey of all the options a glass house can provide.

The Woodworking Shelf

Linden Publishing
2006 South Mary, Fresno, CA 93721

Darrell Peart's GREENE & GREENE: DESIGN ELEMENTS FOR THE WORKSHOP (0941936961, $24.95) comes from Greene & Greene furniture: famous for its details, design, and notoriously-hard ability to duplicate. Author Darrell Peart provides a series of step-by-step projects to overcome this reputation, providing a series of tips for homeowners and handymen who want to produce quality furniture of the Greene and Greene fashion. From creating ebony plugs and understanding relief options to dyeing and finishing wood, GREENE & GREENE: DESIGN ELEMENTS FOR THE WORKSHOP is for any who would go above and beyond in the craft of furniture making. John Berkeley's ALL SCREWED UP! TURNED PUZZLES AND BOXES FEATURING CHASED THREADS (0941936937, $24.95) is for turners who are interested in latheworking methods and tips. Step-by-step color photos throughout use examples from the author's own projects, illustrating methods, giving exact dimensions, and offering sidebars of problems and solutions. Puzzles are intriguing creations with plenty of specific design insights involved in learning the fine art of turning. Malcolm Tibbetts' THE ART OF SEGMENTED WOOD TURNING: A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE (0941936864, $25.95) is for the turner looking for challenge. From what woods to use to preparing segments and working with them, chapters cover everything from design and segmenting construction to lamination and advanced design inserts. First-person step-by-step surveys by seasoned turners enhances clear color photos throughout and provides all levels of turner with tips on trickery and options. You won't find many turning books on the market dealing with segmented wood turning methods, so this represents a rare opportunity to both learn from masters and add to a small collection of references on the topic.

The Complete New Router Book For Woodworkers
Chris Marshall
3100 NW 101st Avenue Suite A, Urbandale, IA 50322
1890621943 $24.95

The router is usually covered in context of other woodshop tools but rarely receives its own coverage; and it's a shame, because it's one of the most versatile tools a woodworker can own. Now THE COMPLETE NEW ROUTER BOOK fills this gap, providing the latest revised information on the router in a lovely survey of equipment, parts, and applications alike. From making an initial choice of equipment to using it safely, maintaining it, and applying it to different projects, here's a guide that should be in every router purchase's box. It's not, so be sure to get your copy before you get your router.

The Food/Wine Shelf

Imagery: Art for Wine
Bob Nugent
Wine Appreciation Guild
350 Swift Avenue, South San Francisco, CA 94080
1891267922 $70.00

The lavish and lovely IMAGERY: ART FOR WINE comes from a winemaker and Sonoma artist who back in 1985 decided to put original art on special wine releases. Their idea was to commission top artists to create the labels: two decades later their collection represents some of the top modern artists in the country. IMAGERY: ART FOR WINE gathers over a hundred of these works – the best of the Imagery collection – and pairs them with biographical sketches of each artist. Artist background, awards, exhibits and more help promote the individual while the label 'library in a book' displays full-page color photos of each watercolor and print. Small black and white photos of each artist are also included. An unprecedented work of art results in a collection to interest wine buffs and artists alike.

Horsemen of the Esophagus
Jason Fagone
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
0307237389 $24.00

HORSEMEN OF THE ESOPHAGUS: COMPETITIVE EATING AND THE BIG FAT AMERICAN DREAM follows the author's journey to twenty-seven eating contests on two continents, from the U.S. to Japan, as he interviews some of the world's top eating champions and surveys contests, subcultures, and oddities of the food world. Any food fan will relish these fun vignettes of promoters, events, and eaters alike, wrapped n chapters of mouth-watering – and sometimes horrifying – descriptions of food and gluttons alike.

Irish Pub Cookbook
Margaret M. Johnson
Chronicle Books
85 – 2nd Street, San Francisco CA 94103
0811844854 $24.95

Photos by the author blend with food photos by Leigh Beish in a lovely book which arrived too late for St. Patrick's Day feature, but which deserves ongoing mention as an excellent focus on Irish pub cooking. If you've been to Ireland in the last twenty years, you'll know there's been many changes in the nature of pub grub: just look at the tomato tarts, ham and chicken pie, spinach salad with pears and other dishes you wouldn't have identified with Irish pub foods of the past. Recipes – and photos – come from some of the most celebrated pubs in Ireland and represent a fine cross-section of modern fare home cooks will find quite easy to follow.

All New Meals in Minuts
Ainsley Harriott
BBC Books/Trafalgar Square Publishing
PO Box 257, Howe Hill Road, North Pomfret, VT 05053-0257
0563493216 $19.95 1-800-423-4525

Ainsley Harriott is a master of quick cooking and the author of the best-seller MEALS IN MINUTES: here he returns with some eighty new dishes which can be made in under an hour – and which hold international influences. Calypso Pepperpot Chicken with Plantain, Aromatic Pad Thai Chicken, and Mild Mustard Salmon Burgers all sound as if they'd be complicated to fix – but they aren't. Color photos, sidebars of nutritional information, and easy steps make these a snap to produce at home, and with a minimum of exotic ingredients or spices.

Chew on This
Eric Schlosser & Charles Wilson
Houghton Mifflin
222 Berkeley St.
Boston, MA 02116
0618710310 $16.00

CHEW ON THIS: EVERYTHING YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW ABOUT FAST FOOD is the perfect choice for that McDonald's or Wendy's fan. It comes from an author who's investigated the fast food industry for years and packs in details on the industry, health issues, and social habits. CHEW ON THIS holds enough damning evidence, in fact, that readers may forego their Big Macs!

John Wiley & Sons
111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5773

If only one meat guide for the home cook was to be obtained, it should, hands down, be the NAMP's MEAT BUYER'S GUIDE (047174721): one of the all-time best we've seen on the topic. Home cooks will find plenty of useful reference material here; from color tabs which stick out for quick access to chapters on pork cuts, lamb buts, and meat by-products to color photos of meats and diagramed views of cuts throughout. The foodservice cut charts and photos provide much insight into the changing names and applications of meat cuts in the market, and make for an essential kitchen guide. Tish Boyle's THE CAKE BOOK (0471469335, $39.95) comes from an editor of Chocolatier and Pastry Art & Design magazines, presenting nearly two hundred recipes and tips for producing memorable cakes, from ice cream cakes to pound cakes, meringue and more. Color and black and white drawings for each step make spectacular results assured, while cakes include both traditional and new creations. This is a wonderful book for beginners and prior bakers alike: a top pick which stands out easily from competitors. Lucinda Scala Quinn's LUCINDA'S AUTHENTIC JAMAICAN KITCHEN (0471749354, $17.95) pairs black and white photos of Jamaican life with recipes and color photos of dishes to provide a well-rounded blend of Caribbean cuisine and island descriptions. Main and side dishes, variations, and introductions which reflect on each dish's unique Jamaican roots makes for a lovely, appealing guide.

Big Birthdays
David Tutera
Bulfinch Press
c/o Little, Brown & Company
1271 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
082126172X $29.95 1-800-759-0190

BIG BIRTHDAYS: THE PARTY PLANNER CELEBRATES LIFE'S MILESTONES isn't just another birthday book for parents: it's a focus on 'milestone' birthdays from one to one hundred and provides a party planner's experience gained from planning such for famous stars and personalities. You may recognize him from his TV appearances: a fair for elegance, humor, and design lend to a party planner that pairs delicious food recipes with decorating tips. Color photos throughout capture the finished products and excitement of his approach.

The Crafts/Hobbies Shelf

Beading With Cabochons
Lark/Sterling, Dist.
387 Park Avenue South, New York NY 10016-8810
1579907180 $24.95

Jewelry makers will relish this lovely gathering of photographs and how-to beading directions, which is the only current guide to the rock. From working with the mineral and finding the best piece to using tools and beads to maximum effect, chapters direct the user to mastering various basic beading techniques to add effects to the cabochon. From bracelets to necklaces in a range of styles, BEADING WITH CABOCHONS: SIMPLE TECHNIQUES FOR BEAUTIFUL JEWELRY is not to be missed.

The Children's Shelf

The Library Book
Maureen Sawa
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th Floor, Toronto, On M5A 2P9
0887766986 $18.95

Bill Slavin provides a set of realistic, fun drawing to accent THE LIBRARY BOOK: THE STORY OF LIBRARIES FROM CAMELS TO COMPUTERS. Kids ages 11 and older receive a tour of the origins of libraries from the first book shelves to pack-horse librarians in Kentucky to the vertical shelving style which fostered libraries. Ancient history to modern times is presented in a series of glimpses into the ideas, major holdings and revolutionary changes that led to today's modern libraries. Leisure readers will find it a wonderful, fun pick.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Sandra Pinkney's READ AND RISE (0439309298, $15.99) pairs photos by Myles C. Pinkney with an exuberant celebration of reading ("In Daddy's chair turning pages looking out the cockpit flying high in the sky") The magic experience and the applications of reading come to life. Cynthia Rylant's JOURNEY: STORIES OF MIGRATION (0590307177, $16.99) provides an enchanting look at how creature migrate, from butterflies to whales and caribou. Lambert Davis' lovely paintings explore habitats and migration natural history, providing realistic, full-page lovely displays to attract interest and attention.

Ten Worlds
Ken Crosswell
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
1590784235 $19.95

TEN WORLDS: EVERYTHING THAT ORBITS THE SUN comes from a Harvard-trained astronomer who offers kids a guide to the fantastic realms and unsolved mysteries of the universe. The excitement of first discovery of the exciting sights of the universe from the sun to the newly found tenth planet are revealed in a colorful survey certain to interest kids in astronomy.

Can you Greet the Whole Wide World?
Lezlie Evans
Houghton Mifflin
222 Berkeley, Boston, MA 02116
061856327X $16.00

Basic phrases from 'good morning' and 'please' to 'thank you' and 'no' are revealed in not just the usual French and Spanish but Zulu, Chinese, Hindi, German and more: 12 languages for 12 phrases. The result allows for a wonderful understanding of other languages and teaches kids similarities between them. A fun introduction to other languages which goes beyond the usual bilingual focus.

Wow! America!
Robert Neubecker
0786838167 $16.99

Izzy chases her little sister down the mountain – and all the way across the country, heading on a journey to marvel at different states. What a great introduction to geography: a girls' adventure story celebrating fun facts and pairing them with full-page, bright color paintings!

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Cornelia Funke's THE WILDEST BROTHER (0439828627, $16.99) is a zany story indeed, receiving Kerstin Meyer's lively drawings and telling of a fearless boy who protects his older sister. He spends his day battling monsters and ghosts – but nighttime is another story…Sara Varon's CHICKEN AND CAT (0439630467, $16.99) tells of very different friends: one lives in the city, the other in the country. Their idea to make the neighborhood more colorful when Cat comes to visit fosters enjoyment not only between the two, but in their different environments. Paul Brett Johnson's ON TOP OF SPAGHETTI (0439749441, $15.99) enhances lyrics by Tom Glazer as it pairs fun drawings with the equally-fun classic campfire song. A lost meatball begins to traverse the town and cause chaos in this embellishment of the original song. Good reading skills are required for Senator Edward M. Kennedy's MY SENATOR AND ME: A DOG'S-EYE VIEW OF WASHINGTON DC (0439650771, $16.99), which tells of a famous Capitol Hill canine who observes the senator at work. David Small's fun drawings accompany a tour of the sights of Washington and a senator's daily routines. Kevin Lewis' DINOSAUR DINOSAUR (0439603714, $15.99) receives Daniel Kirk's funny drawings of human-type animals involved in human-type sports. A busy little dinosaur has a million things to do before the sun goes down. Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers' FAST FOOD (043911019X, $12.99) provides a rollicking rhyme paired with foods which are on the move. From driving a zucchini train to soaring in an okra plane, many an adult will relish the fun drawings here. Michaela Muntean's DO NOT OPEN THIS BOOK! (04395698391, $16.99) receives Pascal Lemaitre's fun drawings as it tells of a pig boy whose book is a work in progress of adventure and mishaps. Details on words, signs, and meaning pepper a crazy story of funny encounters and half-done writing. David Shannon's GOOD BOY, FERGUS! (0439490278, $15.99) tells of Fergus, who likes to chase cats and doesn't always do what he's told. He likes to make big messes too – but he's a good boy! Very cute dog illustrations abound in this simple story of a dog's good and bad days. Penda Diakite's I LOST MY TOOTH IN AFRICA (0439662265, $16.99) tells of a girl visiting relatives in Africa who hopes she loses her tooth there so she can encounter the African tooth fairy. Ceramic-tile illustrations by the author's father Baba Wague Diakite blend with insights on Mali culture to enhance a fine tale. Joyce Dunbar's WHERE'S MY SOCK? (0439748313, $15.99) tells of a search for a matching sock with yellow clocks, just as he's wearing. Where do all the missing socks go? A search turns up some interesting possibilities. Walter Wick's CAN YOU SEE WHAT I SEE? SEYMOUR MAKES NEW FRIENDS (0439617804, $8.99) invites kids to come and collect all the things needed to make two rabbit friends. Ages 3-5 will enjoy the blend of real, everyday materials and creative play.

Shark and Lobster's Amazing Undersea Adventure
Viviare Schwarz
Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140
0763629103 $15.99

Shark is the bravest in the ocean and shouldn't be afraid of anything – but he is scared of tigers, and soon his lobster friend and the underwater community shares his concerns. A fortress isn't enough: it might take a bigger sea monster to ally their fears in this fun story of a fearful shark and his helpful friends.

Down the Back of The Chair
Margaret Mahy & Polly Dunbar
Clarion Books
215 Park Avenue South, New York NY 10003
0618693955 $16.00

Kids ages 4-7 will welcome another Mahy presentation: here a read-aloud story about a father who's lost his car keys. A frantic search leads a child to suggest the back of the chair – from whence all wonderful and amazing lost items are found. A fun rhyming text blends with fine drawings in a funny fantasy of a simple chair's riches.

Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Jeremiah's dad has no hair: will Jeremiah also lose his hair one day? Does it hurt? And where does lost hair go, anyway? Joe O'Connor's Where Did Daddy's Hair Go? (0375835717 $14.95) is a funny story about hair, father/son relationships, and different appearances. Tony Mitton and Selina Young's ONCE UPON A TIDE (0385751001, $16.95) provides a lovely children's fable telling of siblings who go on a journey to the place where the sea meets the sky, building their own boat and sailing away to another fantasy world. Selina Young's lovely watercolors compliment a special summer story.

Don't Eat the Babysitter!
Nick Ward
David Fickling/Random House
0385750625 $9.95

In the new follow up to Ward's popular DON'T EAT THE TEACHER! In 2002, Sammy and Sophie Shark are excited about a visit from their favorite babysitter. They're usually well behaved, but sometimes Sammy accidentally eats things when he's excited – such as the bowl dinner comes in. And the television which features his favorite show. Is the babysitter next?

Trafalgar Square, Dist.
N. Pomfert, VT 05053

Neal Layton's BARTHOLOMEW AND THE BUG (0340873299, $9.99) tells of a bear who used to spend his days relaxing – until a city bug shows him the bright city sights, and teaches him how to celebrate. Can a bug teach a bear some valuable lessons on how to live life? A prize-winning book evolves (Smarties Book Prize Bronze Award). Ian beck's THE TEDDY ROBBER (0552553190, $9.99) tells of a robber who specializes in teddy bears. Tom's determination to hang on to his bear results in a journey to another world where a sad giant lives in this whimsical, fun tale.

345 Hudson Street, New York NY 10014

Douglas Wood's NOTHING TO DO (0525476563, $16.99) chronicles the common child's dilemma of what to do when there's 'nothing to do'. From walking barefoot in the grass to building a fort, making snow angels and exploring, kids are given important keys to handling free time in a too-busy world, with lovely drawings by Wendy Anderson Halperin accenting all. Jonathan London's FROGGY RIDES A BIKE (0670060992, $15.99) tells of a frog's new bike: he can't wait to ride, but first Dad has to put on a horn and other things. And when it's finally ready, Froggy realizes he can't really ride! A fun story of learning evolves. William Katzwinkle, Glenn Murray and Elizabeth Gundy's WALTER THE FARTING DOG GOES ON A CRUISE (0525477144, $16.99) receives Audrey Colman's fun drawings as it continues the Walter adventures. Here Walter decides a cruise is in order, and he has fun until he's banished below decks for causing odor, with his stinky cheeses. He doesn't mind; but the farts continue to disturb, banning him to a lifeboat on the ocean. When danger hits, it's Walter to the rescue in this zany tale. Jan Van Leeuwn's OLIVER PIG AND THE BEST FORT EVER (0803728883, $15.99) pairs fun drawings by Anne Schweniger with the easy-to-read tale of a pig who wants to build the biggest, tallest, strongest fort ever. But what to use as materials? His parents will be angry if he dismantles their garden…but his good friends have some ideas for the big job. Four chapters tell how he does it. Valerie Gorbachev's HERON TURTLE (0399243216, $15.99) tells of good friends and neighbors who enjoy taking long walks and accommodating each other's differences. Lovely illustrated tales celebrate the daily friendship and provide beginners with an inviting story. Patricia Polacco's ROTTEN RICHIE AND THE ULTIMATE DARE (0399245316, $16.99) tells of a bully who loves taunting Trisha about her beloved ballet class. She holds much disdain for Riche's passion for hockey, too – so when she challenges him to perform in her ballet recital and he returns with a challenge for her to join his hockey team, trouble brews in a fine sequel to MY ROTTEN REDHEADED OLDER BROTHER. Jerry Pinkney's THE LITTLE RED HEN (0803729359, $16.99) presents the story of a hen who plants seeds and does all the work of making fresh bread. Humor, lovely drawings and fun present a classic tale for new generations.

Abigale the Happy Whale
Peter Farrelly
Little, Brown
1271 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
0316011908 $15.99

All the humpback whales in Santa Monica are sad except for Abigale the Happy Whale – until she discovers ocean pollution is threatening her sea world. It's up to her it seems to lead a cleaning expedition in this fun story of a little whale who is determined to be both happy and ecological in her habits.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012

Deborah Hopkinson's UP BEFORE DAYBREAK: COTTON AND PEOPLE IN AMERICA (0439639018, $18.99) surveys the history of the cotton trade in this country, which began in the 17th century when early settlers discovered cotton thrived in the South and could be sold profitably in England. Oral histories serve as the foundation of fact and information in a story which captures the experiences of those me, women and children who worked in the industry, from sharecroppers to girls who worked the New England mills. Advanced elementary to middle-grade age levels will find it fascinating. Joanne Oppenheim's DEAR MISS BREED: TRUE STORIES OF THE JAPANESE AMERICAN INCARCERATION DURING WORLD WAR II AND A LIBRARIAN WHO MADE A DIFFERENCE (0439569923, $22.99) will reach middle to high school readers with a fine survey of a unique librarian who became a lifeline to her middle- and high-school-aged Japanese Americans in San Diego during the war. Letters exchanged with her students translated experiences on both sides and reflect hardships and daily living far more than outside analysis could achieve, making this a unique portrait which should be in every serious World War II history holding. Arthur S. Lefkowitz's BUSHNELL'S SUBMARINE (0439743524, $16.99) tells of the world's first sub built and used during the American Revolution by a Yale graduate raised on a farm. From its initial invention to an attempt to ship the British fleet flagship in New York harbor, BUSHNELL'S SUBMARINE focuses on a piece of history not usually presented outside of lengthier period coverages.

The Easy Reader Shelf

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Rosemary Wells' MY SHINING STAR: RAISING A CHILD WHO IS READY TO LEARN (043984701X, $8.99) provides an unusual format to parents: a picture book story of how to use ten basic principles to help kids succeed. Parents and kids alike can partner and enjoy the pages on honesty, patience, and listening that provide kids with confidence to learn. Tedd Arnold's SUPER FLY GUY ( 0439639042, $5.99) tells of Fly Guy, who is off to school to learn phonics and other chores. Fly Guy is Buzz's fly pet: he learns and makes friends along with his owner in this zany comedy.

Waltur Buys a Pig In a Poke
Barbara Gregorich
Houghton Mifflin
222 Berkeley, Boston, MA 02116
0618473068 $15.00

"Don't buy a pig in a poke," warns Matilda – but Darwin doesn't know what a poke is – and why would Waltur the bear buy a pig anyway? Kristin Sorra provides fun drawings to supplement the answers to both questions, which probes the truths behind sayings and questions a range of common assumptions.

Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140

Laura McGee Kvasnosky's ZELDA AND IVY THE RUNAWAYS (0763626899, $14.99) returns the fabulous fox sisters to readers with a fresh new story of sisters. Zelda and Ivy are always having fun: from salsa dancing to a time capsule encounter, they share experiences and warmth as they encounter new ideas and activities. Kate DiCamillo's MERCY WATSON GOES FOR A RIDE (0763623326, $12.99) provides another pig tale in a new series. Mr. and Mrs. Watson have a pig named Mercy who loves to ride in the convertible – until one Saturday when an emergency prompts the pig to take a turn at the wheel, with unexpected results. The wonderful drawings accent an exceptional chapter book many an adult will relish, also.

Tiny Goes Camping
Cari Meister
Viking Press
345 Hudson Street, New York NY 10014
0670892505 $13.99

Level 1 of the Viking Easy-To-Read program offers ages 4-7 a starter on reading, the next step up from the picturebook level. Large-size color drawings by Rich Davis accent the story of Tiny the large dog and his little human best friend, who go camping and face the challenge of setting up a tent too small for them both. Easy vocabulary, repetition and visual clues accent a fun tale of early problem-solving skills.

'Bananas' Books
Crabtree Publishers
350 – 5th Ave. #3308, New York NY 10118

Different levels of guided reading chapter books allow kids to learn at clear levels, building stepping stones to comprehension in the form of graded reads with exciting plots and skills levels appropriate to need. Three stories in one mark each Green Bananas book, with new additions including Lynne Rickards and Rosalind Beardshaw's JACK'S BED (0778710289), about monsters under the bed and a guard leopard; Valerie Wilding and Maria Maddocks' DIGGERS AND DUMPERS (0778710300), telling of a playtime disaster over friends and a broken toy; Elizabeth Laird, Roz Davison and David Sim's JUNGLE SCHOOL (0778710262), telling of a first day at school and monkeys who may stare because she's in a wheelchair; Sue Mayfield and Rochelle Padua's I CAN, YOU CAN, TOUCAN! (0778710327), tells of three very different best friends who all have their insecurities. Can they help each other's differences? New to the 'Red Bananas' for ages 5-8 is Mary Arrigan and Korky Paul's PA JINGLEBOB AND THE GRABBLE GANG (0778710742), telling of a town uproar when a railroad is slated to go right through its center, and Julia Donaldson's THE QUICK BROWN FOX CUB (0778710807) tells of a little fox who wants to go on adventures during the day, when he should be sleeping. The 'Blue Bananas' series for ages 5-7 holds two fine stories: Jane Clarke's PLODNEY CREEPER, SUPERSLOTH (0778708500) tells of a sloth who doesn't move slowly like all the others – but his teacher still thinks he's very special and destined for greatness. Michael Morpurgo's MAIRI'S MERMAID (0778708519) tells for Mairi, who can't swim even when she pretends she's a mermaid. How can she pretend to have such a skill when she doesn't even know if mermaids are real? 'Yellow Bananas' reaches ages 8-10 with exciting themes and adventures. Michael Morpurgo's SNAKES AND LADDERS (0778709523) tells of a fearful girl who isn't afraid of her grandfather's snake. When he escapes during show and tell, it's up to Wendy to rescue him. Malachy Doyle and Sholto Walker's LONG GRAY NORRIS (0778709566) tells of young Brendan, who loves a challenge and meets his match in Long Gray Norris, who beats him at all games and who is evil. Anne fine's COUNTDOWN (0778709582) tells of a boy stuck in his room all day alone to prove a gerbil's life isn't so bad. Could he really be doing a kind thing by buying a gerbil? Mary Hoffman's DRACULA'S DAUGHTER (077870954X) tells of an abandoned child adopted by a couple who find as she grows that she appears to be a vampire. All are appealing, easy readers which promise to fill the gap between picturebook and middle school reader.

The Young Adult Fiction Shelf

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Ages 7-10 will find fun Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's 'Simply Sarah' series addition Cuckoo Feathers (0761452850 $14.95) which enjoys Marcy Ramsey's drawings as it tells of a girl who can't get people to think he's special – until she observes something odd about the pigeons outside her window. Her friendship with them allows her to brag – until they begin to build a nest at the neighbor's house instead of hers. A solid story of a girl's search to be special evolves as she interacts with nature in a different way. Kthleen Kudlinski's MY LADY POCAHONTAS (0761452931, $16.95) moves beyond the usual Pocahontas retelling in presenting her story from the viewpoint of a best friend, who observes her determination to unite two worlds through marriage even as she questions her friend's love and her purposes. Neetah and her friend are on a mission to protect the Confederacy by finding out as much as they can about the strangers and reporting back; but Pocahontas' own visions and mission holds even more promise to change all their lives in this moving story of cultural interaction and change.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Jenny Nimmo's new CHARLIE BONE AND THE HIDDEN KING (0439545307, $9.95) presents another absorbing Charlie drama: this revolving around a shadow which has escaped from the Red King's picture to cause havoc at Bloor's Academy. In the course of solving the mystery Charlie finds himself even closer to the truth he's longed to discover. (Jeff Smith's latest graphic novel BONE: EYES OF THE STORM (0439706254, $18.99) tells of the attack of rat creatures and new threats to the valley life of the Bones and their friends. Add strange premonitions, threats, and a helpful dragon who comes to the rescue in times of need and you have a fascinating set of encounters. Part of Bone's allure is that all graphic adventure is in full color, with plenty of detail. And the adventures are packed with action and visuals which kids can use to further reading skills. Martin W. Sandler's TRAPPED IN ICE! (043974363X, $16.99) provides a true whaling adventure which reads with high drama and action yet recounts the true story of whaling ships in 1871 which faced disaster. From ocean disasters to crewmen who acted heroically, TRAPPED IN ICE provides plenty of drama and adventure to encourage fiction lovers to move into nonfiction. Michael Morpurgo's THE AMAZING STORY OF ADOLPHUS TIPS (043979661X, $15.99) is set in 1943 and tells of an English girl whose life is scarcely touched by the war – until her village is ordered to evacuate for a war exercise. When her cat decides the restricted area is the place to have her kittens, Lily gets two American soldiers to help her in her search – and makes new friends in unexpected places. Ulysses Moore's THE DOOR TO TIME (0439774381, $12.99) tells of three kids who are about to uncover a mysterious door in a house in England which hides adventures and secrets. Any who love C.S. Lewis will appreciate the modern series of alternate world adventures the three encounter in THE DOOR TO TIME, which takes place under similar circumstances – an old wardrobe in a house – but holds more historical encounters. Patrick Carman's THE TENTH CITY (0439700957, $11.99) joins others in the 'Land of the Elyon' titles to tell of a final battle in which the evil Victor faces off with a young girl, Alexa, for control of the land. Alexa not only faces down evil; she must rescue a friend and unlock the city's secret at the same time – a tall order for a young girl. Cynthia Lord's RULES (0439443822, $15.99) tells of a pre-teen who wants a normal life: but with an autistic brother, that seems impossible – until she meets Jason, a new friend, and Kristi, a new neighbor she's always longed for. Meeting them will challenge all her concepts of 'normal' and 'abnormal' in this excellent coming of age story. Joseph Bruchac's GERONIMO (0439353602, $16.99) tells of a warrior's end of life in an Oklahoma prison, and of a grandsons' visit which leads to new revelations about Geronimo's experiences. Insights on the hardships of Geronimo's people are related in the first-person and reveals traditions such as how men cut their hair plus cultural insights. Suzanne Collins' GREGOR AND THE MARKS OF SECRET (0439791456, $16.99) provides another Gregor adventure; this adding to the fourth book in the 'Underland Chronicles'. Gregor is getting into more trouble: for generations rats have run the mice out of their lands; but now the mice are vanishing completely, and Gregor must join the queen Luxa on a fact-finding mission to discovery why. For once no prophecy seems involved – until he discovers a truth which will lead him to the final prophecy he must fulfill. More sizzling adventure evolves during his quest for mice. Garth Nix is back with a new KEYS TO THE KINGDOM: SIR THURSDAY (0439700876, $16.99). Arthur and Leaf want to go home; but only Leaf can go back: Arthur is blocked because something has assumed his identity and is taking over his life. He has even bigger problems, though: he's drafted by Sir Thursday to join an army, leaving Leaf to try to banish Arthur's double on earth. Can all this be done simultaneously? Prior familiarity with the other Keys to the Kingdom titles will aid in enjoying this complex ongoing saga. Derek Benz and J.S. Lewis' THE REVENGE OF THE SHADOW KING (0439795745, $10.99) tells of Max and his three friends who seem to be alone in noticing the strange events affecting their small town. When goblins and fairies began to invade – all characters from a card game they play – it's time to take action before their town and world are destroyed. The kids' graphic novel version of Ann M. Martin's THE BABY-SITTER'S CLUB: KRISTY'S GREAT IDEA by Raina Telgemeier (0439802415, $16.99) pairs black and white cartoons with the story of best friends who have to handle babysitting challenges and friendships alike. Their club's a business, and their lessons are many, here. Laura Gallego Garcia's THE VALLEY OF THE WOLVES (0439585538, $16.99) tells of a girl who has loved a boy only she can see, for nine years. He's her best friend and confidant – could he really be imaginary? Her study of sorcery under the Maestro will lead to truths and new powers which will lend her new strengths and challenges in this fantasy story of friendships and plots All are excellent, highly recommended leisure stories kids will pick over others.

Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet
Kashmira Sheth
Hyperion Books
3 Center Plaza, Boston, MA 02108
0786838574 $15.99

Jeet's family is busy arranging marriages for her two older sisters, but Jeeta longs for romance rather than elaborate parties, and dreads her own turn. Her new friendship with Sarina and her educated, liberal parents will lead her to further question her traditional family's ways – and when she falls in love with Sarina's cousin, more questions arise. Can she honor her family's traditions while making her own way in life? Fine insights into contemporary Indian life are revealed.

Clarion Books
215 Park Avenue South, New York NY 10003

Delia Ray's SINGING HANDS (0618657622 $16.00) brings the world of the deaf and the hearing to life as few others have done. Gussie is the hearing child of deaf parents: her father is a minister to the deaf and devotes himself to the deaf community in Alabama almost more than to his family. Gussie's poor behavior reflects her struggles to forge her own way in the different worlds of the 'Ears' and the deaf: a path which leads her to a school for the deaf where signing is rejected and vocalization encouraged. Can her wayward ways fit in either world? Lynda Durrant's MY LAST SKIRT (0618574905, $16.00) provides a novel revolving around the real life of one Jennie Hodgers, who puts on boys' clothes during pre-Civil War times in Ireland only to find new freedoms which are hers as a boy doing men's work. Her evolution from a poor shepherd to an immigration to America, where she enlists in the infantry during the Civil War to face three years of hardships, is based on the life of a real 'petticoat soldier' and personalizes the Civil War era and its experiences. Linda Sue Park's ARCHER'S QUEST (0618596313, $16.00) tells of an intruder in Kevin's room one night – a strange intruder with a bow and arrows who 'fell of the tiger and landed here'. This is no ordinary intruder, and Kevin comes to realize Archie has come from a centuries-old Korean kingdom – and it's up to Kevin to find a way back. Fantasy and folklore blend in a masterfully-done tale fans of fantasy will relish.

Knopf, Delacorte, Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Melissa Senate's THEODORA TWIST (0385733011, $15.95) presents a hot young Hollywood actress who seems to have everything, even as Emily leads a boring life. Her only excitement is living in Theodora's former house. A reality show brings two very different girls together and poses the question of who has the better life in this intriguing story of a turn-around. Ann Brashares' GIRLS IN PANTS; THE THIRD SUMMER OF THE SISTERHOOD (0385729359, $16.95) tells of the last summer before the sisterhood is to leave for college – their last together. Truths emerge in that last summer; from Carmen's difficult summer with relatives and self to Lena's uncertainty over her real career dreams. A fine account of friendship and change emerges. Dana Reinhardt's A BRIEF CHAPTER IN MY IMPOSSIBLE LIFE (0385746989, $15.95) tells of Simone, who has always felt different because she's adopted. If that's not enough, her birth mother's call during a difficult time leads her to question who she is and to discover new truths about everything she's taken for granted in her life. Rachel Cohn and David Levithan's NICK & NORA'S INFINITE PLAYLIST (0375835318, $16.95) pairs two talented writers who collaborate on a high-energy romance about two wise teens who meet at a punk rock nightclub. A try for jealousy and a pact to be a five-minute girlfriend turns into a romance told in alternating chapter and packing in contemporary music references throughout.

Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020

In NOBODY'S PERFECT (068986986X, $15.95), Marlee Matlin and Doug Cooney return another fine story of the spunky deaf girl Megan, whose plans for the perfect purple birthday party and a fun science fair project are ruined by a new girl who doesn't seem to like her. Megan keeps making overtures and is always rejected: can she befriend a new girl who doesn't like her because she's deaf? Another fine story of a precocious deaf girl's determination and lessons of life emerges. Pete Hautman's RASH (0689868014, $15.95) provides the story of a boy unjustly accused of causing a rash that runs amok through his high school. His punishment, a job in the Canadian tundra at a pizza factory surrounded by hungry polar bears, brings new meaning to the term 'prison', especially when an artificial intelligence he created for a school science project tracks him down in prison, out of control. Rash behavior is the focus of a powerful and changing story.

Tony Abbott
Little, Brown
1271 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
0316011711 $15.99

Tom and his seventh-grade classmates are used to newcomers at school, but Jessica is different: her shocking appearance evokes fear in the class until Tom develops a friendship with her which teaches him many new truths. FIREGIRL is a warm account of disability and understanding and also a warm story of evolving friendships.

The Native American Shelf

Black Indians
William Loren Katz
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
0689311966 $18.95 1-800-223-2336

BLACK INDIANS: A HIDDEN HERITAGE provides a definitive account of a largely overlooked segment of this nation's population, returning to new audiences an outstanding treatise of antique prints, photos, and research. From the positions of black Seminoles and other tribes to Africans who found places to hide among the Indians, chapters trace the concurrent histories of black and Native American peoples and the many connections they have to this day.

Books in Series

Crabtree Publishing
350 – 5th Avenue, #3308, New York NY 10118

Crabtree's book sets promise lasting library lending value: covering curriculum-oriented topics, packaged in durable library lending and filled with bright contemporary color photos, they are fine additions to any elementary-level library. 'In the Footsteps of Explorers' series titles each offer about 32 pages of history. Katharine Bailey's RADISSON & DES GROSEILLIERS: FUR TRADERS OF THE NORTH (0778724220) tells of fur trader operation, exploration, and partnerships which affected the opening of the frontier, Nancy Ward's SIR WALTER RALEIGH: FOUNDING THE VIRGINIA COLONY (0778724247) surveys Raleigh's early life, influences, and the creation and effects of his colony. DANIEL BOONE: WOODSMAN OF KENTUCKY by John Zronik (077872428X) follows Boone's early life, his explorations of Kentucky, and his wilderness experiences. Baron Bedesky's PEARY AND HENSON: THE RACE TO THE NORTH POLE (0778724263) tells not only of their race but life in the north and the peoples of the region before and after the expeditions. Bobbie Kalman and Rebecca Sjonger's PLANTS IN DIFFERENT HABITATS (9778722821) tells of forest, grassland, desert, polar, mountain, and native plants alike, encouraging kids to understand how plant life and habitats match up. From plant parts to seasonal changes, bright color photos add to facts. Kathryn Smithyman and Bobbie Kalman's INSECTS IN DANGER (0778723445) explores threats to insect habitats of all kinds, while Kalman and Sjonger join in INSECT DEFENSES (0778723348) explores how insects detect and guard against dangers. Kalman and Crossingham's INSECT HOMES (0778723453) considers hives, nests, and unusual homes and their construction, while Kalman and Sjonger's EVERYDAY INSECTS (0778723364) considers bees, ants, earwigs, and more, covering insects kids are likely to be familiar with. Kalman's 'Endangered' series is also a fine collection surveying environmental threats to animals and insects. Kalman and Robin Johnson work together on ENDANGERED BUTTERFLIES (0778718700), surveying life-cycle and threats; Kalman works with Hadley Dyer on ENDANGERED MANATEES (0778718689) surveying manatee lifecycle and threats from human boating activities, ENDANGERED FROGS (0778718727) is from Kalman and Molly Aloian and considers lifecycles, habits, and habitat threats around the world, and Kristina Lundblad and Kalman work on ENDANGERED BATS (0778718662), surveying bats around the world, their positive points, and threats. Kalman's ANIMAL LIFE CYCLES: GROWING AND CHANGING (0778722783) covers mammal, bird, insect and reptile changes while Kalman and Sjonger join in THE WATER CYCLE (0778722767), covering the water from vapor to liquid to rain and back again. Kalman works with Kelly McAuley in CHANGING WEATHER STORMS (0778722805), an introduction to the basics of what influences weather and storm cycles, from winds and hail to tornadoes and blizzards. The 'Science Frontier' guides are particularly well done and striking – many a leisure reader will turn to them for leisure reading with such attractive covers and subjects. MICRO MACHINES ULTRA-SMALL WORLD OF NANOTECHNOLOGY (0778728595) covers machines smaller than a grain of sand which can be used in materials and human body alike. BLACK HOLES AND OTHER BIZARRE SPACE OBJECTS (0778727560) offer the latest astronomy theories and findings on black holes. GREEN POWER: ECO-ENERGY WITHOUT POLLUTION (0778728579) surveys new technologies which are being developed to restore and clean the planet. These volumes are perhaps the most exciting of Kalman's line of books, promising different, contemporary perspectives and appeal. Kalman's 'Inventing' series will also interest leisure readers offering material suitable for reports too. Erinn Banting's INVENTING THE AUTOMOBILE (0778728129) covers not only the history of wheeled vehicles and autos from start to mass production, but their parts and impact on daily life; her INVENTING THE TELEPHONE (0778728153) covers phone history, different types of phones, experiments and innovations; Joanne Richter's INVENTING THE TELEVISION (0778728137) follows life before and after TV, from getting signals and improvements to the idea to the future of the set; and INVENTING THE CAMERA (0778728145) details the evolution of film, pictures and cameras. All are exceptional guides.

Enslow Publishers
Box 398, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922-0398

Three very different, fine titles will reach grades 3-4 with exciting topics and 48 pages each of detail. Elaine Landau's MEET BEN FRANKLIN (0766025551, $23.95) brings history to life as it tells of Ben Franklin who changes Philadelphia through his social and political efforts and his inventions. Elaine and Max learn about Franklin's talents in this exciting biography which reads like fiction. Fay Robinson's HISPANIC-AMERICAN CRAFTS KIDS CAN DO! (0766024598, $22.50) introduces the new series 'Multicultural Crafts Kids Can Do!' as it offers a variety of crafts reflecting Latin cultural values and history. From a God's Eye from the Huichol Indians of Mexico symbolizing good luck to a Mola applique created by the women of the Kuna Indians in Panama, designs are authentic and background explored. Carin T. Ford's POCAHONTAS: AMERICAN INDIAN PRINCESS (0766026043, $22.60) tells of an Indian chief's daughter who dares to love a white man, saving his life and changing both their worlds. 32 pages of facts will serve as fine foundations for reports for grades 3-4.

It's My State!
Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Rd., Tarrytown, NY 10591
$18.95 Each

Group 7 of the expanding 'It's my State' series titles for elementary grades has arrived, and it's a lovely set which promises to reach references libraries across the country with solid geographic facts paired with bright, contemporary covers and photos. MAINE (0761419101), NEBRASKA (076141911X), OHIO (0761419071), OKLAHOMA (0761419063), OREGON (076141908X), and TENNESSEE (0761419098) each hold 80 pages of detail including an index, bibliography, and details on history, culture, and economics. Perfect for reports – and durable and detailed enough for lasting, repeat library reference.

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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