Return to home
page Book Reviews, Book Lover Resources, Advice for Writers and Publishers
Home / California Bookwatch

California Bookwatch

Volume 12, Number 7 July 2017 Home | CALBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Biography Shelf Computer Shelf
Self-Help Shelf Technology Shelf Aviation Shelf
World History Shelf Cookbook Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Education Shelf California Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Social Media Freaks
Dustin Kidd
Westview Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780813350660 $36.00

Social Media Freaks: Digital Identity in the Network Society closely examines issues surrounding social media as it relates to gender, class, race, and disability, and explores how social media relates to social movements, social issues, and activism efforts. Chapters consider how social media has influenced and changed these facets of American society; especially in light of corporate and financial interests in the community connections of social media structures. As it considers if social media reproduces or encourages inequalities, it also surveys its alternative potentials in this survey, highly recommended for any college-level collection strong in media studies.

The Healing Art of Essential Oils
Kac Young, PhD
Llewellyn Publications
2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125
9780738750477 $21.99

The Healing Art of Essential Oils discusses herbal applications of aromatherapy and how natural healing can be enhanced by essential oils, with chapters covering both the physical and mental applications of some fifty treatments as well as supernatural uses of oils in spells and rituals. The formulas are specific and offer clear recipes while backgrounds and benefits of the oils cover historic use patterns and new discoveries alike. Natural healing collections and individuals interested in supernatural applications will find this filled with many different, clear insights.

The Biography Shelf

The Bright Hour
Nina Riggs
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
9781501169359 $25.00

The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying comes from a contemporary poet descended from Ralph Waldo Emerson who was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was thirty-seven. This was not surprising, since cancer ran on both sides of her family, but as she watched her mother pass away and her own cancer spread, Nina had to decide how to live her remaining time with her two young sons and the best friend she'd married. As she grapples with the basics of how to lead a well-lived life, readers join her on a journey through health and wellness, illness, and the basics of getting the most from each day. The author lost her battle but her book lives on as a testimony to the process of gaining the most from life.

The Long Haul
Finn Murphy
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9780393608717 $26.95

The Long Haul: A Trucker's Tales of Life on the Road comes from an author who was himself a semi-trucker, dropping out of college to drive a truck. His life on the road, the mechanics and demands of long-haul moving, and the life and challenges of being a professional trucker lend to a series of lively stories about the trucking industry and the characters and adventures it often involves. Readers needn't know anything about trucking, nor have a prior affection for it. Finn Murphy takes care of all explanations and details, bringing readers along for a rollicking ride through a trucker's world and providing an insider's eye, pairing it with an involving series of encounters.

Orb Stones & Geoglyphs: A Writer's Journey
Daniel A. Smith
Amazon Digital Services
ASIN: B06XP2N459 $1.99

One doesn't expect geology or a search for lost cultures to appear in the context of a writer's search for self; but one of the pleasures of Orb Stones & Geoglyphs lies in Daniel A. Smith's evolutionary process both as a writer and as an investigator, and so his story traverses a range of revelations that move from personal to social issues as he considers early influences and perceptions and how these changed. From developing a story and fostering an early attention to editing to charting the winding process of an idea that moves from kernel to fruition, chapters provide powerful insights fellow writers will want to learn from. It's highly recommended for a wide audience, from writers to fans of autobiography, science, and the process of finding geoglyphs and unlocking their deeper mysteries.

The Computer Shelf

Android Pocket Primer
O. Campesato
Mercury Learning
PO Box 605, Herndon, VA 20172-0605
9781683920895 $32.95

Android Pocket Primer includes a disc and join other 'Pocket Primer' titles in reviewing source code and major features of (here) the latest versions of Android, covering the basics using a format that lends to at-a-glance consultation. From boilerplate code and code strings to processes such as rendering binary images, understanding graphics and animation techniques, and handling broadcast receivers, this primer packs in a wealth of information for all kinds of Android programming objectives and applications, and is a winning pick for any who would consult basic Android operations in a quick manual for specific programming objectives.

The Self-Help Shelf

How To Live From Your Heart
Nanette V. Hucknall
MSI Press
1760 Airline Hwy., F-203, Hollister, CA 95023
9781942891246 $11.82 paper/$2.99 ebook

How To Live From Your Heart: Deepen Relationships, Develop Creativity & Discover Inner Wisdom talks about 'heart energy' and the special challenges of cultivating a style of spiritual growth that lends to peace and wisdom. While the topic may sound familiar (indeed, it's similar to other new age, self-help and spirituality coverages), the real difference between this and others lies in its inclusion of exercises and concrete plans for fostering this growth. How To Live From Your Heart is a satisfying blend of workbook, philosophical and spiritual discussion, and example-filled testimonial on the force of heart energy and its power to affect and change not just individual lives, but the world. Its focus on bigger pictures beyond new age philosophies and its grounding in psychology will attract wider audiences than new age readers alone.

The Technology Shelf

Artech House
685 Canton Street, Norwood, MA 02062

Two excellent new guides provides electronics engineers and reference collections catering to them with solid resources for understanding short-pulse radio systems and circuit board signals. V.I. Koshelev, Yu. I. Buyanov and V.P. Belichenko's Ultrawideband short-Pulse Radio Systems (97816307811051, $179.00) is an in-depth survey of the methods, analysis and practice of UWB systems and explores theories, systems, and applications alike. From the basics of how to build antennas and radio hardware that can accommodate high-power impulse signals to understanding the characteristics of signal models and their functions, readers already familiar with radio system basics will find much technical information key to understanding antenna arrays and the math involved in calculations and applications. Stephen C. Thierauf's High-Speed Circuit Board Signal Integrity (9781608079773, $169.00) appears in its second updated edition to completely overhaul information and update chapters on the latest circuit designs. EM theory and transmission line challenges involved in these designs receive a thorough investigation, with real-world examples and math calculations packing a survey of basic concepts. Engineers involved in troubleshooting circuit signal loss and other kinds of signal current flow issues will find this resource a powerful key to understanding and improving circuit board signals.

The Aviation Shelf

World's Fastest Single-Engine Jet Aircraft
Doug Barbier Lt. Col., USAF (Ret.)
Specialty Press
99 Spring Street, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10012
9781580072373 $44.95

World's Fastest Single-Engine Jet Aircraft: The Story of Convair's F-106 Delta Dart Interceptor comes from a former USAF pilot who spent some fourteen years flying jet fighters, and who here provides a specific focus on the "Century Series" of supersonic fighters. This narrowed focus allows for an in-depth study that packs color and vintage black and white photos throughout with reviews of technical specifications, fighting strategies, design changes and proposals, variants, snippets of special history (such as the story of the Six that landed itself), and more. The result is a 'must' for not just military collections, but aviation enthusiasts and any reader holding a special interest in military aircraft and their evolution.

The World History Shelf

Reclaiming Israel's History
David Brog
Regnery Publishing, Inc.
300 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001
9781621575900 $27.99

Reclaiming Israel's History: Roots, Rights, and the Struggle for Peace provides a history of Israel and the Palestinians which provides a specific focus that includes how the Jewish people have maintained a constant presence in Israel for over 3,000 years, how political and social struggles were employed to try to separate the Jewish people from their land and heritage, and how modern Jewish immigration into Palestine led to an Arab population increase, among others. Many previously untold or under-reported stories about Israel's history and evolution offer much food for thought in this engrossing, revealing story which is highly recommended for any discussion of Israel's origins and politics.

The Cookbook Shelf

The Food of the Philippines
Reynaldo G. Alejandro
Periplus Editions
9780794607913 $9.95

The Food of the Philippines: 81 Easy and Delicious Recipes from the Pearl of the Orient is more than another Filipino cookbook, but packs in lovely contemporary color photos of food and cultural scenery by Luca Invernizzi Tettoni as it presents such dishes as Filipino-adapted Sweet and Sour Fish, a classic Chicken and Pork Adobo, and Taro Leaves with Coconut Milk. Access to a well-stocked Asian market is a prerequisite for many of the recipes here, though others rely on standard fare any American supermarket will readily have on its shelves. The lovely, detailed color photos covering more than just food pictures make for a delightful accent on a discussion that pairs recipes with cultural and culinary insights.

Barbecue Sauces Rubs and Marinades
Steven Raichlen
Workman Publishing Company
225 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014-4381
9781523500819 $17.95

Barbecue Sauces Rubs and Marinades - Bastes, Butters, and Glazes, Too! Pairs live-fire cooking techniques with an international attention to grilling and smoking methods and embellishments, and covers everything from standard marinades and bastes to brines, cures, and the kinds of relishes and condiments that add seasoning to finished results. From basic questions on cooking different cuts of meat and seafood to using sauces and special flavor combinations, this defines different seasonings and their best applications, covering grilling techniques and best practices alike in an excellent presentation highly recommended for summer enjoyment.

Our Korean Kitchen
Jordan Bourke & Rejina Pyo
Weldon Owen
415 Jackson Street, San Francisco, CA 94111
9781681881867 $35.00

Our Korean Kitchen packs in a hundred classic recipes, but isn't written by a Korean resident. It comes from a kitchen in London and cooks who have readily found the ingredients for successful Korean cooking, and it pairs full-page color photos of finished dishes with recipes such as a Warming Chicken & Potato Stew spiced with various chilis and peppers, Mung Bean Pancakes made with kimchi juice and rice flour, and Seasoned Zucchini made with sesame seeds, garlic and onion. Irish chef and author Jordan Bourke's wife is Korean and a fashion designer, and she guided him in learning about this cuisine. Their combined effort, this cookbook, offers a winning introduction to the extent of Korean food and culture, and should be on the bookshelf of any international collection.

Desserts LaBelle
Patti LaBelle and Laura Randolph Lancaster
Grand Central Life & Style
c/o Hachette Book Group
1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104
9781455543403 $28.00

Desserts LaBelle: Soulful Sweets to Sing About pairs entertainment and cooking and comes from a music icon who has been known for her cooking for years. This fact first came to light with her first cookbook, LaBelle Cuisine, which became a New York Times best-seller, and continues with a dessert focus here. The cookbook is packed with recipes for pies, cakes, cookies and puddings and offers step-by-step instructions that even non-cooks can easily follow. From Lemon Meringue Cake and Caramel and Pecan Turtle Brownies to Monkey Bread, this features some of the author's inventions, adaptations, and best-loved family fare and is a 'must' for any who like desserts in general and LaBelle's first cookbook in particular.

The Audiobook Shelf

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

Three fine new audios are top recommended listens for any audiobook leisure listener, offering stories that come alive in a way print could not match. Lynn Vincent and Captain Roger Hill's Dog Company (9781478959625, $35.00) comes from a former infantry commander in the 101st Airborne and a West Point grad and an investigative journalist and best-selling author, and tells of the author's work in Army counterintelligence and his challenge in handling spies who killed and maimed his men. Military strategies, insights, and challenges come to life under his voice which lends drama and vivid insights to a powerful story. Jeffrey Deaver's The Burial Hour (9781478906636, $40.00) provides another Lincoln Rhyme novel, is narrated by Edoardo Ballerini, who lends a compelling voice to the saga, and tells of a businessman who is kidnapped in broad daylight, leading detective Rhyme on a powerful chase. As the victim's demise is caught on film and linked to a deadly killer, the suspect gets away and a series of cat-and-mouse games springs to life, particularly vivid in audio. David Baldacci's The Fix (9781478930020, $40.00) tells of Amos Decker, who has witnessed a murder outside of FBI headquarters, and who finds that a suicide doesn't solve the crime but broadens it. Decker is well noted for his problem-solving skills; but even these pale in the face of a baffling survey that reveals little about the perp and much about his victim. The audio version lends an immediacy and interest that makes it hard to set aside. Cheech Marin's Cheech Is Not My Real Name ... But Don't Call Me Chong! (9781478934851, $30.00) presents a lively narrative read by the author himself as it reviews his life and tells how he rose to fame as a figurehead for drug use despite being the son of a policeman. The funny story's humor shines through in audio, which lends it an especially vivid sense that the book version couldn't have imparted, and is especially recommended for fans of comedy in general, counterculture icons, and Cheech in particular. Amy Dickinson's Strangers Tend to Tell me Things: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Coming Home (9781478912314, $30.00) comes from the author of the "Ask Amy" advise column, is narrated by the author, And provides a memoir of her life and its many changes, from moving home to falling in love. Humor and blunt observations are well captured in this audio, which will especially interest prior fans of her columns who may not know much about her life, its evolution, and its influences. Andrew Weil, MD's Mind Over Meds (9781478962922, $30.00) is also narrated by the author, who lends a seasoned and authoritative tone to his examination of how consumers can know what drugs are necessary, what alternatives to the drugs are, and when to forego drugs for natural healing. This is a serious topic that holds potential for much confusion; but under Dr. Weil's hand, it becomes much clearer and in audio format, it's a compelling, revealing listen. Admiral William H. McRaven's Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life ... And Maybe the World (9781478969679, $20.00) is narrated by the retired U.S. Navy man and provides an inspirational review of the ten principles he learned during his Navy SEAL training that helped him overcome life challenges. The connections between these tenants and success is captured in an audio especially notable because the original speech it was based on, presented in 2014 to a college graduating class, went viral with over a million views, and here it's accessible to an even wider audience. Joyce Meyer's 20 Ways to Make Every Day Better (9781478985143, $25.00) receives a professional narration from Jodi Carlisle, who has recorded thousands of television and radio productions, and whose voice lends well to this series of admonitions about how to create a better life amidst the influences of chaos. Whether it be a hectic schedule or a constant barrage of challenges, it's hard to envision a better life sometimes - but Joyce Meyer advocates making every moment count, and tells exactly how to do that, offering a religious-based set of insights that Christian readers will find important for helping them connect God's presence in everyday life with personal choices for making that life better.

The Fiction Shelf

Dark Trades
Ken Harris
Warren Publishing
8145 Ardrey Kell Road, Suite 207, Charlotte NC 28277
9781943258406 $17.95, PB, 370pp,

Alternate history novels are typically reviewed in science fiction sections because much of their action tends to rely on settings that are focus on another world, but Dark Trades is featured under "Fiction" because its social comments and insights are striking and recommended for novel readers, as well, who might not ordinarily delve into the sci-fi realm. Its social commentary on slavery, justice, and lives well lived under conditions which are 'incubators' for human beings, overseen by Admins who regulate every aspect of a slave's life with an eye to beneficial results for maximum production, offers striking food for thought. Dark Trades will reach audiences who enjoy novels that create powerful protagonists, then set their personal lives and decisions within the wider realm of social and political transformation. America has voted for a black man in our world - can it do so again, in a future long ruled by domination? Dark Trades asks many important questions as Harrison navigates new possibilities and, in so doing, brings novel, sci-fi and alternative history readers into a social milieu which is politically, socially and emotionally striking. It's especially recommended for social and political inquirers who will appreciate the focus on social and political connections to personal choices and growth in a repressive, hopeless world.

Astrologer's Proof
David John Jaegers
Shimmering Water Productions LLC
9780692880746 KDP Select: $4.95; Create Space: $14.95; Ingram Spark: $14.95

Readers may not anticipate a spiritual and moral read in a title that mentions astrology and presents Book Two in a series; but one of the strengths of Astrologer's Proof lies in its ability to surprise, and leading a new age-sounding book to a greater discussion of faith and transformations on more than one level is just one of its many diverse surprises. Under David John Jaegers' pen the story winds its way through the social and political evolution of a philanthropically significant organization on the track of a greater truth and purpose in life. Although a healthy dose of intrigue holds the story together, the inclusion of Christian undertones that lead to a unique astrological discovery makes for an unusual approach that will delight readers who look for stories a cut above the ordinary and predictable. It's highly recommended for new age and astrology readers interested in more philosophical and spiritual considerations than most astrology novels offer.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Murder in the Bowery
Victoria Thompson
Berkley Prime Crime
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9781101987117 $26.00

Murder in the Bowery provides a fine Gaslight Mystery steeped in Victorian-era intrigue as it has Sara and frank searching for the truth behind a dangerous society woman and a murder. A murdered newsboy would seem to hold little interest, but he's the brother of Frank's latest client, and that connection plus the fear he displays when his brother's name is mentioned leads Frank on a journey of discovery. Is there any connection between Freddie's death and the society matron? A tense thriller evolves as two detectives arrive ever closer to a truth that could reveal more than a murderer's intentions in a gripping story especially recommended for murder mystery readers who enjoy Victorian-era settings and intrigue.

Atacama Red
William Graham
Amazon Digital Services
ASIN: B06XG36359 $3.99

As haunting nightmares bubble to the surface in a barren desert of death, Nelson faces hot days that become even hotter as a slowly simmering intrigue builds to claim more victims. Readers should anticipate an atmospheric read steeped in desert descriptions; but those include a healthy dose of self-inspection, personal philosophy, and even surprising musical references as Nelson explores his own psyche and his family heritage against the backdrop of increasingly dangerous scenarios. Readers who expected a simple 'whodunit' may be surprised by the inclusion of these additional elements, but Pablo Nelson is not a staid one-dimensional detective. Well detailed and steeped in atmosphere, Atacama Red isn't necessarily for the casual fan of whodunit problem-solving, but for those who appreciate deeper insights on the problems of identifying elements to a life well-lived. These mystery readers will find much to like in a story that is as much about a detective's evolutionary process as it is about a murder investigation in another country with quite different values and procedures than in America.

Red Stick Two
Kenneth Kirkeby
Sharp Printing
9780692856093 $15.95

Red Stick One set the scene with a thriller centered upon the murder of a Florida Fish and Game officer and the efforts of his adopted half-Indian son who embarks on a quest to find his foster father's killer; but Red Stick Two is a continuation that will especially engage those familiar with the outdoors setting and mystery of the first novel. Here Virgil has his own family and life which revolves around ranching, raising his children, but faces another challenge that takes him far from home and into other countries, politics, and investigations into danger. Native American culture, father and son relationships, a classified assignment filled with danger, international intrigue and encounters with wildlife and wild people alike make for a heady read packed with social and psychological inspection. While some readers looking for lighter entertainment could initially chafe at the inclusion of such insights as the thriller evolves, the result is a multi-faceted and intriguing story that goes beyond the usual action-packed read to imbibe its plot with social and political inspection, and will delight those who seek complexity and insight from their thrillers.

Serial K Returns
Brian Gallagher
Mirror Publishing
9781612253735 $4.99

In some ways, Serial K Returns requires prior familiarity with its predecessor Serial K in order to be fully appreciated. While its thriller elements and investigative processes stand well alone and don't require prior introduction, one of the strengths of the production is its two main characters and how they forge and face different connections as they maintain their professional facades. Prior readers of Serial K will be delighted to find this ongoing evolution of Ryan and Lea's relationship as they move from ex-spouse status to colleagues, only to drift back together as lovers. One caution is that readers should expect graphic sex and violence during their reading. These aspects are an integral part of the story line, so thriller readers with a strong stomach will find these descriptions offer added attraction, as they cement the realistic immediacy of events and the passions behind the crime-solving duo's objectives. Will the investigators track down a killer they'd believed dead? And, will they nail down what is really in their hearts? The writing is swift and tense, characters well drawn and motivations clearly outlined, and twists and turns of plot rely on a psychological depth not normally seen in thriller formats.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Thistle Inferno
Aaron Michael Ritchey
WordFire Press
c/o Baen Books
9781614755418, $14.99 print
9781614755425, $ 5.99 ebook

Thistle Inferno's setting of 2058 (when the world's population has been decimated by the epidemics and war, and where frontier-type survivalist sisters struggle in a community comprised of five western U.S. states that operate without electricity, called the Juniper), has been described in the previous two books of this series. Fans of the prior books have a lot to look forward to with Thistle Inferno, Book 3, which continues the saga. Here the gunslinging sisters face new struggles: this time, with known and bitter enemies. From recovering from their mother's death to facing danger and disease, the tone is gritty and revealing as Cavvy faces a barrage of threats with a tired determination to survive and stand up for what she loves. This tone, cultivated as Cavvy fields the onslaughts of a broken, difficult life, joins with reflections about the nature of a life well lived to make Thistle Inferno a revealing, heart-wrenching, and thoroughly absorbing story of survival in a world gone mad.

Next History: The Girl Who Hacked Tomorrow
Lee Baldwin
Baldwin Books
9780985477738, $3.99 ebook

Next History: The Girl Who Hacked Tomorrow is a fantasy of interest to genre fans as well as to those who like outside-the-box adventure at the borders of thrillers and dystopian sci-fi. Next History's strength lies in the joining of diverse subconscious and philosophical threads, which neatly come together at the story's end to create an unexpected yet surprising result on which turns the future of humanity. Readers can expect a solid epic that evokes humankind's deepest knowledge of cause and effect, consciousness, and the ultimate dreams of humankind. An edgier, more challenging fantasy that most, Next History brings thought-provoking reflections on the potential of the human race into a canny blend of philosophy, supernatural influences, and spirituality that launch unusual journeys of the mind. In a genre filled with too many predictable, singular approaches, Next History is a standout.

1636: Mission to the Mughals
Eric Flint and Griffin Barber
Baen Books
PO Box 1188, Wake Forest NC 27588
9781476782140 $25.00

1636: Mission to the Mughals provides another scenario adding to the expanding time-travel series centered around a new nation, The United States of Europe, formed in an alternate history world affected by time travelers from the future who are stranded in the past, and who change their world. The series has, in effect, become a world-building alternate history more than the usual story of stranded time travelers trying to return home, and readers with a penchant for historical events and facts will relish the conundrums and encounters in this latest story, which involves an emperor of the Mughal kingdom of India and a mission to change everything.

Nebula Awards Showcase 2017
Julie E. Czerneda, Editor
c/o Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781633882713 $18.00

Nebula Awards Showcase 2017 adds to the yearly series of 'best of' roundups which have appeared since 1966, reprinting both winning and nominated stories of the prestigious Nebula Awards. If there's one thing this award virtually guarantees, it's quality: a rigorous weeding process results in the truly outstanding, and this collection is no exception. Excerpts and full-length stories blend with essays by a wide range of names; some of which may sound familiar (i.e. Betsy Wollheim and C.J. Cherryh) and others less so. The result is a 'must' for any sci-fi reader who seeks the absolute standouts in the genre, and who wants assurance of this quality in a name-brand collection that is a powerful winner.

The Education Shelf

480 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101-3451

Anna M. Collins & Steven R. Benson's Accessible Algebra: 30 Modules to Promote Algebraic Reasoning, Grades 7-10 (9781625310668 $37.33) is recommended for pre-algebra teachers who want to prove students with new approaches to thinking about algebra, and comes from authors who explore common misconceptions and problems students face in the subject. Their investigations and meetings with students resulted in a survey of common questions and problems that helped develop a better sense of algebra, and projects range from graph representations and workbook exercises to diagraming, working with functions, and understanding different approaches of problem-solving for the same algebra question. The result is a 'must' for any who would teach algebra to grades 7-10 with an attention to better understanding and flexible formulas. Lynne R. Dorfman and Rose Cappelli's second edition of Mentor Texts: Teaching Writing Through Children's Literature, K-6 (9781625311313, $37.33) comes a decade after the original edition appeared and includes new material and suggestions for demonstrations and guided writing, adding new children's books to each chapter and a section devoted to thinking, talking, and writing about them. The wide-ranging lesson plans move from creating haiku with a personal approach to understanding beginnings and endings in the narrative format. Classic children's literature encourages connections between reading, analyzing, and writing in an approach that is lively and fun.

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

Three professors and an author/teacher join forces in Douglas Fisher,'s focus Teaching Literacy in the Visible Learning Classroom (9781506332376, $34.95), on how to apply visual learning processes in classroom environments, and shows how to use lesson design strategies and daily learning processes to create new opportunities for literacy and comprehension in the classroom. As chapters reveal both teacher- and student-led dialogues and link independent learning to classroom applications, they show how teachers can more effectively move their students from the basics to learning which is transferred on a collaborative or interactive level through visible learning techniques. Teachers will find this a powerful tool for success. Also notable and highly recommended is James Nottingham's The Learning Challenge: How to Guide Your Students Through the Learning Pit to Achieve Deeper Understanding (9781506376424, $29.95), a powerful research-based survey on how to create challenging classrooms that encourage learners to reach ever higher. Four stages of the Learning Challenge are covered and linked to a series of lesson plans and classroom activities designed to help students increase cognitive awareness and strengthen analytical skills. These models apply to a range of ages from young children to teens, and explore different stages of cognitive growth at different levels. Teachers will find it a practical and engrossing survey filled with exercises and step-by-step directions.

The California Shelf

Westside Stories
Michael Harris
The Americas Group
520 South Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 204, Los Angels, CA 90049-3534
9780935047875, $19.95, HC, 150pp,

In "Westside Stories", Michael Harris focuses upon life in Los Angeles during the 1940s, 50s and 60s through approximately 50 vignettes and 100 illustrations that describe a corner of the city before freeways became continuous ribbons of traffic, before the Watts Riots changed the image of the city, and before the Internet and cell phones dominated the entertainment and communication choices of its citizens. Profusely illustrated throughout, "Westside Stories" is impressively informative and a thoroughly absorbing read from beginning to end. A fitting observational based memorial to a Los Angeles of yesteryear, "Westside Stories" is a unique and very highly recommended addition to personal, community, and academic library 20th Century American History collections in general, and local Los Angeles history supplemental studies reading lists in particular.

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

Copyright ©2001

Site design by Williams Writing, Editing & Design