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California Bookwatch

Volume 12, Number 5 May 2017 Home | CALBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Photography Shelf Education Shelf
Writing/Publishing Shelf Military Shelf Biography Shelf
Social Issues Shelf Judicial Studies Shelf Criminology Shelf
Health/Medicine Shelf Autism Shelf LGBT Studies Shelf
Self-Help Shelf Needlecraft Shelf Computer Shelf
Technology Shelf Audiobook Shelf Music Shelf
Cookbook Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Travel Shelf
Automotive Shelf Metaphysical Studies Shelf Fiction Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Holocaust Studies Shelf California Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

How Whole Brain Thinking Can Save the Future
James Olson
Origin Press
P.O. Box 151117, San Rafael, CA 94915
9781579830519, $19.95,

How Whole Brain Thinking Can Save the Future presents a holistic approach to understanding the brain's role in defining and creating consciousness, and offers a focus on what happens when the two sides of the brain fail to work together; but it more than a health or psychology examination alone. It moves beyond physical well-being to consider this dichotomy's effects on culture and society as a whole, linking brain activity and consciousness to the decisions and impacts the left and right brain hemispheres have on society, from religion and business to politics. In learning why the brain thinks as it does and how information is processed, chapters offer bigger picture insights that move from personal revelations to social change in a powerful, highly recommended read that crosses disciplines and offers a blend of science, psychological and social inspection.

The Photography Shelf

The Photographer's Black & White Handbook
Harold Davis
The Monacelli Press
6 West 18th Street, #2C, New York, NY 10011
9781580934787, $35.00,

The Photographer's Black & White Handbook is recommended for arts and photography collections alike and comes from a photographer who draws important connections between storytelling techniques and visual images, adding a travel aspect into the mix to create a different focus on black and white photograph's potentials and applications. Chapters consider the latest advancements in the field, from cameras and software to processing and photo editing approaches that take black and white imagery to a whole new level. Full-page and good-sized black and white images throughout support the text and provide powerful insights into the many options and perspectives photographers have, making this a top recommendation for photography collections in particular and many an arts library, as well.

The Education Shelf

Saving Science Class
Chris McGowan
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781633882171, $25.00,

Saving Science Class: Why We Need Hands-On Science to Engage Kids, Inspire Curiosity, and Improve Education considers that many obstacles to more effective science teaching lie not in the realm of teacher approaches, but in the materials and guidelines they are required to adhere to, and Chris McGowan is especially critical of the Next Generation Science Standards process. This comes not from a teacher but from a curator emeritus in the Department of Paleobiology in Toronto who has numerous science books to his name, and who considers the disparity between what students are learning about science and how differently it's actually conducted in the scientific world. The author is not just a former scientist by also was a schoolteacher: he makes a powerful case for why the efforts of educational specialists aren't adequately reflecting the processes and challenges of real-world science in a discussion all science teachers should consider.

When Writers Drive the Workshop
Brian Kissel
Stenhouse Publishers
480 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101-3451
9781625310736, $28.00,

When Writers Drive the Workshop: Honoring Young Voices and Bold Choices is a recommendation for teachers of grades K-5 and comes from an educator who considers the benefits and approaches of the writing workshop and its keys to classroom success. His narrowed focus on four key elements from the writing workshop and how student-driven processes result in superior learning opportunities will prove much food for thought not just because they are tested ideas, but because they hold wide-ranging promise for classroom integration. From building in structures where students set and meet goals to adding 'mini-lessons' that allow student flexibility in the learning process, this is a powerful, idea-filled guide that is highly recommended for any elementary-level educator.

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

James and Jill Nottingham provide two new 'Challenging Learning Through' books which are packed with teacher strategies for engaging students, and are highly recommended picks for classroom teachers looking to engage students through dialogue and feedback focuses. They work with Martin Renton on Challenging Learning Through Dialogue: Strategies to Engage Your Students and Develop Their Language of Learning (9781506376523, $24.95) and offers admonitions on several points where teachers fail to make the most of student abilities to respond. From adding more wait time for better student engagement to understanding why exploratory talk is better than other dialogue choices and how to use clues in communication to focus on language and thinking structures, Challenging Learning Through Dialogue creates a powerful set of techniques backed by observation and problem-solving approaches. Challenging Learning Through Feedback: How to Get the Type, Tone and Quality of Feedback Right Every Time (9781506376479, $24.95) offers the same structured approach for getting and using feedback processes, and considers how to avoid common errors in soliciting and using student feedback, how to apply criteria to determine when feedback isn't working, strategies to encourage creativity, and much more. Both should be in the collections of any teacher interested in creating and supporting an interactive classroom.

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Writing Without a Parachute
Barbara Turner Vesselago
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
9781785921711, $18.95,

Writing Without a Parachute: The Art of Freefall comes from a writing teacher who shares the method she's used for almost 30 years to help hundreds of writers publish their works. If this sounds daunting, it should be advised that only five simple ideas are involved for the success of this process, called Freefall - the art of writing without logic parachutes couching or limiting words. Chapters discuss specific detail, the overriding fear of work being 'publishable' or not, the challenge of moving from fact to fiction, the importance of perseverance in the writing process, and much more. No aspiring writer should be without these words and this process.

The Military Shelf

On Wave and Wing
Barrett Tillman
Regnery History
c/o Regnery Publishing, Inc.
300 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001
9781621575917, $29.99,

On Wave and Wing: The 100-Year Quest to Perfect the Aircraft Carrier documents the relatively quick evolution of the importance of the air craft carrier to military strategy, as the Japanese naval attack on Pearl Harbor elevated the carrier above dreadnaughts and other craft previously deemed superior military equipment. This survey comes from a naval historian who documents the early evolution of these carriers in World War I and how they evolved to become key to military strength and strategy since then. From aviation training and aircraft carrier involvements in attacks against enemy subs to their decisive use by various military personnel, this is an outstanding survey that is essential for any military history holding.

Robert R. "Boom" Powell, Commander, USN (Ret.)
Specialty Press
99 Spring Street, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10012
9781580072359, $39.95,

Wave-Off!: A History of LSOs and Ship-Board Landings will reach aviation and military history audiences alike with an outstanding survey that charts the special aviation challenges of landing airplanes on ships at sea. More than a survey of aircraft, however, this covers the position and history of the Landing Signal Officer or LSO, and connects naval developments and airplane technology to the evolution of the military aircraft carrier and its changing designs. History blends with anecdotes while vintage black and white and color photos throughout compliment charts detailing national carrier transfers, information about key places and names in carrier aviation history, and discussions of specific carriers. The result is a wide-ranging and enlightening collection that will delight any reader interested in either aviation or military history in general and aircraft carriers in particular.

The Biography Shelf

The Warmup Guy
Bob Perlow and Richard John Cummins
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053-2246
9781455621507, $22.95,

The Warmup Guy is recommended for any biography or TV and media collection and considers the life and influence of comedian Bob Perlow, who was a warmup comedian on TV sets responsible for engaging studio audiences. While some may not recognize his name, a wider audience will be familiar with his efforts and this account provides a personal look at not only his routines and their evolution, but the evolution of other acting approaches, comedy's increasing role in television programming, and his encounters with Tim Allen, Robin Williams, and fellow comedian professionals. The result is a lively survey that blends autobiographical experience with a close inspection of the role of comedy in television in general and the evolving nature of warmup comedy in particular, recommended for any who enjoy television and comedy.

Waves Passing in the Night
Lawrence Weschler
Bloomsbury Press
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 315, New York, NY 10010
9781632867186, $25.00,

Waves Passing in the Night: Walter Murch in the Land of the Astrophysicists provides the story of a nine-time Academy Award nominee and famous film editor notable for his efforts on Apocalypse Now and other famous, award-winning films. His biography doesn't detail his film career, as it so easily could have, but his side hobby of gravitational astro-acoustics in general and especially his contention that scientific rejection of alternative theories has held back scientific advancement. His interest in the patterns of planets across the solar system and his 20-years inspection of these patterns and scientific process make for a focus that will intrigue and interest professional and lay scientists alike, examining not only his contentions and research but the very nature of scientific inquiry. Any familiar with his name and film work will be intrigued and fascinated by his 'sideline' interest and its ramifications for how science is conducted.

Beginnings, second edition
Edward Galluzzi
CCB Publishing
9781926585109, $4.95 Kindle/$17.95 Paperback,

Beginnings is a memoir based on the life of Greg and his girlfriend Charly, and focuses on relationship-building, forces that assault, support, and influence lives, and the collective impact of beginnings and endings throughout life, and represents an intersection of biography and fiction that features many strong points as it explores these routes and two lives whirling through the maelstrom of life. From evolving faith and the beginning of its end to how love evolves between Greg and Charly and how it results in unexpected transformations, Beginnings charts influences on decisions, the effects of choices, the fluid junctions of life's changes, and all the circumstances that precede endings and beginnings. Readers who enjoy stories alive with the vigor and influence of faith and love and who especially like psychological insights into what drives individuals, motivates them to change, and affects their decisions, will find Beginnings a fine read that toes the line between a strong autobiography and a fictional inspection of life.

My Kill Play
Tim G. Patten
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781541061255, $17.98

My Kill Play is another roller derby book by Tim G. Patten, whose fictional works about the sport he loves are based on his experiences and reality - but this one holds a difference in its focus on both sports achievement and personal memoir which chronicles both his involvement in roller derby and the evolution of his life as a gay man. One might not expect same-sex marriage, themes of urban gentrification and economic pressure, AIDS concerns, and roller derby experiences to coalesce neatly under one cover, but the special appeal of My Kill Play lies in its ability to take all these themes and especially the gay culture of a city player's life and times and weave them deftly into a story of personal and sports excellence. Although the likely reader of My Kill Play will be the gay community member who will especially appreciate the realistic description of San Francisco during this era (the authenticity of which this reviewer can personally vouch for, having lived those times in the City), roller derby fans who enjoy solid descriptions of competition on the rink will find much to like in My Kill Play, which takes derby competition a step further by adding elements of the social and cultural milieu in which it operates.

The Social Issues Shelf

The Unmade Bed
Stephen Marche with Commentary by Editor Sarah Fulford
Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
9781476780153, $26.00,

The Unmade Bed: The Messy Truth About Men and Women in the 21st Century provides a fine nonfiction piece that considers changing relationships between men and women in modern society, adding commentary from the author's wife, a successful writer in her own right. This approach makes for a dialogue between men and women who contrasts perspectives, refutes ideas and insights, and provides a balanced survey of family issues of power, equality, and control. Part memoir and part social investigation, The Unmade Bed offers much food for thought for any couple and is a lively, engrossing read recommended for general interest and social science readers alike.

The Judicial Studies Shelf

Sex and the Constitution
Geoffrey R. Stone
Liveright Publishing
c/o W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9780871404695, $35.00,

Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion, and Law from America's Origins to the Twenty-First Century discusses the legal jurisdiction of sex in modern America, connecting legal process to the governing of human sexuality and social issues that reach into the heart of the American political system and culture. Geoffrey R. Stone is a legal scholar and professor whose examination considers court processes, activism, divisive moves on the side of evangelicals and activists alike, and the history of how sexual values evolved up to modern times. The result is a compelling study highly recommended for any political and legal issues holding strong in social science.

The Criminology Shelf

Murder in Plain English
Michael Arntfield and Marcel Danesi
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781633882539, $24.00,

Murder in Plain English: From Manifestos to Memes - Looking at Murder Through the Words of Killers is the first book to examine the phenomenon of murder through the writings of killers as well as how murder is portrayed in literary fiction and crime dramas, and join the forces of a criminologist specializing in cold cases and forensics with the talents of an anthropologist who specializes in organized crime and street gangs. The diverse backgrounds of these two writers succeeds in creating exceptional approaches to the written word documenting murder perspectives and psychology, making this a powerful lend of linguistic analysis, psychological examination, and social investigation that it detailed and unique; highly recommended for literary, legal, and social issues holdings alike.

Convicting Avery
Michael D. Cicchini
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781633882553, $18.00,

Convicting Avery: The Bizarre Laws and Broken System Behind Making a Murderer comes from a Wisconsin criminal defense attorney Michael D. Cicchini, who follows the procedures that resulted in what Cicchini asserts were the wrongful convictions of Steven Avery and his mentally retarded nephew Brendan Dassey. This event was documented in the Netflix production "Making a Murderer" that followed how the two were convicted twice. This process exposed many flaws in Wisconsin's criminal justice system, which are surveyed here in further detail, presented in a close inspection that quotes from the two's appellate court decisions, court briefs, trial documents and legal articles. The result is a powerful survey highly recommended for any legal collection and for anyone interested in murder cases and the social impact of justice system proceedings.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

The Glycemic Index
Elena Philippou, Editor
CRC Press
6000 NW Broken Sound Parkway NW, Suite 300, Boca Raton, FL 33487
9781498703666, $149.95,

The Glycemic Index: Applications in Practice belongs in college-level health collections and is especially recommended for those strong in nutrition, gathering a wide range of research and evidence under one cover to consider how the GI relates to different diseases and conditions, sports performance concerns, and cognitive functioning processes. It gathers the latest scientific evidence on GI, includes recommendations on how it may be applied to and adjusted for disease prevention and various patient self-help efforts, and compares the GI logo used on food labels in different countries. It also packs in charts, statistics, graphs, and references supporting all research in a 'must have' reference for any health survey.

The Autism Shelf

How LEGO-Based Therapy for Autism Works
Daniel B. Legoff
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Inc.
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
9781785927102, $24.95 pbk / $13.99 Kindle

How LEGO-Based Therapy for Autism Works: Landing On My Planet goes beyond any discussion of theory to document how LEGO-based therapy helps promote social skills development for autistic children and those with related conditions. It pairs case histories of these children and their therapy with a clinician's insights and comes from a licensed pediatric neuropsychologist who pioneered LEGO-Based Therapy, so it comes from an innovative authority on the topic and provides essential reading bridging the gap between concept and application.

The LGBT Studies Shelf

Transitioning Together
Wenn Lawson and Beatrice Lawson
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Inc.
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
9781785921033, $19.95 pbk / $9.99 Kindle

Transitioning Together: One Couple's Journey of Gender and Identity Discovery offers a unique and important perspective telling of a long-lasting relationship between two individuals born nearly 12 years apart in different countries, who were identified as female at birth. They entered into a same-sex relationship, but two decades later one would transition from female to male. To complicate matters further, both are on the autism spectrum. This memoir of an older couple's transition and special challenges in gender changes juxtaposes the perspectives of each as they confront themselves, each other, and who they really are, and is an outstanding addition to any collection strong in LBGTQ issues in general and gender and autism experiences in adulthood.

The Self-Help Shelf

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do
Amy Morin
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
195 Broadway New York, New York 10007
9780062358301, $16.99,

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success is a powerful survey that's highly recommended for anyone facing barriers to feeling life's success, and comes from a psychotherapist who shares her tips on how to gather mental strength and recognize self-induced obstacles to empowerment and joy. The title stems from a blog the author wrote which outlined the 13 habits that held her back from her own success. Her blog went vital and its message was so powerful that she racked up viewers and articles on big-name sites. Anecdotes from her work as a psychology instructor and psychotherapist pair with excellent insights anyone can use to make their lives more meaningful.

How to Be Alive
Colin Beavan
Dey Street
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
195 Broadway New York, New York 10007
9780062236715, $14.99,

How to Be Alive: A Guide to the Kind of Happiness That Helps the World examines the foundations of a happy life and what constitutes satisfaction, and provides an introductory roadmap to the processes that can help create "the good life" where good feelings and altruistic habits and perspectives juxtapose. From understanding potential impact and how seemingly-simple decisions hold long-range ramifications for everyone around to how to find meaning in the world and one's actions and choices, this is an uplifting, spirited re-appraisal of what it means to be a good human being.

The Self-Compassion Skills Workbook
Tim Desmond
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9780393712186, $19.95,

The Self-Compassion Skills Workbook: A 14-Day Plan to Transform Your Relationship with Yourself tells how a simple set of practices can hold many positive changes, and uses the latest research to consider these best practices and their links to opening one's mind and spirit. The point is to identify and let go of patterns of self-criticism and routines that lead to depression, but the 'how' piece that's largely absent from similar-sounding titles advocating self-compassion is more than evident here. With its engaging discussions and powerful techniques, anyone who wants to know how to get to a point of more happiness and life satisfaction will find this set of specific routines both accessible and satisfyingly specific. Very highly recommended!

Find Your Awesome
Judy Clement Wall
Health Communications Inc.
3201 S.W. 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442-8190
9780757319754, $12.95,

Find Your Awesome: A 30-Day Challenge to Fall in Love with Your Playful, Imaginative & Colorful Self is all about developing routines and rituals to support creativity and playfulness; to encourage battery-recharging through replenishing a sense of passion in life and supporting one's self. From getting rid of clutter by donating unused items to setting aside a day for creativity and getting rid of 'should' negativity, this is a supportive, fun book packed with fun color drawings throughout.

The Needlecraft Shelf

Pin Loom Weaving to Go
Margaret Stump
Stackpole Books
5067 Ritter Road, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-6921
9780811716130, $17.95,

Pin Loom Weaving to Go provides step-by-step instructions for some thirty projects that use pin loom weaving; and one of the first ideas to absorb is that these little palm-sized weaving looms can provide lovely results, from full-size blankets to scarves. These designs for wraps, bags, potholders, pillows and more take the pin loom to new heights as they cover the basics and provide simple weaving techniques. There are even instructions for making a simple 2" pin loom. From yarn and supply recommendations to basic instructions, anyone interested in the portability and ease of the pin loom will find this a fine adjunct to Stump's prior introduction, offering a fine range of projects embellished with color photos and patterns throughout.

That Patchwork Place
c/o Martingale & Company
19021 - 120th Avenue NE, Suite 102, Bothell, WA 98011

Carrie Nelson's Miss Rosie's Farmhouse Favorites: 12 Captivating Scrappy Quilts (9781604688382, $26.99) presents 12 favorite quilts from Miss Rosie's Quilt Company in a single collection for the first time, pairing full-page color photos of her quilt productions with tips for fabric selection and piecing. Discussions include how to make blocks, strips, and units and how to put them all together, while the scrappy designs will appeal to quilters seeking fresh new ideas. Lynette Jensen's Thimbleberries Quilts With a New Attitude (9781935726920, $24.95) features twenty-three quilt designs that offer projects for both traditional and modern fabrics, offering quilters a fun series of quilts that outlines fabrics, supplies, blocks and borders, and finished results with a combination of color photos and clear patterns. The blocks were made with the author's own Thimbleberries fabrics and include the same designs in fabric by Cotton & Steel. The result is a lovely compendium of possibilities that quilters will relish.

The Computer Shelf

Computer Graphics Programming in OpenGL with Java
V. Scott Gordon and John Clevenger
Mercury Learning
PO Box 605, Herndon, VA 20172-0605
9781683920274, $64.95,

Computer Graphics Programming in OpenGL with Java includes a disc of companion files with code and figures as it covers 3D graphics for undergrads interested in programming skills using OpenGL, and provides a workbook format that fits will with student self-study approaches to the subject as well as classroom teachers who will assign it as a text. From the basics of using OpenGL's graphics applications and the specifics of modeling and handling graphics data to references, exercises, and color screen shots and examples throughout, this is a 'must' reference that packs supplemental notes into basic instructions suitable for any beginning graphics programmer.

The Hardware Hacker
Andrew "bunnie" Huang
No Starch Press
245 - 8th Street, San Francisco, CO 94103-3910
9781593277581, $29.95,

The Hardware Hacker: Adventures in Making & Breaking Hardware comes from an author who is himself a hacker pioneer who motivates hackers and developers around the world, and who provided a guide to reverse engineering and hacking back in 2003, when the subject was still young. He joined forces with Edward Snowden to explore developing surveillance-savvy smartphones, he believes strongly in hardware hacking, and this collection of "bunnie's" personal interviews and essays probes not only his philosophy but the basics involved in breaking hardware barriers. Chapters offer advice for others who would follow in his path but offers expanded social insights as well, such as his opinion of Kickstarter and other crowdfunding's limited usefulness for early research and development because of their need to make early commitments to customers in exchange for obtaining financing.

The Technology Shelf

Artech House
685 Canton Street, Norwood, MA 02062

Joseph W. Matiko and Stephen P. Beeby's Applications of Energy Harvesting in Technologies in Buildings (9781608079810, $149.00) explores energy sources in commercial and residential buildings and the latest technologies used to 'harvest' energy through solar cells and other applications, covering power monitoring systems, different living and working environments, power transfer systems, and different harvesting methods. Diagrams, charts, formulas and math models throughout assure the technical information is thoroughly covered in this survey, recommended for any college-level or professional engineer concerned about building systems and alternative energies. Hugh D. Griffiths and Christopher J. Baker's An Introduction to Passive Radar (9781630810368, $139.00) provides a resource developed by a group of experts in the field who cover the basics of passive radar technology and review many of the latest changes in the field. Chapters cover the basics of how it works and its pros and cons, discussing detection, tracking, integration gains, and various transmission systems and including the mathematical formulas and charts needed to understand all details. References at the end of each chapter and black and white illustrations throughout make for a winning survey highly recommended as a basic text for any engineering collection strong in radar technology.

The Audiobook Shelf

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

M.C. Beaton's Death of a Ghost (9781478938958, $30.00) is narrated by Graeme Malcolm, whose smooth voice brings to life this Hamish Macbeth mystery revolving around a Scottish policeman's confrontation with a haunted castle. Far from being caused by unruly teens, events get serious when a dead body is uncovered and an investigation is called for when said body subsequently vanishes. An eerily engrossing listen will keep audio mystery fans on edge throughout. Min Jin Lee's Pachinko (9781478967439, $35.00) is narrated by Allison Hiroto, whose voice brings Lee's story of a 20th century Korean family in Japan to vivid life. Listeners follow the family through generations of history that begins in the early 1900s and involves a family in exile in a turbulent series of gripping events. Chris Colfer's Stranger Than Fanfiction (9781478940463, $25.00) is read by the author tells of a lead actor of the hit TV show Wiz Kids who accepts a fan's offer to embark on a cross-country road trip. What evolves is a romp across the country as Cash Carter's secrets are revealed during a series of mishaps and much mayhem: perfect for audio listening.

The Music Shelf

The Sounds of Louisiana
Roger Hahn
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053-2246
9781455621026, $24.95,

The Sounds of Louisiana: Twenty Essential Music Makers is more than another coverage of Cajun and Creole music: it surveys jazz, rock, hip-hop and other musical influences which have and are changing Louisiana's musical heritage and documents some twenty musicians and groups who have helped shape Louisiana's musical heritage and who are bringing it to other circles as well. From Jerry Lee Lewis and Lil Wayne to Buddy Guy, biographical sketches comprise the heart of a survey that charts Louisiana's diverse sounds and their influences, making for a fine consideration of Louisiana's gifted musicians.

Sing Me Back Home
Bill C. Malone
University of Oklahoma Press
2800 Venture Drive, Norman, OK 73069
9780806155869, $29.95,

Sing Me Back Home: Southern Roots and Country Music comes from an author who has written about country music for over fifty years, earning respect and acknowledgment as an authority in country music. Because his writings on the subject have been widely scattered, it's a special pleasure to see them gathered from various sources for a book-length collection which traces the evolution, individuals, sounds, and relationships in country music. It's not like he hasn't written about this topic before: his County Music, USA, which appeared in 1968, is considered a classic. But these articles are shorter considerations of various aspects of country music: as such, they both compliment his previous writing and expand on various topics of interest to anyone who holds an affection for country western music history.

The Cookbook Shelf

La Vie Rustic
Georgeanne Brennan
Weldon Owen
415 Jackson Street, San Francisco, CA 94111
9781681881430, $35.00,

La Vie Rustic: Cooking & Living in the French Style blends sustainable cooking and French cuisine to offer a range of dishes that come from farm to table and illustrate how French cuisine has its roots in rustic fare and country lifestyles. Chapters pair over a hundred recipes in total with full-page color photos and present a range of dishes, from Fennel & Chicken Braised with Lemon to Tomato Tart with Whole Roasted Garlic Cloves and a Mulberry & Pistachio Tart. The pleasing visuals paired with dishes any cook can readily duplicate make this a winning presentation recommended even for collections already strong in French cookbooks.

Mitchell Beazley
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017

Zoe Adjonyoh's Zoe's Ghana Kitchen: Traditional Ghanian Recipes Remixed fro the Modern Kitchen (9781784721633, $29.99) stands out from more general African cookbooks in its singular focus on not only one country but on the revolutionary changes affecting its dishes. It combines traditional foods from the author's heritage with international influences and revised techniques to produce such fare as Savory Gari with Eggs (fermented, dried, ground cassava with ginger, onions, tomatoes, chilis and spices), Goat Ragu (goat can be obtained at many Mexican markets) with garlic, nutmeg, oregano and vegetables, and Grilled Sardines in a Spiced Roasted Tomato Sauce. Color photos throughout and extensive notes on Ghana markets, ingredients, and culture make this an exceptional standout that should be in any African cookbook or history holding. Flora Shedden's Gatherings: Recipes for Feasts Great and Small (9781784722197, $34.99) blends modern dishes with fare perfect for entertaining and easy company participation, and ranges from 'Food to Fling Together' to 'Everything Baked' and 'Mornings Quick and Slow'. These times are tied together by gorgeous full-page color photos and tips on producing dishes suitable for ladies' lunches, family get-togethers, and summer days and winter nights alike. With its range of dishes (from Celaric Gratin to Sumac Roast Chicken with Carrots and Chickpeas) to its special brand of cooking and hosting, it's hard to believe this is Flora Shedden's first cookbook, from the 20-year-old youngest-ever semi-finalist in the Great British Bake-Off. Richard H. Turner's Prime: The Beef Cookbook (9781784721015, $34.99) is all about the beef, and packs in over 150 recipes from a meat master who celebrates all kinds of dishes and cooking techniques. Dishes from around the world include a Basque Cider House Steak, Fried Bacon Cheese Sliders, British Army Beef Curry, and Ox Tongue with Raisins & Almonds, to name just a few. There are many general 'meat cookbooks' on the market, but this focus on beef is a real winner.

Spiralize Every Day
Denise Smart
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9780600634690, $12.99,

Spiralize Every Day: 80 Recipes to Help Replace Your Carbs requires only one piece of special equipment - a 'spiralizer', which can slice very thin spirals of vegetables and fruit - to prove successful. Think pasta without the carbs - a boon to diabetics and gluten-free dieters seeking new flavors without the impact of flour. One can replace noodles in noodle dishes, snack on vegetable crisps, and use spiralized dishes as an alternative to bread and rice. The recipes here are designed to make the most of this piece of equipment and includes international flavors to many dishes. Examples of some recipes include Beet, Onion and Sweet Potato Hash, Asian Steamed Chicken Dumplings, and Thai Green Chicken and Butternut Squash Curry. A marvelous feast of flavors results.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Witchy Eye
D.J. Butler
Baen Books
PO Box 1188, Wake Forest NC 27588
9781476782119, $25.00,

Sarah is fifteen and the daughter of a famous military hero who has a bad eye and a good ability to hex, added into a psyche that just wants to be left one. Unfortunately, fate doesn't leave her be: an attempted kidnapping, a mysterious monk, and a hidden heritage prompt Sarah to embark on a journey that holds wide-reaching consequences, from her introduction to other inhuman realms to her inheritance of family gifts and dangers. The result is a satisfying blend of fantasy and horror that will delight readers seeking complex crossover titles holding both elements.

The Collected Short Works of Poul Anderson V. 7: Question and Answer
Ruick Katze and Michael Kerpan
PO Box 809, Framingham, MA 01701
9781610373135, $32.00,

The Collected Short Works of Poul Anderson V. 7: Question and Answer might initially seem a specialty item recommended primarily for in-depth prior fans of sci-fi great Poul Anderson and those who have pursued the other six collections of his works; but this addition to the multi-volume collection stands well on its own and will appeal to newcomers, as well. This features six short novels, two novellas, and five short stories that present a range of topics, from inter-species encounters to a space ship that journeys to its destination and takes three generations to do so. Powerful and compelling, many of these thought-provoking sci-fi reads would have been lost were it not for their assembly here, making this a recommendation for prior Anderson fans and newcomers alike.

Little Green Men - Attack!
Robin Wayne Bailey and Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Editors
Baen Books
PO Box 1188, Wake Forest NC 27588
9781476782133, $16.00,

Little Green Men - Attack! gathers stories of alien encounters by classic writers such as Robert Silverberg, Mike Resnick, and James Gunn, to name a few, and provides nineteen eye-popping encounters that are filled with some wild characters and encounters, from a man who is "a mayor of morons" to caterpillar-like invading forces. More than a light dose of humor permeates many of these stories, while others are startling, thought-provoking pieces that give cause to think far past the first read. Any sci-fi enthusiast of alien encounters seeking a diverse collection of literary and engrossing reads will find this anthology a satisfyingly different take on the little green man phenomenon.

The Travel Shelf

Roadside Geology of Nevada
Frank DeCourten and Norma Biggar
Mountain Press Publishing Company
PO Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806
9780878426720, $26.00,

Roadside Geology of Nevada joins other books in the series to prove geologists and travelers alike with a fine travelogue through Nevada's unique geologic landscape, and covers areas ranging from the Tule Springs Fossil Beds to the Great Basin National Park's caves and Pyramid Lake's tufa towers. Frank DeCourten has some forty years experience teaching geology and conducting geological research around Nevada's Great Basin area, while Norma Bigger began Roadside Geology of Nevada upon retirement, but passed away before the book was finished. Packed with color images and traveler tips for seeing the best geological sites in the state, this is a 'must have' for any science-minded visitor to the state.

The Automotive Shelf

Creative Industries of Detroit
Leon Dixon
CarTech Inc.
838 Lake Street South, Forest Lake, MN 55025
9781613252130, $39.95,

Creative Industries of Detroit: The Untold Story of Detroit's Secret Concept Car Builder packs vintage black and white photos into a collection of interviews and considerations of Detroit auto industry development, and is a 'must' for any fan of auto history and concept car development processes. Many secret concept cars and prototypes specific to Creative Industries are reviewed in this collection, which provides an in-depth history of automotive achievements and the careers of individuals who created some amazing one-off vehicles. All were produced under secrecy, and Creative Industries' 40-plus-year history has seldom seen the light of day, making this coverage both unique and eye-opening - a 'must' for any serious auto history collection.

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

The Accidental Shaman
Howard G. Charing
Destiny Books
c/o Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
9781620556092, $16.95,

The Accidental Shaman: Journeys With Plant Teachers and Other Spirit Allies begins, unusually, with an accident as the author survives a serious elevator crash in London, only to discover he has newfound abilities from that crash. His abilities to heal, hear voices, and experience visions lead to a new life, but Charing felt he needed training and a teacher. His initial attempts to find one didn't work out; but his exploration of shamanism finally brought him the teacher and training he needed, and so this focus on shamanistic healing work and the role of a shaman adopts an unusual course as it explores how he worked with plant spirits and trained his new sensory abilities. From the nature of these practices and their various applications to shamanic wisdom and the latest science, this different approach and focus will be welcomed by anyone who wants a better-detailed survey of shaman work and perspectives from an initial outsider's learning curve.

The Fiction Shelf

The Mermaid's Daughter
Ann Claycomb
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
195 Broadway New York, New York 10007
9780062560681, $15.95,

The Mermaid's Daughter is about a mother's suicide, a struggling father/daughter relationship, and a young woman who at the age of 25 has come to live with her angst over the past, until a relationship with a fellow opera student opens her eyes to what is really causing her pain - the absence of a relationship with the sea. A trip to Kathleen's ancestral homeland Ireland brings new challenges and changes to the coup as Kathleen discovers her real heritage, her father Robin is determined to save his daughter, and Harry discovers that his offer to help may have masked a death blow to more than one possibility. A compelling story, The Mermaid's Daughter is hard to put down and especially recommended for novel readers who enjoy stores of complicated relationships and life-changing events.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Deadly Delusions
Barbara Ebel, M.D.
Privately Published
9780997722529, $3.99 ebook
9780997722512, $11.95 pbk
Amazon Purchase Link:

Deadly Delusions is a medical mystery thriller along the lines of Robin Cook and focuses on the ongoing work of Dr. Annabel Tilson, a third-year medical student with her first patient assignment, Victor Blake, who is set to go home after a stint in a psychiatric ward. Annabel doesn't think psychiatry will wind up being her specialty, but she's enjoyed success with her patient - a success that will soon come crashing down upon his discharge. As Dr. Tilson navigates professional relationships, interacts with a mentor, and learns about mental patients and their special challenges, she becomes involved in a number of situations that test her morals, ethics, and growth. To its credit, Deadly Delusions offers no pat answers and no simple views of mental illness. Again, this is likely due to the author's professional background - but it's also because much attention has been given to creating a story line that eschews over-simplification and cursory awareness for much deeper insights: a fact that lends credibility and a real-world feel to its events. The result is a well-detailed, involving and highly recommended story of not just one young doctor's world, but the lives and struggles of her patients and peers. Fans of Robin Cook and other medical thrillers will find much to like in this story, which is cemented by Dr. Barbara Ebel's attention to realistic medical communities and psychiatry's processes.

Dead Still
Barbara Ebel, M.D.
Privately Published
9780997722505, $3.99 ebook
9780991158997, $11.95 pbk
Amazon Purchase Link:

Dead Still is the opener to a new series revolving around medical student Dr. Annabel Tilson, but it's refreshing to note that each book is a stand-alone read and holds no cliffhanger conclusions or the need to reference prior events in order to prove satisfying. Annabel soon finds that there's much to learn during her year as a surgical team member - and that more is going on than learning about surgical procedures. There's hospital politics to grapple with, possible romance, and a medical mystery that involves her in a deadly puzzle with equally powerful consequences for ruining her novice medical career. With such weights on her shoulders, Annabel quickly finds her personal and professional lives are on a collision course further complicated by the fact that her participation in solving this medical issue could jeopardize everything she's worked for. However, if she chooses to evade the issue, she'll be compromising her integrity. Fans of Robin Cook and similar medical thriller authors may anticipate a similar tone of intrigue and high drama in Dead Still, but will quickly find these backed by a solid set of insights into hospital community interactions and processes. Author/physician Barbara Ebel's strength lies in two directions: her medical expertise (which lends an insider's viewpoint to proceedings) and her ability to depict the winding path and challenging choices Annabelle faces beyond the routines of learning how to be a physician.

The Holocaust Studies Shelf

Harry Borden
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9781844039067, $39.99,

Survivor: A Portrait of the Survivors of the Holocaust comes from an award-winning photographer who traveled around the world photographing Holocaust survivors. While any Holocaust history holding will find this an important addition, it's also a powerful photographic achievement, as it uses available light at each scene and diverse settings to accent these survivor stories, making it of interest to portrait and history photographers, as well. With its powerful color visuals and accompanying biographical materials about each survivor, the impact of this collection, both in terms of photographic art and social and historical importance, cannot be emphasized enough. It should be in any Holocaust collection, certainly; but holds the power to reach well beyond this audience into arts and general-interest libraries, as well.

The California Shelf

An Artist and a Writer Travel Highway 1 South
Pat Hunter, author
Janice Stevens, illustrator
Craven Street Books
c/o Linden Publishing
2006 South Mary Street, Fresno, CA 93721-9875
9781610352970, $26.95, PB, 142pp,

Engagingly written by Pat Hunter and charmingly illustrated by Janice Stevens, "An Artist and a Writer Travel Highway 1 South" depicts one of the best loved and most spectacular drives in California, completing the trilogy the two of them began with "An Artist and a Writer Travel Highway 1 North", and then continued in with "An Artist and a Writer Travel Highway 1 Central". This third and final volume is an enchanting exploration of California's State Highway 1 from Point Hueneme Lighthouse to the Mexican border. Lavishly illustrated with over 130 original full-color watercolor paintings depicting gorgeous landscapes and architectural treasures, "An Artist and a Writer Travel Highway 1 South" is a thinking person's travel guide for people who want to explore the history, culture, and architecture of the Southern California Coast -- as well as anyone seeking to experience the best in dining, lodging, and unusual experiences along the route. An informative and entertaining delight to simply browse through, "An Artist and a Writer Travel Highway 1 South" is a triumphant conclusion to a unique travel trilogy that is unreservedly recommended for personal, community, and academic library California History collections in general, and Contemporary California Travel Guide supplemental reading lists in particular.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
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phone: 1-608-835-7937

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

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