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California Bookwatch

Volume 13, Number 9 September 2018 Home | CALBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Social Issues Shelf Philosophy Shelf
Computer Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Technology Shelf
American History Shelf Cookbook Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Travel Shelf Education Shelf Political Science Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Poetry Shelf
Needlecraft Shelf Criminology Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Obake Neko (Ghost Cat): A Pacific Tale
David Michael Gillespie
Privately Published
9780692947708, $11.99 Paper/$3.99 Kindle

Obake Neko (Ghost Cat): A Pacific Tale tells of a secret Japanese aircraft carrier/submarine during World War II that is the last surviving member of it fleet at the end of the war. It vanishes carrying precious cargo, and the original story ends here...or, does it? The timeline moves from 1944 to modern times, giving readers a sense of the history behind the present-day mystery. This movement and background succeed in enhancing reader understanding of the evolution of the secret, the events that have led to Bud and his son's involvement, and why ongoing interests in the vanished ship's special charge hold such importance to the world. At every turn, history repeats itself, and real-life events that took place in the Pacific arena come to life under David Michael Gillespie's hand. Another strong note is the descriptions of place and history that lend a "you are there" feel to the story, whether it's in Germany, Japan, or the Pacific region. Gillespie assumes no prior knowledge of any region's history and provides these backgrounds wherever they are needed. The result is a powerful story of intrigue, historical connections, war, and a father and son's efforts to solve a long-standing puzzle: perfect for fans of historical fiction and intrigue.

The Social Issues Shelf

The Age of Overwhelm
Laura van Dernoot Lipsky
9781523094738, $17.95,

The Age of Overwhelm: Strategies for the Long Haul is more than a documentation of overwhelming life moments in modern times: it surveys strategies to help mitigate the feeling and crippling results of being overwhelmed whether it be by health, social issues, work, or psychological stress. From tips on how to disconnect less and be in the world more to better handling distraction to encourage focus and higher energy, this provides a powerful testimony to the force of positive thinking and retaking control of one's life, and is highly recommended for anyone who would tackle modern pressures with a more effective game plan.

The Philosophy Shelf

Iron Man vs. Captain America and Philosophy
Nicholas Michaud and Jessica Watkins, Editors
Open Court Publishing
9780812699760, $19.95,

Iron Man vs. Captain America and Philosophy adds Volume 115 to the blossoming philosophy series Popular Culture and Philosophy, this collecting over twenty essays by philosophers who contrast the heroic standards and presence of Iron Man versus Captain America. Anyone interested in superhero icons and the underlying philosophical perspectives surrounding their activities will find these essays technically adept yet lively, offering even non-philosophy readers a solid dose of insights into various philosophical concepts cemented by modern icons and thinking.

The Computer Shelf

Mercury Learning

Two excellent Autocad computer books by M. Hamad are top recommendations for collections appealing to students and professionals using the program. Autodesk Revit 2019 Architecture (9781683921745, $59.95) provides an all-in-one blend of desk reference, independent study tool, and guide to using the latest Revit features and applying them to real-world projects. Some fifty exercises involving small projects from concept to creation provides hands-on opportunity learners will appreciate, while more advanced users who pursue these workshops will find their architectural and mechanical lessons result in three detailed projects followed from beginning to end. From visualizing in Revit and printing results to creating Revit links, sample screen shots, code, and step-by-step instructions cover all the basics. AutoCAD 2019 Beginning and Intermediate (9781683921769, $59.95) covers all of the 2D aspects of AutoCAD drafting, using both metric and imperial units to illustrate the drawing and editing tools key to applying this program. Over a hundred workshops help users learn by completing small projects from initial idea to enactment, reinforcing the discussions of AutoCAD's features, how they are achieved, and how best to apply them to real-world projects. The result is highly recommended as both a refreshing reference and a basic self-study tool.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Respecting Animals
David S. Favre
Prometheus Books
9781633884250, $18.00,

Respecting Animals: A Balanced Approach to Our Relationship with Pets, Food, and Wildlife comes from an animal rights believer who offers a different perspective on human/animal relationships based on a blend of moral philosophy, law, and animal awareness. It's surprising to see this treatise from a legal scholar; but David S. Favre uses his education and broader perspectives on animal welfare to create many thoughts that more general discussions don't touch; from values systems and various human communities with animals to how the lives and death of animals are handled by humans. The result is an inviting survey that should be discussion material for anyone interested in animal management and animal issues.

The Technology Shelf

Artech House

Two excellent new references are recommended picks for college-level collections strong in electrical engineering and antenna design, offering engineers solid discussions of theory, applications, and different systems and their management. Uri Vered's Intersystem EMC Analysis, Interference, and Solutions (9781630815615, $179.00) considers new tools and methods for EMC requirements and techniques, including calculations, discussions of radar and communications systems, interference sources, and intersystem EMC. Techniques for performing EMC prediction and calculations key to problem-solving are essential to this book, which offers engineers step-by-step insights into EMC challenges and how they may be addressed. Mohammad S. Sharawi and Oualid Hammi's Design and Applications of Active Integrated Antennas (9781630813581, $169.00) offers professionals the latest methods in designing active integrated antennas for wireless devices, considering design protocol, interfaces between active components, increasing efficiency, and working between the active and passive parts of AIA. Design examples for such systems cover both narrowband and wideband applications and incorporate the latest design methods and applications. Both are solid references college-level electrical engineers will find essential.

The American History Shelf

Calling the Brands
Monty McCord
9781493030873, $16.95,

Calling the Brands: Stock Detectives in the Wild West deserves a place on every American history shelf because it covers in depth and detail a subject that most history books only mention as an aside: the stories of range and stock detectives and inspectors who captured or killed livestock rustlers to help ranchers survive. These detectives excelled in "calling the brands" or reading brands and ownership, and their operations on the Western frontier were essential to preserving the nation's cattle industry. Black and white photos, charts, and lively discussions are supported by a detailed bibliography and a survey of Western processes that is at once scholarly and involving.

The Greatest Mountain Men Stories Ever Told
Lamar Underwood, Editor
Lyons Press
9781493032877, $19.95,

The Greatest Mountain Men Stories Ever Told provides the lively story of the fur trappers and traders of the Rocky Mountains, often the first white men to enter the Rockies searching for profits in animal skins. These explorers met (sometimes disastrously) Native Americans, hunted down beaver skins, lived in the wilderness, and were often the stuff of legends. American history blends with a lively storytelling format that makes for tales suitable for both study and leisure reads.

The Cookbook Shelf

Rawia Bishara
Kyle Books
9781909487727, $34.95,

Levant: New Middle Eastern Cooking from Tanoreen comes from a restaurant which specializes in mixing traditional Middle Eastern flavors with new embellishments. Thus, a cheese and tomato dish made with homemade tomato jam, a spicy zucchini stir-fry tossed with cumin, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon and shallots, and a recipe for Fresh Fava Beans with Spiced Yogurt Sauce represents some truly dynamic fare from Tanoreen's creations. Rawia Bishara's variations on traditional regional fare, such as Bahraini Chicken with Race, a take-off on the dish machbous, and Lamb-Stuffed Potatoes in Tamarind Sauce offers flavorful dishes which often represent slimmed-down versions of their originals. A hundred recipes pair with a healthy dose of color photos of finished dishes, offering an original cookbook that places the Middle East in the center of a culinary mecca. Any cook with a healthy gathering of Middle Eastern cookbooks will find the contents of Levant stands out because of their original roots.

The Audiobook Shelf

Brilliance Audio

Two exceptional new audio book presentations are top recommendations for discriminating listeners and especially lending libraries looking for unabridged productions packaged in durable plastic cases suited for library lending. Lisa Jackson's Liar, Liar (9781491531730, $36.99) receives a fitting performance by Brittany Pressley, who uses a combination of crisp, clear voice and a flair for drama to bring to life Jackson's story of a woman whose search for the truth about her mother goes awry. Remmi was fifteen when she last saw her mother. Now Didi is dead, and while the police think it's suicide, Remmi knows better. And, is the victim really Didi? A winding, complex story keeps readers listening to the end. Dean Koontz's Seize the Night (9781543698787, $29.99) is performed by John Glouchevitch, who also lends a dramatic inflection to his narration of children who are vanishing from their homes in a small town. Christopher Snow is more familiar with the night than most of his peers because he suffers from a rare genetic disorder. He believes the lost children are not only alive, but are tied to a dangerous secret. His efforts at uncovering and revealing this secret threaten his own fragile environment and lifestyle in this completely engrossing thriller.

The Travel Shelf

Why Travel Matters
Craig Storti
Nicholas Brealey Publishing
9781475670280, $24.95,

Why Travel Matters: A Guide to the Life-Changing Effects of Travel goes beyond most travel books on how to organize a trip to consider the state of mind of the traveler intent on using new experiences to transform their lives. Thus, Craig Storti's book does have a lot to do with travel; but it also can be considered a social, psychological and philosophical reflection on intercultural experiences and how those who would use travel to learn and grow can best support this intention. From considering different mindsets in different nations to interacting with locals, Why Travel Matters offers much food for thought for those who view travel as more than finding a good beach or vacation resort.

The Education Shelf


Seven strategies of assessment for learning and five keys of quality assessment form the foundation for Teaching Strategies That Create Assessment-Literate Learners by Anita Stewart McCafferty and Jeffrey S. Beaudry (9781506382098, $30.95), a book that focuses on applying assessment strategies to student comprehension in Teaching Strategies That Create Assessment-Literate Learners. Plenty of teacher's guides tell how to assess learners; but this reverse application leads teachers to impart these basics to students for their own formative assessment, going beyond most assessment manuals to promote the concept of "assessment literate" students. Julie M. Wilson's The Human Side of Changing Education: How to Lead Change With Clarity, Conviction, and Courage (9781506398532, $33.95), provides a framework for understanding how human beings change and how to use education to direct these changes, and shows leaders how to assemble human-centered tools and strategies to encourage the best paths through change. From levels of development that contribute to better human beings to practical tools to help organizations through transition period, leaders receive a powerful survey that addresses the basics of understanding and employing change management strategies. Richard L. Simpson and Ellen McGinnis-Smith's Social Skills Success for Students with Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism (9781544320502, $34.95) is for students on the autism spectrum and provides a resource filled with strategies for improving social skills of children through adolescents. Case studies, classroom materials, and suggested interventions outline social skills, support methods, and strategies for reaching and improving the reactions of kids on the autism spectrum. The result is a solid set of insights on proven strategies that work. Raymond D. Terrell,'s Culturally Proficient Leadership: The Personal Journey Begins Within (9781506385273, $35.95) appears in its second updated edition to add two new coauthors to the mix who add their own stories and insights on how culturally proficient dialogues change educational processes. From self-assessments of cultures that have influenced the reader to self-testing cultural awareness leadership roles, this is a powerful survey designed to intrigue the inquiring mind who would examine leadership roles, cultural proficiency, and student and leader relationships. Carla Marschall and Rachel French's Concept-Based Inquiry in Action: Strategies to Promote Transferable Understanding (9781506391298, $34.95) blends theory with real-world applications to help students develop inquiry processes that aid in interpersonal relationships and better understanding of concept-based inquiry processes. Visual notes, videos of instructional strategies, teacher interviews, ad student experience with Concept-Based Inquiry makes for a powerful collection of templates supporting classroom teaching activities and goals. Teachers interested in taking the theories of Concept-Based Inquiry a step further receive all the hands-on information needed to translate ideas to successful classroom applications and learning opportunities.

The Political Science Shelf

Godless Citizens in a Godly Republic
R. Laurence Moore & Isaac Kramnick
W.W. Norton
9780393254969, $26.95,

Godless Citizens in a Godly Republic: Atheists in American Public Life examines the presence of atheists in this country and their struggles within a Christian-dominated nation. It not only offers a history of atheism in this nation, but examines legal, political, and social injustices, how Christianity is embedded in American governmental processes, and how the pursuit of religious freedom in this nation has lead to circumstances countering the letter of the law. No American concerned about civil liberties, religious freedom, or legal foundations of American politics should be without this thought-provoking survey.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Monster Hunter Memoirs: Saints
Larry Correia and John Ringo
Baen Books
9781481483070, $25.00,

Monster Hunter Memoirs: Saints depicts monsters in New Orleans and the differences affecting not; not the least of which is the larval Great Old One which is growing in power and about to become invincible. Monster hunter Chad Gardenier faces not only this purposeful pupae but the resistance of the US Government which just isn't interested in the problem. Exiled from his purpose, his government, and his abilities, Chad faces a showdown that only his allies can help: a final battle that's riveting, powerful, and especially recommended for prior fans of the Monster Hunter series. This audience will find Monster Hunter Memoirs: Saints thoroughly engrossing, different from its predecessors, and a culmination of many of the prior approaches and themes.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Judith Petres Balogh
Independently Published
9781982903688, Paperback: $15.27/Kindle $5.50,

Relatively few novels chart the progress of history as they craft characters who move through Hungarian social and political climates; but Nemesis is one of those stories that is rich in a background of real social inspection. It provides the lovely story of a Hungarian actress acclaimed in her own country for her theatrical performances; but virtually unknown outside of it. Enique Kettendy's supreme talents, her marriage to a talented writer, and their relationship with each other and the uncertain political plays of the controlling forces around them makes for a vivid saga of survival, confrontation, and social change. Nemesis should not be missed by any readers who would understand the fundamental changes of a democracy into a dictatorship and its impact on the arts, personal lives, and safety. An unexpectedly shocking conclusion places Nemesis in a category unto itself as a social, political, and artistic work of art that enlightens, educates, draws readers into another world, and succinctly concludes with a bang.

Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding
Rhys Bowen
Berkeley Prime Crime
9780425283523, $26.00,

Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding adds to the 'Royal Spyness' series of mysteries and represents the 12th book in the series, where the heroine and her fiance are ready to wed. Perhaps predictably (to those already familiar with the series), Lady Georgianna Rannouch finds herself wishing she'd eloped with Darcy, because her desire for a simple wedding is thwarted by the Queen's attendance, which is turning it into a circus. As the royal amateur sleuth looks forward to a life of luxury and ease, a murder attempt portends otherwise in a riveting story that combines an undercurrent of humor with a 1930s England atmosphere and a story of intrigue that will delight newcomers and prior series readers alike.

The Poetry Shelf

In the Realm of Spirit: Psalms from a Mountain
John A. Brennan
Escribe Publishing Inc.
9781722290641, $12.95,

In the Realm of Spirit: Psalms from a Mountain is prose poetry at its strongest, but does not always appear in the stanza format that is usual for poetic efforts. The result is often 'somewhere inbetween', a state of journeying described in a prose poem of the same name. Poetry enthusiasts not wedded to the idea that verse need be measured and fit into a given format will relish John A. Brennan's diverse collection for its flowing, descriptive language of personal, cultural and physical journeys and for its metaphors and meaning. This is not to say that such a form doesn't exist, here: prose poems are interspersed with thought-provoking passages that represent a strong poetic heartbeat. The result is a set of observations, journeys, and revelations that touch upon history, moral compasses, the destinies of nations and the heart of the Irish soul. It's highly recommended for literary readers who would absorb both the history and individual impact of Ireland's ancient roots including the astute observations of "Gullion, the mountain of steep slopes."

The Needlecraft Shelf

Martingale & Company

Two fine new needlework guides for quilters offer a satisfyingly wide range of projects that will appeal to all levels of quilter, from novices to advanced quilters seeking new project ideas. Marie-Claude Picon's French Farmhouse Quilts with Rustic Simplicity (9781604689037, $25.99) combines antique quilt looks with primitive stitching approaches from a designer who comes from the South of France to create a different approach to combining textures, colors and prints. Ten projects use classic designs and new innovations to incorporate the feel of an antique with a modern design. Amela Johanson compiles Table-Runner Roundup: 13 Quilted Projects to Spice Up Your Table (9781604689372, $22.99) in a collection of thirteen designs that offer very different approaches. From geometric runners and centerpiece settings to traditional patchwork and fusible applique, this creates pieces useful for table display and embellishment, putting quilt ideas to use in projects designed to spruce up the home beyond the bedroom. Both are top picks for quilters seeking something different in the way of project ideas.

The Criminology Shelf

GIS Tutorial for Crime Analysis, second edition
Wilpen L. Gorr,
ESRI Press
9781589485167, $84.99,

The second updated edition of GIS Tutorial for Crime Analysis provides a workbook for crime analysts and criminology students and discusses the latest in such tool sets: GIS crime mapping processes using ArcGIS tools. The concurrent introduction to crime analysis methods and GIS roles in the process covers basic GIS skills, from handling and updating data to building maps, queries, analytical approaches, and models. This book also has a 180-day trial version of ArcGIS Desktop software along with a tutorial, making it a top pick for students who want to try the program and better understand the role GIS analysis can play in the crime lab. Color maps, charts, and step-by-step instructions for applying GIS concepts to crime analytics makes for an easy book perfect for supplemental course assignment.

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