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The Bookwatch

Volume 10, Number 4 April 2015 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Education Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf
Autism Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Art Shelf
Christian Studies Shelf Audiobook Shelf Biography Shelf
Social Issues Shelf Agriculture Shelf Homeowner's Shelf
Metaphysical Studies Shelf Buddhist Studies Shelf Theatre/Cinema Shelf
Hobby Shelf American History Shelf Music Shelf
Cookbook Shelf Science Shelf Photography Shelf
Military Shelf Political Science Shelf Sports Shelf
Writing/Publishing Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

Short Stories and Literature
Edith Pearlman
Little, Brown & Company
c/o Hachette Book Group
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780316297226, $25.00,

Honeydew provides a powerful collection of short stories packed with evocative sights, experiences, and daily life encounters, and is especially recommended for literary readers who want something that moves beyond the entertainment factor, well into the realm of poetic prose and thought-provoking scenarios. Consider the diversity of settings in scenes that range from a child's unusual perspective on the world to a professor of Latin who receives an unusual invitation to lecture on a subject nearly beyond his specialty. Consider the impact of a woman who bears witness to the lasting effects of mutilation, as her mother and the women before her have endured. Consider voices that are diverse in topic and presentation, and scenarios that are deeply emotional. All this and more is wrapped in Honeydew, an extraordinary collection of only twenty short stories; but each a gem of human survival and experience.

The Education Shelf

Theories of Practice
Carol Garhart Mooney
Redleaf Press
10 Yorkton Court, St. Paul, MN 55117-1065
9781605542874, $19.95,

Theories of Practice: Raising the Standards of Early Childhood Education is a slim but important discussion that comes from an educator with a master's degree in early childhood education. It explores why learning about foundational theory supports a teacher's experiences with children, and offers an easy way of absorbing this theory using stories, anecdotes, and discussions that pair theory with applied practices. The result is a powerful educational discussion early childhood educators will find especially accessible and involving.

Elementary Educ 101
Gretchen E. Schultek
Outskirts Press
10940 S. Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478711865, $11.95,

Elementary Educ 101: What They Didn't Teach You in College is a slim (72 pages) volume directed to teachers facing their first year in the educational system: a time fraught with special challenging, learning curves, and, too often, blunders particular to a first teaching year. Wouldn't it be an easier process if that particular wheel didn't have to be re-invented? Wouldn't it be a more satisfying experience for teachers, students and administrators if a simple guide were to pinpoint common obstacles and easy solutions? Enter Gretchen E. Schultek, a general education teacher of 8 years who has taught elementary grades at both low and high performing schools, and whose teacher wisdom thus comes from a broad base of experience. Any looking at their first year, or the results from an elementary level teaching degree, will find the chapters cover everything from communication with parents through various means and with varying results to how to handle the overwhelming feelings stemming from the first few weeks of a teaching job. The result isn't staggering, it isn't overwhelming, and it is that simple. Elementary Education 101 isn't for the experienced teacher; it's for the novice just entering the system. The fact that it's all presented in an easy format that belays the fact that it's loaded with practical advice makes this a recommendation over weightier first-year-teacher manuals.

Animal Shenanigans
Rob Reid
ALA Editions
c/o American Library Association
50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611
9780838912713, $50.00,

Animal Shenanigans: 24 Creative, Interactive Story Programs for Preschoolers joins others in a new series of story program lesson plans for librarians and teachers, and blends high-quality picture book recommendations with fingerplays, movement activities, songs, and lesson plans that use animal protagonists to focus on family and life values. Some two dozen complete 30-minute story programs for preschoolers are presented, along with 70 new activities from drama to imagination, to make for a key survey on how educators and librarians can use a child's instinctive attraction to animals to fuel new learning experiences.

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

Gail L. Thompson and Rufus Thompson's YES, YOU CAN! (9781452291710, $32.95) provides teachers with a toolkit for introducing diverse learners in a classroom setting, and come from two experts who show new teachers how to involve students and families in a mixed classroom approach to education. More than theory, this blends vignettes about real teachers and student successes with original research conducted by the authors, and pinpoints specific strategies with proven success records for all kinds of students, from Latino and Afro-American population to whites, high or low achievers, and more. Teachers with students of color in their classrooms will find this packed with important insights. Evelyn S. Johnson and Anne B. Clohessy's IDENTIFICATION AND EVALUATION OF LEARNING DISABILITIES (9781483331560, $28.95) provides general educators and special educators alike with keys to handling learning disabilities in a classroom, surveying best practices, providing keys on how to gather and use classroom data, and showing how to blend RTI with an evaluation process that not only diagnoses specific learning disabilities, but tells how to handle them. Case studies accompany statistical information to help empower educators in their work with students. Geoff Colvin and Terrance M. Scott's MANAGING THE CYCLE OF ACTING-OUT BEHAVIOR IN THE CLASSROOM (9781483374369, $28.00) appears in its second edition to discuss ways in which students act out in the classroom to challenge the overall educational process, and it provides a system for not just understanding their behaviors, but managing it. The latest research here leads to more modifications of the process as educators enjoy discussions applying behavior analysis, educational direction, and management process to everyday experience. Along with the system comes checklists, tools, templates, and more, making this a fine pick for classroom educators who want to feel more in control of out-of-control students. Harvey "Smokey" Daniels and Nancy Steineke's TEACHING THE SOCIAL SKILLS OF ACADEMIC INTERACTION: STEP-BY-STEP LESSONS FOR RESPECT, RESPONSIBILITY, AND RESULTS (9781483350950, $35.95) provides a comb-bound series of lesson plans teachers can use to practice social skills within the world of curriculum content, and features some 6-25 slides that provide step-by-step teaching tips in a lay-flat planning book. The slides introduce skills, build understanding using models and topics, and excel in projectable lessons for grades 4-12. With its accompanying online support of slides on Corwin's site and its specific lesson content, this is a powerful set of teaching tools perfect for social skills instruction. Jennifer A. Kurth and Megan Gross's THE INCLUSIVE TOOLBOX: STRATEGIES AND TECHNIQUES FOR ALL TEACHERS (9781483344157, $33.95) offers a range of tools for educators who struggle to asses and implement inclusive practices in their classrooms, and offers a resource of research-based strategies and tools for such a program. Step-by-step plans for implementing new programs using leadership accompany keys to maintaining and expanding existing inclusive programs and creating complimentary schedules and adaptation plans. All the online resources and strategies are tested, while everything from communicating about the curriculum to engaging families makes for a powerful survey highly recommended for any teacher looking through the range of inclusion questions and answers available in today's learning environment.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Litt's Drug Eruption & Reaction Manual, 21st Edition
Jerome Z. Litt, MD
CRC Press
6000 NW Broken Sound Parkway NW, Suite 300, Boca Raton, FL 33487
9781498709903, $199.95,

The 21st updated edition of Litt's Drug Eruption & Reaction Manual presents a new revision of an internationally-acclaimed book that provides a clinical reference and drug-safety tool key to better patient care. It packs in over seven hundred generic drug profiles (some 28 new), provides an A-Z listing for quick consultation, lists classes of drugs known to cause interactions, arranged nearly twenty tables outlining reaction profiles, and provides physicians with key in-depth information with an in-depth focus on drug reactions. Readers can also subscribe to an online database comparing reaction profiles for up to four drugs, which documents drug reactions for over 68,000 medicines. Herbal medicines and supplements are not left out, either: the package includes the latest information on all. This significant reference is a 'must' for any physician working with patients who take multiple drugs for multiple conditions!

The Autism Shelf

Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Inc.
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Caroline Baker's DEVELOPING EXCELLENT CARE FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH DEMENTIA IN CARE HOMES (9781849054676, $29.95) joins other 'Good Practice Guides' in exploring the key criteria and applications of care homes for dementia patients, and is a recommendation packed with practical ways of helping such people and their families. Chapters are written by people with years of experience and a concern with not just maintaining lives, but making them better, and cover such diverse topics as how to make the most of meal times, how to plan with individual needs in mind, and assessing the use of medicine. Any involved in dementia care needs this! Bill Nason's 'The Autism Discussion Page' provides books specific to helping children with autism. Two such presentations are ON ANXIETY, BEHAVIOR, SCHOOL, AND PARENTING STRATEGIES (9781849059954, $24.95), and ON THE CORE CHALLENGES OF AUTISM (9781849059947, $24.95). On Anxiety provides tools for adults on how to help autistic children feel safe and accepted, and shows how to use existing strengths and interests to create a new level of self-assurance in autistic children. From mentoring children to handling labels and diagnoses, it promotes strategies that can easily be tailored to an individual child's psyche and needs. On the Core Challenges of Autism focuses on the basic cognitive, sensory, social and emotional challenges associated with autistic children and offers simple tools that can be used to thwart common problems. Based on posts from the popular online community page and arranged by subject for quick reference, these two books are filled with not only insights, but applied solutions to common problems - solutions tested in the community as workable and effective. Nicola Lonie's ONLINE SAFETY FOR CHILDREN AND TEENS ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM (9781849054546, $19.95) provides parents with a powerful tool that shows how children and teens with autism can be especially vulnerable online, and gives all the information needed to monitor and limit a child's computer use. From parental controls and social network to hacking, this lists risks, warning signs, and how to handle them, and offers practical solutions that enhance a child's online environment and safety. Kate C. Wilde's AUTISTIC LOGISTICS (9781849037790, $19.95) provides step-by-step advice for parents who want the basics of how to handle an autistic child, from toilet training and sleep routines to social skills. It comes from the author's decades of experience working with children on the autism spectrum and narrows the focus to daily issues which are part of the bigger picture of child-rearing. The result is a specific set of tested recommendations that will go far in helping parents sort out the special daily challenges of raising an autistic child. Shawnee Thornton Hardy's ASANAS FOR AUTISM AND SPECIAL NEEDS (9781849059886, $19.95) tells how to teach yoga to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other special needs, and provides a visual handbook that both breaks down yoga instruction pose by pose and uses easy language and color photos to show parents, teachers and yoga instructors how to introduce yoga to this special group. From the benefits of yoga to yoga games and relaxation exercises, this is a specific and well-tailored approach that uses the special needs personality profiles of such kids to pair with yoga's particular opportunities.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

The Chocolate Clown Corpse
JoAnna Carl
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780451240675, $22.95,

The Chocolate Clown Corpse provides a new 'Chocoholic Mystery' story as it surveys the death of a bozo who is the miserably resented owner of the Clowning Around Shop. In this case there are simply too many suspects - and Lee Woodyard's chocolate shop, next to Moe's now-shuttered unattraction, is about to be drawn into the process which is simmering over a murder and expansion plans. From an innocent man's involvement to chocolate capers that center around mystery and business pursuits alike, this is a mystery story of a deliciously intense flavor, and is especially recommended for mystery fans who enjoy culinary insights.

The Magician's Daughter
Judith Janeway
Poisoned Pen Press
6962 E. First Ave., #103, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
MM Book Publicity
9781464203381, $24.95,

The Magician's Daughter introduces a new mystery series in the form of one Valentine Hill, who is a magician firmly steeped in the act and in the notion that 'nothing is as it seems': the perfect background for solving a mystery. Valentine herself is real, but has no legal existence, as her con artist mother never registered her before she disappeared. As a result, Valentine has spent her life searching for her roots. She's about to get more than she bargained for when she journeys to San Francisco for a reunion with her mother, only to find there a mysterious world where nothing is as it seems. Mystery fans will find this story's setting and concepts to be fresh, original, and unpredictable.

The Art Shelf

Contemporary American Print Makers
E. Ashley Rooney & Stephanie Standish
Schiffer Books
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
9780764346910, $34.99,

Contemporary American Print Makers packs in some 500 color images displaying the works of over 75 printmakers and 30 print shops, and features a wide range of modern print techniques and their transformations into art, from lithography and screen printing to fiber art and digital forms. Accompanying this profile of art and artists are insights from the artists into why and how they made their works, offering a range of insights into not just the creations of modern print, but the inspirations and rationales behind the art forms themselves. Add high quality print reproduction (essential in a quality art coverage) and the result is an impressive, accessible production recommended for any involved in the arts and printmaking industries.

The Christian Studies Shelf

Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory
Jerry L. Walls
Brazos Press
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton, Ada, MI 49301
9781587433566, $19.99,

Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory: Rethinking the Things That Matter Most offers up an inspirational, hopeful book for hard times and provides a Christian examination of the concepts of heaven, hell and purgatory and the issues surrounding these ideas. From differences between Catholic and Protestant views of the purging process and literary transformations of such figures as Dickens' Scrooge to the question of why people saved by grace even have a purgatory, these are wide-ranging discussions that, under a different hand, could have proved scholarly and challenging. Jerry Walls' approach is to make these considerations accessible to everyday Christian thinkers; and so expect chapters that are easily accessible by average readers who harbor a special interest in thinking about these Christian facets.

New Life Stories
Hilary H. Carter
Ayni Books
c/o John Hunt Publishing, Ltd.
Laurel House, Station Approach, Alresford, Hants, SO24 9JH, UK
9781782796633, $19.95,

New Life Stories: Journeys of Recovery in a Mindful Community documents a northern Thailand community where mindful recovery is promoted, and where people from around the world come to heal and discover a new life based on mindfulness. Ten residents of the New Life Foundation here explore their experiences, drawing direct connections to something usually treated with philosophical inquiry. Through these discussions linking mindful concepts to life benefits and how they were actually applied, readers gain a better knowledge of how growth happens, and what the applied concepts of mindfulness actually looks like. First-person stories are the key to understanding, here.

Sustainable Happiness
Sarah Van Gelder and the Staff of Yes! Magazine
Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.
1333 Broadway, Suite 1000, Oakland CA, 94612
9781626563292, $16.95,

Where can happiness be found, and is growth a key to such happiness? If you listen to consumer-oriented traditional business approaches, it's all about such growth - but if you take a look at lifestyle titles such as Sustainable Happiness: Live Simply, Live Well, Make a Difference, then it's easy to see that real well-being comes from developing supportive, mutually cooperative relationships rather than competitive or adversarial circumstances. This book focuses on the former, and shows how such relationships can be identified and fostered. It links the concept of a satisfying life with the bigger concept of developing support system that encourage a different definition of happiness, and it offers chapters that discuss the effects of equality, mindful behaviors, gratitude, and more. The result is quite a different kind of approach to business and life that new age readers, in particular, will welcome.

The Audiobook Shelf

George Friedman
Random House Audio Books
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 5th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780553399097, $40.00,

Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe is narrated by Bruce Turk and provided in an unabridged production that perfectly captures discussion of the forecasted trends in global politics, culture and more in Europe. It considers the region's historical interactions, its underlying seething possibilities, and the potential for its volatility. Especially strong in social interactions between peoples and nations, this narrative comes to life under Bruce Turk's treatment, as it's well-steeped in film and stage experience, and makes for a gripping audio production certain to involve any who like social analysis and modern history explorations.

The Last American Vampire
Seth Grahame-Smith
Hachette Audio Books
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9781611138283, $35.00,

The Last American Vampire appears in an unabridged audio production narrated by MacLeod Andrews, includes a .pdf file of photos, and comes to life in audio as it returns vampire Henry Sturges, hero of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, to the limelight. Here Sturges is suffering from the aftermath of his good friend Lincoln's death, and undertakes a journey to England that holds an unexpected encounter with Jack the Ripper and a return to an America that faces a new electric world. Everything is changing - and Henry is lost. A reflective, engrossing story not only emerges but comes to full life in this fine audio production.

The Girl on the Train
Paula Hawkins
Penguin Audio Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9781611763737, $40.00,

The Girl on the Train is narrated by Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, and India Fisher and tells of Rachel, who takes the same commuter train each morning and night, past a deck where the same couple enjoys breakfast each day. She envisions their perfect life - until one morning she observes something shocking; something that will change her world. The police won't listen, and so she becomes overly involved in another life and an investigation that threatens to change her own. The lively narration by various voices succeeds in capturing the story's tension and high drama, and lends to an exceptional story.

The Biography Shelf

Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye: A Journey
Marie Matsuki Mockett
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9780393063011, $26.95,

Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye: A Journey is the autobiography of a woman who lost both her Japanese grandparents and her American father, and traveled to her family's Zen Buddhist temple to bury her grandfather's ashes - only to find the radiation released after the explosion of Fukushima made it an impossible mission. Her observations of Japanese lives changed and challenged by the tsunami and its aftermath reflected much of the grief and suffering in her own life, and as Mockett began to understand how the Japanese handled the loss of life, so she undertook her own healing journey. At once an investigation of Japanese culture, traditions and attitudes towards death, and her own journey, Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye offers a powerful and personal saga that reflects two heart-wrenching sojourns and their results. Any who want more than a personal memoir and who want more insights on Japanese views of death will find this a thought-provoking read.

Call Me Debbie
Deborah Voigt
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062118271, $27.99,

Call Me Debbie: True Confessions of a Down-to-Earth Diva comes from an opera star who was a dramatic singer and gained fame beyond her skills when she was fired from a production at London's Royal Opera House because she was 'too large' for her costume. Bypass surgery led her from food addiction to a world of alcoholism and depression, and this memoir shares her story of her involvement in music, her addictions, and the opera world that was her life. An affection for opera in general and Voigt in particular will lend appreciation to her story of an insider's world of opera's politics and challenges, which is nearly as exciting as the story of her personal recovery and return to the stage.

The Making of a Healer
Russell FourEagles
Quest Books
c/o The Theosophical Publishing House
306 W. Geneva Road, Wheaton, IL 60187
9780835609272, $18.95,

The Making of a Healer: Teachings of My Oneida Grandmother creates a powerful combination of memoir and health title, and while it could have appeared in our health section, it's reviewed here because of its wider-ranging interest to both Native American and biography readers alike. The healing methods of Russell FourEagle's ancestors go back two hundred generations and are still used today, even given the popularity of traditional modern medicine. His autobiography reveals his early lessons from his grandmother and how the Vietnam War changed and challenged his life before he came to establish a full-time healing practice based on his grandmother's wisdom. The lively blend of spirituality, healing insights, and personal experience lends to a story that will draw its audience from many worlds.

The Social Issues Shelf

In Their Own Hands
Jeffrey Ashe with Kyla Jagger Neilan
Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.
1333 Broadway, Suite 1000, Oakland CA, 94612
9781626562189, $19.95,

In Their Own Hands documents the rise and achievement of savings groups, where members save what they can in a communal pot and loan their funds to each other for short-term needs. It explores how they operate, how they form, and how they can be locally managed with relatively little effort, and uses decades of Jeffrey Ashe's personal experiences with such groups to describe how he developed his Saving for Change idea. While business holdings will likely be most interested in this approach, this is especially recommended for social issues collections strong in Third World social systems and positive change.

Going to Pot
William J. Bennett and Robert A. White
Center Street
c/o Hachette Publishing Group
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017-0010
9781455560738, $26.00,

Going to Pot: Why the Rush to Legalize Marijuana is Harming America refutes the notion that legalizing pot will solve problems, and comes from one who served under President George H.W. Bush, also serving as Secretary of Education under Reagan. It considers the risks of the legalization process, truths that are being underestimated in the process, and considerations that point out how pot is for more potent today than most baby boomers remember from the 60s. Facts based on scientific research run counter pro-legalization assurances and are gathered here in a serious discussion of modern pot's looming menace to America, making this not just a social consideration, but key for political and health collections, as well.

The Agriculture Shelf

Compendium of Alfalfa Diseases and Pests
American Phylopathological Society
APS Press
3340 Pilot Knob Road, St. Paul, MN 55121 USA
9780890544464, $99.00,

Compendium of Alfalfa Diseases and Pests provides a newly updated third edition to a popular reference to the diseases and insects affecting alfalfa, and is a recommendation for any college-level agricultural studies library. New to this are nearly 250 color images illustrating disease cycles and symptoms, the latest management research, five newly discovered alfalfa diseases, and dangers from herbicides. Researchers, extension personnel, and growers alike will find this offers clear discussions and an approach that lends to both understanding underlying causes of alfalfa diseases and pest intrusion and how to manage them.

The Homeowner's Shelf

The Water-Wise Home
Laura Allen
Storey Publishing
210 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247
9781612121697, $24.95,

With all the talk going on about energy conservation and water management, you'd think the average homeowner would know how to conserve water - but the fact is: they don't. This book teachers homeowners the basics of conservation methods that will lower water bills and save water, and comes from an activist and environmental scientist who explains the current water crisis and its effect on human and natural environments. It presents a series of projects, all of which have been personally tested by the author, to save water and require little special skills or tools to build or implement, and it also includes profiles of those who have successfully integrated these systems into their homes and lifestyles. The only prerequisite? A small dose of handiness and a larger dose of concern over making an extra effort to understand water usage and instigate changes.

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

Never Argue with a Dead Person
Thomas John
Hampton Roads Publishing Company
c/o Red Wheel/Weiser/Conari
65 Parker Street, Suite 7, Newburyport, MA 01950
9781571747242, $16.95,

Never Argue with a Dead Person: True and Unbelievable Stories from the Other Side offers some fifteen stories of what happens when clients ask medium Thomas John to contact their dead friends and relatives, and is a collection of encounters that covers a variety of scenarios and their lessons for the living. Other books have been written before by mediums who regularly work with the 'other side': what sets this one apart is its link between such encounters and the wider life lessons to be learned from the deceased. Case histories are presented not so much for their dramatic impact - although this certainly is the case, making for an engrossing read - but for their wider implications; and it's here that Never Argue with a Dead Person truly shines, making it a top pick for any new age reader and neatly complimenting other books on the subject of mediums by offering a different take on the matter.

The Complete A to Z Dictionary of Dreams
Ian Wallace
Health Communications, Inc.
3201 S.W. 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442-8190
9780757318351, $18.95,

The Complete A to Z Dictionary of Dreams: Be Your Own Dream Expert is for any interested in dream imagery and packs in over 12,000 definitions designed to help DIY dream analysts understand their own dream meanings. More than just a dictionary, however, Wallace pairs these with his original Dream Connection Process (explored here for the first time in print) and shows how images and symbols from dreams can be linked to life situations. While this process may stymie those who just anticipated a dictionary of dream definitions, it's actually key to a better understanding of the dream interpretation process as a whole, and provides insights that include a healthy dose of psychology - as in the definition for 'gorge' ("Situation where I can achieve a sense of great fulfillment by resolving a dilemma between two different viewpoints I hold.") The result is recommended above other competitors that don't hold nearly as many definitions, or nearly as much psychological insight.

The Buddhist Studies Shelf

Thich Nhat Hanh
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062224699, $24.99,

Silence: The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise offers insights into how to cultivate personal silence in a noisy world and in everyday life, and teaches the finer art of mindfulness, which brings with it a stillness that is needed for self-discovery and improvement. This kind of silence doesn't require hours of meditation: it can be achieved through a series of simple exercises and practices that take into account an overwhelming world of busyness and noise. Chapters come from a Vietnamese Buddhist Zen master and teach the basics of how to find that centering calm and how to make the most of it.

The Theatre/Cinema Shelf

Independent Ed
Edward Burns
Gotham Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9781592408597, $26.95,

Independent Ed: Inside a Career of Big Dreams, Little Movies, and the Twelve Best Days of My Life offers the memoir of an independent filmmaker who has spent twenty years producing films based only on personal stories. His venture began in 1993 when he wrote a screenplay after college and made The Brothers McMullen in twelve days - a production which wound up winning the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and led to his film fame and career. But this isn't the story of one film alone: it details his acting experiences in major Hollywood movies, follows his evolution in the film industry and his encounters with actors before they made it big, and details both the spectacular rise of his indie directing career and its sudden demise. In the course of charting his life and times, Independent Ed details the ups and downs of the industry as a whole and provides a vivid story of what it's like to navigate the stormy waters of Hollywood, making it a 'must' for any film collection.

The Hobby Shelf

Origami Aircraft
Mary Packard
Thunder Bay Press
c/o Baker & Taylor Publishing Group
10350 Barnes Canyon Rd, Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92121
9781628861725, $24.95,

Origami Aircraft's history of aviation appears in an oversized, boxed package set that combines a paperback book with step-by-step origami instructions to create ten planes, 100 sheets of specially designed origami paper, stickers for decoration, and more, and is a pick not for lending libraries, but as a gift choice for any excited about origami. Chapters in the book provide over a hundred pages combining the origami folding instructions and bits of aviation history, while the sticker sheets lend to young crafter attention. What an easy way to learn aviation history: by replicating some classic crafts! Everything necessary is right here, in an inviting classy package.

Model Railroader Books
Kalmbach Publishing
21027 Crossroads Circle, Waukesha, WI 53187-1612

Two new model railroad books are recommendations for train enthusiasts and focus on specific keys to building believable models and layouts. Jeff Wilson's THE MODEL RAILROADER'S GUIDE TO GRAIN (9780890249444, $19.99) focuses on the grain industry from its early days to modern times, and provides keys to understanding how they work, how they operated with grain trains, and how to incorporate them into a model landscape. From collection elevators to boxcars, this provides an excellent focus that will appeal to train buffs and modelers alike. Mike Polsgrove works with Cody Grivno on DCC PROJECTS & APPLICATIONS (9780890249826, $19.99), which adds Volume 3 to a series that covers practical applications of DCC in model railroad environments. Digital Command Control has increased in popularity but remains a challenge for many: this title provides step-by-step instructions on how to set up, maintain and operate DCC systems, and is packed with specific insights supported by model systems to instruct by example. Both are fine picks rail buffs in general and modelers in particular will find inviting and clear.

The American History Shelf

Thieves' Road
Terry Mort
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781616149604, $25.00,

Thieves' Road: The Black Hills Betrayal and Custer's Path to Little Bighorn tells of an expedition of some thousand troops and more than a hundred wagons into the Black Hills of South Dakota, and what happened to the exploratory mission which set the stage for the events to take place at Little Bighorn two years later. The little-known fact is that Custer found gold in them thar hills - and his discovery during one of the worst economic depressions the world had known provoked a gold rush that brought the white man directly onto sacred Sioux grounds and into direct confrontation with Native peoples. It's surprising to note that relatively little of this history has been covered elsewhere, making Thieves' Road a 'must' for any American history or Native American history holding.

War Babies
Richard Pells
Richard Pells, Publisher
9780990669807, $17.99,

War Babies: The Generation That Changed America considers the lives and careers of Americans born between 1939 and 1945: a generation replete with artistic personalities from musicians to actors and one that has fostered many social changes in this country. It's hard to neatly categorize War Babies: it's not a set of biographies, it's not a focus on social issues of the times - it's more of a history of those people and forces that shaped a particular era. And so this book is reviewed here and recommended for a general American history audience who will find in War Babies a coverage that documents a particular segment of society in a particular space of time: a lively discussion of how social change occurs.

The Music Shelf

No Simple Highway
Peter Richardson
St. Martins Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250010629, $26.99,

No Simple Highway: A Cultural History of the Grateful Dead uses new research, interviews, and new material from the Grateful Dead archive to consider the cult fans of the group and why they have persisted into today, well beyond band leader Jerry Garcia's death. It provides a review of the group's history and adds new insights into the Dead's early influences, their organization, and the methods that made their music endearing to generations. The idea here is that the band successfully tapped into utopian ideas fueling American youth dreams, then lived those experiences themselves. Chapters document the group's versatility and corrects the idea that they were just hippies with a following of drug addicts. This vivid story will delight any who can't get enough Dead material and insights!

The Cookbook Shelf

Wild Gourmet
Boulud, Chiarello, Leysath, Shaw,
Boone and Crockett Club Collection
250 Station Drive, Missoula, MT 59801
9780940864931, $34.95,

Boone & Crockett is a hunting-oriented organization, so at first it may seem a departure for a publisher that produces hunting books to be featuring a cookbook - but this focus on wild meat in the kitchen is actually a very logical extension from the hunter's rife to the plate, and features new ways to prepare wild game that produces unique and different results. From how to process venison to get the most flavor to a melange of favorite recipes from a host of chefs who regularly work with wild game, this teaches the basics of processing and cooking wild game, and lends a health-conscious aspect to the results. Add wine pairings for each recipe and you truly have a delightfully different approach that modernizes the finer art of wild game preparation.

John McQuaid
c/o Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
9781451685008, $26.00,

Tasty: The Art and Science of What We Eat offers a fine blend of culinary science and history that considers the process of taste, how the idea of taste originated, and how it's changing. It begins with how humans first perceived flavors some 500 million years ago and how the concept of taste and food attraction changed as ancestors developed more tools, expanded their ideas of what constituted food and how to handle it, and introduced cultural influences on the creation and perception of food. As human civilization grew, so taste changed, driving explorers to search for new ingredients and food possibilities. But Tasty is more than a human history: it considers how genes shape taste and how taste perceptions operate in the body, from sweet and hot to food attractions. The result is a lively but well-seasoned coverage that delves into the history of human food habits and the evolution of taste itself.

The Big Book of Bacon
Jennifer L.S. Pearsall
Skyhorse Publishing
307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018
9781619145556, $19.95,

The Big Book of Bacon: Savory Flirtations, Dalliances, and Indulgences with the Underbelly of the Pig is a fun survey celebrating bacon and offering some unusual facts about its health attributes - such as the fact that it promotes a baby's healthy development in the womb. With the guilt factor addressed and abolished, readers can move on to enjoy bacon-wrapped pages that promote a variety of dishes and a variety of ways of cutting, cooking and presenting bacon, from adding it to a macaroni and cheese dish to using it in stuffed peppers or in corn cakes or rye loaves. Bright, good-sized color photos and personal discussions of each recipe's attributes accompany many of the ideas, making this a lively, personal exploration bacon lovers will find delightfully compelling.

Morocco on a Plate
Caroline Hofberg
Skyhorse Publishing
307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018
9781629144146, $24.95,

Morocco on a Plate: Breads, Entrees, and Desserts with Authentic Spice is a recommendation for any cook who wants to capture the flavors and atmosphere of Morocco, and shows how easy it is to duplicate Moroccan cooking at home. An oversized presentation allows for large-size color photos, while discussions on the culinary and social history of the country places recipes in perspective. Instructions are simple and require no special ingredients or access to anything other than a regular supermarket, while the full-size color photos of finished dishes lends interest and excitement to the results. From a Baked Pumpkin with Caramelized Onion to a Harira-Ramadan Meat Soup, these are appealing dishes that offer something different to newcomers to Moroccan cuisine, with more of a visual display than most competitors offer.

The Science Shelf

Essential Dynamics & Relativity
Peter J. O'Donnell
CRC Press
6000 NW Broken Sound Parkway NW, Suite 300, Boca Raton, FL 33487
9781466588394, $69.95,

Essential Dynamics & Relativity provides college-level readers with an introduction to the central concepts of dynamics and special relativity, covering basic concepts and pairing theory with different topics to offer a methodical focus on how an understanding of principles of dynamics translates to a better understanding of special relativity. Having a dual exploration of the two under one cover offers the rare opportunity for entry-level college physics students to understand their relationships, with mathematics backing the examples and exercises paired to better understanding of the concepts. The result is an approach more accessible to newcomers than most, and important for any studying dynamics and relativity.

David J. Linden
Viking Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780670014873, $28.95,

Touch: The Science of Hand, Heart, and Mind provides a general-interest audience with a lively discussion of bodily touch circuits from skin and nerves to brain reactions; from pain to pleasure - and is a top pick for those who like health and science blends that temper hard science with accessible anecdotes and insights. Explanations are lively, data is supplemented by human explanations and concerns, and topics range from a history of scientific investigation into touch to the latest research and discoveries. It's rare that a scientist author can reach out to non-scientists with accessible, lively prose; but Touch achieves this in a fine series of discussions recommended for any general-interest holding.

At the Edge of Uncertainty
Michael Brooks
The Overlook Press
141 Wooster Street, New York, NY 10012
9781468310597, $27.95,

At the Edge of Uncertainty: 11 Discoveries Taking Science by Surprise considers the latest wave of 'radical' scientific insights that are affecting the nature and focus of modern scientific discovery, and is a recommended read for both science and general-interest readers. This exploration covers the frontiers of what is currently understand about the world, what is being posited as possibilities for research, and how biology, physiology, and psychics alike are being challenged in new directions by new theories. From changes to clinical trials and long-accepted methods of scientific investigation to how radical new solutions to the lack of organ donors might be achieved from merging species, this wide-ranging discussion also includes ethical considerations and changes brought about by scientific discoveries, making for a survey that science readers will find delightfully lively, complex, and intriguing.

The Photography Shelf

Fine Art Portrait Photography
Nylora Bruleigh, M.Photog.Cr.,CPP
Amherst Media
175 Rano Street, Suite 200, Buffalo, NY 14207-2176
9781608957675, $27.95,

Fine Art Portrait Photography: Lighting, Posing & Postproduction from Concept to Completion narrows the photographic lens to the heart of what makes a picture artistic - and how to hone this concept in portraiture objectives. Some sixty of the author's favorite images are examined from start to finish, exploring how the idea translated into an image, how clothing, props, light and posing were used to support the concept, and how to align images with artistry. From how to tell a story using images to specific programs and refinements used to tweak the powers of the original image, this is loaded with specifics, not generalities, that will delight artistic portrait photographers looking for more creative paths for their expression.

The Military Shelf

The Reaper
Nicholas Irving with Gary Brozek
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250044557, $27.99,

The Reaper: Autobiography of One of the Deadliest Special Ops Snipers comes from the first Afro-American to serve as a sniper in his battalion, who became known as 'The Reaper' by the end of his service. He set records for enemy kills, his reputation caused a rifle to be named after him, and his memoir provides an account of his experiences in the special operations environment. It follows the instruction and molding of an assassin and arrives on the heels of the box-office hit American Sniper, which means that this saga will prove of special interest to any reading about Afro-American military experiences, special operations forces, or sniper actions and training, in particular.

A Press Divided
David B. Sachsman, Editor
Transaction Publishers
10 Corporate Place South, Piscataway, NJ 08854
9781412854665, $54.95,

A Press Divided: Newspaper Coverage of the Civil War provides an in-depth survey recommended for college-level military and journalism collections alike, and focuses on the political divisions between newspapers of the times, and how this affected their reporting. Eighteen chapters of press reports and newspaper coverage considers the approaches of different papers, their political impact, and how the American press operated during the Civil War. While this likely will appeal primarily to media studies students, it shouldn't be neglected by military history readers, either: for in the process of exploring the press of the times, it provides important analysis and documentation of how press reporting influenced social climate and the proceedings and perceptions of the war itself. Articles teach students the basic importance of editorializing and reporting in American history and hold powerful implications for today's standards in military events reporting.

The Political Science Shelf

The Hundred-Year Marathon
Michael Pillsbury
Henry Holt & Company
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 400, New York, NY 10010-7725
9781627790109, $30.00,

The Hundred-Year Marathon: China's Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower comes from a defense and national security policy advisor to eight presidential administrations, who performed work on China for the CIA and who here admits that he was seduced into the dream of financing the People's Republic of China's growth and recovery to help it break away from the Soviet Union. Instead what these actions did was create a superpower giant intent not on entering a global market economy so much as dominating it. China's leaders have a plan to surpass the U.S. in this world arena, and have been exploiting American officials in the process of achieving their goals - and The Hundred-Year Marathon outlines this predicament and how the nation has outwitted and deceived the U.S. in its goals of building a competitive strategy to take over in many arenas. Any interested in international politics and policies will find this engrossing.

The Sports Shelf

Big Trophies, Epic Hunts
Boone and Crockett Club
Boone and Crockett Club Publications
250 Station Drive, Missoula, MT 59801
9781940860039, $19.95,

Any interested in hunting will find this the perfect read: a lively accounting of some thirty North American hunters who bagged big game animals - most without guides, taken on public lands. These are stories of both high adventure and the realities of big game hunting, and represent the stories behind some of the top-scoring trophies ever recognized by the Boone and Crockett Club. With its emphasis on self-guided experiences and major man/animal confrontations, this is a hunter's delight and is a top pick for any who enjoy reading real-life stories of the hunt.

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Comedy Writing Self-Taught
Gene Perret
Quill Driver Books
2006 South Mary, Fresno, CA 93721
9781610352208, $16.95,

Comedy Writing Self-Taught: The Professional Skill-Building Course in Writing Stand-Up, Sketch, and Situation Comedy comes from a three-time Emmy winner and former head writer for Bob Hope and Phyllis Diller, who teaches comedy writers how they can analyze their own routines and others, and produce winning results. Writing exercises accompany these analytical tools to cover the basic tenants of producing stand-up comedy and other types of humor, offering chapters that show how to analyze the work of professional comedians to understand their devices. There's a companion Comedy Writing Self-Taught Workbook which provides further exercises: the two work together to provide a fun 'course in a book' on the basics of how comedy operates, the various devices that can be used to create and foster it, and how to fine-tune a comedy routine for maximum effect. Any would-be comedy writer - especially those just starting out in the genre - need this and its accompanying workbook.

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

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