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The Bookwatch

Volume 11, Number 4 April 2016 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Agriculture Shelf Jewelry Shelf
Art Shelf Education Shelf Autism Shelf
Cookbook Shelf Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf Gardening Shelf
Needlecraft Shelf Activity Shelf Technology Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Computer Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Health/Medicine Shelf Photography Shelf Automotive Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

The Geography of Genius
Eric Weiner
Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
9781451691658 $26.95

The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World's Most Creative Places, from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley comes from a travel writer and former NPR correspondent who considers how innovations occur and when, where and why these leaps take place. In keeping with his interests in travel and other cultures, Weiner researches circumstances of genius with an eye to exploring its geographic connections and presence, offering a survey that traverses history and place to examine how creative genius is fostered so that ingenuity takes place. Chapters argue that genius is not a personal or private event as much as a public event that is heavily influenced by surrounding environment, and he discusses the ways genius is typically examined, the fallacies in logic that result, and the influences and approaches that attack genius and innovation in the world. From why trauma and hard times fosters genius to how tension encourages leaps in thinking, The Geography of Genius provides a powerful survey that's a highly recommended pick for both leisure readers interested in geography and innovation and for those who would probe the historical connections between genius and worldviews and influences.

Pixyjack Press Inc.
PO Box 149, Masonville, CO 80541

Two examinations of science, nature, and relationships to humans and general and homeowners in particular are recommended picks that should be on any homeowner's reading list. Ancient Fire, Modern Fire by Einar Jensen (9781936555642, $19.95) presents the author's experiences as a firefighter, environmental historian and life safety educator to consider the history of how people deal with fire and fire safety. Chapters delve into the history of fire prevention methods, how it differs from urban to rural settings, and how changing one's basic understanding of fire is key to preventing tragedies. From the basics of fire science (geared to a general-interest, non-expert reader) to arson, world myths surrounding fire, and sacred ceremonies conducted with fire, this provides a treasure trove of details. Linda Masterson's Living with Bears Handbook (9781936555611, $24.00) pairs a basic natural history of bears and understanding their behavior with a focus on what happens when the homes and lives of people intersect with bear interests, and gathers solutions to many of these problems of bear encounters and conflicts. A basic understanding of bear behavior is necessary to adopt measures that help bear-proof a home and keep them from being attracted to gardens, garbage, and other human habitats or habits, and this is provided in the course of explaining real-world solutions to bear problems. A bear manager's experiences and case studies from across the U.S. and Canada round out the information and make for a fine study that should be in every rural homeowner's library.

The Agriculture Shelf

Pesticides, A Love Story
Michelle Mart
University Press of Kansas
2501 West 15th Street, Lawrence, KS 66049
9780700621286 $34.95

Those who were active in the 1960s well know the dangers of pesticides and the warning message in Rachel Carson's Silent Spring; but it seems this message, though acknowledged at the time, has long been lost as pesticide use in America has actually soared in recent decades. Why has this happened? Pesticides, a Love Story seeks out the answer as it considers the bigger pictures of American beliefs in progress and chemical solutions to common problems. Chapters trace the evolution of this belief system with an eye to showing how chemical pesticides became an intrinsic part of American culture, and details how acceptance of their risks and dangers overruled cautions. Chapters tackle how this kind of acceptance was fostered by the pesticide industry, and how economic and social pressures have led to hazardous conditions. More than another 'warning' book and more than an analysis of agricultural choices, Pesticides, a Love Story presents real answers on the ongoing lure of the chemical solution and is an essential read for any who puzzle about the connections between pesticide use, special interests, and the American public's malleable psyche.

The Jewelry Shelf

Diamonds: The Antoinette Matlins Buying Guide, third edition
Antoinette Matlins, P.G.
GemStone Press
Sunset Farm Offices, Route 4
PO Box 237, Woodstock, VT 05091
9780943763736 $18.99

Diamonds: The Antoinette Matlins Buying Guide appears in its third updated, expanded edition to provide basic insights on the process of purchasing, caring for, and understanding diamonds, and is recommended as a basic primer for any who would examine what influences diamond quality and cost. Chapters don't presume any prior knowledge of gemstones or jewelry and provide newcomers with plenty of detail about how to understand diamonds and how they are valued. From common cautions to take when purchasing diamonds to common diamond grading systems, cut and proportion considerations, and how to compare stones, this covers all the details any newcomer to diamonds will need to know.

The Art Shelf

The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling
John Muir Laws
Heyday Books
PO Box 9145, Berkeley, CA 94709
9781597143158 $35.00

The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling is a drawing exercise book with a difference: it teaches not just the basics of nature drawing, but how to become a better artist as well as a better observer of nature by capturing it more accurately. This process is imparted through exercises that teach how to capture animals, plants, landscapes and the outdoors for artists at all levels of expertise. Designed to improve the work of advanced artists as well as introduce newcomer to the process, it uses a journaling format and step-by-step details that contrast the basics of art (i.e. how to apply watercolors) with that of nature observation (i.e. how to speed-draw dragonflies or capture butterfly wings in motion). Color art throughout makes this a visual winner, accompanying all descriptions with clear examples that leave nothing to wonder. The result is an outstanding survey, highly recommended for aspiring nature artists who want details on how to use journaling and art to best advantage.

The Education Shelf

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

Gravity Goldberg's Mindsets & Moves: Strategies that Help Readers Take Charge (9781506314938, $28.95) is directed to educators working with grades 1-8 and discusses various protocols for encouraging students to read. Unlike most approaches, Gravity shows how to shift the educator's typical role from that of a manager to encouraging kids to take charge of their own reading processes. The idea is to evolve and encourage a 'growth mindset' that offers a model for new ways of reading. More than a philosophical presentation, this book provides practical examples, reading strategies, and a photo tour of a classroom organized with this in mind. From journaling and reading notebooks to producing more effective summaries, notes from student efforts appear in color throughout and highlight a very specific set of directions that will provide teachers with much food for thought. Karen D. Wood, D. Bruce Taylor and Katie Stover's Smuggling Writing: Strategies That Get Students to Write Every Day in Every Content Area (9781506322629, $28.95) shows teachers how to incorporate written response activity results into lesson plans that empower students in grades 3-12 to take charge of their own reading and writing growth. The idea is that more writing can be added to even the heaviest curriculum approach, and this is supported through classroom-tested lesson plans that show students how to use a particular set of strategies in all of their educational pursuits. Tested tools such as Herringbone and Anticipation Guides are re-arranged into sections on concept development and comprehension while sample lessons are backed by traditional teaching methods and online support and activities. The idea is to 'smuggle' writing into or after the lessons for greater effectiveness.

The Autism Shelf

Our Brains Are Like Computers!
Joel Shaul
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
9781849057165 $24.95

Our Brains Are Like Computers! explores social skills and cause and effect and is designed for parents and educators working with children on the autism spectrum. Photocopiable worksheets accompany discussions of common life encounters that range from how people develop long-lasting bad memories of others to examples of good people who are trying to get others to like them.

The Cookbook Shelf

Medieval Cooking in Today's Kitchen
Greg Jenkins
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
9780764348426 $24.99,

Medieval Cooking in Today's Kitchen compliments a relative handful of other medieval cookbooks on the market today and offers nearly eighty recipes for drinks, breads, appetizers, main courses, and rich desserts. While all these originate from cultures throughout Europe, they have been translated for modern cooks and kitchens and offer not exotic foods so much as unusual combinations that one might not expect. Thus a pudding is baked with raspberries, brandy, and cocoa power and topped with a meringue crust, or potatoes are mashed with rutabagas, turnips, radishes and chives for a fuller flavor. Add introductions to each section and recipes that explain medieval culture and you have a cookbook packed with appealing, accessible dishes that pair history with new dishes.

Go With Your Gut
Robyn Youkilis
Kyle Books
192 - 198 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, SW1V 1DX
National Book Network (distributor)
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
9781909487352 $22.95

Go With Your Gut: The Insider's Guide to Banishing the Bloat with 75 Digestion-Friendly Recipes comes from a certified wellness expert who has written about and done TV shows on health and discusses how digestive system health affects body processes as a whole, and what to do about it. It goes far beyond giving lip service to wellness and a healthy lifestyle, advocating a series of recipes and lessons on how to properly eat, breathe, relax, and enjoy life. Many of these approaches lead to weight loss and better digestive health overall, as the tips go beyond gut-friendly recipes alone. The result is a combination cookbook and health plan which is highly recommended for any woman who wants to not just listen to her body, but improve her health.

The Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf

Shoot Like Scorsese
Christopher Kenworthy
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd., #1111, Studio City, CA 91604
9781615932320 $14.95

Shoot Like Scorsese: The Visual Secrets of Shock, Elegance and Extreme Character takes one of the most influential filmmakers in cinema history and uses them as examples to teach key techniques on framing, space, and more. The author is himself a writer, director and producer and so is well versed in what devices help keep audiences on the edges of their seats, but the strength of his approach lies in how to use screen direction, camera positions, actor positioning, and scene set-up to best advantage. Filled with black and white film examples throughout, Shoot Like Scorsese is highly recommended for any cinema photographer, cameraman, and film director who want to make the most from their choices.

The Gardening Shelf

Container Theme Gardens
Nancy J. Ondra
Storey Publishing
210 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247
9781612123981 $19.95

Container Theme Gardens: 42 Combinations Each Using 5 Perfectly Matched Plants packs full-page color plant photos in a discussion of over forty foolproof gardens for all kinds of styles which use only five matched easy plants paired with different kinds of containers. Using her approach the casual gardener interested in containers for a variety of spaces need only choose a color scheme and container to create themes suitable for shade gardens, Spring celebrations, and more. There are other books covering container gardening, but this title's special focus on themes offers gardeners many more options to create a unified appearance.

The Needlecraft Shelf

An English Paper-Pieced Sampler
Darlene Beltman and Teresa Justice
American Quilter's Society
PO Box 3290, Paducah, KY 42002-3290
9781604603972 $24.95

An English Paper-Pieced Sampler blends a history of this paper piecing method with an instructional book that offers background, basics, and everything a beginner needs to get started with quilting using the block instructions provided. From traditional to modern block choices and colors, readers are provided with templates, many color photos of all sizes, tips on attaching fabric to paper templates, and sewing instructions. The result is a vivid collection of varied projects and ideas which introduces the history and concept of English paper piecing to quilting newcomers.

The Activity Shelf

Coloring Ocean Mandalas
Wendy Piersall
Ulysses Press
PO Box 3440, Berkeley CA 94703-3440
9781612435466 $10.00

Coloring Ocean Mandalas provides thirty designs for relaxation and uses nautical themes and underwater worlds to link mindful mindsets with art. These themes range from whales and mermaids to sea horses, jellyfish, and dolphins, and sometimes add a good touch of whimsy and fun into the mix, as in a circular submarine with flowers, a periscope, and a mariner looking at the world through a spyglass. Most especially, it's a colorful celebration of the ocean for any who love the sea and adds an extra dimension of relaxing detail to the adult coloring world.

Origami Boxes Super Paper Pack
Maria Noble
Creative Publishing International
9781589238992 $12.99

Origami Boxes Super Paper Pack contains ten box designs and over two hundred pages of double-sided origami paper, along with step-by-step instructions for folding boxes with and without lids, and is recommended for paper folders who have some basics down and who want to move to the next step. Some thirty different colors and patterns are printed on both sides and bound into a book but can be easily removed to make the boxes, while instructions are simple enough to follow that any new to origami will find it easy to produce their first project. With over thirty pages of instruction and two hundred papers, crafts users will find plenty to appreciate here, in a collection recommended as a gift for any interested in crafts in general and paper-folding projects in particular.

The Technology Shelf

Making Spatial Decisions Using GIS and LIDAR: A Workbook
Kathryn Keranen and Robert Kolvoord
ESRI Press
380 New York Street, Redlands, CA 92378-8100
9781589484290 $79.99

Making Spatial Decisions Using GIS and LIDAR: A Workbook is a technical reference providing the third book in the Making Spatial Decisions series, and is recommended for ArcGIS program users who want an approach that features Lidar as its primary data source. Chapters covering analysis, applications, and GIS approaches revolving around this source will find here a series of progressive lessons in a workbook format that includes downloadable data and a 180-day free trial of ArcGIS. Exercises teach how to handle data, draw conclusions, solve typical geographic-based problems, and more, and offer important tools and strategies for a more effective use of ArcGIS.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Patricia A. McKillip
Ace Books
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780425271766 $27.00

Kingfisher is a fine fantasy and coming-of-age story and revolves around Pierce, who has grown up working in his mother's restaurant. She's a powerful sorceress who has hidden her son to protect him - until strangers passing through town lure him with promises of another world that holds a better place for him. There's nothing but a bleak world in the one he currently inhabits, and Pierce's determination leads her furious mother to tell him the truth about his father and family connections - and about his unfaithful father's dangerous love and his mother's determination to raise Pierce away from that danger, now undermined by both strangers and her own son's desire to find his own destiny. Secrets, bad decisions, and a quest join in an epic journey that will lead readers into a riveting saga of self-determination and change.

Poseidon's Wake
Alastair Reynolds
Ace Books
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780425256794 $27.00

Poseidon's Wake concludes an epic saga begun in On the Steel Breeze and is especially recommended for prior fans who will find this continuation of the story to be involving. Newcomers should really look at the prior story line for easier involvement in this tale, which tells of Ndege Akinya, who lives under permanent house arrest for killing over four hundred thousand people through her actions. Her biologist daughter joins a crew sent to uncover the source of a strange message that came from seventy light-years away, and what they will find will change all their lives in this riveting, engrossing story which takes its time to move slowly and relentlessly towards a surprise conclusion.

The End of All Things
John Scalzi
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765376077 $24.99

The End of All Things provides a new story in the 'Old Man's War' universe and deserves ongoing mention and recommendation both for prior fans of the series and newcomers alike. Fans might recall that the first book, Old Man's War, earned Scalzi the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and started a series that would eventually be adapted into a TV show. This book was released as four e-only serial novellas before its appearance here as a final hardcover, and begins where The Human Division ended as it returns to a world where humans have expanded into space only to face a universe of different alien species, all of which wants to destroy them. It sounds complex and it may also seem that familiarity with the prior books are a prerequisite, but newcomers will find it easy to enter this universe at this point and the only real requirement is an interest in military and political sci-fi and alien/human confrontations. Such an audience will find The End of All Things filled with satisfying twists and human/alien confrontations that build solid characters and exciting, believable scenarios between them.

The Computer Shelf

The Dart Programming Language
Gilad Bracha
c/o Pearson Technology Group
801 East 96th Street, #300, Indianapolis, IN 46240-3759
9780321927705 $49.99

The Dart Programming Language provides a class-based, objected-oriented language coverage for programmers and computer science students who want to know how to apply it most efficiently, and teaches the basics of the Dart object model's unique attributes. It not only covers applications, but how Dart handles statements, its unique attributes that lend to asynchronous programming, and how its key features can be streamlined in the implementation process. Charts serve as examples covering widgets, code examples support functions and Dart classes, and generics survey a host of techniques for synthesizing Dart into real-world applications. The result is a powerful survey highly recommended for any who would learn more about how Dart operates.

The Audiobook Shelf

The China Mirage
James Bradley
Hachette Audio
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9781611136692 $35.00

The China Mirage: The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia appears in an unabridged audio presentation narrated by Pete Larkin and includes a .pdf of photos as it explores American political encounters with China in the 1800s and beyond. Early and famous Americans made their fortunes in the China opium trade, addicting millions in the process, while American churches sent their missionaries to the country hoping to convert peasants. Novelist Pearl Buck and others perpetuated common myths about China among the American people before Mao came to power to change the long-perpetuated myths about the country. Any who believe they know the history of American and Chinese relationships needs to listen to this account, which is packed with many eye-opening revelations about common Chinese myths.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Back Pain: How to Get Rid of It Forever
John Perrier
Hale & Iremonger
PO Box 652, Willoughby, NSW, 2068
0 86806 675 3 $29.95

The sheer volume of health books on the market about back pain should be an indicator of not only how pervasive this condition is, but how tricky it is to alleviate. This title makes some big claims: that its readers may be able to permanently end their back pain; but this achievement doesn't come without work. That work is provided by physiotherapist John Perrier, who designs a coverage that leaves no treatment option unturned in the quest for a better back. First, suffers need to understand some basic physiology, and the introductory sections focus on the spine's structure, different kinds of common injuries that cause back pain, and how muscles, nerves, and vertebra injuries can change. Next, a self-assessment quiz allows readers to narrow the causes of their back pain, while a final section offers a blend of back exercises and tips to sit, stand, walk, lift, and even sleep to lesson impact on the back. From drugs and diets to common myths about what causes back pain, this isn't a light and quick overview, but delves into a variety of treatment options, questions, and insights on back health. Spinal pain is complex, but this book helps suffers understand the factors influencing pain and its alleviation, and will find it an excellent self-help approach to supplement physician advice and physiotherapy. Note: the ebook version is in two volumes: Back Pain: How to get rid of it Forever, Volume 1: The Causesand Back Pain: How to Get Rid of It Forever Volume 2: The Cures.

Living with Lymphoma: A Patient's Guide
Elizabeth M. Adler, PhD
Johns Hopkins University Press
2715 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218-4363
9781421418100 $26.95

Living with Lymphoma: A Patient's Guide comes from a neurobiologist who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and who set out on a mission to learn everything she could about the disease. The results of her findings blend science with personal odyssey in a book about understanding and managing the condition. Included in her coverage are the latest facts and scientific research, insights on symptoms and new therapies, the use of medical marijuana and different kinds of directed therapies, and genetic influences on the disease's progression. Highly recommended for any patient or family member seeking a clear health book with the latest facts.

The Photography Shelf

Infrared Photography
Laurie Klein, BFA, MFA and Kyle Klein, BFA
Amherst Media
175 Rano Street, Suite 200, Buffalo, NY 14207-2176
9781608959259 $37.95

Infrared Photography: Artistic Techniques for Brilliant Images is a 'must' reference for digital photographers who would learn and apply some of the basic artistic techniques surrounding infrared to photo results. It covers the basics of how to expose infrared in digital images, how to handle their different tones and how to apply them to portraits and landscapes alike, and how to understand the special challenges of the medium which can lead to common problems. It also covers some of the strengths of infrared and tells how to make the most of them. From shutter speeds and changing viewpoints to shooting structures or nudes or just adding an infrared glow, this coverage is loaded with color photo examples throughout in a pick highly recommended for photographers who have basic skills down but who are just entering the realm of infrared's many options.

The Automotive Shelf

Amazing Barn Finds and Roadside Relics
Ryan Brutt
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9780760348079 $35.00

Amazing Barn Finds and Roadside Relics takes the popular TV show approaches of Pawn Stars and American Pickers into the auto realm as it discusses forgotten and abandoned vehicles that have been located and restored to former beauty. Here the process of locating, assessing, restoring and understanding the history and culture behind these selected gems comes to life in a collection filled with old car images, stories of how they were lost and found, and discussions of the restoration process. Packed with color photos, Amazing Barn Finds and Roadside Relics builds on the automotive restorer and collector's interest and provides a compelling collection of nearly-forgotten gems and what it takes to return them to their former glory. No automotive history holding should be without this, which holds the potential to reach into general-interest audiences with its lively history and fine color images.

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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