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The Bookwatch

Volume 13, Number 4 April 2018 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Social Issues Shelf Travel Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Metaphysical Studies Shelf Fiction Shelf
Audiobook Shelf Cookbook Shelf Science Shelf
Computer Shelf Technology Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf
Education Shelf Women's Studies Shelf Aviation Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

Matthew Growcoot
Ebury Publishing
c/o Penguin Random House
9781785035517 $24.95

Abandoned: The Most Beautiful Forgotten Places from Around the World gathers photos of a wide range of beautiful abandoned places around the world, from country mansions to big city establishments and former businesses, offering an eerily enchanting collection of how deserted vehicles, buildings, and establishments remain as relics of their brighter heydays. The full-page color images - some presented as a double-spread layout - include details on location and, where available, architect or designer, presenting a lovely set of historic details and images to capture the imagination of what these relics used to be and what they are today.

The Gannet's Gastronomic Miscellany
Killian Fox
Mitchell Beazley
c/o Octopus Books
9781784723996 $14.99

The Gannet's Gastronomic Miscellany provides a fun collection of facts and information about food and drink, providing a style that gathers a range of fun food stories and insights about products, history, and more. While cooks looking for recipe collections alone may find this whimsical, educational overview more than they'd bargained for, any with more than a casual interest in food will welcome The Gannet's Gastronomic Miscellany, an intriguing blend of trivia and fun facts that food fans will relish.

The Social Issues Shelf

Turning Points
Kostas Kampourakis
Prometheus Books
9781633883291 $25.00

Turning Points: How Critical Events Have Driven Human Evolution, Life, and Development could have been featured in our science or psychology sections; but is reviewed here because of its wide-ranging insights into critical historical events which have affected both individual lives and society as a whole. The author maintains that while evolution results from unpredictable events, they also have shaped human development. Various theories about influencers on human development are contrasted, from scientific to religious ideas about life and its influencers, making for a fine introduction linking biology to human evolution.

The Travel Shelf

Mr. Las Vegas Has a Bad Knee
Martin J. Smith
TwoDot/Globe Pequot
9781493028443 $18.95

Mr. Las Vegas Has a Bad Knee And Other Tales of the People, Places, and peculiarities of the Modern American Southwest represents travel essay writing at its best as it gathers a compendium of reflections on the odd characters the author encounters on his travels. Armchair travelers who enjoy quirky, people-oriented stories of odd encounters and changing culture in the American Southwest will appreciate the different perspectives, from car culture to the unexpectedly competitive world of duck painting. Travel fans seeking vivid and fun reflections will find the diversity of subject especially compelling, here.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Blade and Bone
Jon Sprunk
978163388260 $18.00

Blade and Bone is Part Three of the Book of the Black Earth series, and is recommended for prior fans of this story of a world where gods rule. Slave Horace has become free and powerfully imbibed with magic in this tale, which tells of a growing slave rebellion, the rise of an army of the undead, and a clash between entities that brings the possibility of new shifts of power. Readers seeking fast action and a story line that builds on the prior books will welcome this latest addition to the series.

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

The New Psychedelic Revolution
James Oroc
Park Street Press
c/o Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
9781620556627 $19.95

The New Psychedelic Revolution: The Genesis of the Visionary Age offers a survey of 21st century psychedelic culture that features three main figures - chemist Alexander Shulgin, mycologist Terence McKenna, and visionary artist Alex gray - as it covers the latest incarnation of the psychedelic community and its culture. While some readers might believe that the psychedelic focus of the 1960s is long gone, this survey introduces how a new age of psychedelics is emerging through various popular festivals around the country, offering a return to research and cultural applications that embrace artistic, social, and scientific realms alike. The result is a vivid history that traces the key individuals, movements, and influences on modern psychedelic development in this country in a survey that should be required reading for not just new age followers but science and arts readers alike.

Revelations of the Aquarian Age
Barbara Hand Clow
Bear & Company
9781591432951 $18.00

Revelations of the Aquarian Age provides a sequel to Clow's Revelations of the Ruby Crystal, and is especially recommended for prior fans of that book who want a continuation of the story. When Armando reveals a symbolic painting of the love between Jesus and Mary Magdalene to his new bride, the portrait leads the newlyweds and their friends on a journey to explore religious meaning, transformative relics and images, and past-life connections. Readers of new age fiction will find this a compelling story that links Christianity to Aquarian principles and power, creating a saga and adventure that's hard to put down.

The Fiction Shelf

The Tuscan Child
Rhys Bowen
Lake Union Publishing
9781503951822 $24.95

The Tuscan Child is set in 1944 Britain, where Hugo is a bomber pilot during the war looking forward to the end of his duties and an inheritance when he returns to England. When his plane is shot down over Tuscany, he's wounded and becomes beholden to Sofia, a woman who attends to him. Fast forward thirty years, when an estranged daughter returns to the English estate for her father's funeral, and discovers a letter mentioning the mysterious Sofia. The journey she embarks on from this revelation will change lives and hearts alike in this winning story of the far-reaching ramifications of romance.

The Audiobook Shelf

Hachette Audio

David Thibodeau, Leon Whiteson and Aviva Layton's Waco: A Survivor's Story (9781478997760, $35.00) is narrated by Robert Fass and includes an epilogue read by Thibodeau himself as it comes from one of the Branch Davidian survivors who was the drummer for a local rock band when he met David Koresh. Thibodeau wasn't at all religious, but he nevertheless became a follower, moved into the Waco compound, and was there when the building was stormed and burned after over a month's standoff with authorities. His story, with its updated epilogue that includes other survivors of the event, offers a powerful survey into how intelligent people came to believe in Koresh's message and approach. The audio brings events to vivid life. Holly Black's The Cruel Prince (9781478923732, $25.00) is read by Caitlin Kelly, whose fine voice captures the story of Jude, who was seven when her parents are murdered and her sisters stolen to live in the High Court of Faerie. Ten years later she is still struggling with being a mortal who can't join them, for several reasons, but she has a plan that will involve deception, bloodshed, betrayal, and a dangerous series of moves that place moral and faerie kingdoms at odds with one another in an engrossing listen that's hard to leave. James Patterson's Home Sweet Murder (9781478995568, $20.00) is narrated by Peter Ganim, whose voice lends a somber and compelling accent to two true-crime thrillers. In Home Sweet Murder, a lawyer and his wife who open the door to an SEC agent and deadly danger. In Murder on the Run, a middle-aged housekeeper is murdered, and a little boy's parents are promised retribution as Detective Mois desperately tries to catch his killer. Both are engrossing listens that come to life in audio. Gary J. Byrne's Secrets of the Secret Service: The History and Uncertain Future of the U.S. Secret Service (9781478999928, $30.00) is written with Grant M. Schmidt and read by Pete Larkin, who lends a smooth and evocative tone to this engrossing insider's story of how the Secret Service operates, written by an officer who covers its history and security issues. Anyone who would learn more about the Secret Service will find this offers many compelling insights. Lindsay Ely's Gunslinger Girl (9781478923640, $30.00) is read by Christie Moreau and is presented by James Patterson, whose authority will increase interest in this riveting story of a girl who is a great shot, and who inherits a pair of six-shooters which will help cement her reputation as a fast draw. Serendipity leaves her farming commune to head west, with all its lawless attractions; there to gain fame as a sharpshooter in a theater where she meets a host of very different folk. A compelling Western emerges with quite a different flavor than the usual production.

The Cookbook Shelf

The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook
America's Test Kitchen Editors
America's Test Kitchen
9781945256066 $40.00

The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook packs in over six hundred recipes designed with couples in mind, and includes notes from the Test Kitchen about working with and handling ingredients, from avocados and alternatives to panini presses to buying, storing, and using Portobello mushrooms. The flavors included in this book are decidedly international in scope, from Greek-Style Lamb Pita Sandwiches or Linguine with Fresh Clam Sauce to Slow-Cooker Moroccan Chicken Stew. What really makes the cookbook shine is the blend of tested recipes, color photos, extensive notes on food preparation and ingredients, and an approach that assumes no prior knowledge in the kitchen in order to prove accessible to novices with little kitchen background.

Classic Food of Northern Italy
Anna Del Conte
c/o HarperCollins (distribution)
9781911595083 $35.00

Classic Food of Northern Italy presents cooks with a Northern Italian focus that at first glance might seem to mirror others on the market; but which holds a difference. Divided into ten regions, of which seven are the real Northern areas, this approach allows for a stronger local focus than most general Northern Italian cookbooks provide. Dishes such as Risotto with Gorgonzola, Apple Pudding, Rich Braised Beef, and more receive introductions that cover their history and importance to Italian culture. Add a liberal peppering of color photos throughout and you have a cookbook rich in detail that is easy to use and hard to put down.

The Science Shelf

Prometheus Books

David DiSalvo's What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite (9781633883499, $18.00) has been updated and revised and offers health, psychology and science readers alike a solid discussion of neuroscience and human thinking. Chapters consider why the brain's desires are often not what is best for it, and how 'happy' moves for brain health lead to errors and distortions which cloud thinking. The latest brain research is reflected in this updated revision, which considers everything from false memories to the latest neuroscientific discoveries about the brain. Toby Walsh's Machines That Think: The Future of Artificial Intelligence (9781633883758, $16.00) comes from a leading expert on artificial intelligence who here considers current technology and future progress of AI. From facial recognition and fundamental limits in AI development and science to how thinking machines will change human economics, Machines That Think offers a broad blend of scientific and social perspective and is a 'must for anyone concerned about artificial intelligence's potentials and pitfalls.

The Computer Shelf

The GIS 20: Essential Skills, third edition
Gina Clemmer
ESRI Press
9781589485129 $49.99

The third updated edition of The GIS 20: Essential Skills is for any who have studied and absorbed the basics of the geography-based GIS mapping program of ArcGIS, and who want to apply GIS to work. Step-by-step dir3ections, illustrations, and tips on how to apply the top 20 skills needed from the GIS system help readers absorb the basics on how editing data and creating reports can directly apply to their professional efforts.

The Technology Shelf

Artech House

Two new releases are recommended acquisitions for electronics and technology reference holdings, offering the opportunity to absorb the latest discoveries and high-tech applications in two different fields. Those studying electromagnetics and antenna technology will welcome Alan J. Fenn's Electromagnetics and Antenna Technology (9781630813741, $159.00), which comes from a leading expert in the field and considers the basics of this technology. From new designs and models to tests, measurements, and the basics of electromagnetics and antennas, this includes the mathematical equations, charts, and technical references essential to understanding the latest developments in the field. Daniele Tosi and Guido Perrone's Fiber-Optic Sensors for Biomedical Applications (9781630811525, $169.00) is for engineering collections strong in medical device design and biomedical engineering technology, and provides a powerful overview of diagnostics, fiber optic sensing principles, standards for medical sensors and applications, and more. Biomed engineers and any working with these systems will find this book a technical treasure trove of information and science.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Between the Physician and the Patient
Dr. Gila Shilo & Dr. Lotan Shilo
Gefen Publishing
9789652299260 $19.95

Between the Physician and the Patient: Issues in Medical Writing surveys the organization, information verification and gathering process, and writing key to producing strong medical documents, from admission notes and discharge summaries to letters written by specialists, and is an important survey of the jargon, abbreviations, and challenges of medical terminology under various conditions. From directions on how to compose better documents to improving written communication to patients, this guides physicians, interns, nurses and other medical personnel and should be key to any medical library's reference collection.

The Education Shelf


Four new guides for educators provide an excellent compendium of professional topics and research-supported ideas, and are recommended as basic texts for any educational collection. Ken O'Connor's fourth edition of How to Grade for Learning: Linking Grades to Standards (9781506334158, $38.95) provides eight specific guidelines for good grading processes and covers each in depth, pairing the latest research on brain learning and motivation with discussions of why and how to apply standards-based grading. Nearly fifty educator contributions from a wide range of practices enter into the discussion, offering information on everything from eliminating traditional grading approaches to exercises for applying tools. Joellen Killion's Assessing Impact: Evaluating Professional Learning (9781506395951, $42.95) appears in its third updated edition to examine the basics of creating high-impact professional learning programs. Administrators and school improvement teams, in particular, will relish the specifics about changes in federal and state policies about educator development, the ideas for applying data sets to better measurement processes, and the insights on how to use data-driven professional learning programs to best effect. Michael W. Smith and Jon-Philip Imbrenda's Developing Writers of Argument: Tools & Rules That Sharpen Student Reasoning (9781506354330, $33.95) pairs some twenty lesson plans that make argument writing relevant with instructions on how to choose, create, teach and apply simulated texts to address different points of view. Questions designed to encourage argumentation and lessons that teach its three basic elements are supplemented by writing examples from the authors' own students, making this a powerful presentation. Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano and Janet A. Hale's A Guide to Documenting Learning (9781506385570, $34.95) provides a focus on qualifying modern learning's basic principles and systems, focusing on capturing, reflecting, sharing and amplifying processes and understanding how these apply to learning and insights. How educators handle each phase makes all the difference in encouraging meaningful engagement, and this explains these different documentation processes, their systems, and how documentation in classrooms can lead to better learning paths.

The Women's Studies Shelf

The Pinks
Chris Enss
c/o Rowman & Littlefield
9781493008339 $16.95

The Pinks: The First Women Detectives, Operatives, and Spies with the Pinkerton National Detective Agency is recommended for history, women's issues, and sociology holdings with a special interest in law enforcement as it surveys the Pinkerton Detective Agency and the true stories surrounding the first woman detective in America and those who came after her. Chapters capture feats of courage, daring, and historical import as they follow female agents who pursue justice and whose exploits added to American history and early struggles for justice. No women's history collection should be without this lively, important survey.

All the Women in My Family Sing
Deborah Santana, Editor
Nothing But the Truth, LLC
9780997296211 $16.95

All the Women in My Family Sing: Women Write the World - Essays on Equality, Justice, and Freedom stems from a call for submissions from women of color, who were invited to discuss their world experiences and ways of expressing themselves, and provides a collection as diverse in scope and voice as its nearly seventy contributors. From one woman's role models of Sojourner Truth and other powerful women to another's legacy of a secret tattoo and how she chose to proudly display her heritage, these essays on equality, justice and freedom discuss many roads to social, political, and economic freedom, and make for an engrossing collection that rings with authentic and diverse perspectives.

The Aviation Shelf

Testbeds, Motherships & Parasites
Frederick A. Johnsen
Specialty Press
9781580072410 $32.95

Testbeds, Motherships & Parasites: Astonishing Aircraft from the Golden Age of Flight Test fills a void in writings about rare flight test aircraft, and provides aviation collections and their readers with a rare, specific focus on various launch vehicles and planes converted to use as laboratories and measuring devices for the industry. All aspects of these various crafts, their history and use, and their makeup are contained in a detailed survey that will reach both aviation experts and modelers and history buffs alike, covering the design and technology of planes modified for airborne test work. It's surprising to note the lack of prior books and the scattered information on this subject, which makes Testbeds, Motherships & Parasites: Astonishing Aircraft from the Golden Age of Flight Test an especially notable achievement that should be included in any serious aviation reference library.

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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