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The Bookwatch

Volume 19, Number 4 April 2024 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Parenting Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Gardening Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

New World Library

These new books from New World Library encourage mental health and relationship problem-solving thinking, using references that are pointed and easy to absorb.

Kelli Miller, LCSW's Love Hacks: Simple Solutions to Your Most Common Relationship Issues (9781608689088, $18.95) synthesizes relationship advice into small bites of wisdom, organizes these into chapters that outline the problem ("We Can't Trust Each Other After Infidelity" or "We Are Too Culturally Different"), and offers tips on fine-tuning communications, expectations, and the tipping points of problems which may seem insurmountable, but actually can benefit from further enlightenment about boundaries, perception, and communication.

Plenty of books have been written about mental health, but the specifically-targeted The College Student's Guide to Mental Health: Essential Wellness Strategies for Flourishing in College (9781608689019, $21.95) by Mia Nosanow, MA, LP narrows the focus and audience to college students and college life challenges. Licensed psychologist Nosanow tackles such subjects as building healthy friendships, how to observe without judgment, handling procrastination, and more, with a special eye to subjects college students will typically confront in the course of their education and becoming new adults.

Both of these new titles are highly recommended choices for general-interest libraries seeking hard-hitting, specific, yet succinctly accessible discussions that new generations can easily access and understand.

The Parenting Shelf

The Secret World of Children
Meri Wallace, LCSW
Precocity Press
9798989204328, $19.95 Paper/$9.99 ebook

The Secret World of Children: Understand Why Your Kids Behave the Way They Do reviews nine developmental reasons why kids behave and misbehave, explaining to parents the rudiments of belief systems, perceptions, and lessons that adults may have never thought of (or intended to pass on to their kids).

The purpose of this treatise is to not just explain, but explore the dimensions of such systems and teachings, helping parents understand the messages and impact of how they teach kids to handle common life issues from bullying to separation anxiety and daily routines. Each behavior receives a translation to real-world events that adults will readily understand, showing how to provide the type of encouragement and support that builds character and strong children.

Examples can be found in as simple an effort as showing a child how to iron a shirt: "Avoid perfectionism. When your child is ironing for the first time and is upset because there are many wrinkles left in the shirt, it's best to say, "Ironing is hard and you're just learning how to do it. We'll keep working on it together." If you expect perfection from your children and readily criticize their attempts telling them, "You didn't do it right. I'll do it myself," they feel inadequate and defeated, and may not try again.

Your words and attitude can be internalized by your children, and they might become their own worst critics." While the intended result is to encourage better parenting through example, Meri Wallace perhaps won't have intended the side benefit of outlining strategies and common reactions that resonate not only between adults and kids, but adults and their own peers. Her delineation of attitudes and examples inherent in life encounters will help adults better understand the roots of their own responses to life and others around them.

This makes The Secret World of Children not only an invaluable expose of children's behaviors and how they learn, but an exploration of adult patterns of action, reaction, and interaction with all ages. For these reasons and more, The Secret World of Children is highly recommended for new parents, those who want to learn more about how and why kids learn and react to life in certain ways, and their own roles and engrained lessons towards others. Libraries seeking parenting titles that go the extra mile in linking common reactions to life-long lessons, as well as book clubs interested in the psychology of relationships and modifying perceptions and attitudes for more positive, growth-oriented results, will find The Secret World of Children a winner.

The Cookbook Shelf

Kyle Books
c/o Octopus Books

Two new cookbooks from Kyle Books provide recipe titles both attractive and filled with versatile, appealing dishes not to be found elsewhere.

Nicky Corbishley's Kitchen Sanctuary Quick & Easy (9781804191002, $26.99) features a hundred recipes that can be created in 30 minutes or less. These are family-friendly creations, promoting healthy dishes from scratch without the demanding requirements of hours of cooking or prep work. A chapter of quick chicken recipes answers the typical question of a busy cook who has chicken and wants to use it in creative new ways. Examples of such dishes are Naan Chicken Tikka Pizza, a Chicken Salsa Bake, and stir-fried Black Pepper Chicken. Each dish is accompanied by a full-page facing colorful photo, introduced with at-a-glance information on prep and cook times and green sidebars of author 'pro tips' which provide insights on reheating for optimum make-ahead results.

Sarah Johnson's Fruitful (9781804191033, $34.99) stands out from other fruit cookbooks on the market by including a selection of savory recipes for using fruits in main dishes, as well as the usual dessert and jam offerings in most fruit cookbooks. Recipes for North African Lamb with Plums, Pan-Fried Duck Breast with Blackcurrants and Black Pepper, and Peach and Tomato Salsa are just a few of the savory dishes peppered within this fruit guide, which comes with dialogues about fruit pairings and use, and insights into what kinds of fruits work best in selected endeavors (and why).

Both of these new and thoroughly 'kitchen cook friendly' cookbooks are exceptional stand outs for any library seeking a blend of appealing photos and recipes.

The Gardening Shelf

Outside In
Sean A. Pritchard
Mitchell Beazley
c/o Octopus Books
9781784728854, $39.99

Outside In: A Year of Growing and Displaying pairs gardening objectives with interior design tools to make the most of designs that embrace the concept of year-round interior flower displays.

As garden designer Sean A. Pritchard moves through the process of growing for display, readers interested in both design and gardening will find a rich loam of new possibilities in pages that, themselves, feature extraordinary visual displays through full-page color flower photos.

From how to choose and display flowers to bulbs and specific flowers that feature special attributes (such as nasturtiums or autumn annuals), the lavish appeal of this title lies in not just its visual attractors, but in the promise that flower growing and display can be just as accessible to average readers as to interior design or gardening professionals.

All it takes is this book and an interest in growing and arranging flowers for year-round indoor displays.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Baen Books

Two new science fiction novels from Baen Books are top picks for readers that look for new arrivals from favorite authors.

Fans of Larry Correia will find Tower of Silence : Saga of the Forgotten Warrior (9781982193201, $18.00) adds to the series as it follows the raging winds of war, a vision of the Great Extermination, and the only hope for salvation which lies in fallen Protector Ashok Vadal's escape from a demon-protected prison to confront war and supernatural entities alike. Special interests entwine as Vadal challenges history and demons with a warrior's hand to not just facing demon attacks, but ultimately understanding their origins.

Eric Flint, Gorg Huff and Paula Goodlett's An Angel Called Peterbilt (9781982193195, $28.00) is the compelling saga of a temporal irregularity that sends a couple, their daughter, and a Peterbilt truck back in time a thousand years, along with another couple and part of a convenience store. Charged with making a new life in this alien world, the characters face hostility from natives convinced that this new and sudden community is the work of the devil, as well as a threat to the powers that keep order in their world. A thoroughly engrossing story evolves, perfect for readers who enjoyed Flint 's 1637 time-displacement series.

Both of these new titles from Baen Books are very highly recommended for prior fans who enjoyed each author's extensive previous lineups of successful sci-fi -- and as first introductions to these highly skilled science fiction authors.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Status Quo Thinking is Harming Your Health
Dr. Sarah Hallberg
Olio Media
9798989986101 $17.99

Status Quo Thinking is Harming Your Health: A Physician's Final Plea represents the late Dr. Sarah Hallberg's magnum opus, synthesizing her research and reflections on the American healthcare system which (she found as an insider and participant) worked as much against her healing efforts as they professed to support them.

Dr. Hallberg did more than chafe against these barriers to helping her patients. She opened a clinic in Indiana which refuted the common notion that a low-fat diet was essential for good health, observing concrete results in eliminating diabetes and other diet-related symptoms by adopting a low-carb, high-fat diet.

The contention that diabetes can be reversed by diet is not a new one. What is new, here, is the research and findings which indicate that the type of diet being promoted to manage the disease does little to actually cure it, placing the disease's management and stasis over a real solution.

The idea is simple: eat better and live longer. It's not a new notion, but one which has been vastly revised, here, where it expands to include not just issues of diet and health, but how the healthcare system as a whole does an injustice to patients with its focus on managing symptoms over finding real, lasting solutions.

Dr. Hallberg wrote her book while battling terminal cancer. She made a point of staying on the diet she was recommending to her patients, even though she did not share their symptoms, in the interests of staying fit and better understanding what her patients' struggles and experiences.

She is candid about presenting her naivety over the process of participating in research studies and their ultimate ability to help her patients, forthright about the joys of meeting personal and processional goals, and spirited and lively in her delivery:

"I was doing what I loved and felt as if I were helping lots of people, and working on methods that could help a substantially greater number."

Status Quo Thinking is Harming Your Health is much more than a physician's condemnation of systems that don't achieve their ultimate goals of good health. It's a lively memoir; a story of study, research, and blending these efforts with the bigger picture of supporting health routines and ideals; and a powerful consideration of medical attitudes and objectives. It will be especially pertinent reading for medical school students and classrooms debating the ultimate impact of health management systems and their underlying politics, goals, and influences.

Status Quo Thinking is Harming Your Health should be part of any collection appealing to medical personnel who hold a greater vision for a healthy future than traditional rote thinking and approaches to healthcare. It's also highly recommended for general-interest library collections concerned about healthcare approaches.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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Oregon, WI 53575-1129
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