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The Bookwatch

Volume 14, Number 8 August 2019 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Writing/Publishing Shelf Education Shelf
Needlecraft Shelf Cookbook Shelf Western Fiction Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Self-Help Shelf Martial Arts Shelf Technology Shelf
Computer Shelf LGBT Studies Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

The Way of Forgiveness
Michael Leach,
Orbis Books
9781626983229, $18.00

The Way of Forgiveness: Readings for a Peaceful Life gathers stories from C.S. Lewis, Dorothy Day, Mary Oliver, Anne Lamott, and many others on the topic of forgiveness, providing a diverse collection of scenarios and perspectives as it surveys the finer art of giving forgiveness under a variety of situations. From showing mercy to evolving a friendship and responding powerfully to a given situation, this collection offers many insights on the different paths towards forgiveness and is a top recommendation for self-help and self-improvement readers who would learn by example.

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Set the Page on Fire
Steve O'Keefe
New World Library
9781608686117, $15.95

Set the Page on Fire: Secrets of Successful Writers began as a four-year road trip author O'Keefe undertook, videotaping interviews with hundreds of published authors across the country. Some were quite famous; others were local celebrities or literary festival winners. All introduced their secrets to written success for this book, which synthesizes their insights into a succinct advice guide that includes the basic admonition to write as fast as possible and worrying about cleaning up any problems later. The result is packed with details on writing the best, most lively pieces possible no matter what the genre, and will inspire readers to become 'unstuck' and put pen to paper for more effective results.

The Education Shelf

Straddling Class in the Academy
Sonja Ardoin and Becky Martinez
Stylus Publishing
9781620367407, $29.95

Straddling Class in the Academy: 26 Stories of Students, Administrators, and Faculty from Poor and Working-Class Backgrounds and Their Compelling Lessons for Higher Education Policy and Practice belongs in any collection strong in educator resources, offering firsthand stories designed to help students and teachers better understand their own diverse classrooms. Models of success are accompanied by narratives from students and administrators that discuss some of the basic challenges of poor and working-class attendees, offering discussions which address racism, class bias, and more in the educational process. No administrator or education holding should be without this candid collection of insights.

The Needlecraft Shelf

Quilts of Love and Valor
Becky A. Wright
Martingale & Company
9781604689983, $25.99

Quilts of Love and Valor: Reproduction Quilts and an Authentic Civil War Love Story was inspired by the letters of Jacob and Emeline Ritner, a husband and wife separated by the Civil War. Her quilt patterns based on these stories of battle, the home front, and love pair excerpts from the letters with lovely reproduction quilts, creating a fine set of projects that bring history to life. Full-page, full-color images of each finished quilt is accompanied by smaller examples of in-progress methods to make for an appealing project guide with the added bonus of historical precedent.

The Cookbook Shelf

Food and Wine
Jude's Ice Cream & Desserts
Chow and Alex Mezger
Kyle Books
9780857836345, $19.99

Jude's Ice Cream & Desserts: Scoops, Bakes, Shakes, and Sauces gathers recipes from the U.K.'s Jude's ice cream shop founders, and offers insights on how to make both the ice cream base and ice cream desserts from them. Recipes are accompanied by tips for success, include considerations such as the level of sweetness for children, as in Summer Fruit Swirl Lollies, and move from the usual ice cream cakes and pops to innovations such as a Watermelon and Strawberry Granita or Cocoa and Almond Milk Ice Cream Sandwiches. The result is a delicious blend of healthy fare and desserts which are both ice cream based and reflect seasonal ripe produce: a nice alternative to the usual ice cream recipe collection.

The Western Fiction Shelf

Shadow Warrior
J.C. Gotcher
9781493039272, $18.95

Shadow Warrior: A Novel of the Old West tells of a wagon train scout who runs into Apaches who go after him. As 'Shadow' the scout then begins to hunt the Indians in turn, a cat-and-mouse game ensues which leads to danger and intrigue as it captures the atmospheres and sentiments of the Old West and race relations between Native Americans and white explorers. J.C. Gotcher's attention to detail and background lend to an absorbing tale that is hard to put down, imparting a dual sense of history and fictional adventure.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Death in Kew Gardens
Jennifer Ashley
9780399587900, $15.00

Death in Kew Gardens tells of scholar Li Bai Chang, who presents a young cook with a rare box of tea. When Lady Cynthia's neighbor, an expert in Chinese customs, is murdered, Mr. Li is implicated in the crime, and it's up to Kat and Daniel to follow a puzzling trail of clues from one end of London to another. The first-person intrigue is nicely described and captures history and mystery in a fine presentation that will intrigue and delight genre fans looking for an absorbing, fun read.

Crashing Heat
Richard Castle
c/o Disney Book Group
9781368040525, $26.99

Crashing Heat follows a case that hits too close to home when Nikki Heat's investigation of a coed's murder on campus leads to her own husband as a suspect in the case. Admittedly, her husband infuriates her too often, but she also loves him and would do almost anything to protect him, as she has in the past. But can she protect his reputation and her marriage when the victim is found in his bed? This powerful story of a career and marriage on the rocks is a compelling read that murder mystery readers and fans of psychological tension will find hard to put down. It delves deeply into related issues of trust, motive, and relationship conundrums as it presents spunky Nikki's determination to salvage what is left of her life after events spiral into near insanity, making for a mystery which is quite a cut above most genre reads.

Murder, She Wrote: Murder in Red
Jessica Fletcher & Jon Land
Berkley Prime Crime
9780451489333, $25.00

Murder, She Wrote: Murder in Red adds another volume to a bestselling series based on the TV series, the 49th book in a long-running series. Jessica Fletcher is the heroine of her own book, and is the detective in yet another crime when a new hospital in town seems to be involved in something shady. When Jessica's friend Mimi never leaves the private hospital, and nobody can explain exactly what happened, Jessica becomes involved in an investigation that goes beyond medical malpractice and into realms she'd never expected.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Oath of Gold
Elizabeth Moon
Baen Books
9781481483995, $16.00

Oath of Gold is the third book in Elizabeth Moon's Deed of Paksenarrion series, and tells of a girl who rebels at the thought of marrying a rural farmer and runs away from home to be a soldier. Can a sheepfarmer's daughter become a legendary hero, destined by the gods to save others and even to defy the very gods who have predicted her rise to power? This book continues to turn out a rich, action-packed story which will especially appeal to fans of the prior series titles. Paks remains a spunky, enlightened, determined young woman who just may have bitten off more than she can chew in a quest which tests her limits in this engrossing addition to the series.

The Audiobook Shelf

Hachette Audio

Three audio presentations are recommended for audiobook listeners looking for summer standouts. George F. Will's The Conservative Sensibility (9781549148682, $40.00) is read by Peter Ganim, who adds a clear and involving voice to bring to life this detailed, complex survey of the history and tenants of American conservatism. From the early Founding Fathers' vision to today's challenges to true conservatism, readers will relish an in-depth survey that leaves no historical or political perspective unexamined. Tom O'Neill and Dan Piepenbring's Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties (9781549175770, $35.00) is read by Kevin Stillwell, who gives this narrative a clear and detailed tone as it considers what really happened in 1969 when the followers of Charles Manson murdered seven people. Twenty years ago, journalist Tom O'Neill as assigned to review these much-reported events. He unearthed evidence of a cover-up behind the story that holds more questions as well as more insights, making for a powerful re-consideration of everything known about the murders that comes to life in this audio. Dan Schilling and Lori Chapman Longfritz's Alone At dawn (9781549175640, $35.00) is narrated by Kiff Vandenheuvel and Betsy Foldes-Meiman, whose dual effort contributes to a vivid presentation of the story of John Chapman and the deadliest Special Operations Force that led to his receipt of a Medal of Honor. Chapman saved the lives of his SEAL teammates and then engaged two dozen fighters to save an incoming rescue squad. His life and efforts as well as the Air Force Combat Controllers are explored in a hard-hitting listen especially recommended for military history enthusiasts. All are engrossing, revealing audios.

The Self-Help Shelf

I Will Teach You to Be Rich, second edition
Ramit Sethi
9781523505746, $15.95

It might feel unusual to readers to see what looks like a how-to business book about money appear under the 'self-help' heading, but Ramit Sethi's book isn't just about financial riches alone. His role as a money expert lends to personal finance advise, to be sure, but the bigger picture of financial freedom ultimately leads to happiness and satisfaction, and so I Will Teach You to Be Rich follows through and expands upon the discussion of different kinds of wealth. On the 10th anniversary of the original book's publication comes this revision and update, with its added focus on building a rich life where money equates to not just wealth, but meaning and generosity. Highly recommended as a unique approach to money which goes beyond the usual focus on wealth management.

The Martial Arts Shelf

The Shotokan Karate Dictionary
Quill Driver Books
9781610353380, $29.95

The Shotokan Karate Dictionary: Japanese Technical Terms Used in Karate is recommended for martial arts, sports, and reference collections alike, and provides a unique guide that pairs color photos of karate stances and techniques with English definitions of karate terms key to the practice of karate-do. By combining insights into karate routines and movements with a Japanese/English translation which includes a pronunciation guide and calligraphy capturing the Japanese kanji for each term, students receive a clear connection between language, culture, and martial arts that is unparalleled in its approach.

The Technology Shelf

Lithium-Ion Battery Failures
Ashish Arora,
Artech House
9781630816032, $139.00

Lithium-Ion Battery Failures is recommended for electronics reference collections and system designers, and provides an in-depth reference on lithium ion battery applications and typical causes of failures. From energy storage subsystem requirements and common failure issues to industry standards specific to lithium-ion storage systems that are intrinsic to their design, Lithium-Ion Battery Failures is packed with tables and charts, equations, discussions of testing, and surveys of conversion methods and other battery systems. The result is a detailed, information-packed discussion highly recommended as a basic desk reference.

The Computer Shelf

TensorFlow Pocket Primer
Oswald Campesato
Mercury Learning/Stylus Publishing
9781683923640, $34.95

TensorFlow Pocket Primer introduces readers to TensorFlow 1x basics for machine learning algorithms, and is designed to be an introduction used either to supplement a course or for self-learning. It uses Python to cover code examples, assumes limited experience and background in the subject, and comes with supporting reference files containing all source code examples as a download from the publisher. From Cloud-based platforms to useful components of TensorFlow and their real-world applications, this primer will get anyone up and running in the shortest amount of time possible.

The LGBT Studies Shelf

QT: The Queeriodic Table
Harriet Dyer
9781786857521, $13.99

QT: The Queeriodic Table: A Celebration of LGBTQ+ Culture is a whimsical small gift book that pairs elements in the periodic table with a celebration of LGBTQ lifestyles, and offers a fun review that is also surprisingly practical. From a current glossary of terms on LGBTQ language and definitions to a timeline of world events in queer culture and stories of queer pioneers and heroes, this ranges from history and linguistics to art, literature, and popular cultural landmarks, creating a lively blend of quotes and insights perfect for LGBTQ-connected communities and individuals.

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Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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