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The Bookwatch

Volume 16, Number 8 August 2021 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Music Shelf Technology Shelf
Aviation Shelf Business Shelf Sports Shelf
Biography Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Living With Less Stuff
Maria Ward, M.A.
Independently Published
9781734896213, $9.95

Living With Less Stuff is a game plan directed towards older adults and retirees who find themselves laden with too much material wealth. Its specific approach to an older audience facing not just a little clutter, but a lifetime of collecting and accumulation, addresses more major problems than comparative literature on the topic of getting organized.

Chapters cover everything from purse organization and reducing kitchen clutter to organizing prescriptions, paperwork, garages, and filing cabinet contents. This wide-ranging discussion embraces the idea of creating and sticking to a routine that lends to better organizing and time management overall, tackling the potentially overwhelming task of identifying what's important to keep or maintain and what is not. The techniques here have been tried and tested, in that they come from inherently-well-organized Maria Ward's own models for putting life and stuff in its place.

Maintaining a weekly pill case, gifting former treasures to relatives and friends, setting up patterns for simplifying home maintenance, and scaling down house contents to items that are truly loved and needed are just a few of the many techniques Ward promotes for reducing clutter. To help those facing an overwhelming lifetime of accumulation, she breaks her advice into starting points and more advanced organizational methods. Living With Less Stuff is an accessible, inviting guide to not just throwing away and reorganizing, but changing the very habits that led to the situation in the first place, to prevent them from happening again. Seniors will appreciate the age-specific advice that encourages them to take the first step in redoing their lives for simpler, easier, more gratifying surroundings.

The Music Shelf

Timekeeper: My Life in Rhythm
Howard Grimes with Preston Lauterbach
Devault Graves Books
9781942531401, $9.99 Kindle

Howard Grimes was a celebrated Memphis house drummer during the rise of Stax Records and the Memphis sound, and drummed behind some of the biggest acts of his times. Co-writer Preston Lauterbach's literary career began in 2006, when his research into black Memphis music history lead to a determination to get to know some of these iconic figures before they, too, passed away. Timekeeper: My Life in Rhythm joins their lives to provide a revealing probe of the evolution of music at Stax and Hi, the two major Memphis soul record companies, using a blend of Howard Grimes' experiences and Lauterbach's research to create a full-flavored music history. Grimes cultivates a gritty, revealing tone that contrasts past and present music environments. As he walks readers through these bygone years, Memphis and its musicians come to life.

It's rare that a single life so intrinsically entwines with the evolutionary process of musical culture and creation, capturing not just a singular ambition or success story, but the paths and creations of a unique musical moment in history. Timekeeper is a strong piece as highly recommended for newcomers to Memphis soul music history as it is for prior fans already knowledgeable about Howard Grimes and his achievements.

The Technology Shelf

Machine Learning Applications in Electromagnetics and Antenna Array Processing
Manel Martinez-Ramon,
Artech House
685 Canton Street, Norwood, MA 02062
9781630817756, $189.00

Machine Learning Applications in Electromagnetics and Antenna Array Processing is recommended for college-level and professional connections strong in electromagnetic analysis, and discusses the trends, methods, and applications of machine learning for a variety of electronic disciplines and purposes. A range of experts contribute to this overviews, which includes not just definitions and processes but basic principles and how they are applied in the real world of electromagnetics and antenna optimization. From the latest research to algorithms for success, functions, properties, and basic concepts of deep learning are supported by math, charts, and diagrams that go far in illustrating machine learning basics for all levels.

Reconfigurable Antenna Design and Analysis
Mohammod Ali
Artech House
685 Canton Street, Norwood, MA 02062
9781630817077, $169.00

Reconfigurable Antenna Design and Analysis belongs in any collection strong in antenna design, configuration, and modern communications and radar systems, offering a basic review of antenna construction, common obstacles and considerations, and performance concerns. The basics of antenna design specs and best practices are accompanied by charts, diagrams, and insights into different types of antenna operations in an overview which will particularly attract students of basic scanning and array technology. The result is a primer that covers all basics, best practices, and the latest antenna design possibilities in a reference that will serve as both a refresher course for those with some existing knowledge and an introduction for newcomers to the topic.

The Aviation Shelf

Building the B-17 Flying Fortress
Bill Yenne
Specialty Press
838 Lake St. S., Forest Lake, MN 55025
9781580072717, $34.95

Building the B-17 Flying Fortress: A Detailed Look at Manufacturing Boeing's Legendary World War II Bomber in Original Photos belongs in any World War II, military, or aviation history collection, employing not only photos but original drawings to provide a manufacturing history of the combat aircraft in satisfying detail. Those already well familiar with the history of this extraordinary craft might wonder at the need for yet another book on the topic, but anyone familiar with the existing literature will quickly recognize that the attention to detail here is unparalleled. Hundreds of factory-original, close-up photos and illustrations compliment reproductions of original Boeing drawings and an in-depth explanation that no other B-17 coverage can claim. Its authority and illustrative value makes Building the B-17 Flying Fortress a standout reference for a variety of holdings.

The Business Shelf

The Goal Driven Business
Edward W. Petty
New Insights Press
9781735934433, $18.00

The Goal Driven Business: A New Business-Building Methodology That is Simpler, Faster, More Profitable and Fun than Whatever You Are Doing Now -- Especially for Professional Practices is an uplifting guide that connects business pursuits to personal satisfaction in a manner few professional or self-help titles achieve, and is highly recommended for practices and small businesses who want a better business-building model. It comes from Edward Petty's 35 years' experience of honing a methodology that streamlines and systemizes a new way of achieving goals that can be customized to apply to a wide variety of practices and has led to the creation of his new venture,

One might ask: aren't all businesses goal-driven? Surprisingly, the answer is no (although it should be a firm 'yes'). That's because too many business managers and owners experience a disconnect between their personal objectives and lives and their business, which seems to take on a life (and goals) of its own simply through the rigors of daily management processes. Chapters re-link the two, beginning with an introduction that helps business managers identify their personal, individual goals within the business framework. More than an ethereal self-examination, this important section introduces "20 big shifts" in attitude and approach which are expanded upon in later chapters, and which are key to making real game-changing decisions in how a business is run.

Follow-up chapters discuss, in depth, the five stages of business development, the definition of a Goal Driven System and how it differs from the typical business structure, and its 23 basic principles (derived from years of research, observation) and real-world business approaches proven to be successful. At every juncture, Edward W. Petty cements concept to exercises, internal and external processes and procedures, and discussions of how this system diverges from the typical business management approach. The result is a very specific, pragmatic approach that will require an organized, detail-oriented, and committed business leader to fully appreciate its objectives and strategies.

The Goal Driven Business promises rewards for those who make the decision to absorb its principles and apply them to their own goals and business vision. It's an approach that is highly recommended for any collection strong in business management and any business leader committed to change.

The Sports Shelf

Skateboard History of the Rinky Dink
John P. Boyle
Independently Published
9781700379214, $5.50 Paper/$1.99 Kindle

Skateboard History of the Rinky Dink offers a narrow focus on the development of the Rinky Dink skateboard in the 1960s, and will delight skateboarders of all ages who harbor an interest in skateboard history and development. In contrast to the usual focus on Southern California's focal point in this history, John P. Boyle expands his survey to focus on how his skateboard concept was marketed throughout the country, and how it entered into popular youth culture to become a coveted item. From the first national ads offering skateboards for sale from 28-year-old entrepreneur Johnny to how his innovative manufacturing venture took off and captured the imagination of youth around the country, John P. Boyle adopts a chatty tone and revealing approach to the history. This invites even non-skateboard readers to become absorbed in the overall process of developing and marketing a creative business idea.

More than just a history of the Rinky Dink's development, however, this slim survey packs in a punch with its inviting review of how author John P. Boyle's dream became a manufacturing reality, changing the nature of skateboarding itself. The author manufactured and sold over a million Rinky Dink skateboards, but in 1961 he was still not taken seriously by those he approached with business opportunity suggestions. Nobody else is in the special position of this author to explore this particular process. No other book focuses on the Rinky Dink's development and marketing - but more importantly, no other book provides such a close inspection of the process. These elements make Skateboard History of the Rinky Dink recommended not just for sports collections, but business holdings looking to appeal to an audience of young innovators who harbor their own development dreams, and want to better understand the road that leads to success.

The Biography Shelf

Jungle Jean
Geralyn Gendreau
Precision House Publications
9781736791417, $19.95

Jean Liedloff lived with indigenous tribes in the Amazon rainforest in 1950s and 60s. Her observations led to her write The Continuum Concept, which still holds a powerful place in educator and sociology studies decades later. Her theories about early parent/child connections with mother's body during infancy led to key changes in how parent/child relationships are fostered. It seems unlikely that such a lifestyle and such a powerful theory could stem from a Manhattan socialite, but Liedloff was no ordinary society girl. Particularly intriguing is her pattern of distancing from relationships even as she explored the foundations of the most central relationship of all, living with and befriending indigenous peoples.

With Liedloff's full cooperation, Geralyn Gendreau explored this lifelong resistance to intimacy both with her subject and in this authorized biography. This becomes a subplot in the book, increasing the strength of the story. The friendship between these two women makes for a fascinating note and a book that could not have been as well-detailed and explored by an outsider. Jungle Jean reads with the drama of a novel. This will particularly delight biography readers who might have anticipated a dry, fact-filled account. Gendreau's ability to inject life into the biography makes for a particularly engrossing, insight-packed discussion that embraces not just details, but Liedloff's underlying motivation and the influences on life.

Combine this attention to detail with the personal touches and descriptive flair of a writer who was both intellectually and emotionally involved with her subject makes for a thoroughly engrossing read. The book is very accessible not just to those familiar with Liedloff's pioneering work, but to newcomers to her world who seek solidly compelling reads about adventurous, influential women. Jungle Jean is very highly recommended for parenting, sociology, anthropology, women's biography, and general-interest collections alike!

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Baen Books
P.O. Box 1188, Wake Forest, NC 27588

These new Baen titles are top picks for sci-fi readers.

T.C. McCarthy's Tyger Bright (9781982125172, $16.00) will appeal to readers of space opera and action-oriented tales and tells of San Kyarr, a novitiate in a secret holy order who is assigned the job of infiltrating mankind's alien enemy. The politics, competing factions, and challenges to San and her problems with humans and aliens alike come to life in a fast-paced story of struggle and adventure which is cemented by strong characterization and a story filled with satisfying twists and turns.

Dan Koboldt's Domesticating Dragons (9781982125110, $16.00) provides a whimsical story of a future in which all dogs are dead from plague. Their replacements? Dragons. Genetic engineer Noah has excited about his new job with Reptilian Corp, which wants to a place a dragon pet in every home. That is, until he discovers that the company and its motives may not be entirely clear. The whimsical blend of suspense, intrigue, and adventure that emerges will delight sci-fi and fantasy readers looking for something different.

A.C. Haskins's Blood and Whispers: A Soldier of the Arcanum (9781982125233, $16.00) tells of sorcerer Thomas Quinn, who has done many bad things during his centuries of life, and who is now settled as an occult bookstore owner. Two Philadelphia detectives tap him to solve a ritual murder, and now Quinn is charged with resuming his role as a Sorcerer of the Arcanum to face down those who would threaten human and magical worlds alike. As his struggles involve and ultimately threaten both worlds, Quinn has some difficult decisions to make about where his alliances truly lie, and how to change his life.

Wil McCarthy's To Crush the Moon (9781982125240, $16.00) is a novel set in the Queendom of Sol and tells of Conrad Mursk's return to Sol on a crippled shop, his crew refugees. Mursk is a thousand years older now, and he finds a vastly changed Sol that brings him into a desperate mission to crush the moon and save billions. As he undertakes the impossible, many worlds and his own people are on the line in this fast-paced sci-fi adventure, a story that proves hard to predict.

Charles E. Gannon and Robert E. Waters's 1636: Calabar's War (9781982125301, $16.00) is recommended reading for any who enjoy Eric Flint's ongoing Ring of Fire series of alternate history, providing a new adventure that centers on a military advisor of mixed blood who helps the Dutch hit Portuguese and Spanish concerns, branding Calabar as a traitor. When his family is captured, his choices are clear: sacrifice his family or help the Dutch end slavery. The moral and ethical quandaries of his decision will affect generations to come in this absorbing story of confrontation and historic transformation.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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