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The Bookwatch

Volume 12, Number 12 December 2017 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Cookbook Shelf American History Shelf
Photography Shelf Science Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Technology Shelf Beer/Wine/Spirits Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Aviation Shelf Criminology Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

The Abu Dhabi Bar Mitzvah
Adam Valen Levinson
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9780393608366 $25.95

The Abu Dhabi Bar Mitzvah: Fear and Love in the Modern Middle East tells of the author's life in 2010, when he graduated from college and obtained a job in Abu Dhabi as a program coordinator for New York University in Abu Dhabi. In the next eighteen months he would visit thirteen Middle Eastern countries, making use of his college Arabic and exploring Muslim lands that are most commonly in American newspaper headlines for their violence and unrest. His road trips led him to Oman, Taliban regions of Afghanistan, Aleppo, and more, and his penchant for courting danger and understanding Islam and Muslim nations makes for an engrossing blend of travelogue, cultural inspection, and the type of understanding of world dangers and possibilities that is rarely seen these days. His vivid descriptions, encounters, and insights make for a highly recommended survey that's hard to put down and will find a special place in any collection seeking to explore and expose modern Muslim lifestyles and culture.

The Cookbook Shelf

Vegan Richa's Everyday Kitchen
Richa Hingle
Vegan Heritage Press
P.O. Box 628, Woodstock, VA 22664-0628
9781941252390 $24.95

Vegan Richa's Everyday Kitchen: Epic Anytime Recipes with a World of Flavor pairs easy-to-make recipes with everyday ingredients and nearly forty of the author's make-ahead sauces to provide busy cooks with a wide range of options. This creates an unusual cookbook and format, such as an awesome recipe for a Laksa Curry Paste filled with herbs, spices, and nuts that produces an accompanying Laksa Curry Soup, filled with vegetables, lime juice, and more. International influences reach around the globe to add Moroccan, Turkish, Indian, and Ethiopian flavors into the mix, creating a vegan cookbook bursting with flavor and innovations.

The American History Shelf

Revolution Song
Russell Shorto
W.W. Norton
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
97803493245547 $28.95

Revolution Song: A Story of American Freedom presents American history through a focus on six characters of the American Revolution: George Washington, elitist Lord George Germain, who viewed unprecedented opportunities in the war environment, Seneca tribal leader Kayethwahkeh, Margaret Coghlan, daughter of a British officer, a newfound politician, Abraham Yates, and Broteer Furro (aka Venture Smith), who was kidnapped from Africa, enslaved in New York, and who became a free man who fought his own battle for freedom. Diaries, letters, and autobiographies of these individuals provides the foundation for a refreshingly different American Revolution history: one that approaches events from very different perspectives and experiences to create a version of the revolution that is not to be seen elsewhere.

The Photography Shelf

Night Vision
Susan Tyler Hitchcock
National Geographic Press
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
9781426218521 $40.00

Night Vision: Magical Photographs of Life After Dark packs in over two hundred images curated by a National Geographic editor and author and covers not only natural wonders, but human activities after dark. At night, differences fall away. Humans join together, animals huddle or roam, and natural and human worlds change in the absence of sunlight. The range of these lovely full-page color photos is extraordinary: from rooftop water towers to flowers, birds, and landscapes, Night Vision embraces nocturnal beauty and presents it in a manner that celebrates nature and the powers of night-time photographic efforts. The lavish and gorgeous color throughout makes for a highly recommended pick.

The Science Shelf

Blockbuster Science
David Siegel Bernstein
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781633883697 $24.00

Blockbuster Science: The Real Science in Science Fiction is written by a data scientist and science fiction writer who reviews basic science principles in popular sci-fi books, movies, and television. His book will reach any who have an affection for the genre and the scientific concepts upon which it rests, from Orson Scott Card's Ender series and movies ranging from Planet of the Apes to star Trek to TV shows. From the potentials of artificial intelligence and the physics of TV adventures involving black holes to different types of possible intelligence, Blockbuster Science's lively, scientific approach will appeal to any who enjoy popular shows and thought-provoking discussions.

The Audiobook Shelf

Hachette Audio
1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104

Sandra Brown's Seeing Red (9781478916826, $35.00) benefits from actor Victor Slezak's engrossing, dramatic reading as it tells of Kerra Bailey, a TV journalist in search of a story who uncovers the reason why a heroic Major has dropped out of the public eye. Her prove reveals something dangerous and simmering in this engrossing story. James Patterson and Richard DiLallo's The Store (9781478938811, $35.00) is read by Graham Halstead, whose evocative voice lends passion and purpose to this haunting story of the secretive Store and what happens when two undercover investigators writing an expose of the mysterious Store find their lives and those of their loved ones are endangered. At some point there's no other choice but to go forward even if everything is threatened. The story is powerfully rendered and hard to stop listening to.

The Technology Shelf

Artech House
685 Canton Street, Norwood, MA 02062

Two fine new references are picks for collections strong in technological advancements and systems management. Moe Rahnema and Marcin Dryjanski's From LTE to LTE-Advanced Pro and 5G (9781630814533, $139.00) adds to a mobile communications series with a survey that covers LTE systems from basics to advanced network planning and optimization, and considers the latest updates, standardization challenges, performance challenges, and planning for network systems and architectural applications for data and voice services. Tables of information, mathematical equations, and discussions of power controls are only a few of the many topics that professionals will find specific and well-detailed. John Erik Hagen's Implementing e-Navigation (9781630810993, $149.00) provides a rare and in-depth look at global e-navigation systems, covering in depth the new technology, security and navigation challenges it poses to commercial shipping and maritime efforts. From performance gaps and analysis systems to e-navigation problems, solutions and standards, readers will find the new concepts and resources cover everything from cyber security to communications and technical details, making it an excellent and unique survey no maritime collection should be without.

The Beer/Wine/Spirits Shelf

Straight Up
Joel Harrison & Neil Ridley
Mitchell Beazley
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9781784722739 $19.99

Straight Up: The Insider's Guide to the World's Most Interesting Bars and Drinking Experiences covers over five hundred bars and comes from experts around the world who review them. These range from glitzy, expensive rooftop places to converted bathhouses, a classy speakeasy, office block and apartment building establishments, and more. Small color photos accompany descriptions of brew bars, lounge bars, and others from Africa to Asia. No recipes, but the enticing descriptions and in-depth drinking establishment insights will appeal to any who enjoy food and drink.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Genius Plague
David Walton
c/o Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781633883437 $14.95

The Genius Plague tells of Neil, who is a new code breaker in the NSA facing the disappearance of his brother in the Amazon jungle. Paul does return - but with a gap in his memory and a condition that leads him to increased memory and special abilities. Something is happening in the jungles of South America that could change mankind: an illness that actually increases intelligence. How could that be bad? As Neil investigates, he discovers an underlying and deadly secret involving government collusion and danger, all centered around a fungus which may push humans into the next stage of their evolution in a dangerous new world. The engrossing blend of sci-fi and thriller is hard to put down and highly recommended for genre readers seeking a crossover title that offers something quite different.

Star Trek Discovery: Desperate Hours
David Mack
Gallery Books
c/o Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
9781501164576 $16.00

A human woman raised among Vulcans is promoted to acting first officer aboard a starship headed by a female Captain, and must prove her prowess in her position if she's to keep it. There are many opportunities as the Starship Shenzhou faces attacks and an ancient alien threat, and an increasingly desperate Starfleet that realizes it may have to begin sacrificing some of its own to survive at all. Burnham must infiltrate the alien ship, and faces her own personal struggles in the process of protecting everything she owes allegiance to in this powerful new Star Trek story featuring powerful female characters.

Iron Angels
Eric Flint and Alistair Kimble
Baen Books
PO Box 1188, Wake Forest NC 27588
9781481482561 $25.00

Iron Angels pairs an FBI investigation with a mystery that holds supernatural overtones as a strange kidnapping case leads to cult warfare and horrors that are escaping into the world. Agent Jasper Wilde discovers that this is an old evil long repressed, now come to life, and they only have limited resources and time to be sure it doesn't change the world. From the tough road of a female investigator to strange and powerful forces that seem impervious to any control, Iron Angels creates a gripping blend of mystery, horror, and sci-fi that crosses genres to appeal to a wide audience.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

The Best American Mystery Stories 2017
John Sandford
c/o Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544949089 $15.99

John Sandford guest edits a fine edition adding to Houghton Mifflin's 'best of' mystery series, offering twenty new short stories with varied themes and approaches to the genre. From Brendon Dubois's story of a man who avenges his dead wife to works by such notable names as Jeffrey Deaver and Loren Estleman, this collection represents a truly superior gathering of authors, works, and diverse themes in the mystery genre, creating a powerful collection that will delight those who look for well-crafted, literary themes.

Ghost on the Case
Carolyn Hart
Berkley Prime Crime
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780451488565 $26.00

Ghost on the Case provides a fine Bailey Ruth ghost story as it presents a new case faced by the crime-fighting ghost Bariley Ruth. Her latest case involves a woman who has received a ransom demand for her sister, and who is required to partake in a crime to save her. Bailey faces a conundrum in that her heaven-sent purpose isn't in line with the events she faces. Can Bailey employ her P.I. stills to save the day and figure out who arranged the kidnapping? As snatching turns into murder, Bailey becomes increasingly involved in Susan's life and her own purpose in it in another satisfying ghost-powered conundrum.

The Bloody Black Flag
Steve Goble
Seventh Street Books
c/o Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228
9781633883598 $15.95

The Bloody Black Flag tells of Spider John Rush, who operates on a pirate ship in 1722 off the American coast. He never wanted to be a pirate, but survival dictated the rules, and he and Ezra face death daily. He never expected his mate to be murdered by a shipmate - and it's a whodunit mystery with quite a different setting and motive. Spider is determined to locate the killer against all odds in this gripping saga that's highly recommended for murder mystery fans seeking a more literary piece with a stronger and stranger historical background than most.

The Aviation Shelf

1001 Aviation Facts
Mike Machat, Editor
Specialty Press
99 Spring Street, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10012
9781580072441 $24.95

1001 Aviation Facts gathers little-known facts about aviation history in a title that comes from experienced aviation writers and experts in a range of fields, who offer important facts arranged by category, from military and civilian aviation history to sport aviation, aviation personalities and movies, and even hobbyists who build plane replicas. Peppered with vintage black and white photos throughout, this is a powerful survey that will prove fun trivia reading for anyone with any interest in aviation history.

The Criminology Shelf

The Anatomy of Evil
Michael H. Stone, MD
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781633883352 $18.00

Readers of psychology and social issues who want to explore the idea of evil personalities and behaviors in society will relish the approach of Dr. Stone in The Anatomy of Evil. He documents a hierarchy of evil behavior, basing this on the biographies of some 600 violent criminals, and discusses two primary personality traits common to these individuals - narcissism and aggression. While his discussion could have been limited to the psychology alone, his wider survey of the causes of evil's development and its impact on the justice system and society as a whole offers important insights into how deadly patterns turn into psychopathic behaviors that impact individuals and societies alike. This powerful discussion makes for a fine pick for classrooms and debate groups and offers a wider-ranging inspection than readers might anticipate.

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