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The Bookwatch

Volume 15, Number 12 December 2020 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Pets/Wildlife Shelf Technology Shelf
General Fiction Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Buddhist Sudies Shelf
Human Sexuality Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

Unicorn in the Woods
Gordon Pitts
Goose Lane
9781773101514, $29.95

Unicorn in the Woods: How East Coast Geeks and Dreamers Are Changing the Game considers the origins of two tech companies in New Brunswick, Radian6 and Q1 Labs, and how they evolves form basement operations to form companies against all odds. Unlike most 'rags to riches' business stories, these two companies overcame a host of obstacles, from sellouts to struggles that nearly destroyed them, to achieve a triumph that until now has been largely un-applauded. The meat of this story lies not just in their successes, but in the kinds of obstacles each had to overcome to achieve a position of strength. From deals and development to the biographies of their creators, Unicorn in the Woods presents a series of events that educate readers not just about business development, but the kinds of relationships and vision that lead to extraordinary results.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Doggie Language
Lili Chin
c/o Octopus Books
9781787837010, $11.99

Doggie Language: A Dog Lover's Guide to Understanding Your Best Friend is the perfect gift for dog enthusiasts who need visual cues to understanding dog behaviors, and will make an exceptionally fine gift for those new dog owners who have little prior experience with dogs. Some 60 appealing line drawings accompany discussions of various body language indicators, from ears to posture and eyes. Visual cues pair nicely with easy discussions of what a dog may be thinking and feeling for a book that will appeal to all ages with simple at-a-glance images and language that lends to browsing and fun.

101 Rescue Puppies
Kathy Callahan
New World Library
9781608686568, $18.95

101 Rescue Puppies: One Family's Story of Fostering Dogs, Love, and Trust comes from a family that has rescued over 100 puppies from shelters over the last decade. Their stories about these puppies forms the foundation for a photo exploration that charts the ups and downs of rescuing animals. From the happy ending that some experienced to learning how others became captivated over the puppy stories and saddened whenever a puppy didn't make it, readers interested in education, entertainment, and puppy rescue will find these stories of fostering are inspirational and involving. It's the perfect gift for anyone with an affection for dogs or rescue efforts.

The Technology Shelf

Medical Device Cybersecurity for Engineers and Manufacturers
Axel Wirth, Christopher Gates, and Jason Smith
Artech House
9781630818159, $159.00

Medical Device Cybersecurity for Engineers and Manufacturers is a 'must' for information security personnel interested in management processes specific to smart medical devices, and provides an in-depth coverage that reviews all phases of the medical device's development, deployment, concept and design, and maintenance. Common vulnerabilities that have been exploited or identified in the past receive attention while insights into new regulations, customer use patterns, internal communication requirements, and more provide the latest best practices in medical device use. From update packages and their assembly to firewall, network, and cloud security approaches, charts, diagrams, and visuals support discussions that discuss reports, pros and cons to different approaches, and testing regimens. IT information collections should consider this extensive, specific survey a key addition.

The Practitioner's Guide to Cellular IoT
Cameron Kelly Coursey
Artech House
9781630818074, $139.00

The Internet of Things (IoT) began as a limited specialty market of machine-to-machine communication, but has grown to become a wider-ranging force that affects the technology of devices most people use every day, from cell phones and data systems to how hardware applications and software are changing consumer devices, robotics, and more. While the brunt of readers of this technical discussion will be cellular communications professionals, it holds expanded and wide-ranging discussions for a variety of IoT uses and roles, and will also interest readers of sociology and technology connections. Chapters discuss IoT applications, providing examples of their development and uses and their impact in a wide range of social and economic arenas. From creating IoT solutions applicable to various scenarios to changing standards, goals, and the special requirements of a global IoT approach, mobile communications technicians will welcome the wide-ranging technical discussions and their ability to connect with related social issues.

The General Fiction Shelf

Notes for a Eulogy
Eric J. Matluck
Next Exit Press
9780578739991, $22.95

High school teacher Morley Peck is passionate about both classic music and literature. He's also a lonely soul who can't tell the truth, and is befuddled by a romance in which he can't gain the courage to be himself. As the story progresses, Morley finds irony, hardship, and lessons in his interactions with Francine, along with many enlightening new truths about his choices as he faces her astute eye and is forced to reconsider his personality and life: "Increasingly I was becoming irritated because it made me wonder if one reason I stayed with - as opposed to by - myself was that I was too embarrassed to present myself in public." These and other revelations are presented in a fun style of literary and psychological inspection that keep readers involved with literary allusions, wry humor, and unexpected twists as Morley finds his life, career, and perspectives challenged in new ways. Novel readers who enjoy close inspections of set lives and rigid thinking will find this a fun, revealing story.

Believing: The Other Stories of Zenna Henderson
Zenna Henderson
9781610373388, $32.00

Fans of Zenna Henderson who best remember her by her books The People will find this collection a departure and a revelation. It's a companion to her complete People stories, Ingathering, published in 1995, and concludes the aim to collect all of her short stories. The works here center on the theme of belief of various kinds, from fighting evil to believing in personal strengths, and provide a captivating series of over thirty works from previous collections and publications. It's a top recommendation for Henderson fans who appreciate her perspectives about life and the power of children to change their worlds.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

1636: The Atlantic Encounter
Eric Flint & Walter H. Hunt
Baen Books
9781982124755, $25.00

1636: The Atlantic Encounter adds yet another book to Flint's 'Ring of Fire' alternate history series; this focusing on the evolution of the New World in which the English have given over their colonial claims to France. The residents of modern-day Grantsville, a coal mining town suddenly transported to the past, well know the history that led to the United States, but in this world, democratic process has just begun. Is there a way of fostering its evolution without the dangerous impact on Native Americans? An intriguing story revolves around foreknowledge, different choices, and the consequences of a revised struggle for freedom. Both prior fans of the 1636 series and newcomers will find this story accessible and involving.

The Buddhist Studies Shelf

Unreasonable Joy
Turiya, author
Yoni Zilber, illustrator
Electric Bliss Publishing
9781952753008, $23.99

Unreasonable Joy: Awakening Through Trikaya Buddhism isn't the usual Buddhist treatise for applying centuries-old wisdom to modern living, but offers a new school of Buddhism for the modern world that begins with the idea that Enlightenment is real, and is possible for all. Turiya has been developing this premise for decades, translating Tantric teachings to a different style of Buddhism that relates more closely to 21st Century living. From meditation approaches that can be incorporated into the busiest lifestyle to gaining better control of time, understanding values and beliefs in the face of social and political influences, and narrowing one's focus to changing reactions and perceptions, this survey combines ideals and spiritual insights with exercises and approaches through nine lessons exploring mindfulness, karma, and more.

The format of Unreasonable Joy is also different than most Buddhist enlightenment discussions. Poetry, essays, and stories are employed to link these teachings to experience and examples of how they operate in daily life. Chapters conclude with 'practice pointers' that contain questions for reflection, exercises, and experiential experiments that reinforce that chapter's discussion. All these are linked to daily life experiences and the lessons they hold. For example, consider the section 'Mammograms, Ropes, and Snakes'. Turiya's experience of testing and possible disease juxtaposes with spiritual conclusions: "The sadness dissolved into gratitude for this body and the life it has lived."

The blend of spiritual, philosophical, and psychological reflection elevates Unreasonable Joy above and beyond many Buddhist treatises, offering opportunity for reflection, change, and renewed purpose and meaning through a life led with deliberate awareness of actions. Followers of spiritual paths and self-reflective works will find Unreasonable Joy encouraging and solidly connected to everyday living, offering a succinct blend of food for thought and paths to enlightenment.

The Human Sexuality Shelf

The Gingerbread Kama Sutra
Patti Paige
Kyle Books
c/o Octopus Books
9780857839213, $9.99

The Gingerbread Kama Sutra combines the Eastern sexual flavors of the kama sutra positions with fun baking templates which show how to apply cookies to a fun outline of bedroom pleasures. It's a whimsical cookbook that will bring interesting laughs and position examples, featuring twenty-five Kama Sutra positions, various gingerbread recipes, and tips for working with the templates included in the book. Readers who enjoy whimsical cooking will find this a fun sourcebook.

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Diane C. Donovan, Editor
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