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The Bookwatch

Volume 12, Number 1 January 2017 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Cookbook Shelf Needlecraft Shelf
Health/Medicine Shelf American History Shelf Civil War Shelf
Biography Shelf Military Shelf Education Shelf
Beer/Wine/Spirits Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Fiction Shelf Metaphysical Studies Shelf Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf
Audiobook Shelf Science Shelf Geography Shelf
Technology Shelf Coloring Book Shelf Music Shelf
Political Science Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

Penn Jillette
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
9781501140181, $26.00,

Presto! How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales comes from a magician who holds a sense of humor about his life, his routines, and even his weight. The author at one point topped over three hundred pounds: a condition that was gravely affecting his health. Forced to confront major changes before the age of sixty, Jillette embarked on a crazy potato-based diet. Hilarious stories supplement serious reflective moments and lend insights into his magic-making abilities and the process of not only losing weight, but also changing his perspective on life itself, making for a lively and unexpectedly fun biography. Highly recommended for both prior fans of Jillette and newcomers to his special brand of stage magic.

The New Science of Consciousness
Paul L. Nunez
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781633882195, $26.00,

The New Science of Consciousness: Exploring the Complexity of Brain, Mind, and Self explores a different method of studying consciousness and considers the dual work of neuroscientists and complexity scientists. It comes from an author who began in physics before he became a neuroscientist, and while his consideration sounds technical, he assumes no prior knowledge in psychology or neuroscience as he considers how the unconscious can affect mental and physical health. From greater questions on the origin of self-awareness to brain rhythms, states of mind, and different levels of consciousness, lay readers and science-minded enthusiasts will find this a though-provoking consideration.

The Cookbook Shelf

Zsu Dever
Vegan Heritage Press
P.O. Box 628, Woodstock, VA 22664-0628
9781941252277, $21.95,

Aquafaba: Sweet and Savory Vegan Recipes Made Egg-Free with the Magic of Bean Water will delight anyone who wants to explore the use of bean liquid in cooking and baking, and especially those allergic to or avoiding eggs. Bean water makes a surprising substitute for the egg and can be used in everything from desserts to crepes and pastries. Chapters packed with color photos explore how aquafaba can be used for dairy-free cheese, ice creams, butters and more, making this book a staple recommended for any vegan cook.

Mitchell Beazley
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017

Cooks will know that Le Creuset makes cast iron cookware much acclaimed in the cookware field: the brand is notable for its pots and grill pans, especially. Now the company has a cookbook to its name, One-Pot Cuisine (9781784722371, $29.99) to help cooks make the most of its line, featuring a hundred recipes for casseroles, tagines, and one-pot meals. While the results may look professionally elegant and possibly difficult, in reality they require relatively little in the way of special skills, equipment, or attention. Those seeking internationally-influenced recipes that are appealing and easy to put together will appreciate such fare as Lamb with Apricots, Raisins & Chickpeas or Pistachio-Crusted Cod with Tomatoes & Capers. Paul Henderson edits GQ Eats: The Cookbook for Men of Seriously Good Taste (9781784722296, $20.00), and gathers British food from chefs across the country who redefine 'gourmet' British style for an audience of male eaters. From a Bergamot-Cured Mackeral (which requires access to bergamot rind) to Coconut and Galangal Soup with Prawns (made with homemade coconut cream, palm sugar and fresh galangal, it should be evident that many of these dishes require specialty ingredients, but are not as complicated to produce as one might believe, for an elegant result suitable for refined male taste buds and entertaining alike.

Kyle Books
National Book Network
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706 (distributor)

Three lovely new cookbooks are excellent, different presentations that hold inviting themes even seasoned cooks will find refreshingly different. Ricard Bertinet's Dough: Simple Contemporary Bread (9781909487536, $24.95) comes with a DVD enclosure offering 30 minutes of the author's teachings on making bread, but the real appeal to this cookbook lies in bread recipes which truly depart from the norm. From a Tomato, Garlic & Basil Bread to Spicy Moroccan Rolls and Cardamom & Prune Bread, full-page color photos and a good many step-by-step illustrations accompany easy processes that often are limited to only 5-6 steps from scratch to freezer storage. The result is a delicious and appealingly different collection of fast dishes cooks will relish. Monisha Bharadwaj's The Indian Cooking Course (9781909487468, $39.95) packs in 300 master recipes and 'classes' that discuss techniques and approaches to Indian fare, and is a perfect choice for cooks who have some prior background in Indian cookery, but who want more depth and direction. Full page color photos accompany dishes such as Curried Eggs Encased in Ground Lamb, Red Kidney Beans with Tomatoes, or Buttery Chicken Curry, while 'master instructions' leave nothing to guess, whether it's buying the right ingredients or preparing them correctly. Newcomers to Indian fare, especially, will appreciate the attention to each chapter, which covers such basics as how to cook lentils or spices. These master instructions are presented on mustard-colored pages, so it's easy to flip through the book and locate them - or use the recipes without them, if experienced cooks are just seeking more recipes. John Gregory-Smith's Turkish Delights (9781909487482, $29.95) pairs lovely color photos of Turkey's lands and foods with classic dishes ranging from Lamb Kebabs in a Smoky Tomato Sauce to a Rice, Kale, Chile and Pomegranate Salad and Denhizli Eggplant Dolma, and is recommended for any cook who has experimented with general Middle East dishes, but who wants specific recipes from Turkey alone. The author's father was brought up in Turkey and he visited Turkey over a period of ten years, lending a regional approach and feel to his collection. The result is an excellent focus on a region that specializes in simple dishes, which can easily prepared by American cooks. 'The Goodness of' series ($14.95 each) holds a formula: each hardcover book focuses on a single ingredient and features forty recipes for using that ingredient in different ways. Emily Jonzen's Coconut (9781909487574) includes such dishes as Shrimp Tacos with Coconut & Lime, Peanut Butter Cookies made with coconut flour, Mushroom Feta & Spinach Omelet made with coconut oil, and ice cream made with coconut milk. The variety of coconut ingredients lends to a thorough exploration. Avocado by Lucy Jessop (9781909487543) uses avocado in Fattoush with Falafel, Corn Fritters & Chile-Avo Salsa, a non-traditional Avocado & Bacon "Nicoise" salad, and Avocado "Pesto" with Linguine. Greens, edited by Claire Rogers (9781909487567) covers a range of green vegetables from beans and peas to lettuces, chard, spinach and kale, and provides such dishes as Warm Chicken & Watercress, Kale Chips, and Sprouting Greens Juice. Natasha Edwards' Garlic (9781909487550) presents an Oak-Smoked Garlic Dauphionoise potato bake, Grlic & Rosemary Focaccia bread, a garlic-laced Spaghetti Carbonara, and more. All recipes focus on health properties of each ingredient, while each book packs in color photos to enhance its presentation. All are top picks; highly recommended.

The Needlecraft Shelf

The Grid Design Workbook
Cindy Seitz-Krug
AQS Publishing
c/o American Quilter's Society
PO Box 3290, Paducah, KY 42002-3290
9781683390114, $24.95,

The Grid Design Workbook shows how to make a gridded background for a quilt and presents a step-by-step process for quilters who would stitch backgrounds to enhance quilts, and uses diagrams and instructions to show how to make and apply these different stitches. A gallery of gridded designs and patterns throughout accompany color photos illustrating methods in action, making it easy for quilters to understand the theory and its application.

Sew This and That!
Sherri K. Falls
Martingale & Company
19021 - 120th Avenue NE, Suite 102, Bothell, WA 98011
9781604687873, $22.99,

Sew This and That!: 13 Quick-to-Make Quilted Projects comes from the designer who owns the This & That Pattern Company and features a gathering of designs made for needleworkers looking for a wide array of projects for the home and gift-giving. A dozen projects for all levels includes candle mats, a button-embellished pouch, a table runner, a tote bag, and more. From materials and cutting to assembly, this collection pairs its projects with bright color photos and step-by-step directions that leave nothing to question.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

The Fundamentals of Acupuncture
Nigel Ching
Singing Dragon
c/o Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Inc.
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
9781848193130, $95.00,

The Fundamentals of Acupuncture is a textbook recommended for independent study and college-level courses alike, and explains the basics of acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Over 70 illustrations cover all the theories, physiology, and life sciences of bodily systems, acupuncture points, and needling techniques, with black and white diagrams and extensive references supporting all discussions and treatment options. The result is a powerful survey that's a winner for any student of alternative or Chinese medicine in general and acupuncture techniques on particular; especially relative newcomer who will come to consider The Fundamentals of Acupuncture a 'foundation reference'.

CRC Press
6000 NW Broken Sound Parkway NW, Suite 300, Boca Raton, FL 33487

Victoria Hall Moran and Nicola M. Lowe's Nutrition and the Developing Brain (9781482254730, $129.95) provides an in-depth survey of the role nutrients play on brain development in fetal and postnatal life, gathering the latest animal and human research results into a book that translates these findings into a new approach on brain development and cognition. From nutritional and environmental influences on early brain development processes to how nutrients contribute to development and brain functions, chapters discuss cognitive development and how individual nutrients affect it. Anton C. de Groot and Erich Schmidt's Essential Oils: Contact Allergy and Chemical Composition (9781482246407, $199.95) narrows its focus to the chemical properties of essential oils and contact allergies associated with them, providing health and chemistry holdings alike with a weighty discussion of chemical composition. A special focus on those oils known to cause contact allergy enhances a survey of some 6,400 previously unpublished sample analysis covering over ninety essential oils, with an alphabetical list of a, their ingredients accompany discussions of allergic contact dermatitis and how this applies to patient care. Packed with tables of constituents identified in specific oils and discussions of the plant, its oil, and its commercial applications, this weighty reference deserves a place in any college-level or health collection serious about either allergies or essential oil makeup and health uses.

The American History Shelf

Bison and People on the North American Great Plains
Geoff Cunfer and Bill Waiser, Editors
Texas A&M University Press
4354 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4354
9781623494742, $60.00,

Bison and People on the North American Great Plains offers insights from several disciplines who re-examine the disappearance of the American bison and consider a different approach to the relationship between humans and these animals. Essays are unusual in that they cover U.S. and Canadian bison experiences and ecology and come from historians, anthropologists, and Native American researchers who join to examine the latest information on bison physiology, climate change, early bison hunters, European influences, and more, going far beyond the usual focus on greed and military actions. Far better rounded than most, Bison and People on the North American Great Plains is the item of choice for both history and natural history collections at the college level who would consider a more in-depth approach to bison and human history than most books offer.

The Civil War Shelf

Battle of Wills
David Alan Johnson
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781633882454, $28.00,

Battle of Wills: Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, and the Last Year of the Civil War provides a dual approach to the Civil War era by blending the biographies of Grant and Lee with a survey of their temperaments and how these contributed to the outcome of the war. Where competing coverages focus on military strategy alone, this emphasis on psychological influences in crafting military choices makes for a broader perspective as it contrasts the different upbringings, lives, and influences of the two leaders and how these translated to historical events and choices. No American history or Civil War military collection should be without this approach.

The Biography Shelf

Laurence Bergreen
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
9781476716497, $32.50,

Casanova: The World of a Seductive Genius covers the trials and adventures of the 18th century Venetian best known for his sexual prowess and exploits, and offers a much fuller story of the man and his influences than most. It begins with his childhood, follows his rise from poverty to his fame as a writer and notorious lover, and also adds in coverage of the culture of 18th century Venice which nurtured him. His choices led him to travel extensively, but despite his adventurous life, he ended his life alone. Anyone interested in the Casanova legend will find this surprisingly wide-reaching in scope, offering many new insights on the man which haven't been explored in other coverages.

The Military Shelf

All the Gallant Men
Donald Stratton with Ken Gire
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062645357, $25.99,

All the Gallant Men: An American Sailor's Firsthand Account of Pearl Harbor represents the first memoir by a survivor of the USS Arizona, and comes from a man who was burned over 2/3rds of his body, who spent a year recovering in a military hospital before he re-enlisted in 1944 to join the invasion of Okinawa. As one of only five survivors of the USS Arizona who is still alive today to tell the story, his account is key to understanding the events and experiences of the times, and deserves a place in any collection strong in Pearl Harbor history.

The Education Shelf

Corwin Press
2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320-2218

Jeffrey D. Wilhelm and Michael W. Smith's Diving Deep Into Nonfiction: Transferable Tools for Reading ANY Nonfiction Text (9781483386058, $34.95) is for teachers of grades 6-12 and provides nearly thirty lessons surrounding a new kind of teaching framework that helps students to not only read but develop critical thinking and discussion habits. These lessons have all been tested in a classroom, and include real-world examples of applications and interactions as they outline topics, textual conversations, results from different nonfiction genres, and provides further notes for independent practice and extensions of the lesson. From step-by-step lessons for different days to examples such as found text and rules of notice, these are clear, precise approaches to fostering a different style of engagement among students which relates directly to their nonfiction reading assignments. Jenni Donohoo's Collective Efficacy: How Educators' Beliefs Impact Student Learning (9781806356495, $25.00) promotes collective teacher efficacy - the belief that educators can help student outcomes through collective actions - and provides a series of practical strategies and tools for helping students share and learn in a collective, interactive environment. From protocols for enhancing efficiency to building a collective inquiry framework, resources and keys to team success are clearly identified and discussed. Catherine Collier's But What Do I Do? Strategies from A to W for Multi-Tier Systems of Support (9781506351155, $29.00) is packed with strategies for apply various intervention approaches to struggling students, and comes from an expert in special education and cultural differences who provides a resource geared to linking specific intervention strategies to particular learning or behavioral problems. The result is a workbook that does more than compile options: it shows teachers how to best apply them based on both student needs and different choices and outcomes. Leslie Blauman's Teaching Evidence-Based Writing: Nonfiction (9781506360690, $30.95) is filled with texts and lessons for writing about reading, and comes from an author who researched the ELA standards and her favorite books to build a lesson structure teachers can use with either entire text or the excerpts she's selected here. Lessons are accompanied by video clip links, prompt pages that serve as references for students, and templates that encourage kids to think about text in a more critical, analytical fashion, while chapters give teachers specific lesson prep instructions, insights on how to apply the lesson, and keys to introducing it. Add workbook pages that lend to reproducibles and "grab and go" pages and you have a specific formula for teaching backed by researched best practices. Barbara Bray and Kathleen McClaskey's How to Personalize Learning: A Practical Guide for Getting Started and Going Deeper (9781506338538, $29.95) shows how to develop and build a shared vision of learning and offers a follow-up guide to the authors' prior Make Learning Personal. Various templates are used, tools explained, and lesson and project plans linked to real-world examples that show teachers how to encourage learner participation and individual 'voices' in the learning process. QR codes and links to a website with electronic versions of these activities make this a winning guide. Russell J. Quaglia,'s Aspire High: Imagining Tomorrow's School Today (9781506311371, $30.00) is for any educator who believes that school routines and educational processes should be changed to encourage a more global approach to living, and provides a survey directed to high school teachers who would consider that student aspirations should be a key part of their high school culture. Chapters discuss sources of student inspiration, the kinds of involvement that evoke passion and determination from their young participants, and how all aspects of school culture, from parent conferences to volunteers and school policy development, can be employed to encourage and awaken a different kind of learner.

The Beer/Wine/Spirits Shelf

Drink Like a Woman
Jeanette Hurt
Seal Press
1700 - 4th Street, Berkeley, California 94710
9781580056281, $16.00,

Drink Like a Woman: Shake. Stir. Conquer. Repeat. may sound like another cocktail recipe book; but it's actually a refreshingly different mix of feminist history and cocktail recipes, and is recommended for any interested in female bartending, cocktail mixes, and women's interest in boozy originals. From barroom expectations and cocktail drinks inspired by women throughout history to hangover curs, drinking games, and the overall culture of cocktails, Drink Like a Woman takes a different approach to cocktail recipes and is recommended for feminists who want more than a cookbook.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Fifty-Year Mission
Mark A. Altman & Edward Gross
Thomas Dunne Books
c/o St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250089465, $29.99,

The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years: From the Next Generation to J.J. Abrams: The Complete, Uncensored, and Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek celebrates five decades of the TV show and provides the next installment to supplement the first volume covering the "first 25 years" of the series. Its focus on the modern renditions of the Star Trek phenomena in the form of movies and post-Original series exposes many a little-known fact about the series and includes insights from actors and many other figures actively involved in creating the extensions of the original series. Conundrums, characters, and puzzles lend to a thought-provoking survey of the Trek phenomenon and the exact process of how it evolved, making this a 'must' for any Star Trek fan.

Baen Books
PO Box 1188, Wake Forest NC 27588

Eric Flint and Ryk E. Spoor's Castaway Odyssey (9781476781815, $26.00) presents a daunting scenario when the starship commanded by Sergeant Samuel Morgan Campbell is destroyed before their eyes, leaving him and his crew stranded in space light-years from any known human colony. Challenged to repair his ship or even survive disaster against all odds, events move Morgan and his child-gang beyond castaway status and Swiss Family Robinson survival style as the planet they look to for salvation harbors dangerous secrets that will test everything they know. Fans of sci-fi that revolve around survival will relish this engrossing saga. Larry Correia and Mike Kupari's Alliance of Shadows (9781476781853, $27.00) tells of a world facing upheaval and revolution, where mercenary Michael Valentine is working with a team trying to track down an evil, dangerous adversary. Dungeons, dangerous enemies, and killers who learn to hunt together are just part of the atmosphere of contention and dangerous in Alliance of Shadows, especially recommended for military sci-fi readers interested in how different forces are pitted against one another, only to join together under different situations. David Weber's new 'Honorverse' novel Shadow of Victory (9781476781822, $28.00) adds to the best-selling series with a new story of the Mesan Alignment plan to retake the galaxy and genetically change the human race the way it thinks the race should be. A engineered interstellar war, a covert operation involving encouraging rebellions, and new forces on all sides that threaten the Star Empire's hold makes for a gripping military sci-fi read. Michael Z. Williamson's Angeleyes (9781476781860, $26.00) provides a new Freehold novel as it tells of Angie Kaneshiro, a veteran tramp freighter crew woman who has made space her home since the Freehold Forces of Grainne encounter. But old soldiers seldom rest in peace, and when the war with Earth begins, Angie's special knowledge of Earth politics and forces sends her back into a world she thought she'd long abandoned. The result is a rollicking ride that's recommended beyond military sci-fi readers as pick for any who enjoy determined, feisty female protagonists. Susan R. Matthews' Fleet Inquisitor (9781476781945, $17.00) joins others in the 'Under Jurisdiction' series to create an exceptional story line revolving around a branch of government struggling to control an unstable political environment. A talented doctor is tapped as an Inquisitor/torturer - but thankfully the story doesn't focus on his torture methods as much as on his social and political challenges in accepting and dealing with his new position. An excellent story evolves.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Berkley Books
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10014

Jen McKinlay's Better Late Than Never (9780399583735, $25.00) provides a 'library lover's' mystery story centered around a library director at the Briar Creek Public Library. The library is holding its first 'overdue book amnesty day' and Lindsey is swamped with work, but when a book comes in that's twenty years overdue and Lindsey looks up its borrower, she discovers it was a teacher who was murdered, who checked out the novel on the day of her death. Could the book provide a clue to the unsolved case? A gripping story evolves and Lindsey and her team pursue the cold case only to find it red-hot. Laura Childs' Egg Drop Dead (9780425281703, $26.00) is a new 'Cackleberry Club' mystery revolving around a cafe club owner's rural visit to a farmer for supplies. It's there that Suzanne discovers the farmer's dead body, and the fact that not everybody thought he was terrific. It's up to the cafe club members to find out who murdered the farmer, even if their investigation does lead them too close to a killer in this thrilling saga of a rural life gone awry and a cafe group's propensity for solving crime.

The Fiction Shelf

Chuck Wendig
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062551579, $25.99,

Invasive opens in the middle of the Pacific, where a team of scientists is conducting secret and cutting-edge research under the direction of a billionaire who wants their efforts to change the world. Unfortunately, this effort involves a dangerous side-effect: one that leads FBI investigator Hannah on a dangerous mission to discover the reasons why bodies are turning up 'stripped' of skin, and who is behind the event. As a series of tense confrontations take place, the insect world rises to new levels of threat that even Raid can't conquer in this technological thriller, highly recommended for fans of espionage, investigation, and technological threats.

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

The Psychedelic Gospels
Jerry B. Brown, PhD and Julie M. Brown, M.A.
Park Street Press
PO Box 63, South Paris, ME, 04281
9781620445026, $19.95,

The Psychedelic Gospels: The Secret History of Hallucinogens in Christianity gathers visual evidence fro the authors' anthropological journey through Europe and the Middle East to support their contention that visionary plants played a major role in Christianity, and provides a powerful survey of the religious works of art that emerged from ancient times which may have had their roots in psychoactive substances. The authors examine the Bible and the Gnostic Gospels in their quest to consider the role played by visionary plants in the evolution of Christian beliefs and depictions, and offers a compellingly different take on psychedelic substances in early times.

The Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf

The MLJ Companion
Rik Offenberger, Paul Castiglia, Jon B. Cooke
TwoMorrows Publishing
10407 Bedfordtown Drive, Raleigh, NC 27614
9781505490870, $34.95,

The MLJ Companion is a complete history of Archie Comics' "Mighty Crusaders" super-hero series, and provides an in-depth consideration of each of the characters and their histories. As such, it's especially recommended for prior enthusiasts who want more depth and detail about the superheroes and their creation and adventures. Nearly three hundred pages pack in adventures, creator interviews, full-color good-sized cover art and comic panels, and more, offering notes on different editions, artist profiles, insights on character continuity and evolution, and more. The result is a fine 'must' for any comics and graphic novel collection in general and Mighty Crusaders enthusiasts in particular.

The Audiobook Shelf

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

These new audios are top, recommended picks for any audiobook collection, offering solid authors paired with exciting narrators. James Patterson and John Connolly work with Tim Malloy to create Filthy Rich (9781478941682, $35.00), which receives veteran narrator Jason Culp's inviting voice as it tells of a powerful billionaire involved in a sex scandal. Jeffrey Epstein's is a true story that comes with the trappings of thriller writing, but which is thoroughly steeped in real-world experience. James Patterson and Kathryn Fox's Missing: A Private Novel (9781478938507, $35.00) is narrated by Daniel LePaine, whose voice brings to life the drama of a world-famous CEO who vanishes, leading Craig and his elite team to find him at all costs. But more than the man himself has vanished: so have all details surrounding his life. How can they locate a ghost, or a man who seems to have never existed? Newt Gingrich and Pete Earley's Treason (9781478912989, $35.00) is narrated by Robert Fass, whose voice brings to life an engrossing story of a world master terrorist who has infiltrated Washington itself. In a story of treason at the highest levels, intrigue involves a heady battle, jihadists intent on destroying liberty, a deadly game against a woman who faces losing everyone she loves and a story of intense treachery that comes to life in audio. All are riveting, engrossing thrillers perfect for leisure listeners. Last Girl Before Freeway: The Life, Loves, Losses and Liberation of Joan Rivers by Leslie Bennetts (9781478987635, $35.00) is narrated by L.A. actress Erin Bennett, whose vivid and memorable voice enhances the audio version of an already-strong biographical coverage of Joan Rivers. Today many young and up-and-rising comedians pay tribute to Joan as the major influence in their comedy careers, but this book fills in many blanks in charting her personal story and the evolution of this career. Anyone interested in Joan Rivers will find this an outstanding, compelling survey. Austin Wright's Tony & Susan (9781478971214, $20.00) is set in 1993 and tells of a woman who left her first husband to become a suburban doctor's wife - a choice that she regrets, years later. The last thing she expects is to be given his unpublished manuscript with an invitation to read and comment on it; but as she becomes involved in his fictional production, so she is drawn back into his life and what she thought she left behind. Lorelei King and Peter Marinker's dual narration brings to life this vivid, evocative winning story.

The Science Shelf

Rodney W. Bovey
Texas A&M University Press
4354 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4354
9781623494285, $45.00,

Mesquite: History, Growth, Biology, Uses, and Management provides a unexpectedly lively survey of the mesquite tree that's spiced, in part, by its controversial image as an invasive or pest species around the world, and comes from a rangeland scientist who has gathered under one cover all the research surrounding the biology and management of mesquite. Contrary to its reputation, the mesquite does have an important place in the world and can provide food and habitat for wildlife. This survey documents the pros and cons of mesquite under different conditions and also discusses its various species, uses, management issues, biology, and more. College-level students of botany and agriculture alike will find it offers many insights into the tree's place in the ecological scheme of things.

Roadside Geology of Mississippi
Stan Galicki and Darrel Schmitz
Mountain Press Publishing Company
PO Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806
9780878426713, $24.00,

Roadside Geology of Mississippi is recommended for two audiences: visitors to Mississippi who want a travel guide geared to road trips and science, and armchair science readers with a special interest in regional geology. Mississippi holds many different, interesting features - rifts, basins, rivers and valleys, and geologic stories which geoscientists Stan Galicki and Darrell Schmitz explore in the form of a road trip. Color photos of different landscapes and features pack a survey that includes discussions of fossils, rocks, natural and human geologic influences on change, and road maps and directions to make it easy for travelers to locate observation points and notable geologic formations. Discussions will delight science-oriented readers seeking specific details on Mississippi's geologic history.

The Geography Shelf

Getting to Know Web GIS, second edition
Pinde Fu
ESRI Press
380 New York Street, Redlands, CA 92378-8100
9781584984634, $84.99,

The second updated edition of Getting to Know Web GIS provides college-level cartography students of Web GIS with a workbook on how to create and use GIS applications using the latest versions of AppStudio, ArcGIS Pro, and Scene, and reinforces information with step-by-step exercises that show readers how to not only build and use GIS applications, but how to share them online. The latest program enhancements and features are covered in a display that focuses as much on real-world applications and problem-solving as it does on the program's nuts and bolts, making this a recommendation for self-learners and classroom users alike.

The Technology Shelf

Electric Power System Fundamentals
Salvador Acha Daza
Artech House
685 Canton Street, Norwood, MA 02062
9781630810856, $175.00,

Electric Power System Fundamentals considers the theory and applied methods of designing and using energy systems, surveying power electronics and providing real-world applications to lend insights on their management and mathematical models. The discussion gets into the basic components involved, from transmission line loads and frequency control to fault studies in electrical power systems and power flow approximations. Packed with formulas and mathematical discussions, any college-level collection strong in electronics will find this a winning reference that covers all the basics of electrical grid and power systems.

The Coloring Book Shelf

Spiritual Traditions of India
Harish Johari
Destiny Books
c/o Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
9781620556290, $12.95,

Spiritual Traditions of India is a fine adult coloring book exploring Eastern spiritual traditions and provides a little over forty full-page illustrations as well as decorative borders and geometric designs from Indian artist and spiritual teacher Harish Johari. More than just leisure pieces, these specific drawings encourage using chakra imagery to improve energy, coloring images of Hindu gods and goddesses to open one's heart, and translates the meditative qualities of coloring into Indian images connected to spiritual traditions. The result is an unusual approach with a focus on coloring and meditative techniques alike, especially recommended for new age readers and any interested in alternative forms of spiritual reflection.

American Quilter's Society
PO Box 3290, Paducah, KY 42002-3290

Bonnie K. Browning, CZT's Zentangle Art to Go (9781683390015, $21.l95) provides a Zentangle design collection which serves two purposes: one intended by the author, and a side benefit which leads to its review in this section. The author has created Zentangle designs directed to quilters and crafters who would incorporate these patterns into their crafts and quilting, and the patterns can be used as stitching in quilts. Projects are also included to encourage quilters to invent their own Zentangle art productions. But, a side benefit to these complex patterns is that many will lend to coloring - and thus the book is recommended for two audiences: quilters, and those who look for geometric patterns to fill in. Pat Holly's A Miniature World (9781683390008, $24.95) offers a coloring book filled with floral and animal images, and also includes a link to needlework as she shows how the design can be translated from paper to embroidery artwork. This book's oversized presentation and intricate pages thus lend to its use by crafters and quilters alike.

The Music Shelf

Pickers and Poets
Craig E. Clifford and Craig Hillis
Texas A&M University press
4354 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4354
9781623494469, $29.95,

Pickers and Poets: The Ruthlessly Poetic Singer-Songwriters of Texas focuses on Texas singer-songwriters and how their works have crossed genres and outside of Texas borders to influence the music world. What's special about Texas songwriters? For one, they tend to make the lyrics the centerpiece of a song. Artists featured here include Michael Martin Murphy, Guy Clark, Kris Kristofferson, and others, connecting their disparate styles and histories to the evolution of a folk-rooted style that is compelling and extraordinary in comparison to the approaches of non-Texas songwriters. Any collection strong in popular music evolution in general and Texas artists in particular will find this filled with thought-provoking insights on why Texas has produced more of these standout artists than other states.

The Political Science Shelf

The Arab Spring, second edition
Mark L. Haas and David W. Lesch, Editors
Westview Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780813349749, $27.00,

The Arab Spring: The Hope and Reality of the Uprisings updates details on the causes, nature, and lasting impact on the protests against Arab regimes that erupted in late 2010 and evolved into a movement that changed the face of the Middle East. This second edition adds a new chapter on Iraq and developments in the region since 2012, while other sections incorporate new notes, revised and updated portions of chapters, and information that expands the history and lasting impact of the Arab Spring. The result is a survey that's a 'must' for any college-level student or general interest reader concerned about the Arab Spring and its lasting impact.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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