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The Bookwatch

Volume 14, Number 1 January 2019 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Jobs/Careers Shelf Philosophy Shelf
Science Shelf Needlecraft Shelf Technology Shelf
Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
American History Shelf World History Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Biography Shelf Computer Shelf Military Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

Coca Wine
Aymon de Lestrange
Park Street Press
9781620557846, $40.00,

Coca Wine: Angelo Mariani's Miraculous Elixir and the Birth of American Advertising provides a historic tribute to the infused wine and advertising campaigns that would lead to the creation of Coca Cola, and provides a lively story liberally embellished with vintage photos throughout that is a 'must' not just for popular history collections, but for advertising history and culinary readers. The history of Coca Cola has been done before; but the broader history of coca products in the late 19th century in Europe and the U.S. and the tonic wines that evolved from medicinal purposes to popular consumption makes for a story that is unique and engrossing. Mariani's approach to marketing his product fostered in the age of modern advertising, so media collections will also find this book revealing.

Mark Thiessen, Photographer
National Geographic
9781426219689, $40.00,

Some collections might place Spectacle: Rare and Astonishing Photographs in the arts section, but it's reviewed here so that science and nature readers don't miss the range of lovely photos devoted to capturing the rare beauty of nature, from animals to environment. Some 200 full-page color photos concentrate on capturing drama and color in all kinds of ways, from species migrations to remote environments, gardens, animals, and even other cultures. Many of the displays are two-page productions, while others add quotes to compliment the stunning visuals, as in Thich Nhat Hanh's "For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them." This quote is juxtaposed by a lovely full-page image of a Chilean scorpion in full display. The result is a gorgeous display of wonders that deserves a place on coffee tables, in arts holdings strong in photography, and in science and nature collections alike.

The Jobs/Careers Shelf

Managing Your Professional Identity Online
Kathryn E. Linder
9781620366691, $29.95,

Managing Your Professional Identity Online: A Guide for Faculty, Staff, and Administrators provides higher education professionals with a solid handbook to preserving their online identities and rights, and should be considered a 'must' for any professional concerned about internet activity and identity. Chapters cover how and what to post appropriately, show how to develop and update online identities, cover basic best practices and common pitfalls, and compile an invaluable set of templates, worksheets, rubrics and materials to show professionals how to design and support an online presence. The result is a solid set of best practices any online professional will find key to lasting success.

The Philosophy Shelf

A Womb of One's Own: The Handmaid's Tale and Philosophy
Rachel Robison-Greene, Editor
Open Court
9780812699920, $19.95,

A Womb of One's Own: The Handmaid's Tale and Philosophy is highly recommended for two audiences: modern philosophy students and sci-fi and women's issues readers who have absorbed the basic story of The Handmaid's Tale. These audiences will find that twenty-five philosophers tackle underlying themes and issues in Margaret Atwood's futuristic classic, examining political, social, philosophical, and ideological issues within the story. From understanding how women's beliefs evolve to considering the value in a handmaid's work in this story, readers of The Handmaid's Tale receive a treasure trove of insights to discuss, debate, and enjoy.

The Science Shelf

Your Place in the Universe
Paul M. Sutter
Prometheus Books
9781633884724, $24.00,

Your Place in the Universe: Understanding Our Big, Messy Existence is basically a primer on astrophysics for lay readers with little science background, and comes from a cosmologist who uses a light, conversational style to impart the basics of the latest theories and findings in physics and cosmology. From understanding dark energy and matter and the Earth's presence in the Milky Way galaxy to speculations about the nature of reality and other universes, Your Place in the Universe succeeds in explaining and exploring cosmology and employs a lively tone that invites a broad audience to understand the latest science ideas.

Mountain Press
$18.00 each

Two statewide coverages on local geology provide geological histories that lend well to either take-along travel totes or science study, and are especially recommended picks for Indiana or Wisconsin library holdings. The Indiana Geological and Water Survey's Indiana Rocks! A Guide to Geologic Sites in the Hoosier State (9780878426874) covers the state's geologic history through a survey of 50 of the most significant sites in Indiana. Maps, science, color photos of museums, fields, and parks, and discussions survey each location's noteworthy geologic evidence. Scott Spoolman's Wisconsin Rocks! A Guide to Geologic Sites in the Badger State (9780878426898) hand-picks 52 of the best geologic sites in the state, organizes them into five regions, and focuses on publicly-accessible parks and natural regions. From glacial evidence of the past to a puzzling area that was never under ice despite its proximity to massive ice sheets in the Pleistocene Epoch, Wisconsin Rocks! offers a treasure trove of areas, each accompanied by color photos, charts, and intense descriptions of visual evidence and geologic history. Both are particularly accessible to lay audiences and require no prior familiarity with geology in order to prove lively and enlightening.

The Needlecraft Shelf

The Best of Buttermilk Basin
Stacy West
Martingale & Company
9781604689532, $26.99,

The Best of Buttermilk Basin: A Bevy of Cotton and Wool Quilted Projects shows how to join wool, cotton, and embellishments to move between vintage and folk art influences typical of the Buttermilk basin style, and creates a crafts guide that includes home embellishments from pillows and mats to rugs and small quilts. From specific instructions on how to applique wool to lovely full-page color photos throughout, The Best of Buttermilk Basin provides a satisfying range of colors particularly suitable for Fall and winter decorating, and will appeal to any quilter looking to expand quilt creations beyond the comforter approach.

The Technology Shelf

Artech House

Two references for antenna professionals provide handbooks key to understanding the latest concepts, best practices, and applications of antenna science to real-life situations, and should be in any serious engineering reference holding. Kyohei Fujimoto and Koichi Ito's Antennas for Small Mobile Terminals (9781630810955, $169.00) focuses on the design and applications of small antenna systems for mobile terminals, covering their development, implementation, and the needs of different communication systems. Engineers receive a primer on using small antennas in a range of small systems, from mobile phones to radio watches, and will learn about different types of small antennas and their applications. Charts, scanning data, and an extensive bibliography concluding each chapter packs in technical details. The second updated edition of Thereza M. Macnamara's Handbook of Antennas for EMC (9781630814243, $169.00) includes contributions from John McAuley as it details a classic discussion of antennas and various choices for EMC applications. The field is rapidly changing and so are standards, techniques, applications and measurements. This resource reviews all these changes and provides a compendium of data about antenna development and usage, all supported by charts, diagrams, equations, and research.

The Fiction Shelf

The Dogs of Christmas
W. Bruce Cameron
9781250203633, $11.99,

The Dogs of Christmas returns a classic novel to a new format that holds a new afterward. Josh is suddenly responsible for an abandoned dog and a box of puppies, and when he reaches out for help, he meets a woman who teaches him how to care in more ways than one. But with Christmas around the corner, Josh finds himself surprisingly loathe to give up any of the puppies he's bonded with, even if this decision threatens his evolving relationship with Kerri. This warm story of holiday spirit arrived too late for Christmas mention but should be a year-round recommendation for any animal lover who loves a poignant, good read.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Murder, She Wrote: Manuscript for Murder
Jessica Fletcher & Jon Land
Berkley Prime Crime
9780451489302, $25.00,

Murder, She Wrote: Manuscript for Murder adds the forty-eighth book to the series as Jessica Fletcher enters into another crime investigation when a manuscript falls into her hands. What begins as a puzzler provided by her publisher evolves into a murder investigation when he's found dead and Jessica sets out to prove his innocence even as the FBI investigates his financial affairs. The manuscript which began all this has vanished, and Jessica's search for the truth leads her to high levels of Washington, D.C. power as she seeks a manuscript, a murderer, and a reason for redemption. Murder enthusiasts, whether prior fans of the ongoing series or newcomers, will find this stand-alone story engaging and engrossing.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Dennis Meredith
9781939118295 (Print), $16.95
9781939118301 (Kindle), $2.99

Imagine being dead drunk and stumbling into what appears to be a winged fairy. Obviously a drunken delusion, right? Now take that encounter and lead it to a revelation that creatures of myth are actually real (vampires, fairies, trolls and more) and that they may have extraterrestrial origins. That's the foundation of this fantasy, which goes beyond a drunk's inadvertent discovery of the blurred boundaries between legend and truth. But where other stories might let this discovery take top billing, Dennis Meredith goes a step further in outlining how and why these creatures are on the planet, and the real nature of their combined threat. Sci-fi and fairytale formats join forces with these thriller elements to make for a fast-paced and involving mystery that begins with Jack's close encounter, explores his slow realization that his encounter was not a drunken fantasy, but actually real, and leads to truths that only Jack can reveal to a skeptical world much in need of salvation. Mythicals is very highly recommended for its original, creative approach to fantasy and one reporter's ultimate dilemma.

The American History Shelf

One Room
Gail L. Jenner
9781493036684, $22.00,

One Room: Schools and Schoolteachers in the Pioneer West will reach history and education readers alike as it considers the evolution of the West's one-room school houses, gathering stories of classrooms, students, and teachers from a number of archives. Vintage black and white photos liberally capture the atmosphere and stories of these one-room schools, while text explores their founders, teachers, and specific schoolhouse history. The result is an outstanding survey that is lively, accessible, and the perfect choice for any collection strong in histories of the American West.

The World History Shelf

The Rhine
Ben Coates
Nicholas Brealey Publishing
9781473062179, $19.95,

The Rhine: Following Europe's Greatest River from Amsterdam to the Alps comes from an author who lived along a major channel of the Rhine for five years, exploring its history, byways, and the impact the river's had on European history, peoples, and events. This blends the author's travels with history, but is reviewed here because anyone interested in European history should appreciate this viewpoint of how a major river has impacted human development throughout the centuries.

The Audiobook Shelf

Hachette Audio

Four new audio releases are top, recommended picks for listeners looking for the juxtaposition of quality narrators and involving premises. Joel Osteen's Next Level Thinking: 10 Powerful Thoughts for a Successful and Abundant Life (9781549141157, $30.00) is read by the author, whose voice perfectly promotes his powerful plan to recognize the route God has destined for each person. Tips on how to overcome negativity to rise to God's plan make for a spirited blend of inspiration and religious contemplation. Michael Savage's Stop Mass Hysteria: America's Insanity from the Salem Witch Trials to the Trump Witch Hunt (9781549142611, $30.00) is read by Barry Baer, who lends a clear, revealing voice to this survey of mass hysteria as evidenced by the Left's response to changing American values. Readers on both sides of the political fence receive a thought-provoking blend of historical scenarios surrounding collective insanity and insights into the definition, circumstances, and tactics of mass hysteria and those who manipulate it for social and political gain. Joe Ide's Wrecked (9781549173929, $35.00) is read by Sullivan Jones, who brings to life the story of Isaiah Quintabe ('IQ'), a notorious young investigator who lives in the limelight of adversity and fame. The case of a young painter who wants to locate a missing mother would seem opposite of IQ's usual cases; but his involvement in the case takes some unexpected turns in keeping with his notorious nose for trouble in this engrossing story. Kerri Maniscalco's Escaping from Houdini (9781478995975, $30.00) is narrated by Nicola Barber, who brings to life a vivid story of magic, investigation, and a young escape artist in a luxury voyage turned nightmare when travelers begin showing up dead. The Midnight Carnival somehow holds the key to deeper, darker troubles and a killer's dark efforts in an audio story that's hard to stop listening to. Michael Connelly's Dark Sacred Night (9781549142314, $40.00) is narrated by Christine Lakin and Titus Welliver, who bring to life this Ballard and Bosch thriller about a detective drawn to a case that leads to her empathy. The unsolved murder of a teen who was tossed in the trash leads her to search for her killer, with two detectives forming a new bond as the case leads to unexpected conclusions. M.R. Carey's Someone Like Me (9781549168765, $35.00) is narrated by Robin Miles, who adds tension and life to this story of mother Liz, who seeks to build a loving home for her two kids even as darkness inside her builds up a dangerous alter ego. When that persona gets loose, trouble emerges in a tense story of action and danger. Philip Norman's Slowhand: The Life and Music of Eric Clapton (9781478922636, $35.00) includes a .pdf of photos and is narrated by Peter Coates as it follows the life and times of a rock and roll icon. Clapton's music, career, tragedies and achievements are all embraced in a vivid story that comes to special life in audio format.

The Biography Shelf

Sam Goudsmit and the Hunt for Hitler's Atom Bomb
Martijn Van Calmthout
Prometheus Books
9781533884502, $24.00,

Sam Goudsmit and the Hunt for Hitler's Atom Bomb is the first biography in English of the Dutch-American physicist whose discoveries led to international attention when he published his paper on the property of electronic spin in atomic science. When the Nazis invaded the Netherlands, Goudsmit was eventually recruited by the Allies to search for evidence of German atom bomb development. His team eventually found such evidence, but the devastating effects of the war on his family (his parents were deported to Auschwitz and didn't survive the war) were to change his life and affect his work and recognition. This book returns Goudsmit and his work to the prominence it deserves in both world history and scientific circles, and should be in not just autobiography but World War II history and science holdings alike.

Playboy's Hugh Hefner: Empire of Skin
Darwin Porter & Danforth Prince
Blood Moon Productions
9781936003594, $34.95,

Readers must throw out any preconceived notions about what a Hefner biography would look like in order to consider the multifaceted approach of Playboy's Hugh Hefner: Empire of Skin because it toes the line between a gossip piece and a broader inspection of Hefner's authority. It should also be mentioned that this is no light piece. Over five hundred pages of facts about Hefner are culled from some 50 years of research from a former bureau chief and entertainment reporter at the Miami Herald. Playboy's Hugh Hefner contains a satisfying blend of factual reporting and discussions of affairs, Playboy politics, and Hefner's psyche, motivations, influences, and ambitions. Black and white photos of people, places, and memorabilia abound, complimenting and breaking up text and providing a fine visual embellishment to interviews and Hefner's own perceptions of himself. The result is spicy, revealing, fact-based, and compelling: the kind of reveal read that appears weighty and daunting, but proves to be accessible, involving, and hard to put down.

The Computer Shelf

Computer Graphics Programming in OpenGL with Java, second edition
V. Scott Gordon and John Clevenger
Mercury Learning
9781683922193, $69.95,

The second updated edition of Computer Graphics Programming in OpenGL with Java features new sections on soft shadows, optimization techniques, new tools, and the latest edition of OpenGL (4.0+), and is recommended for users who want a step-by-step primer on modern 3D graphics programming using Java. Theory and applied real-world strategies blend in a survey accompanied by source code for all examples and discussions of all GLSL programmables. Companion files packed with code and figures round out this invaluable primer, which is highly recommended for self-study and OpenGL applications.

The Military Shelf

Genius Weapons
Louis A. Del Monte
Prometheus Books
9781633884526, $19.00,

Genius Weapons: Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Weaponry, and the Future of Warfare explores the added possibilities of artificial intelligence in military and battlefield scenarios, and comes from an award-winning physicist, inventor, and business leader whose patients and technology developments are used by major companies. His engineering background lends authority to a discussion that considers the development, control, deployment and moral, ethical and military challenges in using autonomous weapons, and his book contrasts departures between how modern military weapons operate and the possibilities of these new 'genius weapons'. The result is a hard-hitting examination that should be on the shelves of any military collection.

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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