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The Bookwatch

Volume 16, Number 1 January 2021 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Education Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Self-Help Shelf General Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Technology Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Repair Revolution
John Wackman & Elizabeth Knight
New World Library
14 Pamaron Way, Novato, CA 94949
9781608686605, $18.95

Repair Revolution: How Fixers Are Transforming Our Throwaway Culture details the presence and rise of repair cafes in American society, which counter the tendency to throw away products and broken items. These nonprofit, largely volunteer efforts are free resources for repairing broken items, and give rise to a new philosophy about the value of goods and the opportunities to fix rather than toss them. This book promotes sustainability and the movement for fixing material objects and choosing resources that help protect the environment by conserving materials. From chapters on resource recovery processes to repair efforts in classrooms, workshops, and at home, Repair Revolution makes a strong case for recycling, reuse, and better resource management long-term.

The Education Shelf

Bandwidth Recovery for Schools
Cia Verschelden
Stylus Publishing
22883 Quicksilver Drive, Sterling, VA 20166-2019
9781642670776, $29.95

Bandwidth Recovery for Schools: Helping Pre-K-12 Students Regain Cognitive Resources Lost to Poverty, Trauma, Racism, and Social Marginalization should be in every educator's reference library as a basic primer on how to assess, address, and mitigate the effect of poverty and racism in the classroom. The basic idea is that cognition is linked to economic and social forces that teachers can help compensate for by recognition and adjustments to learning and developing strategies. Chapters explain exactly how to achieve this using not just ideals but strategies that have been tested and proven to be successful in the real world. The result should be on the radar of all teachers; but especially those working in urban areas where the effects of poverty are most evident.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Not Always Home Before Dark
Brooke Newman
Troy Book Makers
9781614685722, $23.50

Not Always Home Before Dark tells the story of a dog named Cajun, found in 2005 wandering loose in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Cajun was adopted by a Colorado family, but he never quite recovered from the storm that nearly cost his life. This lovely story of his wanderings, rescue, and ongoing habit of hitting the road whenever the fancy struck makes for an unusual rescue story that is captivating, celebrating the heartwarming interactions between a dog, his new family of humans and fellow canines, and the hours spent finding and soothing him. Dog lovers are in for a real treat in this fun story with its simple yet appealing back and white illustrations and photos by author Brooke Newman.

The Self-Help Shelf

Be the Awesome Man
Dennis Gazarek
Quill Driver Books
2006 S Mary Street, Fresno, CA 93721
9781610353373, $18.95

Be the Awesome Man: A Young Man's Guide to Achieving Discipline, Success, and Happiness addresses the needs and dilemma of a generation of young men in America who face more social challenges than ever before, from addiction to psychological damage. Dennis Gazarek seeks to be a mentor to this generation of lost young men by providing a self-help book that only needs a young man's motivation to read and follow it to prove successful. Ages 16 to 25 will find this contains a hard-hitting message about discipline and achievement, pairing the author's real-world experiences with similar challenges at different levels of his life with advice on how to identify the kinds of ideals and self-discipline that lead to a better life. Young adult males should all receive this book as a graduation gift to new adulthood. Its specifics and outline of pitfalls and promises along the way are nicely done and provide much practical food for thought.

The General Fiction Shelf

Notes for a Eulogy
Eric J. Matluck
Next Exit Press
c/o The Carriere Company
9780578739991, $22.95

Notes for a Eulogy tells of Morley Peck, a high school English teacher who is not only passionate about his vocation, but a liar who can't help himself when he meets fellow Francine and begins spinning a new yarn. As he expands his horizons and teeters on the edge of a relationship without quite falling into love, readers receive a powerful survey of changing relationships, new views of life, and the role of a lifetime that departs from a carefully built script to take on a life of its own. Morley's transformation is nicely done and thought provoking. As the story evolves, Morley becomes the pivot point for something very different and takes readers along for the ride.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

The Sea Glass Murders
Timothy Cole
Pace Press
c/o Linden Publishing
2006 S Mary St., Fresno, CA 93721
9780941936033, $16.95

The Sea Glass Murders is a fine mystery that offers twists, turns, and unexpectedly intriguing moments as it follows events that stem from a headless corpse in a dumpster that evoke the unlikely duo of a small-town cop and a retired lady spy to ferret out a public figure as the killer. Issues of trust, deception and violence, and tragedy swirl around what begins as a singular murder, then evolves with more bodies and threats. The result is a fast-paced story filled with quirky moments, tense confrontations, revelations, and strong characters that draw readers into the mystery with a compelling saga indeed.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Destroyer of Worlds
Larry Correia
Baen Books
9781982124847, $25.00

Destroyer of Worlds tells of Ashok Vadal, the military commander of a group of rebels and a turncoat who faces a new plot to kill all the members of a caste. He faces down a former friend and Lord Protector who hunts him as a traitor, but his rebels seek a secret kingdom rumored to be a paradise free of caste and political conflict. As battles, war, and grim courage preside, a powerful story evolves that is packed with action and a format that will particular interest and engage fans of military sci-fi and political clashes.

Straight Outta Deadwood
David Boop, editor
Baen Books
9781982124885, $8.99

Straight Outta Deadwood: The Weird Wild West Rides Again gathers new stories by Mike Resnick, Jane Lindskold, and others based on the 'weird West' theme begin in Straight Outta Tombstone, and will delight fans of Western sci-fi settings who want a new collection of take-offs based on real Western events and themes. In this weird setting, dilemmas of the past are revisited and twists on personalities, events, and history abound. Readers will find this approach refreshingly original, thoroughly delightful, and spiced with creative embellishments by a host of seasoned and new short story writers.

The Technology Shelf

Artech House
685 Canton Street, Norwood, MA 02062

Ali Dorri, Salil Kanhere, Raja Jurdak's Blockchain for Cyberphysical Systems (9781630817831, 159.00) considers how blockchain technology can overcame CPS problems in different disciplines, offering an alternative structure and security which can be beneficial, yet is not always easily integrated into existing systems. The focus here is on blockchain specifically for CPS processing, and examines its applicability to the end, what would have to be changed to adopt it, and how to use it for purposes ranging from smart rids to the Internet of Things. From lightweight, scalable blockchains to data modification for memory and use anonymity in the environment, this book is packed with insights engineers will find specific to considering blockchain processes, adaptations, and CPS improvements.

Timothy D. Cole's Designing Wireless Sensor Network Solutions for Tactical ISR (9781630813376, $164.83) is a highly recommended reference for intelligence engineers and communities interested in WSN systems and how they are designed and operate, and provides discussions on various tactical intelligence operations, strategies, goals, and operations. From the differences between WSN-based systems and their requirements to integrating emergent technologies, chapters survey both theories and applications in the field. Diagrams, models, references, and mathematical equations support the discussions, lending solid factual data perfect for understanding all the nuances of challenges, attacks, and WSN system responses.

Avik Santra and Souvik Hazra's Deep Learning Applications of Short-Range Radars (9781630817466, $179.00) is recommended for radar technology collections and professionals in the field who will find it an authoritative review of the latest applications of artificial intelligence and deep learning to the short-range radar environment. The basics of these concepts and how they relate and work are surveyed in chapters that examine and contrast different deep learning environments, algorithms, and metrics, considering different learning models and applications specific to short-range radar operations. From setup and characters to different applications such as fall detectors and people counts, this is a well-detailed, in-depth discussion that supports theory with real-world applications and the math formulas needed to understand them.

Artech House
685 Canton Street, Norwood, MA 02062

Francisco Saez de Adama,'s Applications of Geographic Information Systems for Wireless Network Planning (9781630817633, $136.84) provides engineers with specifics on how to blend propagation methods with GIS mapping systems to obtain radio coverage in open environments, and focuses on how GIS can be used to help enable wireless networks in different scenarios. From different systems and how they are integrated with GIS to examples of main screens and features of the application and contrasts between different propagation methods, Applications of Geographic Information Systems for Wireless Network Planning is an excellent reference for any engineer or designer involved in wireless network adaptations and planning who wants a clear overview of GIS connections to wireless objectives.

Mougun Dong's RF Circuits and Applications for Practicing Engineers (9781630816315, $169.00) will appeal to electrical and microwave engineering collections at the college level with a basic resource examining RF circuits and their design. From theories of power amplifiers to basic processes, from matching networks to calculating RF circuit efficiencies, theory is supported by real-world applications and a good degree of mathematical formulas and charts that illustrate interface concepts, voltage breakdowns, and realistic circuit applications. It's a fine basic primer on the subject that will appeal both as a refresher course, an update, and a reference for practicing engineers as well as classroom students.

Rongsheng Li's All Source Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (9781630817039, $179.00) is the first technical discussion of all source positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) in book form, and surveys the issues that arise in GPS-denied and GPS-challenged PNT systems. It covers various types of PNT systems and their applications and usage, providing error models, algorithm examples for attitude calculation and more, and measurement approaches that hold the possibility of improving celestial navigation system design. It's a complete reference that probes solutions to common GPS system obstacles, covering all the possibilities of PNT applications in various environments. As a mainstay desk reference, its practical perspectives are invaluable.

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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