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The Bookwatch

Volume 10, Number 6 June 2015 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Theatre/Cinema Shelf Geology Shelf
Social Issues Shelf Interior Design Shelf Gardening Shelf
Agriculture Shelf Cookbook Shelf Wine/Spirits Shelf
Travel Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf Political Science Shelf
International Studies Shelf Christian Studies Shelf Metaphysical Studies Shelf
Sports Shelf Computer Shelf Business Shelf
Philosophy Shelf Education Shelf Needlecraft Shelf
Literary Studies Shelf Technology Shelf Money/Finance Shelf
Photography Shelf Music Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf World History Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

Better Than Before
Gretchen Rubin
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780395348614, $26.00,

Any collection strong in self-help guides will find Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives offers a powerful survey of approaches that really work to change ingrained habits. These habits can be as varied as insomnia, struggling with weight loss programs, or handling tendencies to procrastinate, and here Rubin examines the latest science and tests to consider the origins of developing willpower, handling decisions, and changing ingrained patterns. The result is a powerful survey that doesn't just present exercises for changing habits: it considers the latest research on those habits and why they are so difficult to alter, and it offers self-help collections a rare, specific examination into how to make these habit-altering changes a part of everyday life.

What Would You Do?
John Quinones
125 West End Avenue, 3rd Floor, New York NY 10023
9781484726204, $15.99,

If What Would You Do? Words of Wisdom About Doing the Right Thing sounds familiar, that's because it's based on a long-running ABC hit TV show of the same name, and offers a survey not just of 'what would you do' moments, but host and author John Quinones' life. From how to react to calls of action in everyday life, such as witnessing bullying or abuse, to what's involved in moral and ethical dilemmas, this combines real-life stories with the author's perspective of the changes that can be experienced from responding to situations in a more enlightened manner. The result is revealing and involving, and highly recommended for any general lending library.

The Theatre/Cinema Shelf

The Sound of Music Story
Tom Santopietro
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250064462, $28.99,

The Sound of Music Story doesn't take your usual approach in considering the origins of the film alone, but offers everything from the real-life story of Maria von Trapp to the show's evolution, success, and behind-the-scenes stories of casting, the film's making and mishaps, its direction and approach, and the reactions of the real von Trapps to the film's success. It includes new interviews with actors, the movie's choreographer and film historians, Johannes von Trapp, and adds a centerfold of black and white photos. The result is far more wide-ranging than most, documenting the sources of the film's inspiration, what was involved in its shooting, and more. Any fan of The Sound of Music will find this a solid and well-researched account containing many facets other books on the subject don't provide.

The Geology Shelf

Mineral Treasures of the Ozarks
Bruce L. Stinchcomb
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
9780764347153, $29.99,

Any collection strong in U.S. geology needs Mineral Treasures of the Ozarks, a guide which pairs some 500 color images of minerals with information on their collectability, science, and where they can be discovered. It's unusual to find a gathering that will appeal both to mineralogy scientists, travelers, and collectors alike, but this book offers a narrow focus upon minerals that occur along the Ozarks' waterways, and is packed with stories about these minerals, their attributes, and their discoveries. Particularly intriguing are displays of mineral combinations, discussions of their showcase opportunities and how they can be enhanced, and the history of mining deposits. It's the multi-faceted approach of this book that makes it such a highly recommended acquisition, capable of reaching beyond the usual audience of mineral scientists into the world of collectors and historians, alike.

The Social Issues Shelf

Battlefield America
John W. Whitehead
SelectBooks, Inc.
87 Walker Street, Suite B1, New York City, NY 10013
9781590793091, $26.95,

Battlefield America: The War on the American People provides a fine follow-up to his A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, and comes from a constitutional attorney who tells of a nation at war, internally, with forces near to destroying the basic freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution. Police have been changing the nature of towns and cities across the country, and the shift into totalitarianism has been so subtle that most Americans haven't been aware of the change. This survey not only charts those changes, but shows how they have evolved from individual actions to a far more insidious bigger picture, making this a 'must read' for any collection strong in civil liberties and social awareness.

The Interior Design Shelf

Montgomery Ward & Co. Catalog & Buyer's Guide 1895
Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018
9781629145969, $17.95,

While this catalog is directed to audiences interested in antiques and collectibles specific to the merchandise of the late 19th century, it shouldn't be neglected by home designers who appreciate incorporating elements of the past into their home designs - thus, it's featured here in our 'Interior Design Shelf' so that neither audience misses its value. At one time making purchases used to require numerous separate trip to specialist merchants, so Montgomery Ward's wide-ranging, all-encompassing catalog appealed to many by providing all manner of products under one convenient mail-order cover. Montgomery Ward & Co. Catalog & Buyer's Guide 1895 reprints this classic guide, including the black and white illustrations from clothing departments, horse and saddle equipment for riding, guns and curtain poles, and more. Readers who will find it important range from those who like history and interior design oddities to collectors of antique equipment.

The Gardening Shelf

Epic Tomatoes
Craig LeHoullier
Storey Publishing
210 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247
9781612122083, $19.95,

Epic Tomatoes: How to Select & Grow the Best Varieties of All Time comes from a tomato expert who reviews over thirty of his favorite varieties, pairing lovely color photos with recommendations on how to grow them, and why they are exceptional. Big, bright color tomato photos accompany a blend of history, cultivation techniques, and even how to breed varieties and troubleshoot pests and problems. Gardeners with affection for tomatoes will find this a very specific discussion: where others may generalize, this is packed with key pointers to gardening success.

The Agriculture Shelf

Climate Change on Crop Productivity
Rakesh S. Sengar and Kalpana Sengar, Editors
CRC Press
6000 NW Broken Sound Parkway NW, Suite 300, Boca Raton, FL 33487
9781482229202, $169.95,

Climate Change on Crop Productivity is a recommendation primarily for college-level environmental science holdings, but should also be considered by any serious about farming and agriculture and climate change's effects on crops. It provides a powerful exploration of how crops adapt to climate change (or not), how new strategies can be considered for adapting to ongoing climate change, and different mathematical models and future projections. Because of its depth of treatment and math-based science, this book isn't recommended for general audiences so much as those with scientific backgrounds and a special interest in crop management. With its many scenarios, scientific research and backing, and insights on crop productivity factors, it's a 'must' for understanding a range of possible scenarios.

Seed Libraries
Cindy Conner
New Society Publishers
PO Box 189, Gabriola Island, BC, Canada, V0R 1X0
9780865717824, $19.95,

Seed Libraries and Other Means of Keeping Seeds in the Hands of the People belongs in any collection strong in food, gardening, agricultural studies, and the social issues revolving around the seed market, and discusses how multinational corporations are trying to eliminate small, family-run companies and injuring biodiversity in the process. Seed saving is the first step to solving the problem, and Seed Libraries offers a guide to saving, storing, and sharing seeds through community programs. While this book is packed with 'how to' examples, it also offers detailed social insights on the importance of preserving not only seed libraries, but individual freedoms in collecting and sharing seeds, and it encourages the kind of self-reliance that is key to keeping this kind of control small scale and widespread. The result is a fine guide blending how-to instructions with philosophy: a must for nay who would grow, harvest, and retain control of food supplies.

Midwest Maize: How Corn Shaped the U.S. Heartland
Cynthia Clampitt
University of Illinois Press
1325 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820-6975
9780252080579, $19.95,

Midwest Maize: How Corn Shaped the U.S. Heartland provides a fin history of how corn became a staple of the human diet, and pairs history with insights into the political, economic and scientific influences of corn's development. It comes from a food historian who considers these various facets of corn's development and evolution, and it comes peppered with vintage black and white photos which lend interest to discussions as wide-ranging as how popcorn was developed and promoted, corn-growing challenges for organic farmers, and agricultural challenges over the years. The result is a solid introductory history that covers many different facets of corn production and marketing, recommended for any college-level collection strong in agricultural history.

Chelsea Green Publishing Company
85 North Main Street, Suite 120, White River Junction, VT 05001

It should be noted that Philip Rutter,'s Growing Hybrid Hazelnuts: The New Resilient Crop for a Changing Climate (9781603585347, $39.95) represents the first in-depth guide for small-scale farmers interested in growing hybrid hazelnuts, a nut notorious for being problematic, and thus affords an unusual opportunity for the small farmer to become involved in a new crop that needs no plowing, cultivation, or extensive attention. Once established, its permanent root system takes are of itself. Decades of research went into this book, which covers everything from the historical use of hazels for food and fuel to site requirements, crop management, biodiversity concerns, and much more. From planting to harvest, Growing Hybrid Hazelnuts is packed with step-by-step color photos and everything needed to make a hazelnut operation a success. Josh Trought's The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm: The D Acres Model for Creating and Managing an Ecologically Designed Educational Center (9781603584753, $40.00) is powerful guide that describes the history of the D Acres project and its roots in sustainable living and small-scale organic production, and discusses how it serves as a model of information for working with animals, designing buildings, and gaining maximum use from the land. From constructing basic equipment to partnering with the community, chapters emphasize collaborative choices, processes, and more, using first-person experiences and examples paired with color photos throughout to examine how systems work together, interact, and support one another. Strategies and developments for home, garden, and farm all join in a powerful treatment highly recommended for any interested in applied permaculture concepts.

The Cookbook Shelf

A Girl and Her Greens
April Bloomfield with J.J. Goode
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062225887, $34.99,

A Girl and Her Greens: Hearty Meals from the Garden comes from a chef who follows up her best-selling cookbook A Girl and Her Pig with 80 more recipes based on garden harvests, and presents a passion for vegetables that is anything but your usual vegetarian cookbook. Greens may be cooked with bacon, anchovies can provide that elusive extra flavor to a vegetable dish, and different kinds of onions and mushrooms can add texture and flavors that are unexpected delights. From using farmer's market and farm bounty to understanding the properties of raw vegetables and how they translate differently when cooked, A Girl and Her Greens is an outstanding cookbook which makes the most of fresh foods and garden harvests and is recommended not as a vegetarian's guide, but as a celebration of vegetables.

United States of Cakes
Roy Fares
Skyhorse Publishing
307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018
9781632204752, $24.99,

United States of Cakes: Tasty Traditional American Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and Baked Goods comes from a Swedish pastry chef with an unusual focus: using less sugar in his baked goods. This might sound like an impossibility to many cooks who realize that the proper juxtaposition of sugar in any given pastry is key to its success (or its failure); but Fares has created and tested all the recipes in this cookbook, and revamps classic American desserts in a collection that will particularly appeal to diabetics who want less emphasis on sugary creations. The author's background studying baking in Europe and his journey to Los Angeles is reflected in a collection that blends European baking methods with American favorites. Thus lemon meringue is transformed into light cupcakes, red velvet cake assumes new inspiration with Sweet Lady Jane's recipe, and Apple Pancakes require only 1/4 cup of sugar to prove successful. Some have more sugar than others: it should be mentioned that the red velvet cake above contains a hefty dose on par with its original creation. However, all are redone traditional creations in some manner, which are paired with numerous appealing color photos throughout.

Richard H. Turner
Mitchell Beazley
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9781784720018, $34.99,

Hog: Perfect Pork Recipes from the Snout to the Squeak stands out from other pork cookbooks in a number of ways. First, it celebrates all kinds of cuts, familiar and unfamiliar, and methods of handling them, from grilling to brining, using chopped pork to making sausages. Many other pork cookbooks touch lightly on these subjects, but this book goes whole hog and delves into them in detail - so don't expect a light recipe collection. Cooks who seek depth from their cookbooks will love both the detail and the inclusion of references to how some of the recipes were invented and how they were adapted by other cooks. The second attribute of note is full-page close-up color photos which offer artistic presentations of the pork dishes in their completed form. The third is its wide-ranging inclusion of everything from pork popcorn to international fare from carnitas to choucroute. The result is far more detailed than most, packing in dishes home cooks will want to duplicate. All that's required is an affection for the pig and the kitchen!

Pure Pork Awesomeness
Kevin Gillespie
Andrews McMeel Publishing
1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO 64106-2109
9781449447076, $29.99,

Pure Pork Awesomeness: Totally Cookable Recipes from Around the World is a celebration of the pig - so if pork isn't desired, look elsewhere. It helps to have not just affection but a love for pork, and this book shares all kinds of work dishes, from sandwiches and stews to stroganoff, spareribs and more. Many of the dishes provide unusual ethnic influences and flavors, while Thai Red Curry Pork, Sweet and Sour Pork, and Bacon Popcorn enhanced by bacon grease offer many fine pork flavors. The result is a pork cookbook that celebrates all aspects of pork cookery in a wide variety of dishes.

Kay Frydenborg
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544175662, $18.99,

Chocolate: Sweet Science & Dark Secrets of the World's Favorite Treat joins a host of other books on the subject, but stands out in providing a lively survey of chocolate's earliest uses in Mesoamerica, its rise in Western culinary circles, and the efforts that led to its becoming an industry and a home staple. Chapters focus on this history and blend in scientific and cultural perspectives with a focus on the international development of chocolate and the evolution of favorites, business pursuits, and the scientific properties of chocolate. Yes, other books provide much of the same information - but in a less lively, interconnected format. The inclusion of scientific and cultural details into the history makes this survey something different from another culinary discussion.

Fed, White, and Blue
Simon Majumdar
Hudson Street Press
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9781594632150, $25.95,

Fed, White, and Blue: Finding America with My Fork comes from a British ex-pat living in L.A. who decided to embark on a road trip across the United States to discover its regional food history and current culture. His journeys took him to Massachusetts to learn about what the pilgrims ate, to Kansas for a Shabbat dinner; to Alaska to fish for salmon. His discussions of food culture, beers, farming, food banks and American culture offer up delicious, hilarious, and thought-provoking insights into American food from a British perspective. The result will delight two kinds of readers: those involved in American regional food culture, and those who appreciate warm and spirited travelogues.

The Occidental Arts & Ecology Center Cookbook
OAEC Collective with Olivia Rathbone
Chelsea Green Publishing Company
85 North Main Street, Suite 120, White River Junction, VT 05001
9781603585132, $40.00,

The Occidental Arts & Ecology Center Cookbook focuses on recipes that use wild edibles, and is a lovely collection of some 200 recipes from the California-based farm and ecology center. The dishes are arranged for seasonal use and provide vegetarian dishes that blend weeds, flowers, fruits, mushrooms and others ingredients into the mix. A home garden is the first recommended prerequisite for appreciating the approach of this book; the second is an appreciation for cooking with weeds and ingredients from a home or community-based garden. There is much to enjoy, here, from the many full-page color photos of plants and polished recipes to such dishes as Carrot Chamomile Soup, Spiced Turnip Stew with Chickpeas and Turnip Green Yogurt Sauce, and Slow-Roasted Sunchokes with Wild Mushrooms. The result is a lovely, appealing guide gardeners and foragers alike will appreciate, packed with dishes not to be found in other vegetarian cookbooks.

Cookie Craft
Valerie Peterson & Janice Fryer
Storey Publishing
210 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247
9781612125596, $12.95,

Cookie Craft: Baking & Decorating Techniques for Fun & Festive Occasions covers all the basics for mastering techniques from basic to advanced for baking and decorating all kinds of cookies for all kinds of purposes, and covers designs, tricks for professional-looking results, and more. The idea is to take the mundane cookie and turn it into something exceptional: thus, cookie recipes are designed to produce 'blank canvases' while tips range from acquiring and organizing cookie cutters to creating gourmet or boutique icings, obtaining and organizing decorating supplies, and turning cookies into centerpieces. The result is a powerful survey highly recommended for cookie bakers who have some baking basics under their belts, but who want more ideas for advanced applications.

The Wine/Spirits Shelf

Joel Harrison & Neil Ridley
Mitchell Beazley
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9781845339111, $19.99,

Distilled: From Absinthe & Brandy to Vodka & Whiskey, the World's Finest Artisan Spirits Unearthed, Explained & Enjoyed selects among the best-crafted, most interesting spirits to explain what goes into each, from its ingredients and its traditions to how it's created, consumed, and marketed. It contains discussions of the world's best examples of these creations, it surveys the growing world of craft distillers and how now spirits are being invented, and it offers keys to drinking them property and creating new kinds of cocktails. A combination recipe book and history packed with color photos and fun 'how to enjoy' facts, Distilled is a recommendation for any collection strong in wine and spirits discussions.

The Travel Shelf

Picnic in Provence
Elizabeth Bard
Little, Brown & Company
c/o Hachette Book Group
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780316246163, $26.00,

Picnic in Provence: A Memoir with Recipes could also have been featured in our 'Food and Wine' section, but is reviewed here because of its many travel and cultural insights into rural French life. It's a fun travelogue punctuated with French recipes, and continues the story of a New Yorker who followed a Frenchman to Paris and here finds herself with a baby on the way and affection for French food. The couple journey to a tiny Provencal village as one of their last pre-baby travels, where their discoveries of local history, culture, and food lead to a decision to move to the French countryside to open an artisanal ice cream shop. The ideal reader will be one with a prior affection for French culture and cooking, who is intrigued by French experiences and who wants a selection of unusual regional dishes along the way.

Almost Sleeping My Way to Timbuktu
Sihle Khumalo
Umuzi/Random House Struik
c/o International Publishers' Marketing (distributors)
22841 Quicksilver Drive, Dulles, VA 20166
9781415203989, $18.00,

Almost Sleeping My Way to Timbuktu: West Africa on a Shoestring by Public Transport With No French comes from a traveler who planned to inform himself about Francophone Africa on the fly, as he visited the countries, and provides an engrossing saga of cultural encounters and journeys that's unparalleled in a genre filled with travel stories. He had many grand ideas - visit five World Heritage Sites listed by UNESCO, journey through Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, and more, and do so via public conveyances. His first-person saga of language barriers, cultural revelations, and African encounters paints a vivid portrait of daily life in contemporary African nations and the challenges of touring without French in French-speaking countries, and makes for a fine armchair read for any who would enjoy high adventure and cultural insights.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

The Perfect Metabolism Plan
Sara Vance
Conari Press
c/o Red Wheel/Weiser
65 Parker Street, Suite 7, Newburyport, MA 01950-4600
9781573246439, $16.95,

The Perfect Metabolism Plan: Restore Your Energy and Reach Your Ideal Weight offers the ideal of a perfect metabolism and then pairs this goal with the reality of how to achieve it, providing key points for fixing metabolism issues ranging from food intolerances and digestive issues to too many toxins. Chapters pair these insights with keys on how to exercise smarter, recognize the deeper ramifications of inactivity, how to understand daily feeling fluctuations such as an unexplained lack of energy, and more. The result is a powerful plan designed to address all aspects of health and diet, highly recommended for any interested in taking control of health.

The Probiotic Promise
Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM
Da Capo Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780738217956, $25.99,

The Probiotic Promise: Simple Steps to Heal Your Body from the Inside Out comes from a health and wellness expert who presents the latest research on the healing powers of probiotics and blends this research into a plan of action consumers will find easy to follow. Probiotics are normally associated with digestive issues but they can also improve other conditions, from allergies and depression to cancer. This covers all the options, what to look for in probiotics, how to tell of cultures are really "live", and more, and presents a far more expansive view of the nature, promise, and research surrounding probiotics than most books offer.

The Political Science Shelf

Inside Reagan's Navy: The Pentagon Journals
Chase Untermeyer
Texas A&M University Press
4354 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4354
9781623492120, $35.00,

Inside Reagan's Navy: The Pentagon Journals comes from an assistant to VP George W. Bush, and who decided to vacate his plush White House position to become a deputy assistant secretary of the Navy in 1983, and "Inside Reagan's Navy: The Pentagon Journals" follows his experiences and encounters with the Pentagon during the Reagan years. It's a lively view of not just Naval operations but Washington politics of the era, injecting a dose of humor into its social and political observations of his office and its interactions at the highest levels of government. With its blend of lively, personal encounters and political process, Inside Reagan's Navy is a pick for any who would learn more about how the Navy works, is managed, and how it interacts with other government offices.

The International Studies Shelf

The Burma Spring
Rena Pederson
Pegasus Books
80 Broad Street, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10004
9781605986678, $29.95,

The Burma Spring: Aung San Suu Kui and the New Struggle for the Soul of a Nation is a 'must have' reference for any collection serious about Asian politics, and comes from an award-winning journalist and former State Department speechwriter who offers new details about Novel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, who introduced democracy to Burma. She was living in England with no desire to enter politics but she always intended to return to her homeland, should it ever need her. As the daughter of the late general Aung San, she quickly found herself embroiled in civil strife when she did return to Burma, and was imprisoned in her Rangoon home for fifteen years of struggle before securing her own freedom and influencing the course of the nation. From her friendships with American women in politics to her pivotal involvement in Burma's drive for independence, The Burma Spring is an in-depth story of both Kui's life and of her nation, and is a 'must' for any who would understand either.

The Christian Studies Shelf

Julia Alvarez,
Orbis Books
Box 302, Maryknoll NY 10545-0302
97816269811959, $18.00,

Passion: Contemporary Writers on the Story of Calvary is edited by Oliver Larry Yarbrough and gathers a fine collection of insights that blends personal encounters with Gospel to cover the Passion. Five American writers use these narratives in ways that are designed to draw inquiring Christian thinkers to understand different interpretations of the Passion in everyday life. From a visit to the sites of Holy Week to an author's memories of the Stations of the Cross, this is presents an outstanding series of insights into how Christian thinking and Gospel stories relate to modern Christian lives, and is a top recommendation for any Christian thinker.

All the Places to Go
John Ortberg
Tyndale House Publishers
351 Executive Drive, Carol Stream, IL 60188
9781414379005, $22.99,

All the Places to Go: How Will You Know? is all about enjoying life and getting out of a rut - with the help of God. Life isn't just an 'open door', however, it's an invitation provided by God to act with and for God - and this book tells how to adopt change and spiritual paths as part of this process. Chapters from a pastor identify these places where God can be observed, and teaches how to identify the divine potentials of everyday living. The result is a solid reference that is lively, conversational, and filled with insights on the appropriate places to recognize God in daily life, and the appropriate responses to God's invitations and presence.

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

Lucid Dreaming Plain and Simple
Robert Waggoner & Caroline McCready
Conari Press
c/o Red Wheel/Weiser
65 Parker Street, Suite 7, Newburyport, MA 01950
9781573246415, $19.95,

Lucid Dreaming Plain and Simple: Tips and Techniques for Insight, Creativity, and Personal Growth provides tools to beginners interested in the concept and achievement of lucid dreaming, which involves consciously directing actions experienced in the dream state, and is recommended for any who would conduct personal explorations of the subconscious mind. It packs in tips from scientific research and techniques geared to exploring through altered states of awareness, and it embarks on a journey through dream figures, stabilizing dream states and scenarios, and more. Any who would direct their dreams rather than being direct by them will find this an easy introduction to all kinds of options.

Talking Story
Marie-Rose Phan-Le
North Atlantic Books
2526 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA 94704
9781583948386, $18.95,

Talking Story: One Woman's Quest to Preserve Ancient Spiritual and Healing Traditions comes from a woman who has found peace in exploring the spiritual traditions and healing practices of different cultures around the world, observing that these traditions are rapidly vanishing as elders pass. Hers is not just a travel memoir or a story of personal spiritual awakening, but a survey of how this ancient wisdom may be preserved and the discoveries that led to her becoming a healer herself. Based on an award-winning film of the same name, Talking Story provides an invitation to grow and learn and, in itself, preserves the very traditions it investigates, making for a top pick for new age, health, and spirituality collections alike.

Light Atonement
Ariyana - a star child
Prospecta Press
9781632260291, $16.50,

Readers of Light Atonement should, most definitely, be new age followers and spirituality readers, as this audience will relish the powerful story of how Ariyana develops her abilities, using psychics, crystals and other methods of channeling, to travel to other dimensions in search of enlightenment. More than just an experiential survey, Light Atonement tells of a mission and how Ariyana learns about her purpose and path in life, and considers such diverse subjects as how a fifth-dimensional world differs from ours, how other channelers and belief systems interact with her own, and how she comes to face gods and her own hidden destiny. Light Atonement is an excellent blend of memoir and insight into how transcendence is achieved on many levels: a compelling story of one woman's journey, business, and expanding spiritual views.

New Page Books
c/o Career Press Inc.
220 West Parkway, Unit 12, Pompton Plains, NJ 07444

Paula Rosenfeld's The Oneness Blessing: How Deeksha Can Help You Become Your Authentic Self, Heal Your Relationships, and Transform the World (9781601633613, $14.99) provides a fine survey packed with new age spiritual reflection and considers the global idea of the Oneness Blessing, also known as Deeksha, a transfer of energy from one person to another. Deeksha activates the frontal lobe of the brain and deactivates the parietal lobe, offering a shift in brain function that leads to increased awareness and bliss. This discusses the process, its benefits, its affect on inner perception and resistences, and how it may be used in daily life, and is recommended for any who want more specific information on how Oneness Blessing works, and how it may be translated to modern life. Marie D. Jones and Larry Flaxman's Mind Wars: Who's Been Watching You From the Shadows? (9781601633583, $15.99) details mind control methods and techniques from ancient to modern times, and is for any who want an understanding of human behavior and conspiracy. The desire to control thoughts and behaviors is a long-held goal that was evident in the earliest of cultures and in science that didn't work. Mind Wars captures all these efforts under one cover, considers everything from mental manipulation techniques to reprogramming efforts and psychic intervention, and documents all kinds of surveillance. The result is a hard-hitting examination that new age readers, in particular, will find wide-ranging and thought-provoking - for those who still have minds with which to think.

Weiser Books
c/o Red Wheel/Weiser
65 Parker Street, Suite 7, Newburyport, MA 01950

David Ian Cowan's Seeing Beyond Illusions: Freeing Ourselves from Ego, Guilt, and the Belief in Separation (9781578635740, $16.95) uses the basics of A Course in Miracles to consider how lines of separation form and may be broken to free us from subconscious messages that lead away from the Source, and is a recommendation for psychology and new age holdings alike. It's about letting go the need to control and embracing forgiveness of self and others to make greater connections, and its ultimate purpose is to take the basics of A Course in Miracles and relate them to daily lives. The result is a solid recommendation for any who already know about the Course and want more insights into its applications. Orion Foxwood's The Flame in the Cauldron: A Book of Old-Style Witchery (9781578635368, $16.95) provides a powerful witch's account of sorcery and reveals, for the first time, some of Foxwood's personal rituals and spells. It also describes a vast change among the Pagan and Witchcraft communities which moves away from ritual and goes back to what it means to be a healer and protector and practitioner of magical arts. Chapters follow the 'blood boiling' of the author's inner spirit and transmit the essence of what it means to be a witch in modern times: a personal journey that will delight pagan readers.

The Sports Shelf

Fitness Running, third edition
Richard L. Brown, PhD
Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.
PO Box 5076, Champaign, IL 61820-5076
9781450461187, $21.95,

Fitness Running: 78 Workouts from the Mile to the Marathon appears in its third updated edition to provide a combination of personalized workouts and expert advice, and teaches how to use proven programs that are color coded, customizable, and which span 13 to 26 weeks to cover the basics of fitness training both for short events and long-range marathons. Each workout allows readers the flexibility of tailoring training to schedules, while the new edition includes individualized testing for assessing running health, logging runs, and more.

The Computer Shelf

iOS for Game Programmers
Allen Sherrod
Mercury Learning
c/o Stylus Publishing, Inc.
22883 Quicksilver Drive, Sterling, VA 20166-2012
9781938549878, $44.95,

iOS for Game Programmers examines mobile game development and is directed to beginning Objective-C programmers, offering tools for creating a number of quick projects and small games to teach the basic applications of iOS. Each project teaches a basic skill and then builds upon it with the next project, which enables learners to embark on a logical system of learning through experience. Five game projects include a puzzle, a game of pong, and a "whack-a-mole" game, and includes details on how iOS works, along with information on various versions including the latest iOS8 for iPhone and iPad. The result is a collection of keys to understanding game programming and iOS like, and is a recommendation for those just starting out.

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

Michelangelo Manrique's Blender for Animation and Film-Based Production (9781482204742, $59.95) explores why Blender is perfect for animation film efforts, and shows how it can do a variety of jobs in each production department. Both newcomers to Blender and advanced users will find this reference packed with keys on incorporating Blender into a film project, from understanding its different stages and techniques to how studios develop animation projects using Blender. Black and white screen shots, color examples, and plenty of illustration throughout make for a guide that supports film-based pursuits. J.D. Glaser's Secure Development for Mobile Apps: How to Design and Code Secure Mobile Applications with PHP and JavaScript (9781482209037, $59.95) provides a step-by-step survey of how to blend security measures into social apps running on mobile platforms, and teaches the basics of design and code with security as a part of the process. From PHP security practices and project layout templates to encryption and guidelines for creating secure sessions, this isn't for the beginner, but for the IT professional who has some PHP and MySQL development under his belt, and who wants insights on how to apply software best practices to mobile security processes. Cristina Videira Lopes's Exercises in Programming Style (9781482227376, $39.95) offers the basics for programmers interested in attacking a common programming problem by learning different programming styles; each with its own approaches, pros, and cons. Programming styles are typically difficult to teach and only through side-by-side comparison over a common denominator - as in Exercises in Programming Style - do results of these styles begin to make sense. With its clear comparisons and rare ability to cross-compare, this book goes where few others dare, making it a top recommendation for any programmer looking to understand different styles, how they work, and why to choose one over another. Nicholas Bernhardt Zeman's Essential Skills for 3D Modeling, Rendering, and Animation (9781482224122, $59.95) is a rare guide written for the non-technical mind, and considers 3D computer-generated art, how it works in animation and art works, and how the three basics of 3D - rendering, modeling, and animation - work together to create exceptional pieces, when used property. Chapters discuss both basic concepts and the skill sets needed to become a 3D artist, with step-by-step instructions accompanying examples and projects beginners can use to learn the basics of 3D art. Black and white (and a selection of color) examples throughout answer "how do I create" questions about special effects, and accompany a discussion highly recommended for any aspiring 3D artist looking for a basic introduction on the subject.

The Business Shelf

The Reconnected Leader
Norman Pickavance
Kogan Page USA
1518 Walnut Street, Suite 1100, Philadelphia, PA 19102
9780749472320, $37.95,

The Reconnected Leader: An Executive's Guide to Creating Responsible, Purposeful and Valuable Organizations considers and sets forth new models for practices designed to help business leaders reconnect with teams and stakeholders alike, and uses case studies from international big businesses from Canon and IKEA, among others, to discuss how leader-driven solutions can bring business transformation and change. Norman Pickavance has held numerous high-level roles in big international organizations from Dell to Fujitsu: his involvement in their turnarounds and his approach to business management presents a structured model for change that's been tested under real-world, big-business conditions. From connected talent environments to building better boards, no business leader should be without this consideration of newer, better approaches.

c/o Wiley Professional Trade Group
111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774

Sean V. Bradley, CSP's Win the Game of Googleopoly: Unlocking the Secret Strategy of Search Engines (9781119002581, $25.00) is packed with all the information needed to move and keep one's site on the first page of Google's search results, and comes from an internet expert who goes beyond the usual updated discussion of how Google works to present a strategy that shows how to gain more page views to boost one's position. Plenty of books have been written on Search Engine Optimization, but this is one of the few to analyze what Google is looking for, how to get at the top of its search algorithm, and how to incorporate a specific strategy to enhance one's online presence. The result is a top recommendation for any business looking to not just understand the latest optimization routines, but how to incorporate them into an overall plan of action. Savio Chan and Michael Zakkour's China's Super Consumers: What 1 Billion Customers Want and How to Sell It To Them (9781118834749, $25.00) blends original research with case studies and the authors' own experiences helping companies sell to Chinese consumers, and explains the psyche and buying patterns of the Chinese consumer, who is selling to them, and what they are purchasing. Businesses who envision tapping into this market must have this book: Chinese consumers, by sheer volume, are changing global trade and consumption patterns, and are changing how products are branded, sold, and marketed. From e-commerce to manufacturing, this survey reaches into all areas of Chinese markets and is a 'must' for any who would understand Chinese consumer actions and their world-wide, game-changing aspects.

The Philosophy Shelf

Steve Jobs and Philosophy
Shawn E. Klein, Editor
Open Court Publishing Company
70 East Lake Street, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60601
9780812698893, $19.95,

Steve Jobs and Philosophy: For Those Who Think Different gathers the thoughts of nineteen philosophers who consider Steve Jobs from different points of view, ranging from business thinkers to philosophers and more. Here is a satisfying focus not so much on Jobs' life and achievements, but the underlying philosophy driving his choices in general and his business approach in particular. Chapters link his creations and approach to our daily life and social change, and offer a rich gathering that will hold up well in debate classes and appeal to business thinkers alike.

The Education Shelf

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

Andrea Honigsfeld and Maria G. Dove's Collaboration and Co-Teaching for English Learners: A Leader's Guide (9781452241968, $31.95) is all about schools with diverse populations that succeed through the specific approach of collaborations and partnerships, and offers a program to Pre-K-12 teachers who want to use these methods to improve their approaches. The ELL population continues to grow and thus presents challenges for educational leaders. This book offers one solution to the problems: a resource that compiles methods with the latest research findings on the best instructional approaches for ELLs. Chapters include leadership vignettes, discussions of team and individual professional collaborative practices, and more, and makes for a powerful survey of verified methods and tested ideas that are perfect for ELL teachers. Jim Burke and Barry Gilmore's Academic Moves for College and Career Readiness Grades 6-12 (9781483379807, $30.95) packs in fifteen skills that college-bound students must achieve, and is a 'must' for any education reader where college is in the bigger picture. From analytical and debate skills to how to integrate concepts, interpret and organize them, and more, these fifteen words are designed to promote thinkers in the classroom, and offers keys to learning these moves. Secondary curriculum, text and more are provided to help develop lesson structures and assignments, making for a powerful key to academic success for college-bound students and for those heading into business careers. Russell J. Quaglia and Michael J. Corso's Student Voice: The Instrument of Change (9781483358130, $29.95) is for any student or educator looking for keys to creating partnerships, and tells how to engage students in decision-making and school and classroom improvement processes. It provides a framework for such questions, is packed with examples from student surveys, focus groups, and interviews, and provides a resource educators can use to not only foster better relationships with students, but encourage them to assume a role in their own educational process. The result is a fine pick for any education reader. Excellence Through Equity by Alan M. Blankstein and Pedro Noguera, (9781483392783, $36.95) provides a fine set of examples of educational equity in action in schools, and shows how equity is the only real path to achieving real student excellence and motivating students at all levels to succeed. It picks ideas from award-winning scholars and practitioners, pairs these strategies with case studies from multicultural K-12 settings, and synthesizes a series of classroom practices that are packed with insights and formulas nearly guaranteeing success. The result is a solid reference that promotes educational equity in a way few others have provided: a must for any educator's collection. Abigail Norfleet James' Teaching the Male Brain: How Boys Think, Feel, and Learn in School (9781483371405, $39.95) discusses gender differences and learning, considering the latest studies that relate to cognition and discussing the pros and cons of single-sex classroom learning. It provides the latest strategies for reaching boys with ADHD and social and emotional challenges, pairs case studies and classroom scenarios from the real world with discussions of how male brains work differently and how to reach them, and includes content-specific discussions teachers will find key to tailoring curriculum to the male mind.

The Needlecraft Shelf

Fast-Piece Applique
Rose Hughes
Martingale & Company
19021 Avenue NE, Bothell, WA 98011
9781604684698, $24.99,

Fast-Piece Applique: Easy, Artful Quilts by Machine teaches how to create three-panel quilt designs using Rose's Fast-Piece Applique method, and is a pick for both newcomers to quilting craft and those who want different, original inspirations. Some eleven patterns from this designer teaches the basics of how to work with an image, blend them into a quilt, and incorporate influences form nature into a quilting project. Patterns, color photos throughout, and charts showing pattern and fabric pieces accompany clear directions from beginning to end, lending to an intriguing survey perfect for newcomers who look for inviting projects and new ideas that lend to quick, easy machine work.

The Literary Studies Shelf

River Song
Richard D. Scheuerman and Clifford E. Trafzer, Editors/Collectors
Washington State University Press
PO Box 645910, Pullman, WA 99164-5910
9780874223279, $27.95,

River Song: Naxiyamtama (Snake River-Palouse) Oral Traditions from Mary Jim, Andrew George, Gordon Fisher, and Emily Peone should be in any Native American collection, and presents a solid gathering of oral histories from the original Snake River-Palouse people who, despite being forced to scatter, maintained their oral traditions. Over three decades, four elders told researchers their stories: River Song is the result, discussing spirituality, sacred lands, and beliefs and preserving a fading tradition. No Native American history collection should be without this example of what oral tradition means.

The Technology Shelf

Background Modeling and Foreground Detection for Video Surveillance
Thierry Bouwmans,, Editors
CRC Press
6000 NW Broken Sound Parkway NW, Suite 300, Boca Raton, FL 33487
9781482205374, $99.95,

Background Modeling and Foreground Detection for Video Surveillance is recommended for advanced computer scientists and engineers, but is reviewed here for its value as a reference for any collection strong in either subject. It blends established protocols and new ideas into a review of the concepts, algorithms, and applications key to background modeling and foreground detection methods, and assembles technical writings from leaders in the field who discuss a variety of challenges. It addresses solutions to problems, provides top methods for detecting moving objects in video surveillance, includes a healthy dose of statistics and mathematical algorithms, and provides the latest models, processes, implementations and industry standards. The result is a powerful survey highly recommended for any technical reference collection.

The Money/Finance Shelf

Social Security for Dummies, second edition
Jonathan Peterson
For Dummies
c/o Wiley Professional Trade Group
111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774
9781118967560, $19.99,

Any who find themselves puzzled over the benefits social security offers to families will find this a solid book - and if you think the subject doesn't deserve a complete coverage, think again. It starts with the basics of the program and then tells how to apply for the benefits, collect them, and navigate the puzzles of the Social Security Administration. From rules covering spousal and disability benefits to understanding how Medicare factors into the system, this is a 'must' for any who would understand the system and, especially, how to make the most of its available benefits.

The Photography Shelf

Amherst Media
175 Rano Street, Suite 200, Buffalo, NY 14207-2176

Lori Nordstrom's Maximizing Profits: A Practical Guide for Portrait Photographers (9781608958511, $34.95) comes from the owner of a studio and the founder of, and is directed to photographers who have the basics down and who want to build their photography business. It offers a step-by-step plan towards this process, covering the basics of creating and defining a photography niche, gaining the right kinds of clients, establishing an image and brand and then organizing a marketing campaign towards it, and gaining more referrals. Where other books would focus on business generalities, Maximizing Profits offers many specifics on what works in photography marketing and what doesn't - and why. The result is a guide packed with insights that apply specifically to building a photo business: a 'must' for any who are interested in not just the basics, but making the most of a photography pursuit. Michael Fagans' The iPhone Photographer: How to Take Professional Photographs with Your iPhone (9781608958870, $27.95) narrows the photo process to the iPhone specifically, offering a step-by-step assessment of images and how they can be shot or enhanced. From using lighting and posing - basics of professional photography - to exploring the technical aspects of how the author achieved special effects, this offers a thorough review of what can be done with the iPhone camera and how. From self-portraits to airplane window shots, shots off the water to action sports shots, this is a powerful survey highly recommended for any iPhone owner interested in superior photography results.

The Music Shelf

The Nashville Sound
Paul Hemphill
University of Georgia Press
330 Research Drive, Athens, GA, 30602-4901
9780820348575, $26.95,

The Nashville Sound: Bright Lights and Country Music discusses the clash of culture and music in Nashville and comes from a journalist who considers the evolutionary process of and changes between the traditional Nashville sound and its artists and venues and modern times, and is a 'must' for any who would understand Nashville's progressions. It was originally published in 1970 and here continues to show how Nashville influenced the music world, documenting its many unique approaches and features. Any who would understand not just country music but pop music and its supporters and influencers will find The Nashville Sound: Bright Lights and Country Music continues to provide a fine history.

The Audiobook Shelf

Beyond Willpower
Alexander Loyd, PhD, N.D.
Random House Audio Books
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 5th floor, New York, NY 10019
9781101913093, $40.00,

Beyond Willpower: From Stress to Success in 40 days comes from a psychological counselor who reveals a program to help combat stress and internal barriers to success. New research shows that fear is programmed into humans at the cellular level - which is why willpower often doesn't achieve the succession of stress. This book teachers how to change this programming by replacing fear with love, building a series of chemical changes that work to thwart stress. The result is a 'must' for any who would embark on a self-help program designed to reduce stress and profile success, and shines in the audio account.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Ophthalmology, third edition
David Gould and Gillian McLellan, Editors
c/o Wiley-Blackwell
350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148
9781905319428, $144.99,

BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Ophthalmology provides a newly updated third edition of a popular veterinary subject matter, and represents an in-depth revision and update that any collection holding the previous edition must have. It considers the clinical techniques related to canine and feline ocular examination, diagnostic imaging, lab tests, and treatments, and packs in anatomy, diseases, and common clinical situations. Color sidebars include diagnosis information, while color photo close-ups of animal eye conditions supplement text that considers traumas and options. Extensive bibliographic references round out each chapter, making this a key reference no veterinary collection should be without.

The Fiction Shelf

Orhan's Inheritance
Aline Ohanesian
Algonquin Books
PO Box 2225, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2225
9781616203740, $25.95,

Orhan's Inheritance opens with a bang: Orhan's eccentric grandfather, who built an empire from making kilim rugs, is found dead in a vat of dye, and so he inherits the business - even though the will states that the bulk of assets goes to an aging woman who lives thousands of miles away, in a retirement home in Los Angeles. Who is she, what relationship did she have to his grandfather, and why did he leave their shared home to a stranger outside the family? Orhan's journey to Los Angeles in search of answers raises more questions about a close-held secret and a story that, if revealed, could unravel not only his future, but his family. The story moves between the last years of the Ottoman Empire and the 1990s, and provides a complex, evolving story that is satisfyingly detailed and involving, highly recommended for any reader interested in good literature.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Kittens Can Kill
Clea Simon
Poisoned Pen Press
6962 E. First Ave., #103, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
9781464203589, $24.95,

Kittens Can Kill provides a fine Pru Marlowe pet mystery as it tells of an animal behaviorist who finds a kitten playing beside the newly-deceased body of a prominent lawyer. The possibilities are endless as his three adult daughters begin to feud over his estate even as their dead father's demise remains a mystery. Pru's sensitive to animals is yet another problem - and animals keep on turning up in the case. From an animal psychic to what the cat knows, this is a well-done, absorbing story that will engage any with an affection for animals and mystery.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Fields of Wrath
Mickey Zucker Reichert
Daw Books, Inc.
c/o Penguin Group
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780756408957, $25.95,

Fields of Wrath continues the Remshai saga begun in two previous trilogies decades ago and is set eighteen years after The Children of Wrath ended. Here three sons of Kevral Tainharsdatter are done with war after having won back the Fields of Wrath, but even as survivors begin to rebuild home and spirit, a new enemy enters the picture. Expect another detailed epic of battle, new opponents, dilemmas, and strife that threatens to undue everything gained in the Fields of Wrath in an epic saga especially recommended for prior fans of the Remshai saga who wish for more.

Grantville Gazette VII
Eric Flint, Creator
Baen Books
PO Box 1188, Wake Forest NC 27588
9781476780290, $25.00,

Grantville Gazette VII provides sequels to 1632, in which a cosmic accident sets the modern West Virginia town of Grantville in a war-torn 17th century Europe, and it fills in areas of his 'Ring of Fire' series as it explores supporting characters, side action, and more. A familiarity with the prior books in the series is, thus, a prerequisite for the successful appreciation of this collection, which provides a lively set of vignettes and tales that juxtapose well with the primary books in the series and fill in many gaps with new stories and new information.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Red: A Haida Manga
Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
Douglas & McIntyre
#211 - 2323 Quebec Street, Vancouver, BC V5T 4S7 Canada
9781771620222, $19.95,

Red: A Haida Manga combines Native American Haida fine art traditions with a manga-style graphic novel approach, which creates an unusual reference that brings a Haida oral story to life. It documents the story of a leader blinded by revenge, who nearly destroys his community, and it appears in a new paperback version to provide collections with a powerful and different approach to folk art, Native American and manga style applications. With its excellent-quality full-page color illustrations and its graphic novel format, this is a wide-ranging collection suitable for all kinds of readers and collections.

The World History Shelf

Daughters of the Samurai
Janice P. Nimura
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9780393077995, $26.95,

Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back documents the 1871 journey of five young girls who were sent to the U.S. by the Japanese government. They were instructed to learn Western ways so they could return and offer insights to Japanese leaders - but raised in traditional samurai households during the Japanese civil war, these girls became celebrities upon their arrival in the U.S., and came to be admired for the relationships they formed and their involvement in another culture. Their return to Japan ten years later proved a challenge, and they introduced new ideas to their homeland on women's education and freedom. This history belongs in any collection strong in women's issues and history, and is a lively account of cross-cultural encounters.

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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