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The Bookwatch

Volume 12, Number 3 March 2017 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Mythology Shelf Coloring Book Shelf
Needlecraft Shelf Cookbook Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fiction Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Science Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Judaic Studies Shelf
Technology Shelf Art Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

The Great Wall of China and the Salton Sea
Russell Rathbun
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
2140 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802873651, $21.99,

The Great Wall of China and the Salton Sea: Monuments, Missteps, and the Audacity of Ambition takes place on a cross-country drive to the Salton Sea, a trip to China's Great Wall, and other journeys, and blends a travelogue with history and philosophical and social musings alike. As he views the wonders mankind has created and offers both Biblical reflections and musings on ruin, achievement, and architectural monuments, Russell Rathbun offers an excellent survey of the meaning of life and the lasting impact of human endeavor upon the world. Readers who enjoy reflections combining spiritual, philosophical, historical and travel insights will find The Great Wall of China and the Salton Sea a lively and engrossing piece.

The Mythology Shelf

Norse Mythology
Neil Gaiman
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9780393609097, $25.95,

Norse Mythology comes from an author best known for his award-winning fiction and fantasy; but here he departs somewhat from his approach of creating original works of fantasy to embellish his favorite traditional Norse myths, adding new life to these tales. One might expect that a prior understanding of these myths would be required in order to fully appreciate these retellings; and while that might be the case for some, it should be advised that Norse Mythology is entirely accessible to newcomers who hold not a shred of former familiarity with mythology in general or Norse stories in particular. Neil Gaiman's skill has already been evident in his ability to embed ancient mythology into his fantasy worlds, but here it shines as he presents tales of Odin, Thor, Loki, and more. Readers will find these lively, contemporary productions that stay true to the original characters while adding an extra dimension that provides additional food for thought and much leisure reading delight.

The Coloring Book Shelf

Boudoir Coloring Book
Laurie Treifeldt
Quill Driver Books
2006 South Mary, Fresno, CA 93721
9781610352864, $14.95,

Boudoir Coloring Book: A Cultural Cornucopia of Romance and Beauty offers some 70 images to color and joins other adult coloring books: this one appealing to women who enjoy coloring images of flowers, showy bedrooms, and more. Thick paper, printed on only one side, makes for a superior coloring book experience while and detailed images of women, flowers, and patterned interior designs such as drapes are designed to attract female coloring fans with familiar, warm images. The result is a recommended for any coloring book enthusiast.

The Healthy Coping Colouring Book and Journal
Pooky Knightsmith and Emily Hamilton
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
9781785921391, $16.95,

The Healthy Coping Colouring Book and Journal: Creative Activities to Help Manage Stress, Anxiety and Other BIG Feelings packs in coping strategies and combines a colouring book with a journal designed for those who would work through their feelings and stress in a variety of ways. Journaling and drawing are seldom seen under one cover, but the pleasure in The Healthy Coping Colouring Book and Journal is that it encourages both in a format that directs activities for active analysis. While the format is designed for parents to give to their children, it also can readily apply to older kids into adult and special needs audiences.

The Needlecraft Shelf

Martingale & Company
19021 - 120th Avenue NE, Suite 102, Bothell, WA 98011

Katja Marek's The New Hexagon Coloring Book (9781604688610, $10.99) isn't a needlework book per say, but it will reach quilter and needleworker audiences who are particularly fond of and used to using hexagons in their work. Colorers receive some sixty designs inspired by English paper-pieced quilts from Katja Marek, who specializes in and holds a special affection for hexagons. Quilters thus have a special reason for considering a venture into the world of coloring with this book, which can be used to design a hexagon quilt. Kathleen Tracy's Small & Scrappy: Pint-Size Patchwork Quilts Using Reproduction Fabrics (9781604688252, $24.99) uses reproduction fabrics and traditional patterns to teach the basics of creating blocks that apply to small, fast projects. Quilters will find it easy to create these quick small quilts, which hold the look of antiques and use applique, blocks, hexagons, and various patchwork piecing in their projects. Maaike van Koert's 9 Months to Crochet (9781604688191, $22.99) provides 25 projects that apply to a baby on the way, creating nine months of crocheting ideas for infant outfits, nursery decor, blankets, toys and more. A basic knowledge of crochet instruction abbreviations and assembly will lend to this fun collection of crochet projects for expectant mothers and babies-to-be.

The Cookbook Shelf

Savor: Sensational Soups to Fulfill & Fortify
Amber Locke
Mitchell Beazley
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9781784722340, $16.99,

Savor: Sensational Soups to Fulfill & Fortify is the perfect item of choice for soup season, and packs in over 100 recipes and different insights into making soups, stocks, and variations on traditional themes. Readers will find the recipes go beyond the usual soup ideas and range from Carrot, Orange and Cilantro Soup to Raw Bell Pepper, Orange and Tomato Soup, Black-Eyed Bean Chili Soup, and a Fruit "Bonbon" Soup. The variety of these vegetable-emphasized dishes makes this collection a standout, with color photos illustrating finished results.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

1636: The Ottoman Onslaught
Eric Flint
Baen Books
PO Box 1188, Wake Forest NC 27588
9781476781846, $26.00,

1636: The Ottoman Onslaught continues the ongoing saga of the time-displaced Grantville, which has moved from modern West Virginia to continental Europe. In this story they're facing the Ottoman Empire's invasion - but the Turks are now armed with advanced technology from the Americans of Grantville, and they are able to capture Vienna with this new technology in hand. Fans of European history and alternative sci-fi history, as well as timeslip adventure readers familiar with Flint's prior 1636 stories, will find this story a delightful new take on "what could" happen.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Where I Can See You
Larry D. Sweazy
Seventh Street Books
c/o Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228
9781633882119, $15.95,

Where I Can See You takes place in a Midwest vacation spot where a detective is tracking a murderer while, at the same time, he's investigating his mother's disappearance many decades ago. How can Hud investigate two mysteries at once - and when he becomes the target of the killer, will his personal goals obstruct justice itself? As Hud faces issues of cooperation, death, deputies and dangers, he discovers the small town atmosphere is anything but staid; and as his investigations threaten more than the killer, he finds himself navigating difficult territory in a place both familiar and alien at the same time. Fans of murder mysteries and intrigue will find this a riveting story.

The Fiction Shelf

Orphan Train
Christina Baker Kline
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780061950728, $15.99,

Many nonfiction stories have centered around the evolution of the orphan train, but this literary fictional treatment of the orphan train experience is different, returning a New York Times best-selling story to new eyes and adding and extended scene to expand and enhance the story of a young Irish immigrant sent by rail from New York City to lead a new life in a new world, returning to her origins later in life to build a home on the shattered pieces of her life. When teen Molly helps Vivian examine these memories of the past, they discover connections that lead them to new connections through an unusual historical exploration in a vivid story of friendship and re-awakening.

The Audiobook Shelf

The Upstarts
Brad Stone
Hachette Audio
1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104
9781478941118, $30.00,

Brad Stone's The Upstarts is read by Dean Temple and provides a close inspection of the new Silicon Valley's evolution and visions, which have led to the development of Uber, AirBnB and more. These companies represent new business models and have already changed lives and worlds, and The Upstarts uses the stories of two business powerhouses in Silicon Valley to trace the origins and evolution of renegade founders who had little more than a good idea and a vision for how it could play out. Having this story come to life in audio makes for a special treat.

The Science Shelf

Amazing Stories of the Space Age
Rod Pyle
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781633882218, $18.00,

Amazing Stories of the Space Age gathers some unusual and thought-provoking insights of projects not realized, space dreams envisioned and achieved, and major achievements in space flight, and is recommended leisure reading for anyone with an affinity for space travel and technology. From partnerships that brought the first space shuttle into being and crafted the first manned orbiting laboratory to the idea of inflatable habitats in orbit around Earth and the moon, the U.S. Air Force's orbit program and various proposals for Skylab, these gather a wealth of revealing stories in a collection highly recommended for any astronomy collection and many a general-interest audience with an interest in the history and science of space endeavors.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

The Wrong Dog
David Elliot Cohen
Yellow Pear Press
9780997066418, $22.95,

The Wrong Dog comes from a New York Times best-selling author who tells what happens when a small puppy turns into a giant, high-spirited Lab that engages a family for over ten years. In his waning years, Simba II is old and infirm when his family is forced to relocate across the country despite the dog's failing health. An airplane ride is not recommended, so the author and his best friend embark on a 3,291-mile road trip across America with the goal of reuniting Simba with his family. Their journey, and the dog's affect on everyone around him, makes for a poignant production hard to put down and filled with engaging moments certain to captive any dog lover.

The Judaic Studies Shelf

100 Jewish Things to Do Before You Die
Barbara Sheklin Davis
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053-2246
9781455622535, $15.95,

100 Jewish Things to Do Before You Die comes from a New York City native and Jewish educator who offers Jewish readers a series of suggestions for routines, rituals, and activities for reinforcing their Jewish heritage. These 100 tips aren't just about religious ceremonies, but involve such diverse approaches as re-considering Jewish values in an online world, considering individual ways to make a difference through participating in social justice programs, or scouring Jewish neighborhoods in search of traditional Jewish foods. The result is a lively survey highly recommended for Jewish readers looking to re-connect to their Jewish roots and heritage with more than a spiritual focus.

The Technology Shelf

Industrial Engineering Foundations
Farrokh Sassani
Mercury Learning
PO Box 605, Herndon, VA 20172-0605
9781942270867, $49.95,

Industrial Engineering Foundations: Bridging the Gap Between Engineering and Management examines industrial engineering and basic qualities that engineers need to know in order to be effective, from handling schedules and quality control standards to forecasting and handling reliability concerns. Charts, graphs, equations, statistics, and supporting references pepper a survey designed to teach engineers basic management concepts, and managers basic engineering concerns. Chapters are well detailed in their discussions of technical aspects of both jobs, and teach both principles and their real-world applications. College-level engineering and business studies collections will find this an important, specific acquisition.

The Art Shelf

Tham Ma Da: The Adventurous Interiors of Paola Navone
Spencer Bailey
Pointed Leaf Press
136 Baxter Street, Suite 1C, New York, NY 10013
9781938461385, $85.00,

Tham Ma Da: The Adventurous Interiors of Paola Navone offers a survey of Italian architect and designer Paola Navone's work, which reflects her world travels through Asia and Africa, where her inspirations have been translated into various architectural and design approaches. Her interior projects have appeared throughout the world and she's received much acclaim over the years, but this book is a showcase of all her amazing achievements and comes from the editor-in-chief at Surface magazine, who has a strong background in design. Over 200 illustrations pack a gathering that includes accessories by major brands to pair with bold and different interiors ranging from hotels to private residences in Europe. The result is a gorgeous catalog her works and an architectural and interior design production highly recommended for any arts 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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