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The Bookwatch

Volume 14, Number 3 March 2019 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Science Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Needlecraft Shelf Computer Shelf Technology Shelf
Audiobook Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf American History Shelf
Health/Medicine Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

Lasers, Death Rays, and the Long, Strange Quest for the Ultimate Weapon
Jeff Hecht
Prometheus Books
9781633884601, $25.00

Lasers, Death Rays, and the Long, Strange Quest for the Ultimate Weapon provides an intriguing history of the laser and comes from a veteran science writer who chronicles its use and development in military circles as the ultimate weapon. From the initial 1950s visions of lasers of death to modern times, discussions survey civilian and military laser usage and tools and chronicle the odd developers, inventions, and concepts of laser technology that leads to its modern use and applications. Lay audiences without a scientific background will appreciate this lively slice of science which incorporates drama and excitement into its mix.

The Science Shelf

Interplanetary Robots
Rod Pyle
Prometheus Books
971633885028, $18.00

Interplanetary Robots: True Stories of Space Exploration considers the experiments and potential of robotic exploration of our solar system, and covers not just scientific challenges but political interactions with scientific endeavors. This dual approach to the past, present and future of robotic spaceflight combines an exciting narrative style with a consideration of the positive ways that machines can replace the human explorer, offering a planet-by-planet survey of the history of unmanned space projects. Anyone interested in space travel at any level of expertise, from lay readers to non-NASA scientists and NASA participants, will find these articles lively considerations of pros, cons, and potentials.

The Cookbook Shelf

Leon Fast Vegan
Rebecca Seal, Chantal Symons & John Vincent
Octopus Publishing
9781840917932, $29.99

Leon Fast Vegan provides over a hundred recipes divided into three sections for different vegan meals from breakfast to dinner, and includes a separate section of side dishes, sauces and dressings, and another of sweet vegan desserts. Leon is a healthy fast food chain that incorporates world influences with fare that is easy to produce. These vegan dishes include outlines of preparation and cooking times, ingredients lists, and easy step-by-step assembly details for such fare as Miso-Sesame Slaw, vegan cream cheese Stuffed Figs, Chocolate Caramel Tart, and more. Vegan cooks looking for innovative fare will find this cookbook excels in exciting dishes not to be found in competing vegan cookbooks.

The Needlecraft Shelf

Martingale & Company

Three new needlework books are excellent picks highly recommended for collections and individuals looking for new project ideas. Carrie Nelson's Pin Pals: 40 Patchwork Pinnies, Poppets, and Pincushions with Pizzazz (9781604689594, $22.99) pairs quilting with notions, outlining pincushions that are quick to make. Materials lists, assembly instructions, and full-page color photos of completed "pinnies" accompany a fine display of different quilting styles that will delight not just quilters but needleworkers who are recipients of these useful gifts. Teresa Mairal Barreu's Turnabout Patchwork: Simple Quilts with a Twist (9781604689848, $22.99) offers an easy concept of quilting based on a simple block. The 'turnabout technique' is used to slice and turn these slices into a unique production, with each chapter focusing on a single block and how it can be sewed, sliced, turned, and resewed. 24 quilt patterns for laps, runners, and more offer plenty of construction option. Betsy Chutchian's Hope's Journey: Classic Blocks, Reproduction Quilts, and Stories of Bygone Days (9781604689617, $27.99) displays antique-inspired blocks and quilts and shares patterns that translate to a variety of sizes. Nearly thirty traditional blocks patterns and 11 small quilt ideas are accompanied by small color photos throughout which clarify assembly and cutting directions for all quilters.

The Computer Shelf

Cloud Computing Basics
T.B. Rehman
Mercury Learning
9781683923503, $49.95

Cloud Computing Basics is designed as a basic primer to accompany a course in cloud computing, or as a desk reference for industry professionals new to cloud services, and offers a review of the latest developments in cloud computing systems. From details on management concepts, assets management, disaster recovery and more to case studies illustrating different cloud applications, this basic survey is a winning discussion recommended for any newcomer.

The Technology Shelf

Artech House

Practicing engineers and students new to linear systems will welcome this real-world discussion which pairs a refresher course with a series of basics facts. Yefim Poberezhskiy and Gennady Pobserezhskiy's Signal Digitalization and Reconstruction in Digital Radios (9781630813802, $159.00) provides a detailed resource on analog signals in digital radios, and teach readers how to analyze and understand signal processing procedures and reconstruction methods. Various methods of conducting this analysis based on improving the characteristics of D&R circuitry make for an involving study that moves between theory and real-world applications, providing a survey of new signal transmission and reception methods revised by modern digitization approaches. Herbert Falk's IEC 61850 Demystified (9781630813291, $159.00) focuses on implementation processes in the IEC, from the early work conducted by General Motors to modern applications and communication strategies. Basic research and theory blend principles and reviews with discussions of distributed energy resources and technical systems, providing technology collections and professionals in the field with a discussion including mathematical analyses, client and server relationships, and various operations. Sorin Fericean's Inductive Sensors for Industrial Applications (9781630812553, $189.00) provides a weighty, in-depth survey of all inductive sensor classes for industrial applications ranging from automotive use to white goods, and provides professionals and students with an exploration that uses three contemporary analysis models to provide overviews. Numerical examples help link theories while examples of modern commercial parts are included. Surveys of implementations to different kinds of LC oscillators and digital inductive sensors contribute to a survey packed with detail and examples. All are solid contributions highly recommended for any college-level reference holding.

The Audiobook Shelf

Hachette Audio

Two excellent new audiobooks narrated by their authors are recommended for listeners seeking inspirational pieces. Sarah Knight's Calm the F*ck Down (9781549119255, $30.00) is about how to keep one's calm in the midst of chaos, and will attract any listener seeking to take control of life and personal anxiety patterns towards living it. From discussions of different stages of freaking out and how to handle each to cultivating productive worrying that imparts growth and lessons, this audio provides many keys to overcoming debilitating anxiety. Joel Osteen's All Things Are Working For Your Good (9781478999737, $23.00) discusses setbacks and how to handle them as growth opportunities, and provides 365 days of admonitions on how to make sense of life. A better appreciation of God accompanies insights on control and overcoming life challenges in an inspirational, spiritual listen.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Star Trek Discovery: The Way to the Stars
Una McCormack
Gallery Books
c/o Simon and Schuster
9781982104757, $16.00

Star Trek Discovery: The Way to the Stars will reach Star Trek fans with a novel based on the Discovery series and provides an original tie-in novel. Sylvia Tilly was a novice Starfleet cadet, but played an important role in the ship finding a way home from the Mirror Universe. This story expands the upon the life and influences on the sixteen-year-old, offering a vivid story that flushes out the TV character, yet stands on its own nicely for those new to either Tilly or the Discovery series. The result is a compelling story that Trek fans and sci-fi buffs alike will relish.

Baen Books

All the Plagues of Hell by Eric Flint and Dave Freer (9781481483612, $25.00) provides a new novel in the Heirs of Alexandria series, and provides an alternate Renaissance-era Milan where magic, gods, and aristocracies rule. In this world some dangerous magic and plots to marry and murder underlie a host of political troubles and turmoil. Power struggles, sorcery, threats to destroy rulers and lands, and soldiers facing calls to duty beyond battle make for a fast-paced alternate world that is thoroughly engrossing, exciting, and tests the historical acuity of readers who will find plenty of old and new history to enjoy. James L. Cambias's Arkad's World (9781491483704, $24.00) tells of young Arkad, the only human in an alien city across the Galaxy who finds his world and future changed by three humans who arrive on the planet in search of a treasure. Arkad decides to join their quest, but it's an endeavor plagued by attacks, danger, strange creatures and the group's own traitors. A fast-paced adventure evolves which is moving and hard to put down.

The American History Shelf

It Happened in Rocky Mountain National Park, second edition
Phyllis J. Perry
Globe Pequot Press
c/o Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group
9781493037209, $16.95

It Happened in Rocky Mountain National Park: Stories of Events and People that Shaped a National Park appears in its second updated edition to examine the people and episodes of Colorado's largest park, and brings to life the eccentric and talented individuals who entered the park and made regional history. Wildfires, bear attacks, and amazing situations all come to life in a history that reads with the drama of fiction, but the excitement and truth of facts assembled in a vivid story.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Shrink Diet
Philippe Tahon
Octopus Publishing
9781912023868, $12.99

Shrink Diet: Retrain Your Brain & Lose Weight for Good comes from a psychologist who has originated an easy program to help lost weight and boost mental acuity: one which involves neither calorie counting nor exercise. The goal is lasting weight loss through life-changing habits, and as chapters cover gaining control over life, readers receive an affirming, positive perspective that goes above and beyond most "diet books" to address mental as well as physical changes. Audiences willing to address mental and physical health through adjustments to their perspectives will find Shrink Diet easy to follow and inspirational.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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Oregon, WI 53575-1129
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