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The Bookwatch

Volume 16, Number 3 March 2021 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Psychology Shelf Computer Shelf
Technology Shelf Woodworking Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Jobs/Careers Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

John Guillermin: The Man, The Myth, The Movies
Mary Gullermin, Editor
Precocity Press
9781735292151, $21.95 Paper; $7.95 Kindle; $39.95 Hardcover

Film director John Guillermin has made his mark in the industry with many classic productions, but it's surprising to note that until the publication of John Guillermin: The Man, The Myth, The Movies, there has been no book-length discussion of his extensive movie-making influences.

Author Mary Gullermin was married to him for the last sixteen years of his life, and so is in a unique position to chronicle many of these achievements from first-hand knowledge, as well as editing other accounts of his life and times. John Guillermin: The Man, The Myth, The Movies thus assumes a unique role not just as the sole book about him, but as a wide-ranging survey whose facts are reviewed by a wife in the position to assemble writings from a diverse range of contributors who knew John Guillermin in different ways.

In the chronicles of film history, Guillermin has not been given due credit. This is corrected here, as contributor after contributor notes Guillermin's many achievements and impact on cinematic artistry and productions beyond his own personal touch. From insights on his personality profile and psychology that stem from Mary Guillermin's own profession to creative, artistic commentary by his peers, John Guillermin: The Man, The Myth, The Movies offers film studies audiences and biography readers a powerful synthesis of the filmmaker's approaches and his times.

Discussions often blend film reviews with inspections of critical commentary on their impact, as in Melanie Williams's in-depth survey of one of Guillermin's most memorable works, Rapture. Each contributor adds expertise and a piece of the puzzle on Guillermin's works, psyche, and critical acclaim. The result is a fine, scholarly, specific analysis that requires only a prior familiarity with Guillermin's films to prove enlightening and revealing.

Hopefully, John Guillermin: The Man, The Myth, The Movies will prompt many a film student to review and reassess the man and his contributions, without which the film industry would not be what it is today. At the least, this volume fills a major gap in film history literature and should be included in serious film biography or history holdings as a foundation work.

The Psychology Shelf

How My Brain Works
Barbara Koltuska-Haskin
Golden Word Books
9781948749619, $11.95 PB, $9.99 Kindle, 152pp

While How My Brain Works: A Guide to Understanding It Better and Keeping It Healthy may sound like a primer for elementary-grade or teen readers (and may indeed reach into young adult audiences), it's a solid adult discussion with a more inviting title than most health discussions about brain physiology, and is especially recommended for general interest audiences interested in brain trauma, recovery, and neurological conditions affecting the brain's function.

The discussion begins with a history of neuropsychology and its evolution as a health discipline. Chapters define the term and review the kinds of tests, approaches to health and healing, and clinical evaluation processes that families and individuals need to understand as they move through the health care system to resolve a brain condition.

How My Brain Works doesn't just cover disease and injury, but any physical or mental condition affecting how the brain functions, from menopause to the effects of exercise and sleep on the brain's optimum performance. At each stage, discussions assume no prior knowledge of either physiology or psychology, but offer clear information in terms any lay reader can readily understand.

This differentiates How My Brain Works from the many healthcare-oriented discussions already on the market, and makes its very simple title more comprehensible as it builds appeal based on language anyone can easily understand.

Dr. Koltuska-Haskin is a practicing neuropsychologist who draws on case history examples to further create the informative, lively tone that sets her book apart from others. The blend of facts, individual experience, and physician insight creates a book much more accessible and wide-ranging than most on the subject.

How My Brain Works is very highly recommended for both health and general-interest collections and readers alike, from healthcare professionals to families, caregivers, and anyone concerned about the brain's functions and possibilities.

The Computer Shelf

Data Structures and Program Design Using Python
D. Malhotra and N. Malhotra
Mercury Learning
22841 Quicksilver Dr., Dulles, VA 20166
9781683926399, $79.95 PB, $59.95 Kindle, 376pp

Data Structures and Program Design Using Python: A Self-Teaching Introduction is designed to cover the basics of data structures for newcomers to Python, and for those who want to use this book for self-teaching. Explanations of technical Python and programming concepts require only a bare minimum of familiarity with programming terminology to prove accessible, while each chapter builds on the other to offer a blend of technical discussions and real-world applications, along with practice exercises to test understanding. Charts, applications, and algorithms illustrate these steps while sections organized by major program design objectives, from working with linked lists to queues, sorting, and stacks and trees cover more advanced Python possibilities. This is a solid self-teaching guide that Python newcomers will find clear and invaluable.

The Technology Shelf

Tensor Analysis for Engineers, second edition
M. Tabatabaian
Mercury Learning
22841 Quicksilver Dr., Dulles, VA 20166
9781683926016, $79.95 PB, $59.95 Kindle, 182pp

The second edition of Tensor Analysis for Engineers blends math and applications of tensor analysis processes for engineers and applied scientists who would understand how this analytical approach works in problem-solving under various conditions. Geometry, discussions of mathematical concepts which are supported by examples of problems solved in the book and exercises reinforcing learning, and discussions of various tensor operations, products, and applications receive discussions backed by research examples, science, math, and visual charts. The result is a discussion that should be a stable in engineering collections.

Wired and Wireless Seamless Access Systems for Public Infrastructure
Tetsuya Kawanishi
Artech House
685 Canton Street, Norwood, MA 02062
9781630817404, $139.00 HC, $139.00 Kindle, 254pp

Wired and Wireless Seamless Access Systems for Public Infrastructure reviews a wealth of technical information on wired and wireless access systems, including microwaves, lightwaves and fibers, and other types of seamless access, and is highly recommended for engineers and collections involved in communications and information technology infrastructure building. Chapters review the features of these systems, their pluses and limitations, basic concepts of technology, and how antenna units are connected through optical fibers for better response and usage. Both basics and advanced technology are produced, along with the formulas and statistics that support different approaches to applications and usage in everything from mobile networks to devices. Engineers who want a specific focus on seamless access systems for infrastructure applications will find this reference key to understanding and employing concepts in real-world situations.

The Woodworking Shelf

3D Printers for Woodworkers
Henry Doolittle
Linden Publishing
2006 S. Mary St., Fresno, CA 93721
9781933502038, $17.95 PB, $8.49 Kindle, 122pp

3D Printers for Woodworkers: A Short Introduction is a very specific treatise that links 3D printer opportunities to woodworking projects, and offers specific advice on making tools and parts using the printer to save money. While traditional woodworkers might think this new technology beyond their hands-on wood focus, this book proves that using a 3D printer to fabricate tools and parts is not only money-saving, but relatively easy. A basic survey of the history of 3D printing leads to detailed comparisons of current printer models and their pros and cons, and schematics for common woodworking tools and hardware from hinges to slides. Woodworkers interested in applied technology will find this an intriguing, specific, essential guide to dipping into the 3D environment for the first time.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Baen Books
P.O. Box 1403, Riverdale, NY 20471

Marc Miller's Agent of the Imperium (9781982125073, $16.00 PB, $8.99 Kindle, 368pp) appears in a newly expanded edition to provide prior fans and newcomers with a novel of the Traveller Universe. Here, Decider Jonathan Bland, who has killed more people than he can count, lives on when the Imperium reactivities his personality to deal with the latest threat, until he finally decides to defy his role in their rule. As his adventures involve confrontation and conflict, fans of the Traveller role-playing game, in particular, will find this story especially engrossing for its deep revision and expansion.

Old fans of sci-fi greats will appreciate editor John F. Carr's The Best of Jerry Pournelle (9781982125004, $8.99 PB, $6.99 Kindle, 768pp), which gathers the old-time master's sci-fi shorts under one cover. Newcomers will find his works lively, driven by technological and social inspection, and especially powerful with new introductions by longtime Pournelle assistant Carr providing additional background information and reading notes. By including Pournelle's essays as well as his short fiction, this collection becomes a masterpiece of sci-fi history inspection as well as a worthy volume in its own right.

The Jobs/Careers Shelf

Workplace Secrets Revealed
Alan L. Oppenheimer, CPA
Dock Holiday Press
9781735086019, $16.95 PB, $5.99 Kindle, 146pp

Workplace Secrets Revealed (Passing the Baton to the Next Generation) provides students entering the workplace for the first time with a powerful blueprint for success. It focuses on information about jobs and work which can lead workers to avoid common pitfalls in their efforts to succeed in the workplace.

While one might think this guide would be best presented in college to students who are on the cusp of graduation, high school students should also read Workplace Secrets Revealed before they enter their first paying job. Workplace Secrets Revealed covers such basics as whether or not a college education can make a difference, and how to assess the value of or need for a mentor.

The book opens with a review of the different environments between baby boomers and generations to follow, exploring how these revised milieus led to different workplace experiences, expectations, and challenges. Students are advised to carefully consider college benefits versus debt and time spent.

The college chapter discusses the tradeoffs of college and possibility of underemployment despite the four-year investment of a degree, giving students resources to consider not only how they will enter the work world, but with what skills and debt levels.

Young adults are encouraged to develop a practical direction that takes into account all these facets and more, including adding certifications, degrees, and expanded learning into their efforts to boost their achievements without associated high debt. Students are encouraged to think outside the box of just gaining employment to look at the long-term process of growth on many levels.

Workplace Secrets Revealed lays out essential tools for thriving within the corporate workplace. This topic is rarely discussed in college and yet, is critical for employees who are working towards achieving their career goals. From resolving difficult workplace situations to ways you can improve yourself and marketability, this book is a quick read and ideal for young adults.

From navigating corporate America and office politics to dealing with coworkers professionally and personally or facing a career derailment such as COVID, Workplace Secrets Revealed ideally should be given to given to both college and high school students long before graduation, ideally to be discussed with guidance counselors, parents, or any adult mentors. Its lessons provide a foundation for success in assessing real-world problems and solutions with an eye to helping the young worker craft a bigger picture of their goals and how to achieve them.

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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