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The Bookwatch

Volume 14, Number 5 May 2019 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice The Pets/Wildlife Shelf Computer Shelf
Philosophy Shelf Education Shelf Needlecraft Shelf
Science Shelf Technology Shelf Fiction Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Audiobook Shelf Criminology Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

The Free Society in Crisis
David Selbourne
Prometheus Books
9781635885301, $25.00,

The Free Society in Crisis: A History of Our Times assesses the stability of free societies and argues that they are under threat from two angles: the "market free-choice" and "moral free-choice" approaches that together are threatening democratic principles and processes. Between economic-driven support for market-determined influences and the idea of individual rights separate from civic responsibility, democracy and community become lost. This book returns to the original contentions of the Founding Fathers as it assesses what makes a commonwealth and why modern political and social trends are destroying that ideal. Any political studies reader should find it essential reading.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Unleashing Your Dog
Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce
New World Library
9781608685424, $15.95,

Unleashing Your Dog: A Field Guide to Giving Your Canine Companion the Best Life Possible should be included in every new dog owner's resource kit. It is more than just a dog care or behavior modification guide, but uses the latest research in canine science to consider the real nature of the dog, its interactions with man, and how to enhance a dog's freedom and enjoyment of life in ways that help dog and owner alike. The idea is to let the dog be a dog while reinforcing behaviors that work for all. The author is a professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and has long contributed to animal behavior with numerous books and articles. This is an outstanding survey of dog nature, freedom, and how to build a happier, healthier life for animal and owner alike.

The Computer Shelf

Mathematics for Computer Graphics and Game Programming
D. Kothari,
Mercury Learning
9781683923565, $69.95,

Mathematics for Computer Graphics and Game Programming: A Self-Teaching Introduction is designed to explain the math concepts involved in computer graphics and design, and reviews basic concepts to more complicated image generation processes. As studies progress from basic algorithms to simple geometry, programmers in general and game designers in particular receive a solid discussion of techniques that even delve into 3D modeling. Readers with a basic programming and math background will appreciate the chapters that move from two- to three-dimensional representations, and will this an excellent basic reference.

Switching to ArcGIS Pro from ArcMap
Maribeth H. Price
ESRI Press
9781589485440, $49.99,

Switching to ArcGIS Pro from ArcMap discusses the new software which is so different that prior ArcMap users of the old program often find challenges applying previous results or approaches to the new environment. ArcMap users who need to come up to speed quickly and yet still do their jobs will find this basic primer on ArcGIS Pro a lifesaver. It is for users with that familiarity with ArcMap, and focuses on how ArcGIS Pro differs in workflows and results. The actual process of making change while still using the older program makes this a treasure trove of time-saving techniques that is a 'must' for any professional ArcMap user making that change.

The Philosophy Shelf

Tom Petty and Philosophy
Randall E. Auxier and Megan Volpert, Eds.
Open Court
9780812694659, $19.95,

Tom Petty and Philosophy: We Need to Know reviews the various songs Tom Petty wrote and their connections with his philosophy, and adds to the growing series Popular Culture and Philosophy which relates modern culture to the writings and perspectives of all kinds of philosophers. Petty fans and many a musician will find this a solid discussion of concepts of justice, loyalty, and authentic love; but it goes beyond his songwriting messages to examine his relationships with recording companies and others involved in promoting his words. The result is an excellent survey that is especially interested for modern philosophy students and Tom Petty's fans alike.

The Education Shelf

Introduction to Human Geography Using ArcGIS Online
J. Chris Carter
ESRI Press
9781589485181, $74.99,

Introduction to Human Geography Using ArcGIS Online is an introductory textbook for college undergrads and high school advanced students, and covers the basics of human geography, including culture, religion, economics, and more. Each chapter bases its study on mapping and analysis exercises using ArcGIS Online, a program accessed through a free account that teaches the basics of geographical mapping using the ArcGIS system. This blend of college-level geography overview and ArcGIS mapping basics results in an enhanced survey as color maps abound on nearly every page and data supports discussion of geographic population studies, global industry and systems, economic surveys, and more. This basic, contemporary primer contains the latest data-based explorations, and can't be beat.


Catlin R. Tucker's Power Up Blended Learning: A Professional Learning Infrastructure to Support Sustainable Change (9781506396767, $34.95) will best be appreciated by those who already have the foundation ideas of blended learning processes under their belt. This audience will find this a continuation of blended learning, taking it to a new level of professional learning as it provides a comprehensive approach and shows how professionals can learn with colleagues through a range of methods, from coaching to lesson planning and rubrics. Vignettes from those who have moved to the blended learning model accompany statistical support and a collection of resources and applied strategies for blended learning coaches and educators. From co-teaching models and coaching routines to devoting energy to reflection, this is an engrossing study in blended techniques proven to work. Amy Tepper and Patrick Flynn's Feedback to Feed Forward: 31 Strategies to Lead Learning (9781544320229, $31.95) focuses on receiving and processing the kinds of feedback that promote growth and leadership, and is designed for school leaders at all levels (it should be noted that many a business reader will find many concepts applicable to their practice, as well). The educator-specific modules include explanations of standards and core skills, field-tested lesson examples, and feedback samples that move through different grade levels and content. The business-applicable portions include evidence collection notes and templates, discussions of how to determine strength and growth areas, and keys leaders can use for understanding and applying 'feed forward'. Shanna Peeples' Think Like Socrates: Using Questions to Invite Wonder & Empathy Into the Classroom, Grades 4-12 (9781506391649, $34.95) focuses on creating a sense of discovery and empathy in a classroom: one that is based on communication, inquiry, and respect. Teachers are provided step-by-step lessons designed to use student questions as a way of assessing thinking, providing both writing exercises and debate questions and keys for assessing effectiveness over different content areas. The protocols for using inquiry with adults summarizes the application of various questions at all grade levels and shows how to help students identify their guiding principles and approaches. These are solid educator resources that deserve a place in any professional collection.

The Needlecraft Shelf

Stitched So Sweet
Tracy Souza
Martingale & Company
9781604688922, $20.99,

Stitched So Sweet: Whimsical Embroidery Patchwork and Applique features seasonal projects that blend embroidery, patchwork, and applique, and creates whimsical motifs to celebrate different times of the year. Each project receives a seasonal emphasis, so, for example, a pillow project is presented with different motifs for different times of the year. The focus on mix-and-match designs that capture the seasons but which also can be displayed year-round lend to a fun craft guide filled with home decor projects that are delightfully unique.

The Science Shelf

Virginia Rocks!
Albert B. Dickas
Mountain Press
9780878426881, $18.00,

Virginia Rocks! A Guide to Geologic Sites in the Old Dominion provides destination visitors and geology students alike with a practical guide to some 50 of the best sites in the state for viewing rocks, minerals, and landforms, and adds to this publisher's state-by-state 'Geology Rocks!' series. Rock hounds and geology students will find these site references key to locating visual examples of Virginia's geological wonders, and will find the color photos of rocks and landscapes to be perfect accompaniments to the descriptions of terrain and geologic features unique to each area.

The Technology Shelf

Electrical Engineering Exam Prep: Problems and Solutions
R.R. Gupta and J.R. Claycomb
Mercury Learning
9781683921127, $49.95

Electrical Engineering Exam Prep: Problems and Solutions provides several thousand questions and answers covering various types of electrical engineering exams, and is a top reference for any electrical engineering student looking to pretest their knowledge of key concepts. The multiple choice questions and their answers provide opportunities for self-study and covers topics ranging form measurement and power systems to engineering mathematics, instrumentation, circuitry in various systems, and more. College-level students who believe they are already well versed in the basics will welcome the opportunity to test this knowledge using this primer before taking their first tests.

Artech House

Nam-Trung Nguyen,'s updated edition of a classic engineering reference, Fundamentals and Applications of Microfluidics, third edition (9781630813642, $149.00), provides professionals and students alike with a solid discussion of the field, revising and expanding sections to include new material and approaches to understanding and working with microfluidic power sources, drug delivery systems, and more. It will serve as both a basic introductory primer to microfluidics and as a refresher course to choosing the best fabrication and technology for microfluidic applications. Engineers will appreciate the wealth of data tables and calculations within the survey which will allow them to quickly get up to speed. Victor C. Chen's second edition of The Micro-Doppler Effect in Radar (9781630815462, $189.00) is written by an expert in radar technology ans has been updated and expanded to include the latest information in micro-Doppler radar. This book examines how to both generate and analyze micro-Doppler signatures from radar signals, and covers various applications of micro-Doppler from health to engineering technology. Charts, graphs, and equations enhance discussions specific to radar technology.

The Fiction Shelf

Moctu and the Mammoth People
Neil Bockoven
Waldorf Publishing
9781642550771, $16.95,

Fans of Jean Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear and other stories of prehistoric peoples' lives and adventures will relish Moctu and the Mammoth People: An Ice Age Story of Love, Life and Survival, the story of a Cro-Magnon boy who not only battles a tribal rival for leadership and love, but also encounters and is captured by a fearsome group of Neanderthals. This is no casual story. Award-winning geologist and author Neil Bockoven took two years to review all the current genetic and archeological research about these primitive peoples (our earliest ancestors), and this attention to detail is reflected in a story line that captures not only Moctu's experiences, but the nature of the physical and tribal world in which he operates. Solid science drives this story and - uniquely for a novel - it is annotated in an addendum to the book. Jean Auel's fans, in particular, will find Bockoven's approach delightfully well detailed, backed by scientific and archaeological facts.

Where the Forest Meets the Stars
Glendy Vanderah
Lake Union
9781542040068, $24.95,

Where the Forest Meets the Stars is about hardship, transformation, and a woman who cultivates solitude until a mysterious child shows up at her isolated cabin. Ursa claims to have come from the stars in search of miracles, but Jo doubts her tale and the presence of miracles. It will take her equally-reclusive neighbor to solve the mystery of the child, and to awaken Jo to the possibilities of the impossible through renewed bonds and the mounting evidence of miracles. A beautiful story of mystery, revival, and discovery evolves in an evocative, inspirational read highly recommended for anyone with an interest in transformational processes and change.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Broken Bone China
Laura Childs
9780451489630, $26.00,

Broken Bone China is the 20th book in the author's Tea Shop Mystery series, and presents yet another murder scenario to test Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning. She and her friend are catering a former tea when a drone causes a hot air balloon to fail, killing all on board. Theodosia is a witness, but she also finds that one of the victims may have been the target of an attack. Her investigation uncovers many possibilities in this striking story of too many suspects and equally challenging personal connections.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

House of Assassins
Larry Correia
Baen Books
9781481483766, $25.00,

House of Assassins is a moving fantasy about a forgotten warrior, Ashok Vadal, once a member of a high caste who devoted his life to battles that imparted justice to all around him via the sword. Ashok's view of himself radically changes when he discovers he's just a part of a broader political scheme, and his quest for vengeance results in a destructive force the world is ill-equipped to battle. As a rescue mission enters the picture, Ashok discovers he still is caught in a game: this time one dictated by the gods. A compelling saga is woven in an engrossing story.

The City in the Middle of the Night
Charlie Jane Anders
9780765379962, $26.99,

The City in the Middle of the Night tells of the planet January, where humanity is barely alive due to a permanent frozen darkness contrasted on the other side by a blazing inferno. There are only two habitable cities on this world, and in one of them Sophie, a student, has been sent into exile and certain death for her revolutionary behaviors. Saved by ice creatures, Sophie finds an odd family structure under impossible circumstances: a family she will die to protect. From broken ideals to separated connections, this story of a night world and a wanderer under siege is compelling, heart-wrenching, and hard to put down.

The Cookbook Shelf

Simply Delicious
Darina Allen
Kyle Books
9780857835550, $27.99,

Simply Delicious: The Classic Collection offers a hundred tested, foolproof recipes gathered nearly 30 years after her original book and TV serious made Darina Allen famous, and provides newcomers with a range of hearty comfort food that will prove appealing and relatively easy to put together. Farmhouse Chicken, for example, is enhanced with bacon and, after some easy prep, moves from oven to table in an hour. An alternative to the usual Tomato Soup, Vine-Ripened Tomato & Spearmint Soup is made with Bechamel Sauce, Tomato Puree, and fresh spearmint to give it a different flavor. A simmered Greek Lamb With Onion & Lima Bean Stew stands out from other stews, yet is fairly simple to put together. Color photos abound, making this an appealing 'best hits' compilation of Allen's top dishes.

The Audiobook Shelf

Hachette Audio

These seven new audiobook productions are highly recommended for readers seeking vivid writers and readers, and run the gamut from strong nonfiction to leisure reader drama. Thriller writer James Patterson has two new arrivals. He works with Max DiLallo on The Chef (9781549175851, $35.00), which receives a vivid reading by Michael Ziants. This brings to life a blend of action revolving around the dual careers of police detective and celebrity food truck chef Caleb Rooney, who finds he is under investigation for a murder committed in the line of duty. His efforts to save his reputation involve ventures into crime and food worlds alike. Brendan DuBois works with Patterson on The First Lady (9781549119385, $30.00), which enjoys an excellent narration by Deborah McBride as it tells of a President's affair and the First Lady's disappearance. A fine drama keeps readers on their toes and guessing, enhanced by the audio format. Ben H. Winters' Golden State (9781478917748, $35.00) enjoys a fine rendition by Kiff Vandenheuvel as it explores a world ruled by truth. In this alternate society, law and truth reign and the Speculative Service keeps alive the concept of freedom in a Golden State similar to California, where Americans retreated upon the erosion of truth and government. Sound familiar? There's lots to like in this absorbing story which reveals the Golden State's operations, secrets, and deeper social implications. Whitney Scharer's The Age of Light (9781549173424, $35.00) is narrated by Therese Plummer, who captures the sharp, underlying observations and sense of discovery that tells of a Vogue model turned famous photographer. Lee's search for an artistic self and her encounter with Surrealist artist Man Ray creates an engrossing story set against the backdrop of Bohemian Paris during World War II. Chris Christie's Let Me Finish: Trump, the Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey, and the Power of In-Your-Face Politics (9781549175442, $35.00) is narrated by Christie himself, which lends an authenticity to his impassioned and candid, outspoken consideration of New Jersey politics in general and Trump's presidency in particular. As Christie sets the record straight about his actions and interactions, readers receive a series of candid insights into not just Christie, but the Republication party and political processes as a whole. Richard Castle's Crashing Heat (9781549122231, $30.00) is narrated by Robert Petkoff and tells of Nikki Heat's faceoff with marriage. Her journalist husband provides her with pleasure and pain, but she still loves him even though in some ways, he's ruining her life. When he's given the opportunity to be a visiting professor at his former school, a female reporter found dead in his bed involves both of them in a terrible crisis that seems to hold no end in this riveting story. Ocean Robbins wrote and reads the audio version of 31-Day Food Revolution: Heal Your Body, Feel Great, and Transform Your World. It shows how to free oneself from toxic food, outlines the problems of ingredients that adversely affect the body, and shows how in just over a month, healthier food choices can succeed in helping with weight loss and better living. Anyone interested in connections between sugar, processed foods, and unhealthy animal products who want to eat and feel better will find this audio a key to beginning the transformation process.

The Criminology Shelf

The New Evil
Michael H. Stone, MD and Gary Brucato, PhD
Prometheus Books
9781633885325, $18.00,

The New Evil: Understanding the Emergence of Modern Violent Crime returns to Dr. Stone's 'Gradations of Evil Scale', a measurement system first introduced in his The Anatomy of Evil, and provides dozens of cases that illustrate all the categories defining circumstances of psychological evil. It also adds the latest research on biological and psychiatric influences on serial killing, torture, murder sprees, and more, often adding philosophical reflections on defining evil and its associative behaviors. Clinical experience blends with analysis of case histories, writings, and more to offer further insights into criminal behaviors and violence in a book recommended for psychology, sociology, and criminology readers alike.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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