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The Bookwatch

Volume 13, Number 11 November 2018 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Business Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Needlecraft Shelf Travel Shelf Buddhist Studies Shelf
Technology Shelf Metaphysical Studies Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf
Graphic Novel Shelf Science Shelf American History Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Divorce Shelf
Philosophy Shelf Military Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Maggie Jackson
Prometheus Books
9781633884625, $18.00,

Distracted: Reclaiming Our Focus in a World of Lost Attention provides an updated edition of a classic examination into attention fragmentation and the impact of its presence in society. Maggie Jackson is a journalist widely published in top newspapers across the country, among others; and these essays go an extra step in arguing that technological excess must be curbed in order to maintain creativity, insight, innovation and the kind of mindset that results in advancements. A dual history of distraction and a consideration of its psychological and social roots makes for a powerful survey that should be in any social issues, psychology or technology collection.

The Life of Tea
Michael Freeman & Timothy d'Offay
Mitchell Beazley
c/o Octopus
9781784723927, $40.00,

The Life of Tea: A Journey to the World's Finest Teas far surpasses competing tea history or culinary books to examine its botany, cultivating, processing methods, and effects on cultures around the world. Michael Freeman and Timothy d'Offay traveled around the world to interview producers and growers of teas. Freeman is a professional photographer whose colorful embellishments capture tea and tea drinkers in different countries, while discussions offer insights on different kinds of teas and tea traditions, creating a full-flavored and in-depth, artistic flavor that competing tea coverages can't touch.

The Business Shelf

The Robot in the Next Cubicle
Larry Boyer
Prometheus Books
9781633884090, $19.00,

The Robot in the Next Cubicle: What You Need to Know to Adapt and Succeed in the Automation Age provides workers with an important handbook to the changing workplace and technology's impact on companies and their culture, and considers how machines are poised to take over many jobs. As chapters consider the types of jobs likely to be impacted by the age of the robot, they consider issues of security, victims of disruption, analyze specific big companies seeking to integrate robots into their workforce, and more. No contemporary worker should be without this peek into the future workplace.

The Cookbook Shelf

Kyle Books
c/o Octopus Publishing

Rachel de Thample's More Veg Less Meat: The Eco-Friendly Way to Eat, with 150 Inspiring Flexitarian Recipes (9780857834645, $19.99) provides dishes that are neither fish nor fowl, promoting eating less, healthier, and with more consciousness about animal welfare and environmental impacts. There's also an emphasis on meeting protein needs from alternatives such as dairy or fish, buying responsibly, and incorporating culinary knowledge such as learning from a recipe for Succulent Roast Duck with Cherry Sauce and Roast Potatoes that "duck is up to 5 per cent richer in iron than chicken and the meat itself is surprisingly lean." Color photos and an international influence make for an exceptional gathering. Rebecca Sullivan's The Art of Edible Flowers: Recipes and Ideas for Floral Salads, Drinks, Desserts and More (9780857834768, $12.99) shows how to make delicious floral syrups that can be used in various recipes and kept on hand for quick preparations, how to include flowers in various foods, and how to make the most of the special flavors of roses, lavender, violets, and fennel, among others. Color photos provide enticing views of the floral preparations while recipes such as a Strawberry, Hibiscus & Peony Swiss Roll, Artichokes with Roasted Garlic & Chive Flowers and dried edible flower petal powders allow for a wide range of culinary applications. Lillie O'Brien, of London Borough of Jam, offers Five Seasons of Jam (9780657834393, $24.99) to cooks who love to make jam but usually focus on summer's bounty. These are innovative blends of fruits, nuts, herbs and spices and also benefit from a seasonal arrangement which proves jam-making can happen any time of the year. Autumn, for example, can produce a Quince and Rosewater Jam or a Rowanberry Jelly, while winter's bounty can translate to Green Apple Stock Jelly, Cranberry and Sherry Vinegar Jam, or Outdoor-Grown Rhubarb and Green Cardamom Jam. Jam-makers seeking something different will find a wealth of inspiration, here.

The Needlecraft Shelf

That Patchwork Place
c/o Martingale

Three new books are excellent additions for any needlework reader, offering projects that are easy to duplicate. Serena Boffa Soda's Small Wonders: Tiny Treasures to Fuse, Embroider, and Enjoy (9781604685924, $23.99) comes from an Italian quiltmaker who provides very small projects, from miniature quilts with miniature motifs to tiny appliques. The only prerequisite for using this guide is a greater degree of patience than full-scale projects require: the rest is provided, from step-by-step instructions to materials lists, assembly instructions, and color photos. Jan Patek's Sleigh Bells: Stitch a Folk-Art Quilt Full of Winter Fun (9781604659471, $18.99) provides a dozen quilt-block designs with winter motifs, from snowmen to churches and angels, and is recommended for quilters who want to learn the author's needle-turn technique and applique methods to produce individual blocks leading to a queen-sized production. Full-size pullout patterns make these blocks a snap to produce. Lissa Alexander compiles Moda All-Stars Merry Makers: Patchwork Quilts and Projects to Celebrate the Season (9781604689495, $26.99), and gives instructions for more than fifteen handmade gifts from stockings and coasters to gift-card holders and bright holiday table runners. The wealth of designs, projects from different needlework artists, and fast production tips that lead to easy and quick results make for a highly recommended, inviting gathering perfect for the holidays.

The Travel Shelf

Texas Curiosities, fifth edition
John Kelso
Globe Pequot
9781493023691, $21.95,

Texas Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Offbeat Fun appears in its fifth updated edition to provide would-be travelers to Texas with a fun gathering of add and quirky events, places, people, and ideas to be found within the state's borders. Readers who plan destination visits will especially enjoy the attractions profiled which may not appear in standard Texas travel guides, from the Beer Can House and the Fire Ant Festival to a dung beetle sculpture.

The Buddhist Studies Shelf

Treasures of Buddhism
Frithjof Schuon, author
Harry Oldmeadow, editor
World Wisdom
9781936597581, $19.95,

Treasures of Buddhism: A New Translation with Selected Letters is edited by Harry Oldmeadow and offers a new translation of letters by a French author who has long explored Buddhism. This collection features over 75 pages of new material, including previously unpublished selections of Schuon's private writings, and adds editor's notes and a glossary and index to add important remarks and references to supplement these works. The result is a solid collection that should be in any Buddhist reader's library.

The Technology Shelf

FMCW Radar Design
M. Jankiraman
Artech House
9781630815677, $179.00,

FMCW Radar Design is recommended as a college-level reference for any library strong in electronics or radar technology, providing engineers design keys for narrowband Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave radars used for surveillance and missile-seeking. The means that military collections will find it equally essential for their technicians as chapters learn how to use the latest design software to help streamline projects, provide references for missile applications, and support all information with equations supporting key radar algorithms and their implementation. The result is an important survey highly recommended for any military or radar-specific reference collection.

Lining Up Data in ArcGIS, third edition
Margaret M. Maher
ESRI Press
9781589485204, $39.99,

The third updated edition of a reference to troubleshooting and applying GIS data to projects comes with color maps, diagrams, and techniques designed to help identify common data projection and usage issues and create clear projections that sync data with applications. Large-size color screen shots accompanies information on data resources and projects that help teachers and students in classroom settings use this reference for courses in ArcGIS. No GIS reference library should be without this important, clear reference.

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

Spooky Texas, second edition
Retold by S. E. Schlosser
Globe Pequot
9781493032471, $17.95,

Spooky Texas: Tales of Hauntings, Strange Happenings, and Other Local Lore appears in its second updated edition, gathering a range of encounters with ghost lights, werewolves, and devilish entities in the Texas area. These read like fiction with all the drama and embellishments of spooky folklore come to life in a gathering that is perfect for enthusiasts of the supernatural realm who look for spooky stories based on real encounters.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Mindful Exercise
Peter Anthony Gryffin, PhD
YMAA Publications
9781594396175, $15.95,

Mindful Exercise: Metarobics, Healing, and the Power of Tai Chi provides a new set of insights into how mindful healing works, incorporates yoga, tai chi and meditative exercises and routines in a manner that melds them all, and applies Dr. Gryffin's research to the routines, which reveals that these combined exercises are particularly useful for those with chronic disease. Over ten years of research and more than a hundred scientific studies contribute to a survey of how and why these exercises offer special benefits, offering a solid scientific analysis recommended for martial arts and health holdings alike.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Home After Dark
David Small
Liveright Publishing
c/o W. W. Norton & Company
9780871403155, $27.95,

Home After Dark is a graphic novel about adolescence and coming of age, and represents David Small's first graphic novel since his memoir Stitches received such acclaim. In this story, Russell is a thirteen-year-old whose mother abandons him and whose father moves them to a small town in California. As his father drifts out of his supportive parenting role, Russell must confront his new world on his own, and finds himself on the streets exploring strange animal killings in the city, making friends with outcasts, and facing down bullies. The result is a powerful survey that is no light graphic story, but an in-depth coverage filled with flavor and black-and-white panels that capture a detailed, complex atmosphere.

The Science Shelf

Mathematical Physics: An Introduction
Derek Raine
Mercury Learning
9781683922056, $59.95,

Mathematical Physics: An Introduction provides a basic college-level primer on mathematical concepts used to describe fundamental physics principles, and pairs examples with applications to draw connections between the two. From quantum mechanics and the Special Theory of Relativity to electromagnetics, particle physics, and more, matrices, differential equations and other basic math concepts are organized by chapter to apply their principles and calculations to specific sciences. The result is an introduction that covers all the basics physics students need to draw connections between science and math.

The Mathematics of Everyday Life
Alfred S. Posamentier and Christian Spreitzer
Prometheus Books
9781633883871, $25.00,

The Mathematics of Everyday Life comes from two professional math educators who apply math concepts from arithmetic and algebra to geometry to basic daily experiences. While readers might think these ideas limited to specialty professionals or pursuits, think of the possibilities when geometric calculations are applied to soccer goals, bicycle riding, or when probability enters into gambling efforts. One needn't have prior familiarity with advanced math to appreciate this series of explanations: the only prerequisite is an interest in math's useful applications.

The American History Shelf

Old West Showdown
Bill Markley and Kellen Cutsforth
c/o Globe Pequot
9781493032167, $22.95,

Old West Showdown: Two Authors Wrangle Over the Truth About the Mythic Old West blends facts, folklore, and controversies in a fun back-and-forth set of opposing viewpoints about Old West historical events. Plenty of histories cover the Old West, but this is a standout because of its lively debate over facts and legends, and because two writers feature opposing viewpoints over what really happened in such varied events as Little Bighorn, the Johnson County War, Wild Bill Hickok, and more. The juxtaposition of these debates over facts and fallacies makes for a read especially recommended for high school history courses trying to teach students to critically examine evidence and historical facts.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Target Rich Environment, Volume 1
A Collection by Larry Correa
Baen Books
9781481483445, $25.00,

The first volume in the Target Rich Environment series gathers urban fantasy and epic fantasy stories in a gathering of fourteen tales of demons, monsters, and the brave men and women who confront them, from an elven princess out to save her people to the roots of Correa's popular Monster Hunter International series. Three stories in this collection haven ever seen print before, while the others form a compellingly rich set of adventures and insights that will attract readers of action-packed urban adventure surrounding inhabitants of fantasy worlds. Highly recommended as a powerful gathering that requires no prior familiarity with Correa in order to prove compelling.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Glitter Bomb
Laura Childs with Terrie Farley Moran
Berkley Prime Crime
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
9780451489548, $26.00,

Glitter Bomb adds to the author's long-running Scrapbooking mystery series, adding the fifteenth book that prior fans will find just as intriguing and involving as the rest. Scrapbook shop owner Carmela is attending the Mardi Gras parade with her best friend Ava, but when an explosion devastates the event, Carmela finds that what appears to be an accident actually is more likely a murder, with Carmela's ex-husband the prime suspect. An involving story brings Carmela full circle to make some intriguing discoveries about New Orleans, murders, and mayhem in this engrossing mystery.

The Gods Help Those
Albert A. Bell Jr.
Perseverance Press
c/o Daniel & Daniel, Publishers
9781564746085, $15.95,

The Gods Help Those: A Seventh Case from the Notebooks of Pliny the Younger provides an intriguing case set in ancient Rome and telling of Pliny's investigation when a warehouse collapses and several bodies are recovered. Apparently they weren't all killed by a building failure, a fact which sends Pliny on a mission to uncover the facts behind forensic examinations that yield no answers, but many clues and more questions. From a live baby recovered from the tragedy to the mistress of the late emperor Titus and her involvement in matters, this historical mystery is fast-paced and hard to put down.

The Divorce Shelf

The Divorce Hacker's Guide to Untying the Knot
Ann E. Grant, JD
New World Library
9781608685608, $16.95,

The Divorce Hacker's Guide to Untying the Knot: What Every Woman Needs to Know About Finances, Child Custody, Lawyers, and Planning Ahead should be in any general lending library's reference collection as one of the best guides on the market for protecting oneself through divorce. It comes from a family law attorney who directs information to female readers, and while it covers the emotional challenges of divorce, it even more importantly surveys issues of holding on to rights concerning finances, home, and children. The focus is on creating a divorce that lands the woman back on her feet in a new direction, and the tough decisions involved in making sure a divorce isn't devastating on more than one level are all covered in chapters that assume no prior familiarity with the process. From getting what is needed to taking charge, this is the book that should be in any potential divorcee's tool kit.

The Philosophy Shelf

The Twilight Zone and Philosophy
Heather L. Rivera and Alexander E. Hooke, editors
Open Court Publishing
9780812699890, $19.95,

The Twilight Zone and Philosophy: A Dangerous Dimension to Visit adds to the Popular Culture and Philosophy series and uses episodes from the popular TV show Twilight Zone to examine everyday ironies, philosophies, and frightening scenarios that hold philosophical insights and lessons. From loss of memory connected to personal identity to how the Twilight Zone episodes neatly tied in to greater questions about self, society, and nightmares, this collection offers many pointed discussions on alternate versions of reality and is a 'must' for TV and film as well as philosophy holdings; and for fans of Twilight Zone who would more carefully consider its underlying premises and implications.

The Military Shelf

Military Communications in the Future Battlefield
Marko Suojanen
Artech House
9781630813338, $139.00,

Military Communications in the Future Battlefield discusses applications for military communications and provides military and security technology practitioners with keys to battlefield communications systems and development. With a focus on what's likely to take place in the future, this resource provides technical keys to building agile, flexible systems right now that can operate in future applications. Both ground and aerial platforms are included, as well as discussions of communications chains, alternative, unmanned vehicle communications, and more. No serious military collection should be without this key to understanding the array of present-day needs and their probably of changing in the near future.

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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