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The Bookwatch

Volume 9, Number 10 October 2014 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Military Shelf Photography Shelf
Audiobook Shelf Music Shelf Needlecraft Shelf
Religion/Spirituality Shelf Christian Studies Shelf Metaphysical Studies Shelf
Education Shelf Science Shelf Calendar Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fiction Shelf American History Shelf
Crafts Shelf Art Shelf Social Issues Shelf
Cookbook Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Business Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

A Complete Guide to Surviving in the Wilderness
Terri Paajanen
Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc.
1405 S.W. 6th Avenue, Ocala, FL 34471
978161385819, $24.95,

A Complete Guide to Surviving in the Wilderness: Everything You Need to Know to Stay Alive and Get Rescued covers the basics of building shelter, avoiding poisonous plants and animals, identifying food and more, and is filled with tips on first aid, navigation, and survival methods for a wide range of environments. The basics are all provided in chapters that focus on the rudiments of assessing environment, reviewing assets and possibilities, and making the most of opportunities to find shelter, food, and protection.

Flight 232
Laurence Gonzales
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9780393240023, $27.95,

Flight 232: A Story of Disaster and Survival tells of a plane crash that happened in 1989, and recreates events in a minute-by-minute harrowing story through the eyes of all involved, from crew and passengers to those who treated the wounded and researched events. Interviews with everyone from air traffic controllers to rescue workers and beyond contribute to a compelling true story of disaster and the amazing story of a crash in which over half the passengers and crew survived the impossible. That author Gonzales is a pilot himself lends to a powerful saga highly recommended for any general reader as well as those with a special interest in aviation history.

1,339 Quite Interesting Facts to Make Your Jaw Drop
John Lloyd, John Mitchinson, James Harkin
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9780393245608, $15.95,

1,339 Quite Interesting Facts to Make Your Jaw Drop is inspired by BBC TV's popular quiz show QI, and offers tweetable facts that are both surprising and hilarious. From a Malaysian cult that worships a giant teapot to the 320 pints of saliva a cow produces daily, this is filled with fun and true trivia designed for tweeting and filled with tidbits of hilarious information perfect for party presentations.

The Military Shelf

German Infantryman Versus Soviet Rifleman
David Campbell
Osprey Publishing
4301 21st St, Suite 220B, Long Island City, NY 11101
9781472803245, $18.95,

German Infantryman Versus Soviet Rifleman uses first-hand accounts, color maps and artwork, and vintage black and white photos to capture the first three battles of the Barbarossa campaign of 1941, and is a recommended pick for any military history collection. It assesses combat performances, considers how the battles set the course of the Eastern Front's events, and creates a powerful survey key to any in-depth military analysis of the times.

Uphill Battle
Frank Scotton
Texas Tech University Press
PO Box 41037, Lubbock, TX 79409-1037
9780896728677, $39.95,

Uphill Battle: Reflections On Viet Nam Counterinsurgency documents why a major nation and military powerhouse lost to a relatively small country, and comes from an author who was assigned to Viet Nam in 1962 as a young Foreign Service officer. He learned Vietnamese, traveled through remote towns and rural areas, and proved that small teams could compete with communist units, organizing mobile platoons in special CIA teams that became models for a national program. His experience and assessment of counterinsurgency techniques and their pros and cons makes for important considerations about America's involvement in the region and is a top pick for any military history collection, especially those strong in Viet Nam experience.

The Complete Guide to Veterans' Benefits
Bruce C. Brown
Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc.
1405 S.W. 6th Avenue, Ocala, FL 34471
9781601387028, $24.95,

The Complete Guide to Veterans' Benefits: Everything You Need to Know Explained Simply covers the basics of understanding government programs and policies for veterans, and comes from a veteran still serving in the U.S. Coast Guard. From what benefits a veteran can qualify for and how to apply for them to understanding the limitations of health care, loans, and benefits which often apply to the rest of one's life, this covers all the basics of service options and how to handle the transition into a civilian career.

Osprey Publishing
4301 21st St, Suite 220B, Long Island City, NY 11101

Robert N. Watt's APACHE WARRIOR 1860-86 (9781472803528, $18.95) focuses on the Chiricahua Apache, lead by Geronimo and others, and looks to prove a military history of the Apaches free of the usual embellishments and myths. This group proved the most feared opponents of the US Army in the Southwest United States: their upbringing and training are covered in a powerful survey paired with photos and color artwork throughout, recommended for military history and Native American collections alike. John Stanaway's P-38 LIGHTNING ACES 1942-43 (9781782003328, $22.95) considers the story of the ace pilots of the P-38 Lightning, one of the most unique air fighters of World War 2, and is a recommendation for any aircraft or military history library. It uses first-hand experiences from pilots who flew them to consider their combat performance and how techniques developed by these fighters changed the course of the war. Lon Nordeen's AV-8B HARRIER II UNITS OF OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM (9781782003441, $22.95) offers the final book in a trilogy covering the Harrier IIs, and offers a fine survey of the plane's use in air assaults and modern efforts up to 2013. With artwork for all the Harrier II units and photos from pilots who flew the jets, this covers the Afghanistan campaigns and offers the latest insights and tactics. Nic Fields' ALESIA 52 BC: THE FINAL STRUGGLE FOR GAUL (9781782009221, $21.95) outlines the most famous of all Caesar's campaigns: a battle that has a good amount of archaeological study behind it. It documents the end of one of the most serious resistances to his conquests: one which would change the face of Celtic control forever, and it adds color maps and illustrations throughout. The result is a powerful pick recommended for any military history collection. Michael Green's AMERICAN TANKS & AFVS OF WORLD WAR II (9781782009313, $39.95) comes from an armor expert who examines the machinery of the U.S. Army from Sherman tanks to tank destroyers and landing vehicles. Vintage and modern color photos accompany a study of all the vehicles and their battle history and impact, making for a definitive survey filled with illustration and insight: a 'must' for any military collection strong in World War II events and processes. Mike Guardia's JUNKERS JU 87 STUKA (9781472801197, $18.95) provides an in-depth analysis of the JU 87 "Stuka" of World War II, which operated to Germany's advantage during the war, and documents innovations, strategies, and history of plane development and use in battle. Chapters pair vintage photos with color illustrations and delve into the history and methods of the Junkers, making for a title recommended for aviation and military history collections alike.

The Photography Shelf

The Sony a7 and a7R
Brian Matsumoto and Carol F. Roullard
Rocky Nook
802 East Cota Street, 3rd Floor, Santa Barbara, CA 93103
9781937538491, $39.95,

The Sony a7 and a7R: The Unofficial Quintessential Guide is a 'must' for owners of these new cameras, and helps new owners understand the special features of this camera. If you think this is covered in an accompanying user's manual, it should be known that this guide goes beyond using controls to showing how every feature relates to the photo process, and includes the basics of stitching for panoramas, noise reduction, setup and shooting styles, and more. The step-by-step directions may be based on menu commands but go beyond simple explanation to show how a superior photo is created using these specific devices.

Nikon Df: The Expanded Guide
Jon Sparks
Ammonite Press
c/o Lightening Publications
9781781451007, $19.95,

Nikon Df: The Expanded Guide comes from a landscape photographer and outdoor enthusiast who considers the Nikon Df's wide range of features, and is especially recommended for any new to this Nikon model. Chapters pair color photo examples throughout with discussions of controls, menus, picture-taking options, and more. At the end, aspiring photographers learn not only more about the Nikon Df, but learn the basics of what differentiates a superior photo from a snapshot.

Double Exposure
Olga Shevchenko, Editor
Transaction Publishers
10 Corporate Place South, Piscataway, NJ 08854
9781412852708, $49.95,

DOUBLE EXPOSURE: MEMORY & PHOTOGRAPHY considers the changing relationship between memory and photography and is recommended for college-level readers interested in historical memory and photography's connections. Social science and photography blend in a survey that ranges from family archives and history collections to the circulation of photos in news and digital media, considering how changes in the medium have affected memory and visual arts subjects in different disciplines. The result is a lively survey highly recommended for any social sciences and photography student interested in the cultural impact of changing photography styles.

Amherst Media
175 Rano Street, Suite 200, Buffalo, NY 14207-2176

Christopher Grey's MASTER LIGHTING GUIDE FOR PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHERS (9781508956890, $27.95) packs in over a hundred lighting diagrams in a second updated edition recommended for any working with lighting in the studio. From selecting lighting equipment and understanding light ratios to creating different kinds of portrait lighting effects and choosing modifiers, this offer some 30 assignments that demonstrate studio lighting specifics, and is recommended for any aspiring photographer who wants basic insights on various approaches. Neal Urban's DREAM WEDDINGS: CREATE FRESH AND STYLISH PHOTOGRAPHY (9781608956999, $27.95) teaches how to create modern, captivating bridal pictures that go beyond documenting the event to creating a memory that reflects the happy couple's new status, and is filled with images and approaches to pack visual impact into the effort. From creating amazing images from the most challenging of settings to using ambient light, covering receptions and engagement parties, and creating unique poses, this is for neo-professional photographers who have the basics down but desire to go a step further in the process of creating an outstanding wedding photo shoot. Jeff Smith's PHOTOGRAPH THE FACE: LIGHTING, POSING, AND POSTPRODUCTION FOR FLAWLESS PORTRAITS (9781608956876, $27.95) teaches how to customize a portrait for maximum effect to highlight a client's best features, from choosing the right lighting to disguising double chins and signs of age. Chapters are packed with photo examples as they cover everything from skin tone and color to reducing the appearance of baldness in a photo, and cover the basics of cooperative interactions between subject and photographer for best results. By having a face focus, this book allows for more in-depth coverage than most overall figure photography titles can offer, and is recommended for any neo-pro who wants specific posing and lighting tips.

The Audiobook Shelf

Hachette Audio
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017

John J. Ratey MD and Richard Manning's GOL WILD: FREE YOUR BODY AND MIND FROM THE AFFLICTIONS OF CIVILIZATION (9781478982292, $30.00) explains how the body and environment are connected, how mood disorders can be related to exercise or diet, and how family heritage combines with environment to create mismatches between body and mind. Go Wild is all about using tools to heal, live well, and realign lifestyle to be more like that of our ancestors. Any who would learn routines for overall health will find this a fine formula for success. Michael Connelly's CITY OF BONES (9781478901075, $25.00) is narrated by Peter J. Fernandez, who lends an evocative and dramatic voice to Connelly's story of a murder committed some twenty years in the past. No case is too cold for Detective Harry Bosch to pursue, especially since his investigation stirs up some skeletons in the closet of his own past. Add a lovely rookie and romance to the mystery and you have a thriller that comes to life in audio and will keep listeners immersed to the end. Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's DANGEROUS CREATURES (9781478982074, $30.00) tells of Ridley, who as a 'Dark Caster' who can make anyone do anything. But her rocker boyfriend Wesley never listens to anyone, doesn't care if Rid is not good for him, and he takes her along when he teams up with other Dark Casters to make his band dreams come true. The only problem is New York City's dangerous underworld....Tension is exquisitely done and comes alive in the audio format. Paul Ryan's THE WAY FORWARD: RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM (9781478927761, $30.00) outlines the U.S. Representative for Wisconsin's 1st congressional district's ideas for developing a new conservative agenda, analyzing the 2012 election, GOP challenges in reaching voters, and how the Republican Party has drifted. It criticizes Democratic Party processes, the Progressive movement, and its philosophy and poses an alternative plan for unifying the country - all of which comes to life in an audio narrated by Jonathan Davis. Sandra Brown's MEAN STREAK (9781478927419, $35.00) tells of a doctor and marathon runner who vanishes on a mountain road. By the time her husband reports her missing, fog and ice thwart search teams - and as police suspect Jeff of foul play, Emory awakens with a head injury to find herself held captive by a deranged man. Deception and twists of plot mark a suspense story that springs to life under Jonathan Davis' fine reading. Preston and Child's THE LOST ISLAND (9781619694590, $35.00) comes to life under the passionate and clear voice of David W. Collins, a L.A.-based actor whose audio credits include Preston and Child's previous book. This lends a continuity and fine drama to this new story of Gideon Crew, a brilliant scientist and master thief living in danger with a new mission and a dangerous task: to steal from a display protected by unbreakable security. An exceptional thriller evolves, perfect for listeners looking for tense dramas.

The Music Shelf

Richard Strauss: An Owner's Manual
David Hurwitz
Amadeus Press
c/o Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing
33 Plymouth St, Suite 302, Montclair, NJ 07042
9781574674422, $24.99,

Richard Strauss: An Owner's Manual includes a full-length EMI CD and discusses the orchestration and works of Richard Strauss. Here music critic David Hurwitz provides listeners - especially newcomers - with keys to understanding Strauss' music from his operas to his other works. From tone poems and operas to ballets and songs, this surveys the extent of his many works in a powerful presentation highly recommended for any classical music collection or listener.

The Needlecraft Shelf

Martingale & Company
19021 Avenue NE, Bothell, WA 98011

That Patchwork Place's CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS (9781804683882, $26.99) features over twenty projects from tree skirts to pillows and quilts and profiles using needlework for holiday pursuits. Each project comes with step-by-step instructions and illustrations geared to all levels of needleworker, and each offers full-page color photos and all the tips necessary to make a home-enhancing project look semi-professional. It's a wonderful holiday project guide for any looking to use or strengthen their existing skills. Donna Lynn Thomas' QUILTMAKING ESSENTIALS 1: CUTTING AND PIECING SKILLS (9781604684407, $18.99) packs in tips and techniques for new quilters in a focus that reveals how to improve on quilting skills, and teaches the basics of everything from locating and preparing the right fabric for a project to understanding pressing and how it affects piecing. The tips and tricks offer information in a fine low-cost format and covers basic concepts to block construction and machine piecing. With such a specific focus, newcomers will find it a pleasing approach to advancing quilting skills. Ana Paula Rimoli's AMIGURUMI AT HOME: CROCHET PLAYFUL PILLOWS, RUGS, BASKETS, AND MORE (9781604684322, $22.99) offers a fun collection of home projects that range from cushions and pillows to foot warmers and baskets, and provides a fun collection oriented toward crochet workers with some basic skills, but accessible to any who enjoy crafts. Bright color photos accompany pages of crochet instruction for producing these playful animal figures in a fine book for any who want easy home decor ideas.

The Religion/Spirituality Shelf

Noah: The Real Story
Larry Stone
WND Books
9781936488742, $14.95,

Noah: The Real Story delves into the specifics of Noah's flood and ark and includes everything about Noah and his world, pairing stories with black and white images, discussions of controversies, and more, and is recommended for any collection interested in Biblical history. Unlike some considerations, it provides a lively discussion that assumes little prior familiarity with Biblical analysis and instead adopts a chatty, informative tone considering historical analysis, science, and Biblical story alike. The result is a very accessible treatment that should interest any general Bible reader interested in Biblical perspectives about Noah and his world.

The Christian Studies Shelf

Francis of Rome & Francis of Assisi
Leonardo Boff
Orbis Books
Box 302, Maryknoll NY 10545-0302
9781626980839, $18.00,

Francis of Rome & Francis of Assisi provides a strong story that belongs in Catholic and Christian collections and tells of Pope Francis and how he found in Francis of Assisi a saint symbolizing his reform process. A church inspired by St. Francis embraces the poor and promotes peace: this exploration of connections between the two Francises provides a powerful assessment of the Church and its evolutionary process, and is a recommendation for any Catholic collection.

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.
2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125

THE YOGA OF FOOD: WELLNESS FROM THE INSIDE OUT (9780738740157, $16.99) comes from a psychotherapist who has battled eating disorders since she was a child, who found yoga to offer keys to successful and better eating habits. This book blends yogic philosophy and meditations with an understanding of how the discipline relates to body health and image. Years of her clinical practice blends with anecdotes on nutrition and spirituality to provide a well-rounded blend of insights on overall system interactions and health. William L. Mikulas, PhD's TAMING THE DRUNKEN MONKEY: THE PATH TO MINDFULNESS, MEDITATION, AND INCREASED CONCENTRATION (9780738734699, $16.99) comes from a mental training teacher who shows how to use Western and Eastern philosophy and health systems to promote mindfulness on various levels, from mental awareness and flexibility to applying breathwork with yogic pranayama and Chinese medicine techniques. Chapters offer a range of exercises and practices to promote bodily health and spiritual awakening alike, making it a fine choice for any new age collection.

The Education Shelf

The Principal's Quick-Reference Guide to School Law, third edition
Robert F. Hachiya,
Corwin Press
2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320-2218
9781483333335, $45.95,

The Principal's Quick-Reference Guide to School Law appears in its third updated edition to cover the legal issues schools face, how to recognize and diffuse a legal concern, and how to understand key court cases that have influenced today's school law. From student misuse of technology and bullying problems to special education requirements, parental problems with school systems, and more, this covers all the latest legal thinking as it pertains to common school management, and is a 'must' for any principal who wants a quick overview of law. The fact that these examples are geared to non-legal experts makes them accessible and important surveys in today's modern school processes.

Cracking the GED Test, 2015 Edition
The Princeton Review
c/o Random House Inc.
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
9780307946041, $23.00,

The 2015 edition of Cracking the GED Test is filled with techniques that work and which are designed to help avoid traps and build logical thinking. It provides everything needed to gain a high score, from math reasoning and language to social studies, and it reviews both skills and questions on the GED. Two full-length practice tests include in-depth answers, while practice drills are supported by further multiple-choice questions online, arranged by subject. Any studying for the GED will find this a winner!

The Science Shelf

Mapping It Out
Hans Ulrich Obrist, Editor
Thames & Hudson
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110-0017
9780500239186, $50.00,

Mapping It Out: An Alternative Atlas of Contemporary Cartographies was inspired by the Serpentine Gallery's Map Marathon of 2010 and represents a long collaboration with John Brockman and the EDGE Foundation, offering a range of approaches from blueprints and drawings to lists, concept and fantasy maps, and more. It stands at the intersection of modern art, science and cartography as it rethinks the notion of what maps can do and be, and how to translate scientific data and art into visual language and diagrams. From efforts to rework existing maps to cartographic processes and new directions, this gathers a wide range of contributors and approaches to a truly amazing synthesis recommended for a variety of collections and readers.

Rod Pyle
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781616149338, $19.95,

Curiosity: An Inside Look at the Mar Rover Mission and the People Who Made it Happen provides a behind-the-scenes look at the recent unmanned rover Curiosity, which is providing scientists with unprecedented information about Mars. The author uses his NASA contacts as well as those from the jet Propulsion Laboratory to provide insights into how these individuals use a blend of chemistry, geology and physics instruments to unlock the secrets of the red planet. The result is a working coverage of the latest technology and innovators, from engineers to scientists, working to reveal Mar's puzzles.

Ian Leslie
Basic Books
c/o Perseus Books Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780465079964, $26.99,

CURIOUS: THE DESIRE TO KNOW AND WHY YOUR FUTURE DEPENDS ON IT blends science, history and psychology and considers that true curiosity is becoming more difficult in the modern world. From how children become independent of adults and ask questions to how digital technologies are short-circuiting mental exploration patterns and making critical thinking harder, CURIOUS is a pick for social issues, science, and psychology holdings alike.

CRC Press
6000 NW Broken Sound Parkway NW, Suite 300, Boca Raton, FL 33487

Manjit S. Kang & Surinder S. Banga, Editors's COMBATING CLIMATE CHANGE: AN AGRICULTURAL PERSPECTIVE (9781466566705, $99.95) documents the real effects of climate change which can be felt in agricultural pursuits around the world. Human intervention will be necessary to mitigate these effects: that's the message in a college-level collection of essays from internationally recognized scientists who consider how agriculture can be adapted to the changing conditions and economic impacts of climate change. Chapters survey everything from the genetic mitigation of such change through developing climate-resistant crops to conserving native ecosystems and handling crops in a different manner. Experts consider plant pathogens, plant disease, insects and more as they consider the latest options for handling future climates. The result is a powerful recommendation for any college-level student of agriculture or environmental science. Science collections strong in herpetology will find a foundation reference in Van Wallach, Kenneth L. Williams and Jeff Boundy's SNAKES OF THE WORLD: A CATALOGUE OF LIVING AND EXTINCT SPECIES (9781482208474, $149.95). It provides the first catalog to cover living and fossil snakes described between 1758 and 2012 - over three thousand living and nearly three hundred extinct species - and includes over three hundred more species that are invalid. An alphabetical listing by genus and species allows for quick reference, while discussions of distribution by country, province and elevation, habitats, taxonomic references for each species, and an extensive bibliography of references accompanies an index of over 12,000 primary snake names. With its extensive detail, this isn't a reference for the casual collector but will prove invaluable for any looking for specific worldwide herpetological references.

The Calendar Shelf

Quilt Art Engagement Calendar 2015
Klaudeen Hansen
American Quilter's Society
PO Box 3290, Paducah, KY 42002-3290
9781604601367, $13.95,

Any quilter looking for an engagement book that not only includes colorful pages of quilt ideas but pre-filled notes on quilting celebrations across the country will find this engagement calendar serves three purposes: it works as an engagement calendar with large spaces for writing in notes and appointments, as an inspirational display of award-winning quilts accompanied by creator notes, and as a reminder of Quilt Week events in Michigan, Tennessee, Kentucky and Iowa. The result is a handy calendar perfect for any busy quilter.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Samuel Fuller
Titan Books
144 Southwark Street, London SE1 OUP, UK
9781781168196, $12.95,

Brainquake is the lost novel of a legendary filmmaker, is a fine crime story recommended for readers of crime fiction, and tells of a Mafia bagman in New York City charged with paying off judges and cops alike. He's fallen in love with a gangster's wife and is suffering from a brain condition that leads to hallucinations and seizures. He's also suffering from a murder that sends him fleeing Mob and law alike with, $10 million in stolen money. Can love save him now? Readers of hardboiled, fast-paced crime sagas will find this a compelling, rapid-fire story packed with twists and changes.

Poisoned Pen Press
6962 E. First Ave., #103, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Reavis Z. Wortham's VENGEANCE IS MIND (9781464202852, $24.95) provides a fine Red River mystery and tells of teen Top Parker, who has a 'poisoned gift' in the form of dreams that come true. His latest dream centers around a wagon wheel with spokes from all directions - spokes that seem to predict something big is coming. When his town moves from a small-town area perfect for family life to a combat zone for new gangsters, an unsolved murder and a robbery leads to a host of complications that involve everyone in a series of deadly encounters. A fine murder mystery with satisfyingly complex twists of plot makes for a wonderful read! Another fine murder mystery is Warren C. Easley's DEAD FLOAT (9781464202667, $24.95), a Cal Claxton mystery that involves the former L.A. prosecutor in the task of guiding executives from a high tech firm in Portland on a coveted fishing trip. Unfortunately the executives ALSO have a conflict resolution exercise in mind with the future of the firm dependent on its outcome, so the idea that murder would enter into such a scenario is nearly inevitable. When a remote fishing trip turns deadly, it's up to Cal to uncover clues in this involving 'whodunnit'.

The Fiction Shelf

Season to Taste
Natalie Young
Little, Brown & Company
c/o Hachette Book Group
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780316282482, $25.00,

SEASON TO TASTE is startling on many levels: it's about the dissolution of a marriage, it tells of Lizzie, an ordinary housewife living in the British countryside who is a wonderful cook and gardener, and it is based on some degree of historical fact. When Lizzie kills her husband and decides to eat him, a strange blend of mystery, cookbook, and humor evolves to provide readers with a dark vision of insanity and entertainment. It's as much about love and moving on in life as it is about a marriage's failure and gruesome results: hard to define, suffice to say that it's an intriguing story indeed.

The American History Shelf

Sod Busting
David B. Danbom
Johns Hopkins University Press
2715 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218-4363
9781421414515, $19.95,

Sod Busting: How Families Made Farms on the 19th-Century Plains offers a fine survey of the history of prairie busting and how it actually worked, and considers the many processes of surviving on the Great Plains in the late 19th century. From how settlers acquired land and made communities to the physical and social challenges of the American frontier, this uses the Great Plains as a focal point for considering settler activities, economics, and social systems, and provides a close inspection of how plains settlement actually worked. The result incorporates settlers' memoirs, historical presentation, and consideration of American ideals and experiences alike and is a fine recommendation for any American history collection.

Nature's God
Matthew Stewart
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9780393064544, $28.95,

Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic discusses the radicals who founded not just this country, but strived for a new state of religious freedoms that liberated America from supernatural religion. It makes the case for the idea that pagan and ancient philosophies and religion motivated them more than traditional religious freedom, and uses European philosophy to pursue a history of the philosophical ideas that inspired America's early revolutionaries. The result is a powerful history that runs counter to many approaches and will prove especially satisfying to American history buffs.

The Crafts Shelf

Basic Painting & Weathering, second edition
Jeff Wilson
Kalmbach Books
21027 Crossroads Circle, Waukesha, WI 53187-1612
9780890249550, $19.99,

The second updated edition of Basic Painting & Weathering for Model railroaders sports expanded chapters on weathering and new prototype photos, several new projects, and the latest manufacturer and product references, and is a pick for any modeler who wants to create the best layout models. From learning how to select and mix paints to using an airbrush, creating weathering effects with chalk and pens, and applying dry transfers and decals, this is packed with fine details any model railroader will appreciate.

Making a Rattan Bow
Linda Schilling & Michael Wlotzka
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
9780764345463, $24.99,

Making a Rattan Bow shows how to make a bow using either rattan or a combination of rattan and wood, and focuses on the properties of rattan in the bow construction world. Seven different bow designs are covered here, each with illustrated step-by-step instructions. Sections cover making each segment and woodworkers and crafters receive specifics enhanced by color photos packed throughout. The result is a unique coverage highly recommended for any woodworker interested in bows.

The Art Shelf

North Light Books
c/o F+W Media
700 East State Street, Iola WI 54945

Amy Jones edits ADVENTURES IN MIXED MEDIA ART (9781440336737, $22.99) and provides a fine guidebook that teaches the basics by showing how to create an art journal using guided mixed-media techniques. It covers hand lettering, painting and collage and uses the journal as a starting point for practice to create canvas paintings, collages and more outside the journal format. Any looking to learn basic skills will find this an excellent starting point that uses an unassuming and easy medium as a teaching tool for later, greater projects. Julie Nutting's COLLAGE COUTURE STUDIO: PAPER DOLLS (9781440329012, $24.99) teaches the basics of paper doll design and dress-up and presents five fashion-oriented dolls from around the world that can be dressed in either designer clothes or flea market finds around the world. From making a paper doll chain to a rich collage of them, this offers a wider range of projects than most paper doll collections and is a fine pick for fashion-oriented crafters who want to play a little with the art medium. Rachel Rubin Wolf edits THE BEST OF WATERCOLOR SPLASH 15: CREATIVE SOLUTIONS (9781440320408, $35.00) and packs in some hundred examples by the world's most accomplished watercolorists. These artists depict a range of scenes form urban to rural and teach the basics of their art in a collection that profiles original approaches and work paired with anecdotes on their making. The full-page, full color works are exceptional presentations representing a wide diversity of artists and approaches, making this yet another 'must' Splash collection for any arts and crafts holding and those artists who look for inspiration from others. Tracy Verdugo's PAINT MOJO (9781440333132, $29.99) appears in lay-flat binding book with spine lettering for easy use and filing, and offers keys to exploring various painting works and mixed-media results. From 19 step-by-step exercises to using pastels, acrylics and inks to honing inspirational sources and transferring vision to art mediums, this is a powerful pick for any would-be painter and is packed with lovely examples teaching painting fundamentals and beyond.

The Social Issues Shelf

Lone Star America
Mark Davis
Regnery Publishing
300 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001
9781621572251, $27.99,

LONE STAR AMERICA: HOW TEXAS CAN SAVE OUR COUNTRY tells how Texas's values hold lessons for the rest of the U.S., with low taxes, limited government, and respect for faith and family making it the envy of the nation. Texans live by their principles, and Lone Star America documents these principles, blending Texas history and culture with wider questions of economic and political differences between Texas and the rest of the country. Any interested in the state's evolution and faith will find this an engrossing, involving read that links Texas history and sentiments to wider questions of values and applied political process.

How the Poor Can Save Capitalism
John Hope Bryant
Berrett-Koehler Publishers
235 Montgomery Street, Suite 650, San Francisco, CA 94104-2916
9781626560321, $24.95,

How the Poor Can Save Capitalism: Rebuilding the Path to the Middle Class continues the theme of the author's November 2013 summit on Global Dignity and offers business leaders and social scientists alike new reflections on creating an upward cycle of wealth and empowerment for the poor and middle class through capitalism. It discusses the basics of giving everyone a stake in such a system to promote its sustainability, and it provides powerful blends of idealism and application to synthesize social and business pursuits, making this a 'must' for both business and social issues readers.

The Slaughter
Ethan Gutmann
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781616149406, $25.95,

THE SLAUGHTER: MASS KILLINGS, ORGAN HARVESTING, AND CHINA'S SECRET SOLUTION TO ITS DISSIDENT PROBLEM provides the results of a comprehensive investigation into the Chinese State's secret program to get rid of its dissidents while profiting from selling their organs, often to Western recipients, and is a shocking expose based on interviews with top-ranking police officials and Chinese doctors. The Chinese medical community participates in killing prisoners, Gutmann maintains. His journey to Asia to find out why and how reveals a story of political struggle and rare stories from those who survived to tell them, and is at once an expose and a social horror story of a medical community involved in the impossible. Any collection interested in Chinese culture, medicine and political issues will find this an important, key read.

The Cookbook Shelf

The Athlete's Cookbook
Corey Irwin and Brett Stewart
Ulysses Press
PO Box 3440, Berkeley CA 94703-3440
9781612432304, $15.95,

The Athlete's Cookbook provides a new health guide that blends a nutritional program with a personal training program based on the idea of an ideal diet plan, and is a pick for any kind of athlete looking for better supplements to training. It offers daily meal plans, pre- and post-workout nutrition strategies, and offers keys to maintaining energy and building muscle. From insights on how nutritional choices affect short- and long-term athletic energy to how to devise the correct program, this provides a fine set of options, recipes and approaches any athlete at any level can easily incorporate into an overall health routine.

Cream Puffs
Hannah Miles
Ryland Peters & Small
519 Broadway, 5th floor, New York, NY 10012
9781849755160, $16.95,

CREAM PUFFS AND OTHER DELICIOUS FRENCH PASTRIES covers cream puffs, elairs, and more options for using pastries and teaches how to make different fillings and toppings for more options. From Cherry Almond Paris Brests made with a crumb mix and filled with cherry and almond pastry cream to an unusual Strudel Cream Puffs and Profiteroles topped with a chocolate mint sauce, each recipe is accompanied by color photos and mouthwatering introductions, making them highly recommended for any looking for different dessert ideas suitable for entertaining.

The Carnivore's Manifesto
Patrick Martins with Mike Edison
Little, Brown & Company
c/o Hachette Book Group
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780316256247, $26.00,

THE CARNIVORE'S MANIFESTO; EATING WELL, EATING RESPONSIBLY, AND EATING MEAT is the answer to the numerous books on the market that condemn meat consumption as ecologically unsustainable and immoral, and comes from the founder of heritage Foods USA, Slow Food USA and more, who promotes the sustainability of meat. The answer is to make better, informed decisions about meat consumption and how meat is raised. Essays here discuss food labeling, sustainability, factory farms and their issues and more. The result blends humor with serious observation and is a fine survey celebrating farmers and chefs who depart from the usual corporate food culture.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts
Jeni Britton Bauer
Artisan Books
c/o Workman Publishing Company
225 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014-4381
9781579654368, $23.95,

Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts packs in some 100 recipes for unique ice cream dishes that include her approach to cooking, chilling and freezing recipes, and represent updates reflecting the ice cream machine's changes over the years. Here are flavors that stretch the definition of ice cream, from Cumin and Honey Butterscotch to Root Beer, dishes that use ice cream accompaniment to great advantage, and dessert combinations that bring everything together. So don't expect your usual ice cream cookbook: on many levels this pairs unexpected flavors with new dishes and is perfect for innovative ice-cream-loving cooks who already have the basics down and want more exciting options.

c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017

A new four-book series of specialty recipe books for cooks provide 40 recipes each that provide a basic recipe, core ingredients, and concept and then provide flavor combinations that embellish them. These little books are engaging, inviting, and colorful and focus on varieties that can be achieved with just one 'master' recipe. BURGERS (9781846014819, $9.99) covers a range of burger ideas from red meat to poultry, fish and vegetarian recipes, and pair the main event with homemade side dishes and accompaniments, PANINI (9781846014802, $9.99) covers the grilled sandwich snacks that are quick to prepare. Recipes here are both savory and sweet for a wide variety of choices and flavors. CR ME BRULEE (9781846014796, $9.99) covers the blend of custard and burnt sugar that have made it so popular, but offer many variations on dishes from Raspberry and champagne to more exotic fruits. Each dish provides a take-off on the recipe and there are even savory brulees for those who avoid sweets. PUMPKIN (9781846014789, $9.99) is in time for Halloween and packs in 40 ways in which the pumpkin can be served not just in a pie, but in cakes, souffles and even as an alternative to oven fries. Inviting, easy and fun, these picturesque little books are perfect recommendations for any busy cook looking for ideas based on single main ingredients.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Inc.
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Martin L. Kutscher, MD,'s KIDS IN THE SYNDROM MIX OF ADHD, LD, AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS, TOURETTE'S, ANXIETY, AND MORE (9781849059671, $19.95) provides an all-inclusive guide to the range of neurobehavioral disorders in children, pairing the latest research and information on treatments and condition interactions and relationships with explanations of the inner world of children with these syndromes or a mix thereof. Chapters explain behavioral strategies and pair them with case history examples in a updated, expanded new edition that adds a revised chapter on the autism spectrum, new details on DSM-5 changes, and new diagnostic criteria. Ian Stuart-Hamilton's INTRODUCTION TO THE PSYCHOLOGY OF AGEING FOR NON-SPECIALISTS (9781849053631, $26.95) comes from a professor who provides an introduction to the psychology of aging and who focuses on using familiar terminology to explain psychology concepts to interested novices. Chapters consider some of the main developments in the field of aging, examine how psychology concepts relate to daily life, and provide a focus on the evolution of psychological changes in the elderly. The result is an excellent introduction highly recommended for students new to psychology or geriatric studies as well as for general-interest audiences.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Book of Life
Deborah Harkness
Viking Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780670025596, $28.95,

The Book of Life is Book Three of the 'All Souls Trilogy': as such, prior familiarity is highly recommended for a sense of events that culminate in this final saga. It picks up where Shadow of Night left off, with witch Diana and vampire scientist Matthew continuing their hunt for a magical manuscript known as the Book of Life. Old friends and new enemies will reunite, with surprising consequences, in this scenario where Harkness fully develops prior themes, ties up any loose ends, and concludes an engrossing and involving story line with powerful protagonists and an equally compelling plot.

Islands of Rage & Hope
John Ringo
Baen Books
PO Box 1188, Wake Forest NC 27588
9781476736624, $25.00,

Islands of Rage & Hope presents a future world consumed by a plague that drives humans insane. In this world a band of survivors has become Wolf squadron the only hope for the human race - and they plan on retaking the mainland from the infected, producing a vaccine, and saving the world... IF they can get the materials for the cure. It will take a dangerous journey into a deadly, infected and much-changed world if there's to be any hope for the last remnants of mankind. Islands of Rage & Hope is apocalyptic writing at its best, recommended for any who want a fast-paced, engrossing story of survival with no predictable conclusion.

The Business Shelf

Powers of Two
Joshua Wolf Shenk
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544031593, $28.00,

Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs considers creative duos and the benefits and roles of a partnership, and is a fine probe of creative energy and its management. From songwriters and business associations to financial circles and civil rights figures, this documents duos working in writing, the arts, science and technology and business, and provides a strong focus on how and why creativity moves ahead when two creative minds join forces.

Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc.
1405 S.W. 6th Avenue, Ocala, FL 34471

Kristie Lorette's HOW TO OPEN & OPERATE A FINANCIALLY SUCCESSFUL COLLECTION AGENCY BUSINESS (9781601382832, $39.95) offers a book paired with a companion CD-ROM offering all forms in the book plus a pre-written, editable business plan in Word format, and is a pick for any who would learn both the basics of small business in general and the collection agency pursuit in particular. From locating clients and increasing sales to guidelines of operating such a company, this book includes sample agency proposals, keys to staffing and salaries, compliance plan components, and much more. It's a 'must' for any contemplating opening a collection agency. Wendy M. Vincent's HOW TO MAKE A LIVING WRITING ARTICLES FOR NEWSPAPERS, MAGAZINES, AND ONLINE SOURCES: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO BECOME A SUCCESSFUL FREELANCE WRITER IN 30 DAYS (9781601385673, $24.95) offers keys to honing writing and editing skills and pairs these with tips on how to present story and article ideas to a variety of publications listed in this guide. Any who would gain an income from writing should look at this book: the specifics on industry standards, methods for querying or presentation, and handling acceptance make for concrete, important insights into successful routes. Elizabeth Godsmark, Lora Arduser, Douglas R. Brown and Constance H. Marse's second revised edition of HOW TO OPEN A FINANCIALLY SUCCESSFUL COFFEE, ESPRESSO AND TEA SHOP (9781601389053, $39.95) comes with a companion CD-ROM of business forms and checklists as it covers the basics of opening up a coffee shop business. From checklists for planning and running daily operations to sample menus, coffee drink recipes, and more, this covers everything needed to understand how such a business works. HOW TO OPEN & OPERATE A FINANCIALLY SUCCESSFUL SMALL FARM by Julie Fryer (9781601383303, $39.95) comes with a CD-ROM and gives all the basics of how to operate a small farm, even with no prior farming knowledge. From basic upkeep and financial management to livestock feeding, protecting crops, and buying and selling farm products, this is a fine guide for any who would enter the world of farming and crop management.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Field Guide to the Natural World of Washington, D.C.
Howard Youth
The Johns Hopkins University Press
2715 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218-4363
9781421412047, $24.95,

Field Guide to the Natural World of Washington, D.C. receives lovely photos by Robert E. Mumford Jr., illustrations by Mark A. Klingler, and offers a lively natural history that charts the wildlife abundant in Washington D.C. Many would think the region is largely urban; but in fact it supports a large park network filled with natural wonders from little brown bats to urban forests, birds and rare plants. From fish to reptiles and mammals, this captures the nature of the region and includes locations, habitats, natural history, and many inviting reflections on Washington, D.C.'s many natural areas.

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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