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California Bookwatch

Volume 10, Number 7 July 2015 Home | CALBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Economic Studies Shelf Parenting Shelf
Culinary Shelf Wine/Spirits Shelf American History Shelf
World History Shelf Environmental Studies Shelf Religion/Spirituality Shelf
Christian Studies Shelf Needlecraft Shelf Computer Shelf
Education Shelf Science Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf LGBT Studies Shelf
Social Issues Shelf Criminology Shelf Self-Help Shelf
Metaphysical Studies Shelf Business Shelf Travel Shelf
Biography Shelf Gardening Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Health/Medicine Shelf Autism Shelf Sports Shelf
Automotive Shelf Music Shelf Art Shelf
Crafts Shelf Architecture Shelf Writing/Publishing Shelf
Literary Studies Shelf Military Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
International Studies Shelf Political Science Shelf Antiques/Collectibles Shelf
California Shelf Independent Publishers Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Steve Lohr
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062226815 $29.99

Data-ism: The Revolution Transforming Decision Making, Consumer Behavior, and Almost Everything Else was written with a business audience in mind, but deserves mention as a recommendation for social issues and computer science readers, as well. The author has covered technology and big data issues for The New York Times for over a decade: this book explains how this data is moving to business circles from its social media origins, and explains how scientists, engineers, and others have worked to grow data technology into the mainstream to influence such diverse industries as energy and agriculture. The wide-ranging implications of big data's movements holds many important points that any interested in social issues will find engrossing.

The Nurture Effect
Anthony Biglan, PhD
New Harbinger Press
5674 Shattuck Avenue, Oakland, CA 94609
9781608829552 $26.95

The Nurture Effect: How the Science of Human Behavior Can Improve Our Lives & Our World could have been featured in our science or health sections, but is reviewed here so that nobody involved in social science studies will miss it. For decades behavioral scientists have investigated how environment plays a key role in shaping personalities and social circles. The Nurture Effect outlines over forty years of research and relates these studies to social issues from improving the cognitive abilities of children and changing educational approaches to more effective teaching paths to reducing crime and making positive changes at home, at school, in the workplace and in society. From teaching methods designed to increase the presence of nurturing in schools to changes in behaviors that move from people to wider populations, this is a social survey that provides important connections between social systems, science, and human behavior.

Guerilla Furniture Design
Will Holman
Storey Publishing
210 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247
9781612123035 $19.95

Guerilla Furniture Design: How to Build Lean, Modern Furniture with Salvaged Materials discusses a furniture-making approach that incorporates the basics of sustainability and handcraft design with the approach of using salvaged materials to make chairs, tables, lamps and more. Designer Will Holman packs in over thirty step-by-step projects made from paper, wood, plastic and metal and also includes directions on how they can be repurposed yet again when their second or third uses have passed. Color photos are exceptional here because they don't just focus on completed projects, but include step-by-step woodworking and construction shots, as well. These join diagrams and information on all the specifics to make for a builder's guide that is a top pick for any who would work from recycled, repurposed materials.

The Economic Studies Shelf

When to Rob a Bank
Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062385321 $25.99

When to Rob a Bank...and 131 More Warped Suggestions and Well-Intended Rants celebrates the tenth anniversary of the book Freakonomics to provide a collection of lively economics blogs directed to readers of the Freakonomics culture. It uses humor to explore alternative economic questions, from how 'green' movements are based on theories that sometimes more emotional than economic to social atmospheres surrounding sports, hoaxes involving statistics, and more. The result is a lively mixture of economics, trivia, social and political interactions, and more, recommended for any general-interest reader.

The Parenting Shelf

The New Father
Armin A. Brott
Abbeville Press
137 Varick Street, New York, NY 10013
9780789211774 $13.95

The New Father: A Dad's Guide to the First Year should be a gift to any new father with a new child, and provides a month-by-month handbook on all aspects of fatherhood during the first year. This edition has been expanded and updated to blend in new knowledge from top experts, the latest scientific research, and fathers' personal experiences, and covers the latest information on how new technology is changing fatherhood, how fathers are becoming more involved in a child's life, and how older fathers, at-home dads and others can handle parenting more efficiently. Add cartoons and you have a lively, honest and direct survey of fatherhood's challenges.

The Culinary Shelf

The Dorito Effect
Mark Schatzker
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
9781476724218 $27.00

While The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor is written (and intended) for health and fitness collections, it's being reviewed here because nobody with any degree of interest in food should miss its discussions of how the flavor of food is changing. It's a well-known fact that fresh produce looks better and lasts longer - but at the sacrifice of taste. At the same time, new technology is allowing replication of even that missing component - but, at what cost? Discussions uses advances in brain science, food addiction and biology to consider the latest discoveries of the chemical properties of taste and nutrition and surveys solutions to common problems in a treatment recommended not just for health readers; but for any involved in the culinary industry.

Front of the House
Jeff Benjamin with Jeff Jones
Burgess Lea Press
9781941868027 $23.00

Front of the House: Restaurant Manners, Misbehaviors and Secrets provides a lively survey of what it takes to run a fine restaurant, and comes from author Jeff Benjamin, who began as a teen waiter in a Long Island country club and evolved to become the managing partner of a family of restaurants. In his story of his encounters and growth, Benjamin provides a very lively survey of what happens behind the scenes in a restaurant, detailing stories of challenging guests, those who overdo, how customers are handled, and why food and its delivery is only part of the key to a restaurant's ultimate success. This lively survey offers an inspiring read that is involving and engrossing, detailing the underlying expectations, encounters, and manners demanded of staff and diner alike, and it's a fun and very different review than most books about restaurants can offer. Any food fan interested in restaurant snafus and insights will relish this blend of autobiography and restaurant establishment insights.

Cooking and Eating in Renaissance Italy
Katherine A. McIver
Rowman & Littlefield
c/o Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group
4501 Forbes Blvd., Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
9781442227187 $38.00

Cooking and Eating in Renaissance Italy From Kitchen to Table is a culinary history recommended for college-level collections strong in food studies and Renaissance times, and traces how food was cultivated and moved from garden to table. It isn't so much a recipe collection (other medieval recipe collections are on the market) as it is a discussion of how food in this period was prepared and how it evolved, surveying everything from medieval shopping lists and methods to how servants pictured in the preparation process, how recipes evolved, and how ingredient availability lent to innovation (or not). From medieval communal eating to food etiquette, this is a solid survey that uses a range of resources to reconstruct the history and evolution of not just Italian food, but Italian traditions.

The Wine/Spirits Shelf

Bourbon Empire
Reid Mitenbuler
Viking Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780670016839 $27.95

Bourbon Empire: The Past and Future of America's Whiskey provides a fine survey covering the history of bourbon from old family heritages and frontier development to the names behind legendary brands, and uses the big-name bourbon brands as a start to profiling the individuals who founded bourbon's production and made success from its development and marketing. From merchandising and its changes over the years to the colorful history of whiskey and the growth of the industry and its regulation, chapters provide a lively survey from primitive beginnings to big brand names and craft distilling, and offers an excellent discussion of bourbon's evolutionary process.

The American History Shelf

Out Where the West Begins
Philip F. Anschutz
University of Oklahoma Press
2800 Venture Drive, Norman, OK 73069
9780990550204 $34.95

Out Where the West Begins: Profiles, Visions & Strategies of Early Western Business Leaders considers how, between 1800 and 1920, a group of innovators and entrepreneurs helped create the American West, seeing the opportunity in expansion. They envisioned a railroad to improve communications, invested the Model A and built roads for cars to travel on, figured out how to make supply sources for goods, power and other basic needs, and even established banks for immigrants. Many other books have been written about the opening of the American West, but few have adopted the perspective of how early Western business leaders played key roles in the expansion process. The result is a take unlike any other, and highly recommended for any collection seeking a different perspective on how the West was won - or built.

Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861 - 2008
Robin Frank, Editor
Yale University Press
PO Box 209040, New Haven, CT 06520-9040
9780300189902 $50.00

Coney Island has long been famous and is a powerful symbol of art, music, and American culture; so it's surprising to note that despite historical reviews of its attributes, there's been no previous compilation on Coney Island gathering the works and representations of the many artists who have been inspired by the island and its culture. This gathering of over 200 images includes photographs, drawings, art works, film stills, posters and more. The purpose is to provide a visual presentation of Coney Island's history through its imagery and ephemera. The vintage photos and art work are exquisite representations of Coney Island's past, and the book coincides with a traveling exhibit of the same name. The result is recommended for art and history collections alike; especially those having anything to do with New York culture and history.

John Ferling
Bloomsbury Press
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 315, New York, NY 10010
9781620401729 $30.00

Whirlwind: The American Revolution and the War That Won It provides a different new history of the American Revolution's events - the first in two generations - and comes from a historian who considers the years 1763 to 1783 and the politics behind the events that led up to and embraced the Revolution. From political meetings to the reactions of peoples on both sides of the water, Whirlwind discusses the Revolution from all British perspectives and considers the forces that drove Americans to the brink and led them to revolt. His survey is packed with fresh impressions and re-considerations of historical events, making this a 'must have' definitive addition to any American history holding.

What Stands in a Storm
Kim Cross
Atria Books
c/o Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
9781476763064 $25.00

What Stands in a Storm: Three Days in the Worst Superstorm to Hit the South's Tornado Alley documents the events that took place in April of 2011, when a superstorm crossed over twenty states from Texas to New York during a three-day period and flattened communities in its wake. It comes from a journalist who gathered the firsthand stories of people who lived through the storm, documenting acts of heroism, survival, and deadly storms that, for some, became their last hours. Dramatic stories provide a "you are there" feel to events while accounts of heroism and courage lend to a powerful saga that is true history at its best: gripping, detailed, and hard to put down.

Miseducating Americans
Richard F. Hamilton
Transaction Publishers
10 Corporate Place South, Piscataway, NJ 08854
9781412855013 $49.95

Miseducating Americans: Distortions of Historical Understanding examines accounts of American history appearing in textbooks and popular accounts and compares them with the reports in scholarly monographs, considering how myths came to be considered as recorded history and taken as truth. The difference between this coverage and other examinations of American historical record is its focus on textbook history and how it's presented. Chapters debunk common explanations of American historical fact and, even more importantly, consider how these reconstructions of fact arose, and the social and political pressures surrounding them. The result is a solid college-level examination of how inaccuracies were created and passed on: key for any discussion about how American historical fact has evolved.

The World History Shelf

Transnational France: The Modern History of a Universal Nation
Tyler Stovall
Westview Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780813348117 $49.00

Transnational France: The Modern History of a Universal Nation takes a transnational approach to the history of modern France, considering its political structure, its evolving history from the French Revolution to modern times, and how the establishment of universal manhood sufferage and urban growth promoted the creation of a new republican Empire. It concludes with the history of France during the Fourth and Fifth republics and follows its decolonization and rise, using these major historical influences to follow its relations with Europe, the U.S. and France's own extended empire. The result is a recommendation for college-level readers of French history and culture who will find this narrowed focus and probe of French identity and culture to be essential for any real understanding of events.

The Golden Leaf
Charlotte Cosner
Vanderbilt University Press
VU Station B 351813, Nashville, TN 37235-1813
9780826520326 $35.00

The Golden Leaf: How Tobacco Shaped Cuba and the Atlantic World offers a very different approach to Cuban commodities in general and the Cuban cigar in particular, arguing that Cuba's colonial tobacco farmers weren't just a poor lot, but a diverse group of both slaves and free men and women who were producers and harvesters and whose efforts created an industry that remains famous and powerful to this day. It provides a lively discussion synthesizing some four hundreds years of a luxury crop's cultivation: an effort that survived conquests, revolutions, rebellions, and more. How all this happened is the subject of a history not just of the leaf or Cuban agriculture, but of the social and political process that led it to become a symbol of Cuban achievement around the world.

The Environmental Studies Shelf

America's Public Lands
Randall K. Wilson
Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group
4501 Forbes Blvd., Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
9781442207974 $49.95

America's Public Lands: From Yellowstone to Smokey Bear and Beyond considers how it's come to be that a nation that cherishes the ideal of private property has methodically set aside nearly a third of its territory as public lands, and provides a history of the making of America's public land system. Chapters do more than chart the usual evolution of parklands and policies: they consider the origins of the idea of public domain and access, considering forces towards privatization and conservation and how they interacted to produce the parklands system we have today. Chapters cover national parks and forests, wildlife refuges, and wilderness areas and provide discussions surrounding policy debates and establishment processes for many of country's top wildlife areas, making this a far more wide-ranging survey than the usual parklands history approach, and a highly recommended pick for any who would understand the bigger picture involved in parklands creation, history, and management.

Where Roads Will Never Reach
Frederick H. Swanson
University of Utah Press
295 South 1500 East, Suite 5400, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0860
9781607814047 $24.95

Where Roads Will Never Reach: Wilderness and its Visionaries in the Northern Rockies is based on newly available archival sources and interviews with anglers, outfitters, scientists, and others who have become actively involved in protecting wild lands and ecosystems in the Northern Rockies, and is a recommendation for any collection strong in environmental history. The work of these lesser-known enthusiasts has helped solidify and make effective the American wilderness movement: this book explores a previously-unheralded grassroots campaign and is key to understanding how the Northern Rocky wilderness areas have evolved.

The Religion/Spirituality Shelf

Becoming a Mountain
Stephen Alter
Arcade Publishing
c/o Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018
9781628725100 $24.99

Becoming a Mountain: Himalayan Journeys in Search of the Sacred and the Sublime comes from an author who was raised by missionary parents in the foothills of the Himalayas, where he and his wife now live. When four armed intruders attacked them and left them for dead, this caused Alter question his basic premises of life and spirituality - and he felt threatened in his world. His series of treks up the mountains after his convalescence was part of his healing process, part of his re-discovery of spiritual connections and his homeland, and part of his journey out of sorrow and threat. His discoveries of not just self but Himalayan history, culture, myths, and the efforts of other mountain-climbing pilgrims makes Becoming a Mountain far more than another climbing odyssey, and especially recommended for spirituality readers.

Divine Audacity
Linda Martella-Whitsett
Hampton Roads Publishing Company
65 Parker St., Ste. 7, Newburyport, MA 01950
9781571747143 $16.95

Divine Audacity: Dare to Be the Light of the World is a recommendation for new age and spirituality holdings alike, and presents the claim that any single individual can be the 'light of the world' Jesus instructed his followers to be. How? That's addressed here, which considers paths for living authentic lives outside of traditional religious structures and how to be spiritual without being tied into a selected religious group. It advocates considering God as a being not above us, but as a divine light that can be used to see personal paths of spiritual achievement and, more particularly, it considers the concept of a 'divine light' and how to claim it. Some twelve spiritual powers anyone can develop and use on a daily basis are presented as the foundation of a discussion that teaches not just why to reflect spiritual light and power, but how - and that's what makes this a winning approach over others.

The Making of a Mystic
Paddy Fievet, PhD
Cloverhurst Publications
P.O. Box 5546, High Point, NC 27262
9780990670612 $14.95

The Making of a Mystic: Writing as a Form of Spiritual Emergence provides a combination memoir and guiding light that describes the author's own spiritual transformation and, though her experiences, shows readers how to uncover their own spiritual changes through writing. It presents the idea that there's a modern mystic in all of us - and that pen and paper, combined with meditation, can give answers to questions that can ultimately change lives. New age and spirituality readers will find this focus on spiritual centers and how to uncover

The Christian Studies Shelf

The New Monasticism
Rory McEntee & Adam Bucko
Orbis Books
Box 302, Maryknoll NY 10545-0302
9781626981263 $25.00

The New Monasticism: An Interspiritual Manifesto for Contemplative Living considers the phenomena of intimate gatherings with others in the name of the life story of God and a call to grace, and is a recommendation for monastic thinkers who want a contemporary, modern vision suitable for contemplative modern living. It provides scholarly theology readers with a powerful survey that considers how interspirituality can unite the human race, how different perspectives evolve from the contemplative journey, and how new monastics can find newfound inspiration in evangelical new communities around the country. The result is a guide for spiritual thinkers that makes the most of the latest visions of how a contemplative attitude and approach can be applied to daily life.

Built With Faith
Joseph Sciorra
University of Tennessee Press
110 Conference Center UT, Knoxville, TN 37996
9781621901198 $65.00

Built With Faith: Italian American Imagination and Catholic Material Culture in New York City is comprised of five case studies that show how Italian Americans construct their religious environments in their homes, streets, yards, and cityscapes, and is a pick for Catholic studies, New York and Italian culture and social issues collections alike. It is the result of years of fieldwork and research and closely examines the religious lives of Italian American New Yorkers, avoiding the usual stereotypes (or examining them) to provide many facets of the New York Italian-American Catholic heritage not seen elsewhere. Not for light reading, Built With Faith is a testimony to New York City cultural and spiritual evolution.

The Needlecraft Shelf

Beaded Lace Knitting
Anniken Allis
Stackpole Books
5067 Ritter Road, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-6921
9780811714570 $24.95

Beaded Lace Knitting: Techniques & 25 Beaded Lace Designs for Shawls, Scarves, & More is recommended for knitters who want to incorporate the beaded lace knit look into projects, and packs in over a hundred step-by-step photos along with unique designs - some 25 projects - using these techniques. It is filled with projects that can appeal to both novices to knitting and those with years of experience and it also outlines various skills levels, which makes it easy for knitters to locate the right project. Familiarity with basic knitting directions and abbreviations will lend to using a knitter's guide that teaches beaded lace techniques by example.

Landscape Quilts
Kathy McNeil
American Quilter's Society
PO Box 3290, Paducah, KY 42002-3290
9781604601794 $22.95

Landscape Quilts with Kathy McNeil provides a seasonal set of landscapes and four full-size patterns to include such American classic scenes as a lighthouse, a winter cabin, and a fall mill. The narrowed focus on these images accompanies step-by-step instructions on how to build a pictorial quilt, and how to use applique and other techniques to capture seasonal nuances in fabric. Add full-page color photos to directions and you have a basic, simple and appealing introduction to the processes and options of creating a landscape quilt.

Best of Circle of Nine
Janet Houts & Jean Ann Wright
Landauer Publishing
3100 NW 101st Street, Suite A, Urbandale, Iowa 50322
9781935726692 $24.95

Best of Circle of Nine provides projects for fourteen different quilts that can be achieved from one setting using blocks of any size, and describes the basics of the Circle of Nine and how it operates. It's a quilt setting scheme based on a grid that offers many variations - and thus, many appearances. The setting may remain the same, but no two quilts will ever look alike. This offers the basics through diagrams, step-by-step directions, and many illustrations and packs full-page color photos of completed results with fun projects designed to help newcomers make the most of the basic concept. Quilters will find it a fine starting point for success.

Simple Applique
Kim Diehl
Martingale & Company
19021 Avenue NE, Bothell, WA 98011
9781604686272 $22.99

Simple Applique: Approachable Techniques, Easy Methods, Beautiful Results clearly illustrates applique techniques using nearly a hundred step-by-step how-to photos, and offers tools, supplies, and insights that pair the author's own creative techniques with tips and tricks. Any of these methods can be used to create a wall hanging whose pattern is included in the book, but the heart of her work lies in its close-up views of how each applique piece is created. These photos make this book accessible even to those who have never attempted needlework or applique before, making this a top pick for newcomers to the art.

She Wears The Pants
Yuko Takada
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive, North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
9784805313268 $15.95

She Wears The Pants: Easy Sew-It-Yourself Fashion with an Edgy Urban Style includes free pull-out patterns and pant ensemble creations that hold a designer's touch, from tapered trousers and fleece jackets to gathered blouses and belts, and accompanies an introductory set of designer photos with clear step-by-step instructions on how to produce each piece. These are all accompanied by small patterns outlining basting, matching, and sewing directions. Ideally this will appeal not to bare-bones beginners, but to readers with some prior, basic experience working with patterns and sewing directions who want a designer's touch in producing urban style products.

The Computer Shelf

Effective Python
Brett Slatkin
c/o Pearson Technology Group
801 East 96th Street, #300, Indianapolis, IN 46240-3759
9780134034287 $39.99

Effective Python: 59 Specific Ways to Write Better Python joins others in the 'Effective Software Development' series and explores the basics of coding with Python and building a better approach to harnessing its particular powers. It uses years of experience building Python at Google to provide discussions of the quirks of the program that can affect coding behavior and choices, and it uses a series of tasks to teach the basics while promoting code that is easier to understand and incorporates basic best practices. From how to avoid common pitfalls with metaclasses to manipulating Python's built-in modules to best effect, code writers already working with Python will find this packed with optimization solutions that will improve the quality of their efforts and streamline productions by taking the guesswork out of results.

The Software Craftsman
Sandra Mancuso
Prentice Hall
c/o Pearson Technology Group
801 East 96th Street, #300, Indianapolis, IN 46240-3759
9780134052502 $34.99

The Software Craftsman: Professionalism, Pragmatism, Pride teaches the basics of how to be a better developer and how to deliver better products, and avoids the usual jargon and wide-ranging focus on agile processes to focus on the heart of the matter: coding craftsmanship. From how to provide creative alternatives to the usual coding methods to employing a more flexible pragmatism in project design and avoiding common pitfalls of hiring developers, this provides managers and software engineers alike with a solid survey of what differentiates the software craftsman from the average coder, and shows how new levels of technical applications and, ultimately, customer satisfaction can be derived from managing clients and code alike. The author's first-person software and business experiences serve as fine case history examples of this process, making The Software Craftsman a solid recommendation.

Agile Project Management with Kanban
Eric Brechner
Microsoft Press
c/o O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
1005 Gravenstein, Hwy N., Sebastopol, CA 95472-2811
9780735698956 $29.99

Agile Project Management with Kanban teaches the basics of how to use Kanban to achieve greater customer value, and comes from a developer who pioneered Kanban within the Xbox engineering team at Microsoft. From its quick-start guide to advanced techniques covering components of the program and delivery system, this is a top recommendation for any who want to get up to speed and incorporate Kanban into management projects.

The Education Shelf

Forever Changed
Linda Mornell
Triumph Books
814 N. Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9781629370224 $24.95

Forever Changed: How Summer Programs and Insight Mentoring Challenge Adolescents and Transform Lives began when the author observed an Afro-American student's difficulty adjusting to a new private high school, just as her children were. She began a program to send fourteen low-income students to summer wilderness expeditions across the country, with an initial budget of $30,000. Today Summer Search is a nationally recognized youth development nonprofit with a budget of $20 million. This charts the development of summer experiential education programs as a whole, and the concept of insight mentoring that has helped students grow. It's an inspirational read packed with examples and encouragement and should be read by educators, parents, and any interested in low-income opportunities for struggling students that go beyond educational scholarships and into the realm of personal development.

Teaching Online
Claire Howell Major
Johns Hopkins University Press
2715 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218-4363
9781421416335 $29.95

Online teaching is considered for educators who are both wary of its benefits and those who are enthusiastic about its possibilities, and provides directions designed to help faculty who teach online to their best in the internet environment. Most colleges include online courses or information: this considers how instructors have to change their ways of working in order to address evolving digital teaching challenges. Chapters blend educational theory and research with discussions of practices and strategies for managing instructional changes and transitioning from classroom to online environments. Any involved in transitioning to online teaching, particularly, will find this a solid synthesis of approaches.

Early Learning Theories Made Visible
Miriam Beloglovsky and Lisa Daly
Redleaf Press
10 Yorkton Court, St. Paul, MN 55117-1065
9781605542362 $39.95

Early Learning Theories Made Visible is a recommendation for early childhood education readers interested in theory and discussions that link early learning ideas to activities that support these ideals. Each viewpoint supports a different aspect of early development and offers a range of perspectives that involve the whole child, and each theory offers opportunities to link into a child's interests in new, meaningful ways. From social-emotional to cognitive learning, this approach allows for not just theory contrasts and discussions, but analysis of the techniques and methods that make them work.

Mind Maps for Medical Students
Olivia Smith
CRC Press
6000 NW Broken Sound Parkway NW, Suite 300
Boca Raton, FL 33487
9781482250312 $19.95

Mind Maps for Medical Students is designed to help medical students memorize clinical facts and uses a format resting on maps to present a different method of success. The proven content of mind maps is an established educational tool known to improve student memory: here it is arranged in such a way as to be used either directly, or as a template for customized maps. Maps are arranged by body system, packed with examples, and are perfect as a study tool for newcomers. Many books discuss 'how to study', but few offer a concrete template for action; much less one that narrows the focus to medical students. This title's approach makes it a winner.

Making Number Talks Matter
Cathy Humphreys & Ruth Parker
Stenhouse Publishers
480 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101-3451
9781571109989 $23.00

Making Number Talks Matter: Developing Mathematical Practices and Deepening Understanding, Grades 4-10 covers the decisions teachers need to make as they incorporate this simple fifteen-minute daily routine into their math instruction, and offers a range of ideas for using Number Talks to help students use their newfound math skills. Newcomers to the idea of Number Talks will appreciate a discussion of using such talks with students of all ages, while chapters cover questions to ask during Number Talks, teacher strategies for learning and overcoming common obstacles, and how to link the Number Talks approach to curriculum objectives. From choosing problems that invite students to use newfound skills to touching on number talk routines, this is an excellent survey highly recommended for any educator contemplating incorporating Number Talks into their teaching routines.

Corwin Press
2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320-2218

Doug Johnson's Teaching Outside the Lines: Developing Creativity in Every Learner (9781483370163 $22.00) addresses the special educational challenges of blending creativity with curriculum and offers strategies to encourage creativity both within and outside the curriculum standards. Here are critical discussions of black and white thinking and one-right-answer instruction, surveys of why the latest technology doesn't necessarily encourage creative thinking, and what educators can do to use projects and prompts to get kids to move beyond rote memorization and into critical thinking areas. The result is recommended for any educator who wants to blend in something more than formula approaches to learning. Valerie Brown & Kirsten Olson's The Mindful School Leader: Practices to Transform Your Leadership and School (9781483303086 $24.95) provides school leaders with a fine guide to understanding and streamlining the process of managing a school, and packs in case study examples, practical guidelines, and insights that applies mindfulness practices to the school setting. Mindful school leaders are more efficient in their jobs, can respond creatively to challenging situations, and can more easily create atmospheres that lend to collaboration and cooperation. This workbook offers the first steps to entering into the position of mindful leadership, pairing insights on the science of mindfulness with keys to more effective communication. The result is a powerful survey highly recommended for newcomers to the concept of mindfulness who are seeking more effective methods of leading schools.

The Science Shelf

The Path of Destruction
Richard Waitt
Washington State University Press
PO Box 645910, Pullman, WA 99164-5910
9780874223231 $22.95

The Path of Destruction belongs in any history collection strong in Northwest history, natural disasters, Washington State history, or volcanoes, and comes from a member of the U.S. Geological Survey team who was one of the first to arrive after Mount St. Helens threatened to blow. He gathered eyewitness accounts from the third week after the volcano erupted and gathered experiences that could add to geologic studies data, and this book is the result of hundreds of interviews - sometimes several decades later - and multiple visits to the area. Add Waitt's detailed knowledge of Mount St. Helens and its history and you have a powerful survey that's a 'must' for any who would understand the wide-ranging impact of its eruption and its lasting geologic and social effects on the region as a whole.

Geek Physics
Rhett Allain
Turner Publishing Company
200 - 4th Avenue North, Suite 950, Nashville, TN 37219
9781118360156 $17.95

Geek Physics: Surprising Answers to the Planet's Most Interesting Questions comes from a physics professor and popular blogger who blends pop culture with science to provide non-scientists with an intriguing format and physics insights that don't rely on difficult concepts. He shows how physics questions lie in everything from video games and television to movies, he offers a collection that blends trivia with fun questions relating to light sabers, crazy math (such as how many dollars bills would it take in a big stack to reach the moon), and how realistic the physics of Angry Birds can be, and it provides a discussion that's both technical and fun. The result is a whimsical and fun read recommended for any amateur who loves science and popular culture.

The Cookbook Shelf

Buttercream Dreams
Jeff Martin
Andrews McMeel Publishing
1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO 64106-2109
9781449468095 $14.99

Buttercream Dreams: Small cakes, Big Scoops, and Sweet Treats gathers recipes home cooks can use from Smallcakes, a cake bakery known for producing original recipes for cupcakes and small treats. Stories throughout the book tell how the author created the popular Smallcakes franchise, which holds locations around the U.S. and in the United Arab Emirates, while recipes for iced cupcakes, ice cream, and more cookies offer such unique creations as Bubble Gum Cupcakes, Oatmeal Cream Pie Cookies, and Red Velvet Ice Cream. A fun 'must' for any who would learn more about Smallcakes in the course of duplicating some of their signature dishes!

Sunday Dinner in the South
Tammy Algood
Thomas Nelson Publishers
PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214
9781401605391 $26.99

Sunday Dinner in the South: All the Food, Family, and Friends You Can Say Grace Over focuses on the heart of many a family gathering, the traditional Sunday supper, and blends memories and cultural insights with recipes that are inviting comfort food at its best. From Coconut Milk Rolls and Lentil and Sweet Corn Salad to Honey Mustard Pork Chops and Frosted Sweet Potato Cake, Sunday Dinner in the South is a collection of nearly two hundred recipes designed with family gatherings in mind. Color photos liberally pepper the pages but the basic dishes are easy to put together and most need visual embellishment in order to prove inviting and simple Sunday fare.

Winter Grilling
Tom Heinzle
Whitecap Books
314 West Cordova Street, Suite 210, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6B 1E8
9781770502499 $29.95

Winter Grilling offers recipes for wild game, seasonal dishes and sides, and adds new spices into the mix to provide a detailed book filled with options that center around winter ingredients and fare. Such fare includes Smoked Trout Fillets with Smoked Mushrooms and Habaneros, Barbary Duck Breast with Creamed Cabbage, and Chicken With Hay which is infused with cinnamon, cumin, chili and curry powder, and more. The result is an appealing blend of unusual spice combinations and dishes infused with the smoke of the grill and the touch of a cook who goes beyond the usual grilling cookbook recipe to add gourmet flavors into the mix.

The World's Best Brunches
Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet Publishing
150 Linden Street, Oakland CA 94607
9781743607466 $19.99

The World's Best Brunches: Where to Find Them and How to Make Them gathers mid-morning meals from around the world and provides an international approach to over a hundred recipes that offer clear instructions for preparing dishes that lend to mid-morning dining. Articles and recipes come from food writers around the world, include a foreword by Bill Granger, and come packed with color photos on every page. As for the dishes themselves, there are Scotch Eggs, Huevos a La Mexicana, Pain Au Chocolate croissants from France, and Breakfast Burritos from New Mexico, each accompanied by historical notes, cultural insights, and culinary tips. From food origins to tasting notes and how to locate the dishes in their native countries, this combines a travel approach with a cook's reference and produces a lively flavor indeed.

The Lebanese Cookbook
Hussien Dekmak
Kyle Books
1st Floor, 192-198 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, England, SW1V 1DX
9781909487239 $19.95

The Lebanese Cookbook: Delicious and Authentic Recipes from a Top Lebanese Chef is a recommendation for any interested in Lebanese cuisine interested in an approach that blends fresh ingredients and spices with traditional Lebanese flavors. Chef Dekmak presents classic dishes from his native culture, provides appealing close-up color photos of finished recipes, and introduces each recipe with cultural or personal notes. The recipe titles are printed on the side of the page which, will artistic, aren't as at-a-glance handy as the usual arrangement of title-at-top, but appealing photos make up for any small inconvenience and the overall result is both artistic and appealing. Newcomers to Lebanese cuisine, in particular, will find this a compelling collection.

Stylish Cakes
Charlotte Neuville with Michael Coffindaffer
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062328120 $40.00

Stylish Cakes: The Extraordinary Confections of the Fashion Chef is a recommendation not for the casual cake baker but for those who want to combine style and decoration with cake-making and carry it to a new level. From a multi-filling Ribbon Cake which carries its ribbon outer decoration theme to its inner layers to cakes decorated with shiny metal embellishments, Charlotte's Favorite Carrot Cake which is infused with pineapple and spices, and a Tiki Hut Birthday Cake designed with bamboo sides reminiscent of an island getaway. The result is something that borders on a designer's food bible, and requires only that the home cook be interested in some of the fastidious methods of adding art to cake-making. It's a delicious, eye-catching compliment to any collection strong in baking.

Gourmands & Gluttons
Carlnita P. Greene
Peter Lang
29 Broadway, New York, NY 10006
9781433122248 $89.95

Gourmands & Gluttons: the Rhetoric of Food Excess considers that modern eaters live in a world driven by excess - especially in American culture, which considers bigger to be better, especially in the food world. Any who think that the gourmand vanished at the end of the 19th century should read this book, which contends that the specter of the glutton has moved beyond the past to become part of popular culture itself. Surprisingly, this image permeates even the Slow Food Movement as visual fantasies and explorations drive the mechanisms of gluttony. Chapters define excess and abundance, analyze food trends and ideas, and considers how fat, diet, and substance become obsessions in a survey highly recommended for any food and wine reader.

A Southern Gentleman's Kitchen
Matt Moore
Oxmoor House
c/o Time Inc. Home Entertainment
PO Box 11016, Des Moines, Iowa 50336-1016
9780848743673 $32.00

A Southern Gentleman's Kitchen pairs Southern recipes with insights into Southern traditions, and dishes up a lively combination of stories paired with food. As such, it's a pick above and beyond the usual culinary cookbook reader, offering vignettes that range from 'Gent's Tips' for cooking to recipes designed for Southern sentiments including nouveau embellishments on traditional fare. Game is indeed among the dishes, while presentations of pecan-crusted Chicken and peppered Goat Cheese and Sweet Cornbread and Fresh Fruit Trifle offer dishes not to be found in competing Southern collections. The result, which pairs cultural inspection with delicious fare, is a top pick for any interested in Southern traditions as well as culinary habits.

The Cafe Spice Cookbook
Hari Nayak
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive, North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
9780804844307 $14.95

The Cafe Spice Cookbook: 84 Quick and Easy Indian Recipes for Everyday Meals is for any newcomer to Indian cookery who would receive a cookbook directed to health-conscious Indian fare that can be made from scratch in 30 minutes, and includes soups, stews, rice based dishes, and more. It pairs full-color photos (many full-page) with recipes that require access only to basic spices (cumin, fennel seeds, coriander, and more), and while access to an Asian market for the occasional specialty item (such as dried curry leaves) is recommended, it's not a requirement to appreciate the easy dishes. Many are gluten-free and all are filled with appeal so that those with relatively little background in Indian cookery will find this an excellent entry-level choice.

Rustic European Breads from Your Bread Machine, second edition
Linda West Eckhardt & Diana Collingwood Butts
Echo Point Books & Media
Brattleboro Business Park
22 Browne Court, Unit 100, Brattleboro, Vermont 05301
9781626548541 $24.95

Rustic European Breads from Your Bread Machine appears in its second updated edition to prove over twenty new recipes for owners of bread machines, and teaches the basics of focusing on what a machine does best: kneading and mixing the dough and using one's hands to shape the final results and bake them in the oven. It offers foolproof, tested step-by-step recipes for almost a hundred European-style breads from French to wheat-rye combinations, it includes flatbreads, dark breads, wheats, buns, bagels and rolls, and its instructions are quite easy to follow. The result is a must' for any who want to use the bread machine's advantages, tailoring it for better results: the only prerequisite is ownership of such a machine and a willingness to think beyond its instruction book.

The Fiction Shelf

Delicious Foods
James Hannaham
Little, Brown & Company
c/o Hachette Book Group
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780316284943 $26.00

While Delicious Foods may sound like a cookbook, it is, in fact, a novel that is anything but food-driven, and is in fact a survey of a Southern farm and modern-day slavery and strife. Eddie is a scared teen on the run, trying to drive away from danger in a stolen car. His reflection on how this came to be traces the evolution of a world that actually is based on real events in America. And the Delicious Foods of the title is actually a van used to lure captives to a life of prison and danger. Three voices are used to narrate this gripping saga in a powerful survey of drugs, danger and redemption recommended for readers who want a healthy dose of social commentary in their stories: one that drives home points difficult to forget after the story concludes.

The Sunshine Crust Baking Factory
Stacy Wakefield
Akashic Books
232 Third Street, #A115, Brooklyn, NY 11215
9781617753039 $15.95

The Sunshine Crust Baking Factory tells of Sid, who arrives in New York City in 1995 eager to join the anarchist world. She gets a tattoo and joins in all the countercultural world that squatting entails, believing herself clever for her choices - but the Lower East Side is losing empty buildings, the existing squat are full, and only in the very different Brooklyn does Sid get the chance to occupy a squat under circumstances she never dreamed of. The angst and passion of a witty, determined young rebel makes for a saga that is compelling and vivid, and a story that will draw in any young rebel who has dreamed of bucking convention.

The Organ Broker
Stu Strumwasser
Arcade Publishing
c/o Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018
9781628725230 $24.99

The Organ Broker provides a gripping story of an underground black market organ dealer who is known as 'New York Jack' and who has been catering to wealthy Americans and Europeans in need of organ replacement. His role as a middleman enables him to arrange for organs to come from third world countries from transplant centers; but when a client's death leads to trouble, he must choose between murder and millions. An international chase, a tension-driven saga of the international black market sale of organs (which is based on reality), and a tense series of encounters evolves which will immerse readers in an unrelenting thriller that's hard to put down.

This is How it Really Sounds
Stuart Archer Cohen
St. Martins Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250048820 $25.99

This is How it Really Sounds is a novel that follows the lives of three men who share the same name, but lead very different lives. Each share the concern that their best days are behind them, and each is struggling to hang on to the fame and good times of their past. The elements that will lead each to recapture youth and find inspiration to jump-start the second stage of their lives makes for a story that jumps between genres from romance, to thriller, to adventure saga, to a story of middle age crisis. With its many blossoming stories, This is How it Really Sounds is a compelling read for any who would contrast the lives of different individuals who share some of the same life concerns.

The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell
William Klaber
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250061874 $25.99

The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell is a powerful historical fiction story of Lucy Ann Lobdell, an 1879 girl who evolved from a backwoods childhood to dance school where she posed as a man and won a young woman's live. Her years on the Western frontier, her arrest for wearing men's clothes, her jailbreak orchestrated by her wife Marie all come to life in a story all the more riveting for its basis in real historical fact. The story itself is unusual enough to provide the basis for a good read: pair that with an affection for powerful characterization and high drama and you have a novel that's truly remarkable and different.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

False Tongues
Kate Charles
Poisoned Pen Press
6962 E. First Ave., #103, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
9781464204883 $24.95

False Tongues tells of a reverend who attends a reunion at her theological college in Cambridge; there to confront a painful past and the presence of an ex who still doesn't get it. The college's principal is equally challenged by events of the past, while in London two police officers investigate a teenager's stabbing - and find themselves involved in cyberbullying gone awry. These disparate pieces of the puzzle slowly come together in a murder mystery fueled not just by investigations of crime, but investigations of relationships. Much rides on the outcome of different kinds of investigations making for a riveting, multi-faceted story indeed.

Susan Wittig Albert
Berkeley Prime Crime
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780425255629 $25.95

Bittersweet provides a new China Bayles mystery and takes place at Thanksgiving in Pecan Springs, when China is making plans to visit her mother, who is turning a former game ranch into a birder's vacation retreat. She's looking forward to catching up with friends, but when her mother's husband suffers from a heart attack, everything changes; especially when the family helper, already in trouble, is suddenly killed. Now China has her hands full with more than one mystery - and more than one possible murder. Are they connected, and are stolen animals at the heart of a search that threatens them all? A fine saga of mystery evolves, perfect for any prior fan of China, newcomers to her world, and murder mystery fans.

The LGBT Studies Shelf

The Making of a Man
Maxim Februari
Reaktion Books Litd
c/o University of Chicago Press
1427 East 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637
9781780234441 $22.50

The Making of a Man: Notes on Transsexuality tells of Maxim Februari, born Marjolijn, who in 2012 announced his intention to live as a man. The responses he received made it clear that most people don't know about transsexuality - and his book considers the nature of the beast in chapter that cover everything from sexual intimacy and how transsexuality is reflected in the law to contentions that transsexuality is a mental impairment. From how testosterone can change physical features to the grief transition causes to others, this is a wide-ranging survey that's a recommendation for any who would begin to understand transsexuality in all its social, psychological, legal and physical ramifications.

The Social Issues Shelf

Our Kids
Robert D. Putnam
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
9781476769899 $28.00

Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis considers the evolution and changes of the American dream and begins not so much with social analysis as with the author's high school class of 1959 in small-town Ohio, where the majority of classmates went on to lives better than those of their parents. His generation raised their own children with similar expectations of success - but these kids and theirs have not lived the dream, seeing their jobs crumble, their communities fade, and their lives and connections vanish. Rich and poor kids alike have faced these personal changes, and this collection of narratives from all classes documents inequality in America and the forces at work in keeping the status quo alive. Any social issues collection and any holding concerned with kids and advancement needs this wide-ranging, accessible survey.

Galileo's Middle Finger
Alice Dreger
Penguin Press
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10014
9781594206085 $27.95

Galileo's Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science comes from a medical activist and a science historian who investigates the controversial scientific debates of modern times from the viewpoints of social justice considerations and scientific freedom concerns. This describes her research into several modern battles between scientists and political activists who disagree with 'inconvenient truths' and considers how social justice and scientific truths may be advanced when their concepts collide. Descriptions of such encounters and their results make for a survey that not only examines these events, but presents Dreger's own entry into controversial circles when she found her position suddenly carried her into 'enemy' territory' and crossed unspoken boundaries.

Bullies and Mean Girls in Popular Culture
Patrice A. Oppliger
McFarland & Company
PO Box 611, Jefferson NC 28640
9780786468652 $45.00

Bullies and Mean Girls in Popular Culture provides college-level social issues readers with a fine survey of anti-bullying school programs and why they don't work, considering media role models in television, film, picture books and online which profiles aggression. It considers how many of these portraits offer unproductive strategies and why they can even teach ineffective and dangerous ways of handling aggression, and it surveys the effects of entertainment programming on adolescent choices by reinforcing stereotypes and misinformation. Any studying the impact of bullying will find this a powerful analysis.

The Criminology Shelf

Missing, Presumed
Alan Bailey
Liberties Press
140 Terenure Road North, Dublin 6W, Ireland
9781909718852 $20.00

Missing, Presumed provides six haunting stories that come from the author's own experiences in his 13-year role as national coordinator of an Irish taskforce challenges with finding six young women - and others - who disappeared between 1993 and 1998, and documents an investigation that embraces the Irish justice system and the new technology which enabled the bodies of some of these missing women to be found. In the sixteen years since TRACE was established, the families and friends of these women await justice and closure in many cases. This survey offers criminology collections and true crime readers an absorbing glimpse of what happens during an investigation and how scenarios of tragedy prompt investigators to try to gain clues to solve missing persons cases. At times it reads with the high drama of fiction, but always embracing facts and real-world experiences, making for an absorbing survey indeed.

The Self-Help Shelf

Tame Your Inner Critic
Della Temple
Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.
2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125
9780738743950 $15.99

Tame Your Inner Critic: Find Peace & Contentment to Live Your Life on Purpose is a top pick for any collection strong in personal growth and inspirational reading, and teaches readers how to move past negative self-criticism to achieve success and a peaceful, purposeful life. Chapters show how to develop intuition, how to use internal, spiritually-based wisdom to discern better paths in life, and how to use the provided exercises and meditations to achieve all these goals; the primary one is for eliminating negativity. The result is an engrossing saga perfect for any who look for specific avenues for lasting change.

You Can't Ruin My Day
Allen Klein
Viva Editions
2246 Sixth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710-2219
9781632280220 $16.95

You Can't Ruin My Day: 52 Wake Up Calls to Turn Any Situation Around is about happiness and comes from a motivational speaker who has made money speaking about happiness and tools for changing obstacles into positive paths. Now, many books advocate this approach; but this takes real-life situations and uses them as concrete examples of how to spin the negative. From handling big traffic jams to learning how to overcome little irritants that can lead to big blow-ups, You Can't Ruin My Day is packed with advice that outlines many common scenarios and shows how these life challenges can be put to better use than frustration.

The Masterpiece Within
Gay Scholz and Claudia Church
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House, Inc.
PO Box 5100, Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100
Bohlsen Group
9781452523422 $19.99

The Masterpiece Within: Five Key Life Skills to Becoming a Living Work of Art blends stories from pop culture with autobiographical reflections into a self-help motivational guide designed to present the idea that everyone has inner greatness that should be cultivated. The question is: how? And the answer is in The Masterpiece Within. Chapters discuss the processes involved in recognizing and making wise life choices, developing a life of bliss and harmony, and balancing mind and body needs for maximum energy. From making a difference in the world to enacting change to turn one's life into a fluid success story, this is a spirited read recommended for any who would hone self-help skills and apply them for better results.

Echoes in Eternity
Barbara Jennings
Ahava Press
c/o Ahava Enterprises
Box 2632, Costa Mesa, CA 92628-2632
9780984135684 $19.99

Echoes in Eternity is at once an autobiography and an inspirational piece about finding love after fifty hard years, and while on the face of it, it documents the author's unexpected romance, it also incorporates many other facets of life's journeys. From betrayal to learning to love again, this is a spiritual-based observational piece, especially recommended for Christian readers interested in the intersection of faith, love, and healing.

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

American Ghost
Hannah Nordhaus
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062249210 $25.99

American Ghost: A Family's Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest chronicles the author's search for the truth about her great-great-grandmother Julia, whose ghost is said to haunt a fancy Santa Fe hotel. The sad figure first appeared in the 1970s, standing near a fireplace wearing a long black gown, and then strange supernatural things began to happen in the hotel. The hotel had been a home before being converted; the room harboring these events belonged to Julia Schuster Staab, wife of the home's original owner who died nearly a century before the hauntings began. So what could be the connection? In the process of uncovering the life of her great-great-grandmother Julia and her family, author Hannah discovered history that led her across America and Europe in search of old family records. What she finds is a story more vivid than any she could have imagined, bringing together disparate forces and making for a powerful chronicle that more than answers the 'why' of the ghostly happenings.

Mindfulness, Meditation, and Mind Fitness
Joel Levey & Michelle Levey
Conari Press
c/o Red Wheel/Weiser
65 Parker Street, Suite 7, Newburyport, MA 01950-4600
9781573245491 $15.95

Mindfulness, Meditation, and Mind Fitness introduces readers to dozens of mindfulness and meditation techniques, arranged into five basic categories of practice, and is particularly well suited to any searching for methods of practice based on both scientific and ancient wisdom sources. Seeking clarify? Wisdom? A clearer vision of life's purpose? This book is especially useful for beginners new to mindfulness and meditation practices, and offers essential keys to hone techniques and achieve success.

Seeing Beyond Illusions
David Ian Cowan
Samuel Weiser
c/o Red Wheel/Weiser
65 Parker Street, Suite 7, Newburyport, MA 01950-4600
9781578635740 $16.95

Seeing Beyond Illusions: Freeing Ourselves from Ego, Guilt, and the Belief in Separation is based on A Course in Miracles and provides readers with a specific program encouraging change. It shows how to trust in divine connections and how to create and strengthen these connections, and it comes from a spiritual coach who collects wisdom about divine paths and discusses how to let go of the need to control in order to embrace a better spiritual purpose and 'be in the now'. Familiarity with A Course in Miracles is helpful, but not a requirement to appreciating the tips in Seeing Beyond Illusions. This self-contained approach considers chaos in personal and public lives and how to adopt a better perspective in handling spiritual responses to these challenges. Any interested in a strong blend of spiritual perspective, self-help and psychology will find this a great starting point for change.

Between Now and When
Richard House, MD
New Page Books
c/o Career Press Inc.
220 West Parkway, Unit 12, Pompton Plains, NJ 07444
9781601633750 $15.99

Between Now and When: How My Death Made My Life Worth Living blends spirituality with new age thinking and tells of an amazing prophecy: at age seven, the author heard a voice that foretold his death at age 33, a prophecy that came true exactly at that age. His healing, redemption, and journey around the world expanding mind and healing body is charted in a satisfying blend of autobiography and new age thought. Chapters consider his journey into higher realities and his entry into the approaches of meditation and the doors opened by new experiences and acceptance of new ways of thinking. They provide a satisfying juxtaposition between physical and metaphysical worlds and offers some intriguing approaches to both: perfect for new age collections looking for something just a little different.

The Business Shelf

Got Your Attention?
Sam Horn
Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.
1333 Broadway, Suite 1000, Oakland CA, 94612
9781626562509 $17.95

Got Your Attention? How to Create Intrigue and Connect with Anyone considers the basics of how to create trust and accompanying interest in product and service connections, and presents a process for surprising even the most hardened decision makers with the promise that the reader is just the person for the job, position, project or contract. It's a technique the author has used to help her clients close deals and raise a fortune, and offers a program key to getting funded, hired, promoted, or advancing in a company or service. The result is much more than idealistic thinking: it's a proven path to success that needs to be in any serious business book collection, and in the hands of those who would 'wow' decision-makers with something concrete.

More Fearless Change
Mary Lynn Manns, PhD and Linda Rising, PhD
c/o Pearson Technology Group
801 East 96th Street, #300, Indianapolis, IN 46240-3759
9780133966442 $39.99

This gathering of over sixty new, updated patterns for driving business change provides a sequel to the classic Fearless Change, which interviewed successful leaders of change to identify nearly fifty patterns for implementing all kinds of change-inducing techniques, and expands on the information learned over the past decade. Familiarity with the prior book and its basic concepts will lend a further appreciation for this follow-up, which teaches strategies that appeal to both logical progressive change and emotional connections. From building flexible plans and establishing bonds to working with skeptics to address resistance and help them become more open-minded, More Fearless Change is filled with ideas, possibilities, and concepts that have been successfully applied to real-life business and social scenarios. Business leaders will find this a key acquisition.

Under the Bus
Caroline Frederickson
The New Press
126 Wall Street, floor 31, New York, NY 10005-4007
9781620970102 $25.95

Under the Bus: How Working Women Are Being Run Over considers a variety of issues relating to work, discrimination, and what happens when women ask for raises or protest discrimination on the job. It isn't about hard work, it's about knowing how the system work and where it fails - and this book comes form an author who has helped write laws supporting women's rights on the workplace, and who understands exclusion and protections. Chapters consider the millions of female workers who are struggling to survive as they examine law, justice, and inequality in the labor force. The result is a powerful assessment recommended for business, social issues, and women's issues holdings alike, examining the history and nature of women in the workplace.

Persuasive Copywriting
Andy Maslen
Kogan Page USA
1518 Walnut Street, Suite 1100, Philadelphia, PA 19102
9780749473990 $24.95

Persuasive Copywriting: Using Psychology to Influence, Engage and Sell goes a step beyond most discussions of copywriting to focus on how such writing sells product, and considers how writing connects to psychological response on the reader's part. It accompanies its points with quizzes, exercises and examples and tips designed to help copywriters hone methods that make these connections, from storytelling to emotionally-charged openings, and it provides a powerful approach any business writer can readily apply to improve the responses to their copywriting creations. So if it's one book on the topic that's desired, it should be this one: a guide that is packed with creative ideas based on psychological studies and proven results.

The Inventor's Complete Handbook
James L. Cairns, PhD
Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc.
1405 S.W. 6th Avenue, Ocala, FL 34471
9781620230183 $19.95

If The Inventor's Complete Handbook: How to Develop, Patent, and Commercialize Your Ideas sounds familiar; that's because it was previously published in 2006 under a different title (The Inventor's Pathfinder) and now has been updated and expanded for modern audiences. It covers the entire process of inventing from idea to patenting and selling the idea, and it follows the process of filing a patent, protecting one's creation, understanding the latest patent laws and international applications, and more. Several lawyers have proofed the contents of this handbook, which provides all the resources needed to produce a winning approach to the patent process.

Report Writing
Joyce Kupsh and Rhonda Rhodes
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
Bohlsen Group
9781450068925 $19.99

Report Writing: A Survival Guide provides the basic foundations for reports and covers not just student efforts, but strategic plans, business proposals, research reports, and more: virtually any kind of document involving a report. Where similar-sounding guides focus on school efforts, this wider-ranging survey will interest any who have to produce a report representing strong written skills, and incorporates many tips on how to produce case studies, feasibility studies, and more. The result is directed to any employee who needs to incorporate report writing in a business environment: a highly recommended approach that usually isn't as clear, easy to access, or directed to business readers, making this a highly recommended pick.

The Travel Shelf

Road Trip USA, seventh edition
Jamie Jensen
Moon Publications
c/o Avalon Travel
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781612389028 $29.99

The seventh updated edition of Road Trip USA continues to be a powerful recommendation for any travel collection and creates a virtual USA road trip guide in a book, connecting routes, offering color-coded pages of detail, and cross-referencing journeys and information with mile-by-mile insights, driving maps, and colorful vintage photos and illustrations throughout. The idea is to pack in details that lend to a single road trip or a series of regional road trips across the U.S. Two-lane highways, byways, small towns, and history permeate a guide intended for those who want to leisurely cross the country not on major routes, but smaller, scenic paths less traveled. The result is a coverage perfect for any who dream of taking a road trip in America.

Postcards from the Middle East
Chris Naylor
c/o Trafalgar Square Publishing
388 Howe Hill Road, North Pomfret, VT 05053
9780745956497 $16.95

If it's a light and personal read about Arab culture that is desired, be advised there's a compelling reason to choose Postcards from the Middle East: How Our Family Fell in Love with the Arab World above others; and that is its easygoing and lively introduction that assumes no prior knowledge of Arab culture or politics. Chris Naylor and his wife moved to the Middle East to set up a branch of the environmental agency A Rocha in Lebanon - and they arrived with many preconceived notions of Lebanese and Middle Eastern life. Their years in the country was to introduce this English family to many unexpected truths about the region, imparted here in a travel and life story that identifies the positive points of Arab culture and how an English family interacted with them.

Birding Hot Spots of Santa Fe, Taos, and Northern New Mexico
Judy Liddell and Barbara Hussey
Texas A&M University Press
4354 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4354
9781623492540 $27.00

Birding Hot Spots of Santa Fe, Taos, and Northern New Mexico offers the second guide to birding in the area and pairs the authors' special knowledge of both birding and the best places to find birds in and around Santa Fe and the Northern New Mexico area. Over thirty sites are arranged by geographic region for easy travel between them, and are accompanied by a general description, lists of birds to be found and when to look for them, driving directions and details on public transit, parking, and park fees, and more. The result is a 'must' take-along tote for any bird aficionado heading to New Mexico.

The Biography Shelf

A Man Apart
Peter Forbes and Helen Whybrow
Chelsea Green Publishing Company
85 North Main Street, Suite 120, White River Junction, VT 05001
9781603585477 $35.00

A Man Apart: Bill Coperthwaite's Radical Experiment in Living holds many facets: it's a biographical sketch of a friendship between two men, a review of influences that drove each man to develop fierce ideals to live by, and it's a reflection of what it means to truly live close to nature in opposition to modern society. As such, it's a powerful adjunct to any reading of Thoreau or others who live close to the land and interact with nature, and chronicles an experiment in sustainable, intention living that ended with Coperthwaite's sudden death. This is a story of simplicity and ideals, of friends who were brought together through philosophical thinking and an interest in creating a better community, and the overall motivator of honoring their fierce beliefs. The result is a compelling saga which belongs in many types of collections; from those strong in philosophy and sustainable living to those appealing to readers of biography.

The Strange Case of Dr. Doyle
Daniel Friedman, MD and Eugene Friedman, MD
Square One Publishers
115 Herricks Road, Garden City Park, NY 11040
9780757003486 $29.95

The Strange Case of Dr. Doyle: A Journey Into Madness & Mayhem uses Doyle's own words to provide a powerful account of his opinions on the Jack the Ripper murder spree and new evidence that offers insights both on the killer and on his influence on young Arthur Conan Doyle. Social terror, medical mystery, sleuthing and murder follows the life of Doyle in a powerful saga that blends history, literary insights, and social commentary alike. It's a detective story, it's a biography, and it's a gripping social history: in short, a multi-faceted, changing saga that belongs in any collection strong in literature, history, or biography in general and Doyle works and analysis in particular.

Motorcycles I've Loved: A Memoir
Lily Brooks-Dalton
Riverhead Books
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9781594633218 $27.95

Motorcycles I've Loved: A Memoir wraps a road trip around a woman's journey and tells of the author's movement through a traditionally male-dominated motorcycle world. Lily left home at 17 to work her way around the world and find herself; three years later she was back home and feeling even more lost. Her love for a blue Honda rebel 250 motorcycle would take her on roads less traveled, introducing her to a culture of bikes, freedom, and road travels and would lead her to new life experiences and lessons. Motorcycles I've Loved is for any woman who longs to be free, hit the road, and attempt new things women ordinarily don't do. It's a road trip that will bring you along for a vivid, moving journey.

Wendy Fairey
Arcade Publishing
c/o Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018
9781628725377 $25.99

Bookmarked: Reading My Way from Hollywood to Brooklyn describes the author's move from California's Hollywood to Brooklyn as much as it documents her lifelong involvement with books and literature, and is a warm story of the force of literature in her life and choices. As her favorite readings bring her into adulthood and provide her with new choices, readers follow her through both her personal and literary life, making important connections between the influence of reading to life. The result neatly toes the line between autobiography and literary reflection and will especially appeal to readers already fond of good books who want insights into how reading changes lives.

Missing Persons
Bruce Piasecki
Square One Publishers
115 Herricks Road, Garden City Park, NY 11040
9780757004124 $17.95

Missing Persons: A Life of Unexpected Influences provides an autobiography that considers the author's journey from poverty to his success as an internationally acclaimed businessman and a family man, and considers the people and ideas that influenced him in this path of progress. Unlike most autobiographical writings, each story here is told in a third-person narrative that incorporates the drama and feel of fiction, allowing readers to follow Piasecki through his life with an eye to understanding how the power of memory changes lives. In adopting such a tone as he digs deeper into his influences, the author succeed in imparting some important concepts in a readable, engrossing text that should appeal even to readers who normally don't choose memoirs and autobiographical pieces.

American Wife
Taya Kyle with Jim deFelice
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062398086 $27.99

American Wife: A Memoir of Love, War, Faith and Renewal tells of Tara Kyle and her husband Chris, whose ten-year-old marriage survived years of war that took the U.S. Navy SEAL away form his wife and children for lengthy service in Iraq. His struggle to readjust to civilian life seemed to finally settle into a new direction as he dedicated his life to supporting veterans and their families - until Chris and his friend were killed attempting to help a troubled vet. Suddenly Taya was a single mother, a widow, and facing the impossible fact of her husband's death not from war, but from civilian life. Their story influenced the creation of the film American Sniper, but this account is Taya's viewpoint and writes in detail of the time after his sudden death when grief threatened her world and family. Her story is gripping, wrenching, and a powerful story that any military or biography collection will find engrossing.

Strictly Inspirational
Camilla Sacre-Dallerup
Watkins Publishing
Angel Business Club
359 Goswell Road, London, England, EC1V 7JL
9781780288666 $19.95

Strictly Inspirational: How I Learnt to Dream, Act, Believe, and Succeed may follow the life and entertainment career of dancer Camilla Sacre-Dallerup; but no prior familiarity with her name or achievements is needed to appreciate her autobiography. It reveals how her dancing training brought accompanying values and approaches to life into her world, how she's used these lessons to help others discover their own sources of happiness, and it explores British dance competitions, auditioning and productions. All this is juxtaposed with Sacre-Dallerup's own life lessons and how they in turn applied to others, making this far more than your usual story of an entertainer's involvement in an industry. Collections strong in stories of personal evolution and achievement will find it the perfect pointer to positive paths in life and how to turn the lessons of a career into the guiding lights of a lifetime.

The Gardening Shelf

Holland Flowering
Andrew Gebhardt
Amsterdam University Press
c/o University of Chicago Press
1427 East 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637
9789089646170 $19.95

Holland Flowering: How the Dutch Flower Industry Conquered the World is a story of an industry's rise and is based on the world's largest flower auction, Aalsmeer's, located near Amsterdam, and documents the evolution of Netherlands flowers and its connections to Dutch culture over the centuries. From colonial to modern times, this ambitious survey is as much about Dutch history as it is about flower culture, and provides a delightful synthesis of ht two in an approach gardeners and horticultural students will love. While the subject is fairly narrow, the surprising scope of its coverage makes it a strong and different recommendation for horticultural and world history holdings alike.

The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer
Jeff Carpenter with Melanie Carpenter
Chelsea Green Publishing Company
85 North Main Street, Suite 120, White River Junction, VT 05001
9781603585736 $39.95

The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer: The Ultimate Guide to Producing High-Quality Herbs on a Market Scale presents an unusual focus that pairs both business insights with farming details as it considers not just how to grow organic medicinal herbs and culinary herbs, but how to market them, and is based on their successful Zack Woods herb Farm in Vermont. Included in the discussions are considerations often omitted from other books on herb gardening or farming, from how to assess size and scale to create a sustainable farm layout to soil and plant conservation, tool selections, and harvesting and postharvest processing. Color photos, charts, and detailed information throughout come not from theory but from the author's experience and new approach to growing local medicine, making for a solid reference that excels in approaches and content not typically seen in your usual organic farming and gardening handbook.

The Audiobook Shelf

Brain Maker
David Perlmutter, MD with Kristin Loberg
Hachette Audio
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9781478985556 $30.00

Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain - for Life draws some unusual connections between brain health and the state of microbiome organisms, and uses the latest cutting-edge research to explore how these organisms develop, how gut health may be nurtured, and how mental clarity can add years to one's life. Clinical and lab studies as well as research and work from doctors around the world blend into the discussion; all of which comes alive in audio under the voice of stage, film and TV actor and audiobook narrator Peter Ganim.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Family Medicine, fourth edition
Jeannette E. South-Paul,
c/o McGraw Hill Professional
1221 Avenue of the Americas, 45th Floor, New York, NY 10020
9780071827454 $79.99

The fourth updated edition of Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Family Medicine is for any family medicine practitioner who wants a basic guide to clinical conditions often encountered in primary care situations, from tick infections and HIV to inheritance patterns in family genetics and urinary incontinence. Its format, presentation and approach greatly lends to USMLE Step 3 reviews or board certification efforts, while primary care trainees, nurses, and practicing physicians alike receive a basic reference that includes discussions of alternative therapies, conservative therapies, mental and behavioral as well as physical health challenges, and more. This in-depth survey lends to both study and quick clinical reference, making it an important handbook for students and practitioners alike.

The Well-Tuned Brain
Peter C. Whybrow, MD
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9780393072921 $27.95

The Well-Tuned Brain: Neuroscience & The Life Well Lived provides an inspiring look at human technology's possibilities for the future, but provides a cautionary note in considering that human behavior, not technological limitations, tends to be the limiting force in improving the human condition. Chapters consider how the human brain remains focused on short-term survival patterns, sometimes to its detriment, and it considers how neuroscience and human behavior interact to provide some alternatives to tired and sometimes self-defeating thought patterns. Neuroscience can point the way to a better future, but it's attention to psychological change that will allow technology to truly make a difference, and The Well-Tuned Brain discusses this process.

The Autism Shelf

Sisterhood of the Spectrum
Jennifer Cook O'Toole
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Inc.
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
9781849057905 $19.95

Sisterhood of the Spectrum: An Asperger Chick's Guide to Life comes from an Aspie author who creates an inspirational guide for teen girls with Asperger syndrome that can also be used by parents of such teens, and uses her own experiences to cover everything needed in a way Aspie teens can relate to. From romance and changing bodies to friendships and social encounters, Sisterhood of the Spectrum discusses sexuality, relationships, and common pitfalls the author experienced and wants to help fellow Aspies avoid. The result is a chatty, informative approach written by a Aspie peer directed to fellow Aspies, and offers far more understandable approaches than those which come from counselors, adults, and others outside the spectrum.

The Sports Shelf

Strength Training Past 50, third edition
Wayne Wescott and Thomas Baechle
Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.
PO Box 5076, Champaign, IL 61820-5076
9781450497916 $19.95

The third updated edition of Strength Training Past 50 provides a fine guide to muscle, fitness and performance training for a range of objectives and appears in its third, updated edition to pair eighty-three exercises form machines, bands, balls and weights with workouts designed for particular objectives. Sport-specific programs for cycling, running and more accompany nutritional guides for athletes and tips for adding lean muscle, and create workouts perfect for those using strength training for specific purpose.

Bodybuilding Anatomy, second edition
Nick Evans, MD
Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.
PO Box 5076, Champaign, IL 61820-5076
9781450496254 $21.95

Bodybuilding Anatomy: Your Illustrated Guide to Increasing Mass and Sculpting Physique appears in its second updated edition to teach the basics of bodybuilding approaches, and provides some 100 primary exercises and over a hundred variations to target different muscle zones for different purposes. Illustrations of the activated muscles in popular poses show how each exercise is linked to competition and results, and provides a powerful, key training routine designed for any bodybuilder at any level of achievement, from novices to those seeking additional tips.

The Automotive Shelf

Drag Racing's Quarter-Mile Warriors: Then & Now
Doug Boyce
39966 Grand Avenue, North Branch, MN 55056
9781613251331 $34.95

Drag Racing's Quarter-Mile Warriors: Then & Now examines the cars from the late 1950s through the early 1970s, and provides a detailed popular history of the funny cars, stocks, super stocks, and more, all in a 'ten and now' format that covers the cars from their first competitions to modern times. There are many books about drag racing and cars on the market; but few take the heyday of their appearance and blends it with a modern visual contrast and discussion of where the cars are today. From stripped, redone and repowered vehicles at various stages to their lively histories, competition specs, and discussions of what's needed to keep them running, Drag Racing's Quarter-Mile Warriors: Then & Now serves as both a history and as a tribute to drag racing's heyday and achievements.

The Music Shelf

One Chord Wonders
Dave Laing
PM Press
PO Box 23912, Oakland, CA 94623
9781629630335 $17.95

If One Chord Wonders: Power and Meaning in Punk Rock sounds familiar, that's because it was originally published in 1985 as one of the first books covering British punk rock. Its reissue today is no less significant, using examples from a wide range of band to argue that one of punk's most lasting achievements was to expose how power operated in the British entertainment industry. It considers the radical approaches of punk rock (which differed from prior rock music movements) and it follows the rise of punk and British political changes in the mid 1970s onward. The result is just as political as it is about music, and is highly recommended not just for music history readers, but for any who would understand the evolution of British politics and society.

Psychedelic Bubble Gum
Bobby Hart with Glenn Ballantyne
SelectBooks, Inc.
87 Walker Street, Suite B1, New York City, NY 10013
9781590792902 $26.95

Psychedelic Bubble Gum: Boyce & Hart, The Monkees, and Turning Mayhem into Miracles provides more than your usual analysis of the studio rock group that became a bubblegum hit: it comes from a writer who not only co-created the sound played by The Monkees, but many of the classic hit songs before the group was even formed. Here Hart comes into his own in an autobiography that delves into the making of a pop 'miracle' - not an accidental achievement, but a purposeful creation by half of the successful songwriting team of Boyce & Hart. It shows how Hart's efforts helped The Monkees outsell The Beatles and the Rolling Stones combined in 1967, and it charts the rise of bubblegum music of the times. No rock music collection should be without this history!

The Art Shelf

Landscape Painting Essentials
Johannes Vloothiuis
North Light Books
c/o F+W Media
1140 Broadway, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10001
9781440336270 $24.99

Landscape Painting Essentials: Lessons in Acrylic Oil, Pastel and Watercolor offers secrets to painting lovely landscapes and comes from a popular art instructor who teaches the basics of how to make a painting more dramatic. From specific techniques for painting landscape elements from mountains to snow to nine step-by-step demonstrations of techniques this pairs artistic images with keys of what makes a painting stand out from the crowd. Color photos and examples of eye-popping paintings make for a collection that advocates getting the most from acrylic oil, pastel and watercolor efforts.

Escape Artist
Fran Forman
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
9780764347283 $45.00

Escape Artist gathers luminous and vivid photo-paintings from artist Fran Forman, who focuses on landscapes, daily life, and an almost surrealistic representation of both. It strives to consider what lies beyond the limits of gravity, time, and social niceties and pairs poems and a story by writer Michelle Blake with a visual exploration of these metaphorical worlds, which range from almost steampunk in their representations to dark matters. The result is a collection that is diverse, dark, and haunting: something any arts holding will find compelling and different.

Art Nouveau
Norbert Wolf
Prestel Publishing
900 Broadway, Suite 603, New York, NY 10003
9783791381558 $49.95

The latest new edition of the classic Art Nouveau covers a wide range of the art form, from dance and architecture to fashion and advertising, and pairs gorgeous illustrations with an in-depth probe of how the movement emerged to become an international phenomenon that affected not just the arts, but modern culture as a whole. This provides a wider-ranging discussion than most books on the topic, pairing a diverse set of styles and forms within the art nouveau movement with a wider consideration of their emergence and history. Perhaps this is because the author is a art historian who excels in creating a text that supports its illustrations throughout, where competitors rely on image and sparse description alone. The result is a top pick for any collection looking for a definitive text on the subject of art nouveau.

The Crafts Shelf

Easy Jewelry Making
Bead Style Magazine
Kalmbach Books
21027 Crossroads Circle, Waukesha, WI 53187-1612
9781627002189 $19.99

Easy Jewelry Making: 50+ Projects is the perfect starting point for beginners new to jewelry making who want to get started quickly. This collection represents a gathering of work from the latest year of Bead Style magazine and provide some of the craft publication's best necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. These projects are accompanied by basic jewelry-making tips and ideas and offer keys to learning stringing, working with gemstones and chain, and learning how to use bead spinners, loops, and more. Each lesson is highlighted at the top of the page, while project descriptions offer important keys to choosing the project that both teaches the right skills and presents a style acceptable to jewelry-makers.

Chinese Knotting
Cao Haimei
Better Link Press
99 Park Avenue, New York NY 10016
9781602200197 $26.95

Chinese Knotting: An Illustrated Guide of 100+ Projects is somewhat more than a crafts guide, and gathers the historical records and relics of different eras to also provide a history of the development and uses of Chinese knitting. It explores various names, design and art trends and techniques, how basic Chinese knots are made (button knot, good-luck knots, and more), and how to build upon the basics to create something truly original. This combination of history and how-to pairs with numerous step-by-step color photos on nearly every page, along with full-page examples of the many uses of Chinese knotting, making this a fine pick for any who would learn about Chinese knotting's history and applications.

Folded Paper German Stars
Armin Taubner
Stackpole Books
5067 Ritter Road, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-6921
9780811714563 $16.95

Folded Paper German Stars: Creative Paper Crafting Ideas Inspired by Friedrich Frobel presents a crafts guide filled with paper ideas for folding and using German stars, from wreaths and mobiles to ornaments for trees. Step-by-step illustrated instructions for over 25 variations on a classic Frobel folded shape teaches how to make them, but a big part of making them is then using them - and this book takes the folded paper star a step further in offering all kinds of ideas. The result is a top recommendation for any paper crafter looking for new folded paper projects and applications.

The Architecture Shelf

The Function of Style
Farshid Moussavi
Actar D
c/o ActarBirkhauser Distribution
151 Grand Street, 5th floor, New York, NY 10013
9781940291307 $44.95

The Function of Style offers college-level arts holdings a discussion on what comprises the function of style today, in the 1990s to modern times, and considers the various forms that occupy the very modern art world in all their diversity. Does such a wide-ranging collection of art approaches indicate a lack of central focus or purpose? Here architect and theorist Moussavi argues that such diversity in the architectural arts world provides a network of connections that not only embrace modern life, but offer architects the opportunity to change conventional perceptions of art and process alike. In such a milieu, the aesthetics regarding buildings are changed. This third volume in his 'Function' series creates an updated approach to style which architects can use to understand and synthesize ideas of art, architecture, and evolving modern styles, and is recommended for college-level collections strong in discussions of modern art and architectural evolution.

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

The Joy of Writing a Great Cookbook
Kimberly Yorio
Page Street Publishing
27 Congress Street, Suite 103, Salem, MA 01970
9781624140600 $21.99

The Joy of Writing a Great Cookbook: How to Share Your Passion for Cooking from Idea to Published Book to Marketing it Like a Bestseller comes from an author who has some 20 years in publicity to her name, who has worked on the book campaigns of some of the biggest names in cooking, from Julia Child to Ina Garten - so her how-to guide isn't just about how to write a cookbook; it's about how to create a superior, marketable product. Chapters incorporate this publicist's viewpoint with the mechanics of how to publish a cookbook, offering a step-by-step focus on what cookbook options are, how to choose between the, how to select and feature recipes, and how to craft a winning book proposal that will have publishers salivating. Any who aspire to write a cookbook must have this advice-filled guide.

Readers Writing
Elizabeth Hale
Stenhouse Publishers
480 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101-3451
9781571108432 $21.00

Students often don't write original works: they summarize - and there's a big difference between a summary and original thinking. Readers Writing outlines this difference, explores the literary and writing process involved in using a reader's notebook more effectively, and provides lessons to teachers and students that discuss the process of questioning, answers, and building upon skills using the processes and strategies in a reader's notebook scenario. The result is a guide packed with keys to drawing important connections between readers and writers and unlocking the process of success.

The Literary Studies Shelf

John Palfrey
Basic Books
c/o Perseus Books Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780465042999 $26.99

Bibliotech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google comes from a technology expert who provides a call to action along with an exploration of how libraries can address such growing issues as unequal access to education and information, and is a 'must' for any literary or social issues collection. It considers how libraries are struggling in this information age, what they must do to survive in the face of fading funding from the traditional government sources, and how to shift their focus and their collections to support communities. From the increase in ebook readers to the rise of digital culture - which would seem to make libraries obsolete - Bibliotech makes an important case for freedom of information and the roles libraries assume in this process, and is a top pick for any literary or social issues collection.

Wendy H. Fairey
Arcade Publishing
c/o Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018
9781628725377 $25.99

Bookmarked: Reading My Way from Hollywood to Brooklyn provides a solid survey of how reading and learning from literature can become a lifelong endeavor, and blends personal memoir with literary criticism as it tells of the author's life and how her love of literature followed every turn and change. Her love of reading has provided works that helped guide her and create a better life, and her memoir captures this process and imparts a solid sense of why it's so much a part of her life. Any bookworm or fans of literature and the written word will find this a captivating survey.

The Military Shelf

Unconditional Honor: Wounded Warriors and Their Dogs
Cathy Scott and Clay Myers
The Lyons Press
246 Goose Lane, Guilford, CT 06437
9781493003297 $26.95

Unconditional Honor: Wounded Warriors and Their Dogs comes from an author and a photographer who show how service and therapy dogs are changing the lives of military personnel injured in action, and provides a collection pairing stories with color photos throughout. It may surprise many readers to learn there's nearly a forty-year history of working dogs helping wounded vets: this history as well as individual encounters are covered in a warm survey of what these dogs mean to veterans and how adopting a canine has changed their lives. Military and general-interest collections will find it a moving, engrossing collection.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Architect of Aeons
John C. Wright
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765329707 $27.99

The Architect of Aeons tells of how the Hyades Armada has traveled thousands of light-years to conquer earth and has arrived at last in the 112th century - but the invasion takes a different turn and causes two enemies to join together in an uneasy alliance to create something bigger than either of them could have imagined. As they become the architects of Aeons, directing the intellectual development of descendants of an extinct humanity, they share many trials and confrontations in the process. Military and political science fiction fans, in particular, will find The Architect of Aeons filled with satisfying twists and turns of plot that embraces not just the ambitions of invaders or the differences between two species, but the evolution of worlds.

The International Studies Shelf

Meet Me in Venice
Suzanne Ma
Rowman & Littlefield
c/o Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group
4501 Forbes Blvd., Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
9781442239364 $26.95

Meet Me in Venice: A Chinese Immigrant's Journey from the Far East to the Faraway West tells the story of Ye Pei, who dreamed of a magical city in Venice as she imagined her mother there enjoying her new life and eager for her daughter's involvement in it. But when she arrived in Italy, she learned her mother was slaving away on a remote farm under a mean Chinese auntie who also put Pei to work. And this is only one story of Chinese individuals who journeyed from China to new homes where they faced suspicion, hardship, and isolation. With most news centering around China's economic growth, it's especially important to understand the paths of Chinese immigrants and their experiences, and this story uses one young woman's journey to illustrate a familiar course for many in a key recommendation for any who would understand more of the immigrant experience in general and Chinese culture around the world, in particular.

A Political Economy of the Middle East, fourth edition
Melani Cammett,
Westview Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780813349381 $42.99

A Political Economy of the Middle East provides an in-depth analysis of the political economy of development in the modern Middle East over the past few decades, and appears here in a fourth updated edition with two new authors to substantially revise information, adding tow new introductory chapters with a new framework for study and further analysis of the demographic, educational, social, labor and agricultural changes experienced in the region in recent years. There's a new chapter on the continuing evolution of politics in the Gulf states, there's a new one on the private sector's growth, and another on changes brought about by regional social movements. The result is a 'must' for any college-level reader wanting the latest details on the region's many political and social changes.

Globalization & Culture
Jan Nederveen Pieterse
Rowman & Littlefield
c/o Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group
4501 Forbes Blvd., Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
9781442222557 $26.95

College-level collections strong in politics and current events will find this a powerful addition to the 'Globalization' series which stands alone to consider cultural change involved in civilizations that clash. Does globalization lead to cultural homogenization? Pieterse argues to the contrary, stating that a new global melange culture is being created through cultural mixing processes, and it consider the history, geographic, political and cultural forces at work in this process. The result is a powerful discussion especially suitable for college-level classroom debate.

The Political Science Shelf

The Jefferson Rule
David Sehat
Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
9781476779775 $27.00

The Jefferson Rule: How the Founding Fathers Became Infallible and Our Politics Inflexible considers the patterns of American politics that originated with the founding fathers, but which have moved far from their early guidance. It begins with the debate between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton over the new nation's future and continues to modern times, linking the basic politics and concepts of these Founding Fathers to the evolution of political actions in this country, and it provides a key to understanding the views of the founding generation and why sometimes they don't apply to modern circumstances. The result is a solid, involving political examination suitable for classroom discussion and any American history reader.

Thinking the Twenty-First Century
Malcolm McIntosh
Greenleaf Publishing
c/o Stylus Publishing, Inc.
22883 Quicksilver Drive, Sterling, VA 20166-2012
9781783531738 $39.95

Thinking the Twenty-First Century: Ideas for the New Political Economy is a recommendation for college-level political science students and readers who receive a set of insights of five changes happening on a global scale which hold important implications for a new political economic structure. It blends economic and political theory with philosophical and social reflection by examining these system changes in the context of interconnected systems, arguing that these changes are already in progress and need to be accelerated. It questions contemporary capitalism models and calls for a new order in an account that's particularly powerful in its analysis of the sustainability of political and economic systems in a new global society, and will offer much food for thought and classroom debate.

The Antiques/Collectibles Shelf

Coins & Collectors
Q. David Bowers
Whitman Publishing
4001 Helton Drive, Florence, Alabama, 35630
978079482727 $29.95

The Golden Anniversary edition of the classic Coins & Collectors guide packs some fifty illustrated chapters into a history of famous coins, tokens, paper money and more, offering a lively story behind coin design, releases, scholarship, and more. It uses stories, interviews, and new images not available in other books to capture a sense of mystery and history alike, and it details the individuals involved in coin evolution and collecting, the collection strategies, and more. The result is a lively survey designed to appeal to collectors and any with an interest in how coins evolved.

The California Shelf

Earthquake Storms
John Dvorak
Pegasus Books
80 Broad Street, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10004
9781605984957 $27.95

Earthquake Storms: The Fascinating History and Volatile Future of the San Andreas Fault tells the story of eccentric scientists who studied the San Andreas Fault over the years, considering what it is, how it works, and why it's central to California's future. What is popularly known as the San Andreas is actually a network of quake faults that grows, connects, and changes through the years, yet is younger than the Grand Canyon. The study of this system has long been fraught with uncertainty, controversy, and challenges: Earthquake Storms considers these controversies and the geologic oddities involved in earthquake science. From how Richter developed the scale we still use today to measure quake strength to the notion of seafloor sliding, this book is a lively key to understanding the nature of faults, quakes, the San Andreas in particular, and the scientists who made stormy careers out of investigating some of the most elusive geologic mysteries in history.

California's Channel Islands: A History
Frederic Caire Chiles
University of Oklahoma Press
2800 Venture Drive, Norman, OK 73069
9780806146874 $19.95

California's Channel Islands: A History focuses on the human and natural history of a chain of eight islands off the coast of Southern California, and is a recommendation for any California collection interested in the area. Here is an intersection of natural and human activities on and among the Channel Islands which documents the evolution of settlements, patterns of use, the challenges posed by shifting sands, and more. The result is a solid set of insights on how the Channel Islands have come to be used by settlers and more: a fine survey that is highly recommended for any California history holding.

Junipero Serra
Rose Marie Beebe and Robert M. Senkewicz
University of Oklahoma Press
2800 Venture Drive, Norman, OK 73069
9780806148687 $39.95

Junipero Serra: California, Indians, and the Transformation of a Missionary tells of the Franciscan missionary friar and provides a weighty biography by translators and historians who bring to life not only Serra's life, but his times. It focuses on his religious identity and his relationships with Native peoples, telling how he spent thirty-four years as a missionary to Indians in Mexico and California and not only changed their lives, but affected the politics and development of the region as a whole. Where most coverages of Serra's life include opinions of his actions, this strives for a partial consideration of his years and analyzes his choices from the perspective of his ideals and their times. The result is a well-detailed study recommended not for light pursuit, but for college-level collections strong in California history.

The Independent Publishers Shelf

Things I Wish I'd Known: Cancer and Kids
Deborah J. Cornwall
Bardolf and Company
5430 Colewood Place, Sarasota, FL 34232
9781938842221, $7.95,

Things I Wish I'd Known: Cancer and Kids is based on interviews with caregivers and provides anyone facing cancer in the family with the practical resources to help manage its daily impact on children.

One might anticipate this advice would occupy hundreds of pages; but one delight in Things I Wish I'd Known: Cancer and Kids is that it appears in a slim, pamphlet-like coverage of under sixty pages - which makes it much more digestible for those in crisis with short attention spans.

Case histories pair with caregiver interviews and experiences to share first-hand knowledge about the process of diagnosis, daily challenges, and resources to help children of different ages manage the disease in their lives, whether it be their own diagnosis, a sibling's, or another family member.

Also included are keys to handling children who have lost a sibling or parent to cancer, and discussions of support during and after treatment. Many adults struggle with issues of how to communicate with kids about cancer. Things I Wish I'd Known: Cancer and Kids addresses common communication issues at different ages, tells how to manage the impact of such a discussion (whether it's the child's own diagnosis or someone else's), and is packed with resources for further reference - all given in language and approaches that are easy to understand and apply.

Any caregiver feeling overwhelmed by too much weighty information should look here for answers that are firmly grounded in real solutions.

Lunar Rampage
Samantha Cross
Solstice Publishing
614 Wal-mart Drive, Suite #209, Farmington, Mo. 63640, $4.99
Kindle edition by Samantha Cross. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks at

Cora is a photographer who loves nature and she's living at and renovating her grandmother's house; returning to a small town where she has mixed memories of fellow classmates and her past. Anticipating an environment which will embrace her, she instead discovers that something uncanny and unfamiliar is happening - something involving more than her grandmother's uncertain memory.

Death, werewolves, and full moons suddenly stalk her footsteps, and thus Cora moves from a nature-loving photographer looking to help out her grandmother to an amateur investigator with a tiger by the tail.

Add a touch of (unwelcome) romance, girlfriend interactions, and the lure and dangers of full moons and you have a fine blend of mystery and romance, spiced with small-town interactions and a single girl's ability to raise danger from the dead in an engrossing leisure read recommended for romance, mystery, and supernatural readers alike.

Culture Shock: A Practical Guide
H.E. Rybol
Privately Published
9789995987725, $3.99,

Amazon: _1?ie=UTF8&qid=1417690002&sr=8-1&keywords=Rybol




The first prerequisite to enjoying Culture Shock is an interest in international travel. This requirement met, would-be travelers will find it a different take on culture shock than most books offer, with a focus on finding and appreciating similarities between diverse peoples, rather than just differences.

Readers can be students embarking on an international studies program, travelers, or those who are encountering other cultures for the first time: they don't have to be solo adventure travelers like the author; nor does one need to have a nomadic background. All that's needed is an open mind and an interest in this particular method of minimizing culture shock, which involves using "...simple everyday actions in a purposeful way to ease the stress that comes with everything being new."

Chapters delve into the process of accepting and using new information, providing keys to self-analysis of typical reactions to understand the shifts in consciousness brought about by unexpected encounters. From practical tips covering apartment hunting, organizing plans and movements, and learning to listen to one's inner voice to broadening a sense of self and, thus, one's horizons, these easy admonitions and messages are accompanied by lovely color photos (in the ebook edition: the print edition holds black and white images) of other cultures and overseas scenes.

This focus on understanding is designed for self-help readers who aim to make the most of travel and the cultural encounters that go with it.

The Sacred Seduction: Forbidden Truths - Love, Sex & Seduction
Mindbuilt Design Studio
9789692306508, $12.99,

The reason why most 'relationship books' tend to sound the same is because few take into account the bigger picture of how to first embrace the love in one's own mind, body and spirit before moving outward to greater definitions and experiences. The Sacred Seduction: Forbidden Truths - Love, Sex & Seduction is designed to remedy this lack of information and begins with a basic examination defining love and how it sparks between two people.

Chapters require much of their readers: a willingness to consider the sacred and sexual paths that lead to real love, a willingness to embrace psychological and spiritual concepts in the process of exploring the nature and meaning of such love, and how men and women can unlock and ignite sparks of attraction by understanding their own psyches and those interactions between the sexes that lead to deeper connections.

It's obvious, fairly early on, that The Sacred Seduction offers higher-level thinking and is more than just a book about improving relationships or sexual experience: it's a spiritually-oriented focus that uses parables, admonitions, and discussions of the basics of attraction to reveal a deeper process that runs through lives like a river; too often remaining unplumbed in favor of shallower waters that recede too quickly.

If it's a quick read that is desired, move on. The powerful quotes, the parables and instructions, the keys to a more meaningful understanding and, ergo, a more meaningful life: all reside in a powerful survey that requires self-inspection, spiritual reflection, and a real desire to move beneath the surface to gain greater meaning.

Old Magic: Lives of the Desert Shamans
Nicholas Clapp
Sunbelt Publications Inc.
1256 Fayette St., El Cajon, CA 92020
9781941384053, $22.95,

Old Magic: Lives of the Desert Shamans belongs in social science and Native American collections alike, examining the lives of the desert shamans of the West and providing important keys to understanding their daily experiences, perspectives and rituals.

Old Magic is no singular production: it uses the folklore of a dozen tribes as it builds a diverse picture of the shaman's world, from dreamscape and tribal interactions to desert and mountain landscapes and their influence upon the overall approach of desert shaman ceremonies.

Color photos of these landscapes, along with photos of relics and early recorded shaman imagery, pair with discussions that blend history and folklore with an analysis of the spiritual belief systems of the shaman.

It would have been all too easy to tailor Old Magic to reach new age audiences alone, but Clapp's focus on documenting the desert shaman's unique approach to nature and human concerns, and the role his environment played in his perspectives, makes for a lively history that will also reach general-interest readers with an interest in Native American culture.

Peter O'Toole: Hellraiser, Sexual Outlaw, Irish Rebel
Darwin Porter & Danforth Prince
Blood Moon Productions
75 Saint Marks Place, Staten Island, NY 10301
9781936003457, $26.95,

One might expect that Peter O'Toole: Hellraiser, Sexual Outlaw, Irish Rebel would hold the usual biographical survey of the actor's life and times; but in fact it's a story that offers something far greater: an analysis of O'Toole's life and career that features a new look at the actor's passion, controversies, and determination to 'raise hell'.

Lest readers think this will be a rehash of prior biographies, it should be mentioned that Peter O'Toole: Hellraiser, Sexual Outlaw, Irish Rebel represents decades of research by writers who define their efforts as being steeped in media and celebrity stories - and therefore replete with the high tension, drama, and eye-popping gossip and grit of Hollywood's most outrageous moments and characters.

So don't anticipate a casual coverage: it's an account of a hellraising, outrageous personality and is itself steeped in the culture it investigates, cultivating lively language, newly-revealed shocking truths, and passionate descriptions to capture the life and times of a film star who, according to Peter O'Toole, "...became the toast of international society. The decadent part, those who live just to fornicate on the Costa del Sol. It's the new gathering place for panty sniffers, child molesters, drunkards, prostitutes, pimps, gigolos, pillheads, and poon stalkers. I adore it. It seems that all the big names want to go to bed with me. A lucky few actually manage to accomplish that splendid feat."

Outrageous? You bet. It's not for the morally faint - and that promises that Peter O'Toole: Hellraiser, Sexual Outlaw, Irish Rebel will be a frequent flyer out of library collections and film reference holdings alike.

The Road Home
Kathleen Shoop
OakGlen Press
BookSparks PR
9781511801249, $17.18,

The Road Home opens in 1905, with Katherine standing over her mother's coffin, having had the opportunity to forgive her for past trespasses as she lay dying. Forced by her mother's death to revisit these painful years, Katherine struggles to understand her mother's life; particularly as the funeral brings with it many strangers and unexpected revelations.

In an interconnected series of stories, twins Katherine and Tommy come to uncover the truths about their mother's life: both forced to return to painful memories and years in order to understand their mother's actions and achieve an ultimate sense of peace.

Broken family connections, miracles, hopes, and redefined pasts: all these form the foundation of a powerful story that's Book Two of The Letter Series in a saga which stands powerfully and firmly on its own for newcomers, yet creates and cements a powerful account of change for those who want further details on the evolving story of uncertain family connections and ultimate healing.

The Imagine Project
Dianne Maroney
Yampa Valley Publishing
Box 4696, Parker, CO 80134
9780988995109, $35.00,

The Imagine Project shares the inspiring stories of ordinary people who have achieved success by overcoming obstacles ranging from mental illness and abuse to addiction and war, and is an inspirational celebration of extraordinary success stories.

Photos accompany narratives of each life and offer vignettes that feature some of the wellsprings of courage.

It should be mentioned that there are no famous names here: readers won't be familiar with these being profiled. What will be recognized is their inspirational achievements, with photographer Mario Masitti's striking portraits enhancing the invitation to imagine the circumstances life has dealt these people and how they rose to the occasion to not just overcome and persevere, but to excel.

America Invades
Christopher Kelly and Stuart Laycock
Book Publishers Network
P.O. Box 2256, Bothell, WA 98041
9781940598420, $29.95,

Plenty of books have been written about specific invasions and their history; but few have undertaken a comprehensive survey of all the countries America has either invaded outright or been militarily involved in. Enter America Invades: How We've Invaded or been Militarily Involved with Almost Every Country on Earth: an eye-opening examination that doesn't limit itself to one nation, one period of time, or one approach.

There are many surprises here, including the fact that the U.S.'s first major invasion in 1741 helped George Washington name his Mount Vernon home; the fact that Norwegian scientists nearly began World War III after the Cold War's end; and the trivia tidbit that shows how many wars have been named after food.

Military historian Christopher Kelly provides a world-wide survey that examines these political and military processes involving Americans in Madagascar, France, Thailand, and even Greece. An alphabetical listing of nations makes it easy to locate a specific country and its history while the addition of color photos adds to the shock value and historical insights in a rare focus compiling information not readily accessible elsewhere.

Elizabeth's Landing
Katy Pye
Pyewacky Press
P.O. Box 265, Mendocino, CA 95469
9780989097314, $13.99,

Port Winston has a beach, shopping, and a pleasant atmosphere; but to teen Elizabeth, who's been moved mid-school year to Texas, it contains little of interest and much to avoid - including her judgmental, fisherman grandfather, who thinks she's nothing but trouble.

At first glance, Elizabeth might seem the last person to take an interest in endangered wildlife, but when she stumbles on an injured, nesting sea turtle, she finds new purpose and new conflicts as she fights to save the Landing, the turtles' critical nesting beach. It's one thing to fight against family, including its secrets: it's another to take on corporations and the results of the Deepwater Horizon's damaging oil slick.

It's rare to find an environmental story folded into a young adult read about a teen's angst and coming of age; but by incorporating the two under one cover, Elizabeth's Landing becomes so much more than the usual story of a moved teen's struggle to adjust. Bigger-picture thinking lends a social and political aspect to the story that succeeds in examining issues of a teen's power, awakening to the world around her, and movement from 'troublesome' to 'engaged'.

Add psychological insights and a first-person approach to understanding ("Thanks," I say, thrilled to hear terrific, perfect, and you in the same sentence.") and you have a moving story that succeeds on many levels. This award-winning book is recommended for middle school to high school audiences.

Mommy, Was Grandpa a Nazi?
Elisabeth Falcone
Bohlsen Group
9781496929693, $16.95,

Mommy, Was Grandpa a Nazi? Recipes for Tolerance and Understanding serves up the belief that food has the ability to bring people together; and considering the popularity of the recent television show Breaking Borders (about chefs who arrange culinary liaisons and dinners between traditionally opposing political groups), this book's basic concepts have already been tested with great success.

Falcone is a German immigrant inspired to write this after conflict turned into a lifelong friendship centered on a shared love of food. Chapters conclude with 'food for thought' and recipes for greater understanding as they explore heritage, food, and how culinary contact brings with it newfound understandings of similarities rather than differences.

This collection illustrates how people of different ethnicities and religious backgrounds can come together over food and shared experience. Its stories are inspirational and revealing keys to understanding just how such a process works, and is best absorbed by any who would learn from its many case history examples.

Buffalo Soldiers South of the Rio Grande
William C. Moton
Trafford Publishing
Bohlsen Group
9781490747293, $12.99,

Buffalo Soldiers South of the Rio Grande surveys the first African-American regiments in the U.S. Army and provides a novel set in the early 1900s, when an African-American Army officer and Buffalo Soldier attempted to rescue captured U.S. Armed Forces during the Mexican Revolution.

Because so little is generally known about early black soldiers, having the story assume the form of fiction lends to its accessibility for those who want the high drama and compelling characters of fiction, with strong roots in real fact. The fictional form also allows for a narrowed focus and an expanded perspective as the story line follows three different people from different backgrounds who participate in a force that holds wide-ranging impact on soldiers, African-Americans, the Mexican Federal Army, and more.

There are a number of nonfiction histories about the Buffalo Soldiers; but this more vivid view in Buffalo Soldiers South of the Rio Grande will reach a far wider audience (especially those with little prior background on their history) than any nonfiction account could achieve.

Stealing Dylan from Woodstock
Ray Foulk with Caroline Foulk
Medina Publishing Ltd.
310 Elwell Road, Surbiton, Surrey KT67AL UK
c/o Casemate Publishers (distributor)
908 Darby Road, Havertown, PA19083
9781909339507, $32.95,

Stealing Dylan from Woodstock: When the Word Came to the Isle of Wight provides an account of how the Isle of Wight Festivals transformed the small English island into massive focal point for rock and roll celebrations. It all began in 1968 when a small town's attempt to raise funds for a local swimming pool turned into a massive outdoor gathering and eventually attracted Bob Dylan, a reclusive musician who rarely appeared in public after a serious motorcycle accident.

The real question lies in what would compel a recluse who lived right next to one of the biggest rock music festivals in the world (Woodstock) to fly 3,000 miles away to England to participate in a little-known, unprecedented music gathering.

Stealing Dylan from Woodstock is about this development and the process of building an event which took on a life of its own to alter Bob Dylan's life and others who participated in or attended the event. Any collection strong in rock music history needs this story of how a tiny island came to be synonymous with one of the largest music festivals in the world.

Talent for Humanity
Patrick Gaffney, Editor
Greenleaf Book Group Press
PO Box 91869, Austin, TX 78709
9781626341814, $16.95,

Talent for Humanity: Stories of Creativity, Compassion, and Courage to Inspire You on Your Journey is a motivational book and presents seven men and women who tell their stories of how they overcame hardships to take stands against poverty, apathy, and prejudice.

One might anticipate that these individuals led special lives; but these are actually ordinary people who made choices that led to extraordinary changes. Their accounts serve to illustrate that anyone can make the decision to help transform the lives of others, and their stories tell how they did so.

Any who believe that their lives are hopeless or are manipulated by political and social forces beyond their control will find here not just accounts of compassion and involvement, but important keys to understanding the choices that led to more connected lives.

Ready or Not
Lisa J. Shultz
Lightning Source, Publisher
P.O. Box 1956, Breckenridge, CO 80424
9780615884288, $9.95,

Ready or Not: Tips for the New Grad is a slim motivational book perfect for gift-giving for new grads, and blends the author's own life experiences with messages she received from influential teachers and courses. It provides anecdotes and words of wisdom arranged by topics such as setting goals, feeding one's soul, practicing new skills, and more.

Within these snippets of easily-digested words of wisdom are tips on what works and what does not. Often these words sound familiar or come from other (unidentified) sources (i.e. 'Be the Change You Want to See in the World'), but expand upon the concept of simple adages by adding easy explanations of the process involved ("If you want peace, live peacefully and support peaceful causes. The only person you can change is you.")

The joy of Ready or Not lies in its slim appearance, its simple concepts, and in specifics which move beyond the usual approach of one-line words of wisdom to examine the course of progressive thinking. It's these elements that lend to the book's accessibility to new grads and those who would learn new ways of leading more meaningful lives.

Kung Fu Kitty: Laying Down the Law
Lauri Bortz
Abaton Book Company
100 Gifford Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07304
9780981633017, $10.00

Kung Fu Kitty retold the story of Exodus and was set in ancient China with animal characters, and years later comes its sequel, Kung Fu Kitty: Laying Down the Law, which needs no prior introduction to prove whimsical and fun.

Here a nation of formerly enslaved cats are learning how to live in peace in their newfound homeland, guided by a master Kung Fu kitty who travels not only the world, but the universe, serving her kitty companions.

While the book appears short, it's actually packed with much food for thought because the story line is replete in observation and ideas, as in the controversial construction of a dictionary: "To placate King Serious, Pin Zi Feng selected a handful of words with negative characteristics: cataclysm, cataract, catatonia, catarrh, catachresis, catacomb, caterwaul, catalepsy and catastrophe. Nonetheless, he managed to balance it out with a few unsavory dog-starting words; dogma, in all its forms, and doggerel."

Black and white full-page illustrations by Michael Gentile compliment a zany cast of cat characters who find their new home embraces not just a single land, but the universe. Self-help readers interested in a blend of cats, philosophy, and reflection will find the format unusual and the delivery refreshingly different.

Gerard LaSalle
Avasta Press
9781503183339, $14.99,

Isthmus provides the first sequel in the Widow Walk series and is set in 1860s Panama, where revolution brings civil war to the United States and Emily has moved back to Boston with all that remains of her fragmented family. Their journey on the Panama isthmus railroad brings them to a strange new world where international peoples mingle and revised hopes and dreams bring together a disparate ragtag of personalities.

Isthmus is based on history and provides a rich setting in the jungles of South and Central America, but its major attribute lies in a fictional representation that brings to life the uncertainties of a world where languages and customs differ and where there's no information readily available to help ease the culture shock between peoples or the confusion over their intentions: "She sensed there was difference between the aborigines here and Deacy, but she didn't know if she was correct about that, or whether she was missing something and they really were alike."

Take human rights issues, family interactions and struggles for survival, encounters between different peoples, and vivid accounts of this historical period's major issues and mix in the high drama of fiction and you have a story that's truly hard to put down.

Saving Sight
Andrew Lam, M.D.
Irie Books
12699 Cristi Way, Bokeelia, FL 33922
9781617203794, $12.95,

Saving Sight: An Eye Surgeon's Look at Life Behind the Mask and the Heroes Who Changed the Way We See blends medical history and insights from an eye surgeon's perspective, and is recommended for any health or medical collection with a special interest in ocular surgery and eye treatment processes.

Graphic surgical accounts and case histories of efforts to save sight under often-impossible conditions accompany chapters that include a healthy dose of history as they expose new research and changes in the area of eye medicine and intersperse medical case histories with intriguing discussions of how the field of eye surgery has changed and expanded over the decades.

The result are discussions especially recommended for medical students and readers with an interest in the field of ocular medical advancements: a survey that successfully combines the personal approach of a physician's case histories with wider-ranging discussions of the field's growth, challenges, and changing treatment options.

French Illusions
Linda Kovic-Skow
Dreamland Press
Ascot Media Group
9780988464025, $14.99,

French Illusions: My Story as an American Au pair in the Loire Valley blends an autobiographical coming-of-age story with an account of how the author decided to choose a French immersion approach to her ultimate goal of becoming a flight attendant: a decision that led to her job as a nanny for a wealthy French family - and to poor choices when she claimed to speak basic French, when she barely knew a word.

Once there, she found communications impossible, was treated as a household drudge, and struggled with French culture and language alike. Even worse, she met and developed a crush on a handsome student ... 'worse' because at a time when her hands were filled with struggle, a romance was the last thing she needed.

Plenty of memoirs address traumatic cultural encounters; but this blend of adventure, romance, and a summer of discovery goes a step further in documenting the poor choices of youth, their consequences, and how Linda Kovic-Skow ultimately overcame many challenges to achieve her goals despite these early snafus. The result makes for an especially vivid, engrossing read.

Paddling to Winter
Julie Buckles
Raven Productions Inc.
P.O. Box 188, Ely, MN 55731
9780983518921, $17.95,

Paddling to Winter relates how author Julie Buckles and Charly Ray built a wood and canvas canoe, married, and paddled away on a year-long journey into northern Saskatchewan where they stayed for the winter. It's a story of the honeymoon of a lifetime: an adventure that carried them and their canoe through gorgeous scenery and many wilderness struggles, and one which will engross armchair readers not quite brave enough to duplicate the effort.

One doesn't anticipate humor in a travelogue; especially when it involves a rugged sojourn from Lake Superior to the Canadian North - but its here.

From close encounters with moose to adjusting to the silence of being alone on an island, the tales in Paddling to Winter come to embrace a warm autobiography, a cold climate, and a series of encounters that ultimately bring the honeymooners closer together.

It's almost enough to make a reader want to attempt the same - but the hardships are candidly covered as well as the ecstasies. It's much easier to just sit back and vicariously enjoy the read!

Time's Chariot
Logan Henry
1494974592, $14.99,

Time's Chariot tells of a man turning 80 who is faced with a killer, a woman's love, and a host of conflicts from his haunted past as a Marine sniper, including the loss of his wife. In some ways it's the quintessential account of an elderly man facing death who confronts present and past with determination and courage; in another way, it's about the increasing fluidity of time as the years march on.

Because so much alternates between past and present, the casual leisure reader seeking a quick read might find Time's Chariot a challenge. But though its writing may feel challenging to some readers, it's a beautiful and poetic example of English at its best, charting movement and growth even at the end of time itself: no easy topic for the reader seeking action and adventure.

Those who appreciate the classic works of Saul Bellow and others who write of the middle-aged or elderly experience will find something exceptional in Time's Chariot: a culmination of a lifetime of influences and experiences all wound up in what could be a final crescendo of either celebration or surrender... no spoilers here: read Time's Chariot to find out.

Ronald von Freymann
Bohlsen Group
9781496917935, $19.95,

Gold-in-Quartz: A Jewelry Hunter Thriller weaves a vivid and unpredictable plot packed with jewelry thieves, a terrorist plot, an international chase, and more, and opens a year after an Islamic cleric declares a fatwa against Bill and Jenn Watson for averting a terrorist plot in California.

As if that isn't enough, a jewelry-buying trip in Northern California's Gold Country leads them into a danger that lands them in the witness protection program: a solution that offers only temporary remedies as their enemies find them anyway.

It seems the world isn't wide enough to allow them to escape and lead easy lives. As their journeys direct them into more and more danger, readers become immersed in the bigger picture of whether any move they can make will lead to their survival and re-entry into a non-conflicted world.

Plenty of thrillers offer action and international struggles; but few contain the sense of direction, staccato changes, and intrigue of Gold-in-Quartz, which leads readers on an unrelenting romp skirting deadly dangers right and left.

The Eduard Josef Gubelin Story
The Gubelin Foundation
Unicorn Press, London
c/o University of Chicago Press (distributor)
1427 East 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637
9781910065402, $60.00,

The Eduard Josef Gubelin Story: The Art and Science of Gems is an in-depth biography of the father of modern gemology, and belongs in any science collection strong in gem science and discoveries.

Gubelin's pioneering research did more than make discoveries: it created and defined the science of gemology, which spread around the world. This book discusses not only Gubelin's life and influences but the science of gemology as a whole, pairing full-page color gem images and black and white vintage photos with deliberations ranging from the evolution of a business to the advancement of gem science.

Also included are histories of his involvement in film and photography, rounding out his scientific discoveries and presenting the portrait of a true Renaissance man whose research and achievements changed the world.

Now You See Me
Diane Brischke
Bohlsen Group
9781479751563, $31.99,

Now You See Me: From Endangered to Extinction examines a variety of endangered animals and considers what's threatening their existence, pairing analysis with Brischke's own photos throughout the book to provide inviting color photos of the species.

The simple format uses a full-page photo on a facing page with three paragraphs of discussion and at-a-glance information to consider exactly what kind of human encroachment (poaching, pollution, habitat loss or pet trade) poses the most problems.

About 32 pages of detail are presented in a pamphlet-sized booklet that stems from the photographer author's hours spent photographing zoo animals and gathering information appropriate for both children and adults interested in an introduction to conservation. While the information is not new; what is different is an arrangement that lends to quick browsing and quicker understanding about the particular threats facing each species.

Christopher Lentz
Privately Published
Novel Public Relations
9780996293600, $12.99,

Blossom is the first book in a trilogy and opens in the spring of 1906 in San Francisco; a world of light and wonder teetering on the brink of vast changes soon to be wrought by the 1906 earthquake. It's here that socialite Clarissa Donohue stands poised for success - and here that earthquake and fire will rip apart everything she's dreamed of.

It's important to note that Blossom takes place over a period of only five days, yet packs in enough detail and transformation to make its timeline feel much longer. As chapters count down to the earthquake, events assume a vivid immediacy as secrets are revealed, family connections questioned, romance rears, and the streets of Chinatown come alive.

With such a memorable backdrop and the inevitability of disaster based on historical events, Blossom could all too easily have become a scenario of survival. The fact that much of its action takes place in the days before the quake lends to a warm, revealing story that takes its time to paint the cultural interactions and social world of San Francisco pre-quake, and Blossom Sun and Brock St. Clair's place in it, before everything changes forever. Between romantic tension and historical events, it's impossible to not be immersed in this story of passion and tragedy!

Embrace Happiness
Ali Soleymaniha
iUniverse LLC
Bohlsen Group
9781491729571, $16.95,

Embrace Happiness: The Art of Conflict Management is about finding equilibrium and new strategies for managing stress and gaining happiness, and comes from a consultant who specializes in helping clients achieving better results in their lives.

His philosophy is simple and clear: sources of conflict emerge from communication snafus, differences in perception, crossed signals, and shortcomings inherent in the adversary system, and stem from variations in hearing, listening, and understanding.

The finer art of managing conflict for more effective resolution and understanding thus lies in semantic, emotional, and interpretative clarification; and the paths to embracing happiness lie stem from making modifications that lend to better communication. This powerful survey that offers many clear guidelines that move beyond conflict management to the heart of its ultimate purpose: peace and happiness.

Time and the Tapestry
John Plotz
Bunker Hill Publishing
285 River Road, Piermont, NH-03779
9781593731458, $18.50,

Time and the Tapestry is illustrated by Phyllis Saroff and provides middle school grades and older with the engrossing story of a 13-year-old girl and her 10-year-old brother, who are transported back in time to the Pre-Raphaelite period on the back of a giant bird and charged with restoring the missing pieces of a William Morris tapestry.

From living room to epic quest, this story takes flight and provides a healthy dose of 19th century English history as it follows the two siblings, who can't return home until they find the missing pieces that will make a tapestry whole.

With adventures moving from Iceland to Boston to Oxford, lovely illustrations enhance a timeslip fantasy adventure that represents a compelling integration of historical fact, modern children, and a quest that must be undertaken if they are ever to see home again.

Wolves of the Revenue
Pete Johnson
Bohlsen Group
9781436369619, $19.99,,

Wolves of the Revenue: A Tale of IRS Abuse is a thriller with a difference: it comes from a lawyer whose clients have experienced harassment from the IRS, who exacts his revenge not in the courtroom, but through writing about it.

This is a fictional saga of a taxpayer struggling with two IRS agents' harassing audits, assessments and seizures. In the course of taking action, the protagonist walks the dangerous road of vengeance and finds his life forever changed because of his decisions.

The fact that this saga is loosely based on a real-life IRS struggle by a deceased client of author Pete Johnson, and that it contains details of tax revolt and documents the real-world relentless practices of the IRS, makes it a particularly convincing, realistic read that will delight and chill thriller audiences whether one believes taxes are fair or not.

In the Eyes of Madness
Michael Pang
SolaFide Publishing
PO Box 1013, Gotha, FL 34734
$11.99 (Paperback), $2.99 (Kindle), $4.99 (Nook)
ISBN: 9780692437339 (paperback), 9780692423929 (Ebook)

Ordering Website: 0692437339

In the Eyes of Madness reveals a psychotic mother, a damaged child, and what happens years later when, in an effort to become closer to his mother, Declan takes a job in the institution where she is housed. But the institution houses more than his mother and fellow sufferers: there's an evil lurking behind closed doors, and Declan has run right into it by pursuing a relationship with his mother.

Raised by his aunt and uncle after his mother's breakdown, Declan has many unanswered questions; the biggest of which is what led to her sudden psychotic break and attack.

What he doesn't fully comprehend is that in order to understand her breakdown, he will have to follow her not only to the institution that houses her, but into the halls of madness itself - a journey that leads to answers, newfound revelations, and new dangers that emerge from asking too many questions and refusing to let the past remain hidden. As Declan becomes involved with Zoe, Keira, and others, he finds himself on a path that, if it doesn't lead straight into madness, surely leads into another world of danger, death, and unexplained powers.

It's a murder mystery, it's a supernatural piece, and it's about one son's determination to find answers to the puzzles in his life; all in one. The journey that results will inject 'rehab' with an entirely new interpretation that skirts the boundaries of reality and supernatural worlds in a tense saga that's engrossing and hard to put down.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

Diane C. Donovan, Editor & Senior Reviewer
12424 Mill Street, Petaluma, CA 94952
phone: 1-707-795-4629

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