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California Bookwatch

Volume 10, Number 5 May 2015 Home | CALBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Humor Shelf Parenting Shelf
World History Shelf Needlecraft Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Metaphysical Studies Shelf Christian Studies Shelf Religion/Spirituality Shelf
Autism Shelf Education Shelf Art Shelf
Woodworking Shelf Money/Finance Shelf Literary Studies Shelf
Poetry Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Fiction Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Gardening Shelf Travel Shelf
Nautical Shelf Political Science Shelf Automotive Shelf
Computer Shelf Biography Shelf Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf
Audiobook Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf Social Issues Shelf
Terrorism Studies Shelf Business Shelf Self-Help Shelf
Fashion Shelf Interior Design Shelf Crafts Shelf
Science Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Gun Shelf
Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf California Shelf Independent Publishers Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

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

Forever Changed offers the author's insights into how low-income kids can use summer programs to challenge themselves and develop new skills leading to self-assurance: something more monied children often receive. Her idea was to develop a summer program, Summer Search, to change urban adolescent lives, and Forever Changed not only follows the course of this program and its impact on adolescents, but how it can translate to lower-income students. It reads like an autobiography in following the author's interactions with her own (and other) kids, with setting up a structure for students and their mentors, and in exploring how these approaches can lead to stronger kids at the end. The result is a positive, upbeat and practical guide that uses Mornell's vision and applied programs to discuss how teens can learn and grow outside of a school structure. Educators, parents, and program directors alike will find it compelling.

Mapping the Nation
ESRI Press
380 New York Street, Redlands, CA 92378-8100
9781589483910 $19.99

Mapping the Nation: Building a More Resilient Future gathers under one cover a collection of GIS maps that illustrate how the government uses GIS information to form communities, and arranges these maps in a department-by-department heading to pinpoint how specific government entities apply map data to local problems. Readers will thus find examples range from applying data to visual maps outlining economic and climate changes to how GIS data applies to political initiatives and social change. By gathering maps under one cover and applying them to common government uses, Mapping the Nation provides perfect illustration of the importance and applications of GIS data as it applies to nation-building projects, making this a 'must' reference not just for geography, but for political science holdings.

Land Access and Resettlement
Gerry Reddy,
Greenleaf Publishing
Aizlewood Business Centre
Aizlewood's Mill, Nursery Street, Sheffield S3 8GG, UK
9781783532131 $50.00

Land Access and Resettlement offers strategies for implementing and planning successful land access and resettlement programs to create better outcomes for companies and communities alike, and comes from authors who have implemented and reviewed some 50 land access and resettlement projects in over 30 countries. This background lends to a book that covers each stage of a resettlement project, offering insights on common problems, pitfalls, and projects that have both succeeded and failed. Corporate leaders and project managers will appreciate the specific insights on community and government involvement, and guidelines which range from developing monitoring indicators to tailoring packages for resettlement purposes.

The House on the Klong
Jim Thompson
EDM Books
9789814385893 $24.95

At first glance The House on the Klong looks like a travel story or something for a home and garden collection; but it's so much more - and it's subject defies neat categorization, making it a pick for general-interest holdings interested in stories of overseas environments and missing men. Jim Thompson was a legendary American businessman who developed a thriving silk business, then went missing in the Malaysian jungles. The legacy he left behind wasn't business; it was a house in which objects of beauty are still displayed, and this book pays tribute to that structure, displaying a large number of pieces ranging from stone sculptures to paintings and other artistic objects and relics. Thus, the book will appeal to arts holdings and any interested in Asian history as well. But it also covers Thompson's venture into business and his many influences, how he built his house, and why his collection stands out - which makes it a pick for business collections, as well. In short, The House on the Klong is a tribute highly recommended for any who harbor an affection for business, art, home, and Asian influences, and discussions of extraordinary individuals.

The Humor Shelf

Live Right and Find Happiness
Dave Barry
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780399165955 $26.95

Dave Barry's reputation for humor doesn't fail him in yet another book, Live Right and Find Happiness (Although Beer is Much Faster): Life Lessons and Other Ravings from Dave Barry. These are original essays that focus on happiness over time and between generations, despite all life's changes and circumstances, and offers a solid survey that shows how to find happiness in life's incongruities. It's a fun survey that needs no prior introduction to Barry's style to prove successful, and it provides a fun read with changing chapter approaches to said happiness to make for a diverse collection. The result is a survey that's a recommended read for newcomers and fans alike: all that's required as a prerequisite is a penchant for humor as well as pointed social observation.

Matt Andrews
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250051400 $12.99

Textastrophe: A Collection of Hilariously Catastrophic Text Pranks is an uproarious collection of text ironies and failings, and is a perfect gift for those who love pranks. It covers 'prank texting' and gathers fun encounters from Textastrophe Tumbr, and tells what happens when the author responds in a different ways to requests for 'contact' or 'unsubscribe'. In short, a fun, lively read for any interested in the culture and fun opportunities of texting.

The Parenting Shelf

Beyond Intelligence
Dona Matthews PhD and Joanne Foster Ed.D.
c/o Groundwood Books / House of Anansi Press
110 Spadina Ave., Suite 801, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5V 2K4
9781770894778 $19.95

Beyond Intelligence: Secrets for Raising Happily Productive Kids comes from two internationally recognized experts in gifted education and tells all parents how to foster a child's creative development both at school and at home. From their perspective, every child holds the ability to succeed - and this guide begins with the basics of identifying a child's ability and shows how to grow it. From how to provide emotional and social support systems to working with educators and handling failure, Beyond Intelligence may seem to be for parents of gifted kids, buts its definition is loose and can apply to any child with a talent that needs to evolve. The result is highly recommended for any parenting collection, and for all parents who see their kids' unique talents and want specific advice on how to encourage them.

The World History Shelf

Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster
David Lochbaum,
The New Press
126 Wall Street, floor 31, New York, NY 10005-4007
9781620970843 $18.95

Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster appears in a new paperback edition to provide readers with the first definitive story of the 2011 disaster which began when Japan was struck by one of the most powerful earthquakes in history, which led to a tsunami that took out three nuclear reactors. This is no reporter's viewpoint alone: two of America's leading nuclear experts join with a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist to provide moment-by-moment recap of the technical failures, decision-making processes, scientific insights, and challenges involved in managing the nuclear reactor. The result is a powerful survey that is a 'must' for any who would understand the progression of events from initial earthquake to meltdown and beyond.

Italy's Lies
Lorenzo Del Boca
Bordighera Press
c/o John D. Calandra Italian American Institute
25 West 43rd St., 17th Floor, New York NY 10036
9781599540849 $20.00

Italy's Lies: Debunking History's Lies So That Italy Might Become a "Normal Country" offers a volatile title and a biting examination of the social and political myths of modern Italy and how ongoing corruption of the nation's ruling class may be why it's never been 'normal'. It blends history with a reporter and analyst's eye to debunking common misconceptions about Italian history and culture, and it offers a damning eye on public spending, why people were 'paying to eat and breathe' in the mid-1800s, and how the careless actions of the political class during the Unification of Italy led to disasters. Plenty of books document Italian history without probing the underbelly of its social and political choices: Italy's Lies is key to truly understanding the evolution of events and, conversely, the evolution of a country, and is a recommendation for any who would join traditional historical treatments with a hard-hitting, penetrating analysis of the nation's woes.

The Needlecraft Shelf

Graphic Quilts from Everyday Images
Heather Scrimsher
Martingale & Company
19021 Avenue NE, Bothell, WA 98011
9781604684308 $24.99

Graphic Quilts from Everyday Images: 15 Patterns Inspired by Urban Life, Architecture, and Beyond provides photos of ordinary objects from beads to a propeller and shows how modern quilts can evolve from them, offering notes on everything form wall hangings to bed quilts and providing designs and photos for beginners and advanced quilters alike. Tips to block construction and arrangement, materials and cutting, and more lend to a survey that extends the idea of the quilt and its inspiration into modern circles, making this a fine pick for any needleworker looking for something different.

Lovely Lacy Knits
Eva-Maria Maier
Stackpole Books
5067 Ritter Road, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-6921
9780811714792 $14.95

Lovely Lacy Knits: Beautiful Projects Embellished with Ribbon, Flowers, Beads, and More provides a fine gathering of lacy patterns for all kinds of knits from shawls and hats to shirts, necklaces and socks. From working with mohair to make arm warmers to producing embellished 'comfort socks', this collection is packed with lovely creations recommended for those with some knitting background who want to go further.

Threads: The Basics & Beyond
Debbie Bates & Liz Kettle
Landauer Publishing
3100 NW 101st Street, Suite A, Urbandale, Iowa 50322
97819353726326 $24.95

Threads: The Basics & Beyond: The Complete Visual Guide to Thread Techniques & Creativity covers stitches, threads, and more, and reveals tips for working with threads and materials in everything from quilting to painting and ornamental craft projects. Techniques for using threads are presented in step-by-step directions for projects that invite readers to not just look at techniques, but practice them in projects. The result is a solid recommendation for needleworkers and craft collections alike, covering the specifics of blending threads into a range of projects.

Flowers in Felt & Stitch
Moy Mackay
Search Press USA
1338 Ross Street, Petaluma, CA 94954-1117
9781782210315 $29.95

Flowers in Felt & Stitch: Creating Floral Artworks Using Fleece, Fibres and Threads is a top pick for any who want to use felt and techniques in fine art painting-like works of art, and provides a sequel to the author's successful Art in Felt and Stitch. It includes techniques and a section on how to create different flower and leaf shapes, and it delves further into style and botanical illustration processes, showing how to create and use a different set of flower and leaf shapes in a work of art. With full-color, good-sized step-by-step instructions, this visual approach leaves nothing to guesswork and is an outstanding pick for needlework crafters looking for botanical possibilities.

Knitting Fresh Brioche
Nancy Marchant
Sixth&Spring Books
161 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 1301, New York, NY 10013
9781936096770 $24.95

Knitting Fresh Brioche: Creating Two-Color Twists & Turns packs in some seventy unique stitches that apply to 12 wrap and scarf projects, and focuses on how to create two-color twists using the brioche stitch alone. Each project receives step-by-step instructions on all aspects, while a stitch dictionary includes some seventy original two-color patterns. This approach assures that newcomers to brioche won't get lost in the process, and will find plenty of options for using the stitch in a variety of patterns and approaches that result in different looks and styles. The result is a powerful gathering of projects that emphasize understanding and diversity: perfect for knitters who want to explore all the possibilities in the brioche approach.

The Cookbook Shelf

Louisiana Crawfish
Sam Irwin
The History Press
420 Wando Park Blvd., Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
9781626192362 $19.99

Louisiana Crawfish: A Succulent History of the Cajun Crustacean is hard to neatly categorize: at once a food discussion of the crawfish and a cultural history survey of its importance and presence in Louisiana culture, it straddles the line to best be described as a culinary history, and includes a few local recipes such as Jambalaya, Crawfish Stew-Fey, and more. The crawfish is a $210 million dollar industry in Louisiana, and this documents the families who work with crawfish, the festivals, celebrations and recipes that have sprung up around it, and the methods and madness that has surrounded a creature that has become synonymous with Louisiana culture. Vintage black and white and color contemporary photos provide a mix of visuals and lend to the local insights, making this an attractive 'must' for culinary and American regional history collections alike.

The Latin Road Home
Jose Garces
Lake Isle Press
2095 Broadway, Suite 301, New York, NY 10023
9781891105494 $35.00

The Latin Road Home: Savoring the Foods of Ecuador, Spain, Cuba, Mexico, and Peru provides the author's personal familiarity with Latin fare and celebrates both the recipes of the author's childhood and the dishes that have become central to each country's culinary identity. From Cuban Coffee and Ceviche de Pulpo made with octopus and avocado to Stewed Duck with Potatoes, Peas, and Chilies, this packs in descriptions of dishes, their history, insights on each country's food pathways, and color photos on nearly every recipe page throughout. The result is a lovely presentation that offers visual as well as written appeal to cooks and historians alike.

Everyday Easy
Lorraine Pascale
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062305794 $29.99

Everyday Easy comes from a model who became a patisserie chef, and takes familiar dishes and turns them into special creations simply by adding a few common ingredients, from bacon to rosemary or balsamic vinegar. These dishes are suitable for weekday meals or entertaining alike, require very little in the way of special ingredients or extra preparation time, and can be as easy as a four-step Pan-Fried Pork chops with a Watercress, Peach, & Stilton Salad and a Lemon Ginger Dressing, or a five-step Seared Tuna Steaks with Cannellini Beans, Feta and Mint. Add full color photos on every facing page and you have a delightfully original creation by a best-selling UK cook whose recipes translate well to this side of the pond.

The Land Where Lemons Grow
Helena Attlee
The Countryman Press
43 Lincoln Corners Way/P.O. Box 748
Woodstock, Vermont 05091
9781581572902 $23.95

The Land Where Lemons Grow: The Story of Italy and its Citrus Fruit is a recommendation for any who enjoy cooking essays and travelogues alike, and follows the author's journey to explore the use and meaning of citrus in Italian lives. From the history of citrus fruits and usage to where the best blood oranges grow (near a volcano), this book considers not only the evolution and use of citrus in Italy, but around the world. Don't expect a travelogue or food discussion alone, here: history, horticulture, and art blend in for a fine saga that offers up a lively story for any food fan who wants a healthy dose of color.

The Great Vegan Protein Book
Celine Steen & Tamasin Noyes
Fair Winds Press
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781592336432 $22.99

The Great Vegan Protein Book: Fill Up the Healthy Way with More than 100 Delicious, Protein-Based Vegan Recipes is for any who are concerned about getting enough protein from a vegan diet, and provides a step-by-step survey of different vegan food groups. Recipes use whole food ingredients that are readily found and teach the best ways to prepare the dishes to get the most proteins. From Cacao-Coated Almonds to Eggplant Balela (a bean salad) and Creamy Cashew Sauce, these dishes are packed with appeal and designed to help readers get the most from a vegan protein diet.

Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook
Camilla V. Saulsbury
Robert Rose Publishers
120 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 800, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M4P 1E2
9780778805007 $24.95

Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook profiles the grains, flours, and substitute ingredients that help a dieter avoid the usual gluten in dishes, and is recommended for any who want to create dishes that try out oats, buckwheat, quinoa, millet, and more. There are color photos peppered throughout to accompany nearly three hundred whole-grain recipes, but the real strength here lies in a cookbook packed with potential for appealing to the entire family with such dishes as a Trinidadian Fish Stew with Millet or Miso Cod with Lemon Amaranth. There are many gluten-free cookbooks on the market, but this one does an exceptionally notable job of pinpointing recipes that are easy to blend into the everyday diet.

The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook
America's Test Kitchen Editors
America's Test Kitchen
Deborah Broide
9781936493968 $29.95

Most cooks know about America's Test Kitchen because of its reputation for producing foolproof recipes from its holdings: this collection of some 700 recipes display the same attention to detail as its meat-filled counterparts and provide dishes that offer more flavor and less specialized ingredients. From veggie burgers and heart protein-filled salads to whole-grain and whole-bean foods, noodle dishes, and more, this offers many step-by-step color photos for any preparation routine that could be considered challenging for novices, and shows how meatless dishes can be everyday affairs. Out of the 700 recipes, over 300 can be made in 45 minutes tops, some 500 are gluten-free, and 250 are began. These are highlighted with icons for quick identification. The result is a 'must' for any cook who wants to get up to speed with vegetarian cooking, or who wants to supplement a meat meal with main course, hearty and appealing vegetarian dishes.

Smoke It Like a Pro on the Big Green Egg
Eric C. Mitchell
Page Street Publishing
27 Congress Street, Suite 103, Salem, MA 01970
9781624140983 $21.99

Smoke It Like a Pro On the Big Green Egg & Other Ceramic Cookers: An Independent Guide with Master Recipes from a Competition Barbecue Team offers something far different than most barbecue or smoker books. For one thing, it's specific to ceramic cookers and includes smoking, grilling, and roasting techniques specific to these kinds of cookers. For another, it packs in lovely color photos to accompany tips on cedar plank smoking, includes international influences for dishes such as tacos, and even includes sides and desserts for such cookers, from a Maple Skillet Cornbread and Honey Jack Apple Nachos to Maple Creme Brulee. With such a variety of options, it's hard to go wrong - and the only basic requirement is a ceramic cooker and an interest in unusual approaches to smoking and barbecue tastes. Time to go shopping!

The Magical Slow Cooker
Sarah Olson
Front Table Books
c/o Cedar Fort, Inc.
2373 W. 700 S., Springville, UT 84663
9781462115334 $19.99

The Magical Slow Cooker: Recipes for Busy Moms joins other crock pot cookbooks but with a difference: it offers recipes for breakfasts and appetizers as well as the usual main courses, it focuses on how to produce fast and foolproof results from the slow cooker, and it emphasizes both wholesome ingredients and family-friendly results. Parents and kids thus will find satisfaction in a quick 'Poor Man's Steak Diane', which substitutes stew beef for the usual tenderloin used in Steak Diane, and Lemon Spoon Cake, which uses a box yellow cake mix base and adds lemon juice and butter embellishments. The result is just what a busy cook looks for in a 'fast' cookbook: speed, flavors, color photos throughout, and an attention to meals that hold wide appeal and no specialized ingredients to prove successful.

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

The Gift of Shamanism
Itzhak Beery
Destiny Books
c/o Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
9781620553725 $16.95

The Gift of Shamanism: Visionary Power, Ayahuasca Dreams, and Journeys to Other Realms is part autobiography and part new age self-help, and tells of the author's journey from skeptic to a respected shamanic healer after numerous visions throughout his lifetime became messages he couldn't ignore. His journey led to a trip to South America to work with indigenous shamanic healers, and his experiences with ayahuasca rituals in the Amazon jungle, in particular, tell of power animals, plant spirits, shamanic visions, and how these led to his ability to diagnoses mental and physical ailments. His stories will intrigue and involve any with a special interest in shamanism.

The Multidimensional Traveler
Khartika Goe
New Page Books
c/o Career Press Inc.
220 West Parkway, Unit 12, Pompton Plains, NJ 07444
9781601633552 $16.99

The Multidimensional Traveler: Finding Togetherness, or How I Learned to Break the Rules of Physics and Sojourn Across Dimensions and Time blends new age thinking with a spiritual perspective and shows readers not just how to consider multidimensional realities, but how to access them. It provides a framework for understanding the possibilities in such travels, it discusses the process of discovering what lays beyond the physical body and how to access it, and it advocates identifying one's own multidimensional abilities and using them for maximum advantage. The result is a power survey that is a 'must' for any who would consider breaking the boundaries of space and time.

Never Argue with a Dead Person
Thomas John
Hampton Roads
c/o Red Wheel Weiser
65 Parker Street, Suite 7, Newburyport, MA 01950
9781571747242 $16.95

Never Argue with a Dead Person: True and Unbelievable Stories from the Other Side comes from a Manhattan medium who has been called the "Hollywood psychic with the highest batting average" by The Hollywood Reporter, and whose connections have impressed even hard-core skeptics. Here are fifteen selected stories of exactly what happens when clients ask him to contact their dead: a wide range of diverse encounters that focus on comfort, healing, forgiveness and connections to be gained through such contacts. It helps to have an affinity for new age topics in general and afterlife contacts in particular, but these are wonderful introductions to this realm and provide a fine diversity usually not seen in accounts of medium encounters. For Thomas John, "sometimes spirits just show up". Sometimes they hold life-changing messages. Always, it's interesting - and that spark comes to life here, in a lively set of discussions perfect for any new age collection.

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

Two exceptional self-healing guides are top recommendations for new age and self-help collections alike; especially those seeking something different. Jaya Jaya Myra's Vibrational Healing: Attain Balance & Wholeness Understand Your Energetic Type (9780738743622, $15.99) explores the relationship between energy and health, and considers how vibrational healing techniques work, and when. It's directed to newcomers to the subject and explains energy types, purposes, and how to use vibrational healing methods to create a better life, and it's instructions include visualization exercises, mantras, color and light considerations, aromatherapy and more - so the ideal reader should already be versed in some of these methods to make the most of this extended new age health approach. Della Temple's Tame Your Inner Critic: Find Peace & Contentment to Live Your Life on Purpose (9780738743950, $15.99) is also directed to personal growth and focuses on how to adjust and harness the energy of positive thinking and how to turn negative patterns into positive approaches. From using innate intuitive abilities to heal damaging energy patterns to living a life filled with purpose and awareness, chapters advocate mental adjustments for better well-rounded approaches to daily challenges. Both are picks that will appeal across the board to both new age and self-help readers, but are best recommended for those with an affinity for both.

The Christian Studies Shelf

Leading Small Groups in the Way of Jesus
M. Scott Boren
IVP Books
c/o InterVarsity Press
PO Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 605151426
9780830836819 $16.00

Leading Small Groups in the Way of Jesus charts the life, death, and demise of small groups and their leaders in the church, and comes from a church leader who had led training seminars across the country about small group management, but realized that his commitment to the small group format had faded. Raised to go to church meetings above all, his realization that his commitment was fading sent him on a journey to examine his self and what his groups were producing. The result is a survey that is lively and contemporary, offering a detailed focus on small group management and challenges alike. In a world where church leadership is rapidly changing and spiritual purpose is being altered by cultural influence, Leading Small Groups in the Way of Jesus offers a satisfying alternative to Christian leaders who want to keep their small groups relevant and alive.

Rejoicing in Lament
J. Todd Billings
Brazos Press
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton, Ada, MI 49301
9781587433580 $18.99

Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestling with Incurable Cancer & Life in Christ comes from a theologian who was diagnosed with a rare form of incurable cancer before he was forty, and who began struggling with the typical questions about God's presence and intention in the face of life-threatening disaster. This book shares this personal journey but also provides insights on how his health and life challenges became reconciled with his vision of Christ and God's larger purpose. Students and pastors alike who are involved in questions dealing with human suffering will find Rejoicing in Lament a winning combination of autobiography and spiritual insight, tackling some of the biggest questions of faith and showing how the author emerged to some new realizations - and how fellow Christians can, as well. Poignant and analytical, it's an account that belongs in any Christian reading room.

Agents of the Apocalypse
Dr. David Jeremiah
Tyndale House Publishers
351 Executive Drive, Carol Stream, IL 60188
9781414380490, $24.99 (HC), $13.99 (Kindle),

Agents of the Apocalypse: A Riveting Look at the Key Players of the End Times questions whether we're living in the end times, if Revelation's prophecies aren't just on their way but here, and explores the book of Revelation as it relates to the modern world. From the two witnesses, the dragon, and the beasts from earth and sea to the personas predicted to emerge from these times, the senior pastor draws some striking conclusions that bring prophecies to life, exploring some of Revelation's most puzzling passages and how they translate to modern times. Christian readers will find this a frightening, engrossing study.

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 grew up under the Himalayan Mountains in the hill station of Musoorie, India. His faith in his world was threatened when he and his wife were brutally attacked by four armed men, leaving him to feel vulnerable and frightened. Challenged to heal both emotionally and physically, Atler needed to reconnect to the India he had grown up with and loved - and thus began his trek through the Himalayas in search of peace. This is a spiritual pilgrimage that chronicles a series of treks he took following his convalescence. The treks moved from being sad to being joyful as he rediscovered his country and his faith, and are provided here in a lovely series of inspirational insights perfect for a range of readers, from those interested in India or mountain journeys to others who will appreciate its deep personal and spiritual reflections.

The Religion/Spirituality Shelf

Experiences from the Light
Keidi Keating
New Page Books
c/o Career Press Inc.
220 West Parkway, Unit 12, Pompton Plains, NJ 07444
9781601633392 $15.99

Experiences from the Light: Ordinary People's Extraordinary Experiences of Transformation, Miracles, and Spiritual Awakening offers some fifty stories of adventures of light, including spiritual awakenings, near-death experiences, and more, and covers all kinds of stories, from an ill woman's story of how she came close to death to how animal spirits came to give comfort after friends were killed in an accident. With its hard-hitting collection of diverse spiritual experiences, this is a pick that will reach both new age and spirituality collections alike.

The Autism Shelf

Helping Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder Express their Thoughts and Knowledge in Writing
Elise Geither and Lisa Meeks
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Inc.
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
9781849059961 $26.95

Helping Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder Express their Thoughts and Knowledge in Writing covers key considerations educators need to help them teach writing skills to high school and college-level students with ASD, and covers everything from understanding the special higher-level thinking and motor skills of ASD students to how the usual writing approaches can be modified and customized with ASD in mind. It assumes students are preparing for higher education goals, it offers a blend of theory and writing exercises, and it comes from two PhD Directors specializing in student disability services, so its guidelines go beyond ideas and into the realm of applied lesson plans. From working with disability resources to preparing for university life, it covers not just writing skills, but the techniques students will need to know in order to get ahead both within and outside of the school system.

The Education Shelf

Grammar Keepers
Gretchen Bernabei
Corwin Press, Inc.
2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320-2218
9781483375465 $34.95

Grammar Keepers: Lessons That Tackle Students' most Persistent Problems Once and for All: Grades 4-12 packs in over a hundred lessons and practice pages to help students understand grammar and usage, and provides a format based on ten minutes of daily journal writing that embed the lessons in results discussed by the class. The usual approach to grammar - memorizing rules and parroting usage from old texts - thus receives a refreshing new, interactive facelift here with chapters showing how to add life and modern interest to the topic of grammar. Here are tools that do more than educate: they engage - and herein also lies the foundation for success in accessible formats that encourage discussion, debate, and ultimately, better understanding of how grammar works in student writings.

Colleges That Pay You Back, 2015 edition
Robert Franek,
The Princeton Review
c/o Random House Inc.
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
9780804125888 $21.99

Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Best Value Colleges and What It Takes to Get In appears in a 2015 updated edition to cover 200 schools that offer average grants of over $22,600, including nine tuition-free schools, and adds salary data from graduates to reveal how the education matches up to the financial return investment. Chapters provide top-value picks and lists of the highest-paying majors, with a focus not only on getting the best educational value for tuition, but the employability figures after graduation. The result is an overall assessment of what constitutes best value and is a top recommendation for any who would consider the bigger picture in college education.

Help Your Child to Thrive
Liane Brouillette
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House, Inc.
PO Box 5100, Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100
9781452523811 $13.99

Help Your Child to Thrive: Making the Best of a Struggling Public Education System comes from an author and professor who offers parents better ideas for working with the public school system than just volunteering at the school. Her book is geared to parents who want to be involved in a more effective manner, and covers everything from how to handle a bureaucratic process and how to encourage a child to take responsibility at home and school to handling challenges at all ages. The idea here isn't just to tweak a school system: it's to adjust family, child, and parental expectations and approaches - so it requires a reader willing to make changes specific to working within home and school systems for better results.

Sharing the Blue Crayon
Mary Anne Buckley
Stenhouse Publishers
480 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101-3451
9781625310118 $20.00

Sharing the Blue Crayon: How to Integrate Social, Emotional, and Literacy Learning describes how the author created a "friendship workshop" to accompany reading and writing workshops, and pairs classroom accounts and questions with analysis and examination of behaviors teachers are likely to encounter in their classrooms. Plenty of books focus on social interactions and emotional learning; but too few tell how to integrate these concerns with classroom curriculum for optimal results. This book uses simple activities, from read-alouds and sing-alongs to performances, to place students in a group and teach them how to empathize with one another, develop self-control, and become giving, cognizant individuals. It's a unique survey that integrates emotional with literary objectives and uses concrete suggestions to help teachers see solid results, and it's a pick for any education collection.

The Art Shelf

The Monster Book of Manga Steampunk
Jorge Balaguer, Editor
Harper Design
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062351999 $25.99

The Monster Book of Manga Steampunk offers a guidebook that presents some thirty manga characters set in a steampunk universe of fantasy and science, and offers up step-by-step instructions that teach artist readers how to craft their own manga steampunk creations. It's a combination of insights into the manga style and artistic focus and a how-to guide that takes elements of both and crafts them into a presentation rich in colorful drawings and step-by-step insights on their creation, and it provides specifics on how to use pencils and drawing tools to create special effects. The result will appeal to science fiction, comics and graphic novel, and arts and crafts collections alike.

Acrylic Works 2
Jamie Markle, editor
North Light Books
c/o F+W Media
1140 Broadway, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10001
9781440334702 $35.00

Acrylic Works 2: Radical Breakthroughs features paintings for well over a hundred modern artists, and excels in profiling radical techniques and possibilities in this second volume of The Best of Acrylic Painting. It offers plenty of insights on not only the artists and their approaches, but particular paintings selected for this volume, considering what's different, what works, and why. From landscapes and portraits to animals and abstract designs, this teaches many innovative ideas in acrylics and presents all images in an oversized format along with commentary that leaves nothing to mystery. Artists already working in acrylics who want some further goals and insights into the best of techniques and new ideas will find here an encouraging guide to doing something different.

The Woodworking Shelf

Chainsaw Lumbermaking
Will Malloff
Echo Point Books & Media, LLC
Brattleboro Business Park
22 Browne Court, Unit 100, Brattleboro, Vermont 05301
9781626548442 $39.95

Chainsaw Lumbermaking isn't for your average home crafter, but is a definite and unique pick for the woodworker who happens to own a few trees and who is interested in using chainsaw lumbermaking to turn trees into lumber and, then, projects. Over 400 photos pack a guide that covers all aspects of the project, from modifying a chainsaw and considering the milling process to building your own mill, cutting burls and ovals for projects, and more. the author has some 30 years' experience felling trees and making lumber, and has invented several chainsaw mills, so his techniques are not only tried and tested, they're often unique. Very few how-to books tell how to tell a tree properly or how to mill it. This book deserves to be profiled in a variety of collections; from those covering outdoors survival or woodcrafting skills to those appealing to woodworkers who want hands-on experience with the source of their projects.

The Money/Finance Shelf

Get What's Yours
Laurence J. Kotlikoff,
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
9781476772295 $19.99

Get What's Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security should be read by any who plan on making social security a big part of their retirement financial planning - and that's likely most working Americans. The surprise here is that not everyone is taking what they are entitled to take: billions of dollars are being left simply because consumers are unaware they've earned it. This book covers all Social Security benefits, explaining what can be collected, when, and how. It offers clear instructions on what kinds of benefits are commonly overlooked and how to get them, and it discusses how timing is crucial to many of these benefits, using case history examples to illustrate its points. The result is a powerful survey highly recommended for any contemplating getting social security and understanding the system's often-hidden assets.

The Literary Studies Shelf

The Words and Wisdom of Charles Johnson
Charles Johnson
Dzanc Books
c/o Publishers Group West
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781936875647 $19.95

The Words and Wisdom of Charles Johnson originated with the 2011 interviews between E. Ethelbert Miller and National Book Award winner Charles Johnson, and contains a wealth of essays and interview discussions that provides an in-depth assessment of the literary mind and approaches of Johnson. Of course, prior familiarity with Johnson's works is a prerequisite to successfully understanding this discussion and the perspectives of an Afro-American scholar and author of many novels, short stories, essays and screenplays. This means that most likely The Words and Wisdom of Charles Johnson will be required reading for college-level students of Afro-American studies and literature. Such audiences will find this collection the perfect supplement to a thorough reading of Johnson's works, lending understanding and insight to the wider realm of his creations. The result is a gathering of details no Johnson reader should be without, and a pick recommended for basic acquisition by any collection specializing in Afro-American literature in general and Johnson's works and their analysis in particular.

The Poetry Shelf

Darkness Sticks to Everything
Tom Hennen
Copper Canyon Press
PO Box 271, Port Townsend, WA 98368
9781556594045 $18.00

Darkness Sticks to Everything: Collected and New Poems represents the first nationally distributed collection from a poet whose topics reside in rural communities and the heartland, and provides vivid accounts that capture both the nature and human seasons of these worlds. One might anticipate that familiarity with the Midwest, prairies, or small towns is a prerequisite for enjoying this collection, but this is not so: such poems as 'Usually an Old Female is the Leader' speak universally, to hunters, men, and women alike: "A man/can't get warm/He tries to shoot down/The old hen duck/As she leads her flock away from snow./His shotgun pulls him into the sky."

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Spell Blind
David B. Coe
Baen Books
PO Box 1188, Wake Forest NC 27588
9781476780245 $25.00

Spell Blind presents a fine blend of P.I. investigative survey and fantasy as it presents Justis, who is training a serial killer with all the kills of a 'weremyste' - one with a wizard's gifts and the ability to see into the paranormal world. The downside of his gifts is a tendency to go mad under the full moon, which limits his effectiveness as an investigator and, certainly, as a cop. But he isn't the only one with special abilities: the perp holds the ability to burn out his victims' eyes with magic, and as the bodies pile up, Justis finds he must call on all his abilities, both human and special, to thwart his foe. With its different kind of investigator and action, Spell Blind is an unusually satisfying blend of detective story and fantasy with the ability to attract both audiences.

Steve Alten
Rebel Press
6045 South Fort Apache Rd, #100, Las Vegas, NV 89148
9781681020006 $24.95

Vostok is set in Antarctica - or should we say, below Antarctica - where a six-thousand-square-mile liquid lake over a thousand feet deep has been discovered: Vostok. A marine biologist and two other scientists are probing secrets left untouched for over 15 million years: secrets that are about to be disturbed by their investigations. It's a world where threats from giant creatures emerge, where long-hidden life has been left free to evolve, and where humans are about to step not only where no man has gone before, but right onto a secret world the likes of which has not been seen since Doyle's The Lost World. The difference between this and The Lost World is that it holds even greater dangers not just for these intrepid explorers, but for the rest of the world. Vostok is thriller sci-fi at its best: fueled by strong characters and an action- (and creature-) packed story line, it's a story that holds all kinds of satisfying changes, and which draws readers into another world and an adventure saga that's hard to put down. Very highly recommended!

The Fiction Shelf

I Regret Everything: A Love Story
Seth Greenland
Europa Editions
214 West 29th Street, Suite 1003, New York, N.Y. 10001
9781609452476 $16.00

Modern love is nothing simple, as is illustrated in I Regret Everything, the story of an over-thirty Manhattan lawyer who nurtures a secret poetry career and sadness over how his life has evolved. When he's introduced to his boss's teen daughter, Spaulding, the two hit it off unexpectedly - and therein lies the crux of a story that becomes ever more complex; because theirs is a relationship so wrong on so many levels, and Jeremy's life is about to move from disappointing to complicated. I Regret Everything charts this course using the angst and concerns of two protagonists to reveal how their relationship changes their similar self-destructive courses in life even as it creates further blends of opportunity and danger. Perspectives change from chapter to chapter between Jeremy and Spaulding, and provide readers with clear glimpses into the psyches of both. Modern love is anything but simple, and so the delicious complexities presented in I Regret Everything will delight its readers.

Remember Me Like This
Bret Anthony Johnston
Random House
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780812971880 $16.00

Remember Me Like This was named one of the New York Times' 100 Notable Books for 2014, and its appearance in paperback assures new audiences will find its approach not just engrossing, but difficult to put down. Four years have passed since Justin's disappearance: four years in which all kinds of speculation about his likely demise have decimated the Campbell family. One afternoon the police call to tell them Justin has been find in the neighboring town, and that he appears to be fine - but a miracle is not what it seems, and Justin's arrival home doesn't heal the wounds the years have brought. Blend a thriller with the story of an uncertain reunion and family estrangement and you have a powerful saga that is replete with tension and engrossing changes.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Gretel and the Case of the Missing Frog Prints
P.J. Brackston
Pegasus Crime
c/o Pegasus Books
80 Broad Street, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10004
9781605986722 $24.95

Welcome to a new kind of Brothers Grimm story: one in which mystery abounds, where Albrecht Durer the Much Much Younger's Frog Prints go missing, and where a much-older Gretel living with her glutton brother Hans has become a famous German investigator. Gretel and the Case of the Missing Frog Prints is full of such surprises, offering a fun German setting and culture, more than a mix of fairy tale influence, and a story that charts the investigative skills of one Gretel of Gesternstadt, a woman fueled by mystery and tasked with the most difficult cases in the country. There are so many predictable genre mysteries on the market (and a growing number of fairy tale take-offs) that it's refreshing to see a truly original work that blends the best of fantasy and mystery and adds more than a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek humor to the mix. Gretel and the Case of the Missing Frog Prints is highly recommended reading for any who love a good mystery but tire of the usual plot devices: something that blends intrigue with action and cements the whole thing in a fun read.

Dreams of My Mothers
Joel L.A. Peterson
Huff Publishing Associates
4214 Alden Drive, Edina, MN 55416
9780989527781 $14.95

Dreams of my Mothers: A Story of Love Transcendent is an unusual blend of fiction and biography: based on a true story, it's both a coming of age saga and the story of two mothers from opposite ends of the world whose love for the same child brings them into new lives. This is a vivid emotional read that follows how all this comes about, offering perspectives from three vantage points and neatly traversing avenues of pain, confrontation, redemption and recovery to arrive at the heart of the matter: unconditional love. How one boy faces his heritage and two mothers face the results of adoption abroad makes for a powerful saga that's both heart-rendering, wrenching, and satisfyingly hopeful.

Rainer Rey
Turner Publishing Company
200 - 4th Avenue North, Suite 950, Nashville, TN 37219
9781620459928 $17.95

Jace is tracking his father's killer. Madison is carrying on her family's quest for sustainable resources after her last living relative is murdered as part of a cover-up. That these two individuals will find their paths converging is predictable. What is less predictable is the events that will follow as Jace and Maddy find themselves pitted against a mercenary task force that will stop at nothing to get their hands on a new energy source that holds ramifications for the future of the world. Add aliens into the thriller format, include more than a touch of (predictable) romance, and posit an alien alternative energy force that anyone would kill for and you have a page-turner that holds a few elements of surprises within what begins as a standard thriller format.

The Gardening Shelf

Epic Tomatoes
Craig LeHoullier
Storey Publishing
210 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247
9781612122083 $19.95

Epic Tomatoes: How to Select & Grow the Best Varieties of All Time comes from a tomato expert who reviews over thirty varieties of red, pink, orange and green tomatoes and pairs lovely color photos with gardening insights on each variety's requirements, and is a top recommendation for any who would pair their tomato requirements with culinary and gardening objectives. Descriptions include discussions of each variety's taste attributes, growing requirements, seasonal patterns, and special uses, and include a peppering of recipes specific to each variety's strengths. There are plenty of tomato cookbooks on the market, and plenty of gardening guides as well; but few combine the two facets as seamlessly as does Epic Tomatoes, and few offer up a series of recommendations that are inviting and specific, pairing them with lovely color illustrations throughout, making this a top recommendation for cookbook and gardening collections alike.

Making a Wildflower Garden
Pam Lewis
Frances Lincoln Limited Publishers
74-77 White Lion Street
Islington, London, N1 9PF
9780711236103 $23.99

Making a Wildflower Garden: The Definitive Guide to Grassland Gardening comes from an author who has spent more than twenty years putting together wildflower meadows at Sticky Wicket, the garden she created with her husband, and is a recommendation for any interested in incorporating wildflowers into an overall garden plan. Unlike cultivated flowers, wildflowers often require different kinds of environments, minimal management, and some attention to different kinds of details, including identifying, controlling and replacing unwanted species, understanding differences between ideal visions and the realities of different plots and settings, and understanding the preferred habitats of different wild plants. With a basic understanding of both overall wildflower requirements and specific plants in mind, readers will achieve the relatively easy way what Pam Lewis learned from years of experience, and will find Making a Wildflower Garden a solid set of guidelines for success.

Sustainable Revolution
Juliana Birnbaum & Louis Fox
North Atlantic Books
2526 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA 94704
9781583946480 $34.95

Sustainable Revolution: Permaculture in Ecovillages, Urban Farms, and Communities Worldwide is packed with color photos, interviews, and essays that highlight some sixty community-based projects for climates around the world, and which profile urban gardeners, seed-saving collectives, and more. It's based on the principles of sustainable cultures but goes beyond the usual idealism to pinpoint how these principles are operating in a range of settings. Permaculture is nothing new: what is new is a focus on diverse projects that make social and economic sense, and an attention to exploring community governance, finances and economics, connections to the land, and the ethical approaches that evolve from permaculture efforts. Any collection strong in sustainable farming or land management needs this gathering of success stories.

The Travel Shelf

Scotland, eighth edition
Neil Wilson & Andy Symington
Lonely Planet Publications
150 Linden Street, Oakland CA 94607
9781743215708 $24.99

The eighth updated edition of the take-along tote Scotland once again provides independent travelers with a book that can be easily used both for advance planning and for destination journeys, and provides a candid assessment of everything from walking and driving tours and local specialties to places to eat and sleep. Small maps, sidebars profiling special recommendations, and directions and tips that include phone numbers, websites and emails, and descriptions make it easy to vagabond in the country without questions on where to go and what to do, while the size of the guide makes it easy to pull out and consult quickly (small print notwithstanding). The result is a guide that's been entirely updated to include all new details about the entire country - a 'must' for any planning a Scottish adventure!

Secret Gardens of the Cotswolds
Victoria Summerley
Frances Lincoln Ltd.
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9780711235274 $29.99

Secret Gardens of the Cotswolds: A Personal Tour of 20 Private Gardens can be read in two ways: as a armchair garden read profiling some 20 estates both public and private, and as a travel book identifying particularly spectacular gardens perhaps worthy of a visit (for those journeying to England). The gardens are displayed along with their gardeners and managers and they represent a wide range of notable garden styles and results. Former Independent editor Victoria Summerley includes essays that remark on sources of inspiration and why the properties hold specific significance above others. Add an oversized presentation with full color photos by UK artist Hugo Rittson-Thomas and you have a winning book that will attract gardening enthusiasts who either plan a trip to the Cotswolds region of England, or who want inspiration for their own American counterparts.

Ben Masters
Texas A&M University Press
4354 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4354
9781623492816 $40.00

Unbranded: Four Men and Sixteen Mustangs. Three Thousand Miles Across the American West follows a rare back country horseback journey across unspoiled public lands from Mexico to Canada, and is a visual wonder that packs in color photos from a camera man who accompanied the group. Any with an interest in the Western United States will find this packed with gorgeous images of horses and countryside, offering a survey of the mustang horse and its place in America. Insights on land conservation issues and the special circumstances surrounding wild horses and their management accompany these visual wonders, reinforcing the dual value of a book that serves as both a natural history survey and a travelogue. Any interested in wild horses and their plight must have this gorgeous survey!

The Nautical Shelf

2015-2015 Sailor's Guide to the Windward Islands
Chris Doyle
Cruising Guide Publications
1130 Pinehurst Road, Suite D, Dunedin, FL 34698
9780944428993 $33.95

The 2015-2015 Sailor's Guide to the Windward Islands is a sailor's take-along destination guide; not an armchair read - unless you're planning a cruise there. It's packed with charts, navigation, updated tips on marinas and services, island information particular to boating and water activities, and more, and appears in its 17th updated edition to provide cruisers with everything needed to make the most of a journey to the Windwards. The packaging of this book in lay-flat spiral binding includes a hand spine-lettered side which makes for the perfect choice for shelving and easy access under way, while the specific insights will save much time and research for any who travel to the islands via boat. Quite simply a 'must' for any sailor heading in that direction.

The Political Science Shelf

Trust Betrayed
Scott Taylor
Regnery Publishing, Inc.
One Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20001
9781621573272 $27.99

Trust Betrayed: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the Selling Out of America's National Security comes from a former Navy SEAL who has carried out many a clandestine sniping mission for American forces behind enemy lines, and who outlines a dangerous threat from within at the highest levels, offering up a plethora of charges against the Obama administration documenting leaks and compromises of the nation's intelligence. It identifies flawed politics, strategies that ultimately empower terrorists, and uses eyewitness accounts, analysis of strategy, and political insights to pinpoint how Obama's politics are injuring ally relationships. Whether or not you adopt an adversarial viewpoint on Obama's politics and policies, Trust Betrayed is certainly food for thought.

God's Bankers
Gerald Posner
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
9781416576570 $32.00

God's Bankers: A History of Money and Power at the Vatican examines the Catholic Church's finances and questionable financial history and surveys some 200 years of struggles for power and money that have occurred within the Catholic church structure. It exposes how the Church evolved from a simple financial structure into an international holding company, it probes and identifies questionable practices and financial entanglements that will prove a challenge to Pope Francis, and it is filled with powerful insights based on nine years of research over three continents, dozens of interviews, and thousands of documents from government and private archives alike. From how the Vatican split profits with the Third Reich during the war and covered up the evidence to how it's been linked to Italian mobsters, this is a powerful survey that is a 'must' not just for religious and business collections, but for any reader of global politics and financial history.

Under This Beautiful Dome
Terry Mutchler
Seal Press
1700 - 4th Street, Berkeley, California 94710
9781580055086 $24.00

Under This Beautiful Dome: A Senator, A Journalist, and the Politics of Gay Love in America tells of the journalist author's secret five-year relationship with Penny Severns, an Illinois State Senator, and the constant secrecy they had to engage to be gay lovers in a conservative political town. They couldn't marry, they had to constantly field political conundrums, and when Penny was diagnosed with breast cancer, more challenges arose. This memoir covers both personal and political realms, from the impact of gay marriage legislation on American families to how laws affect love and limit lives. Any concerned about gay rights in America will find this a powerful memoir.

Mystery of Contemporary Iran
Mahnaz Shirali
Transaction Publishers
10 Corporate Place South, Piscataway, NJ 08854
978-1412854627 $47.95

Some other books cover the history of Iran, but usually emphasize its social and cultural changes. Mystery of Contemporary Iran differs from most in its focus on the changing political structure of the country, addressing such questions as how an Islamic dictatorship came into power only thirty years after the Islamic Republic came into being, how Islam gained power in the country and overturned the reform process, and the evolving Shiite clergy's role in the country's political process. This in-depth study is recommended for college-level audiences who want more political insights than most books allow for.

The Automotive Shelf

Ford Mustang Red Book: 1964 1/2 - 2015
Peter C. Sessler
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9780760347447 $24.99

Ford Mustang Red Book offers a pocket-sized, information-packed survey of all the specifications, options, production numbers and details surround all aspects of the Ford Mustang, and is a 'must' for any fan of the vehicle who would collect the car and understand its models and changes. This is a new, revised fifth updated edition which reflects changes in prices and models, and provides key details on everything from basic pricing down to VIN and tips about assessing original vehicles. Add color photos of each model and charts of at-a-glance information throughout and you have a 'must' reference key to any Ford Mustang collector.

Professor Porsche's Wars
Karl Ludvigsen
Casemate Publishers
908 Darby Road, Havertown, PA19083
9781783030194 $50.00

Professor Porsche's Wars: The Secret Life of Legendary Engineer Ferdinand Porsche Who Armed Two Belligerents Through Four Decades isn't just for auto enthusiasts who might anticipate the usual car-driven story: it's for any who want to know another side of Porsche's life: his work as a designer of military vehicles and machinery. This focuses on the history of his relationship with German armed forces and the designs he was responsible for under their time. It covers his pioneering technological advancements, how he worked on various kinds of engines and jets, and it comes packed with not only vintage black and white photos and charts, but discussions of the history of armed equipment design and deployment. The result is not just a 'must' for transportation collections, but a top recommendation for military history holdings, as well, considering the wartime works of a major car designer.

The Computer Shelf

A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux
Mark G. Sobell
Prentice Hall
801 East 96th Street, #300, Indianapolis, IN 46240-3759
9780133927313 $59.99

A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux is just about the only guide to Ubuntu Linux that a programmer will need, offering the latest keys to installing, customizing, securing and working with Ubuntu desktops. This edition has been completely updated for Ubuntu 14.04, which Canonical will support on both desktops and servers into 2019, and covers all the features and techniques from the basics of installation to the advanced administrative management tasks. Everything's been revamped and updated for this edition, so users of prior books need this latest guide, which is simply packed with detail. While the book can be used as a tutorial or textbook, its at-a-glance information and organization also lends to its use as an ongoing reference for programmers working with Ubuntu, making it a top recommendation.

The Biography Shelf

The Young T.E. Lawrence
Anthony Sattin
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9780393242669 $28.95

In 1914 Britain declared war on Germany, a period of time when 26-year-old T.E. Lawrence was about to burn the only copy of a book recounting his adventures as an archaeologist and spy in the Middle East. He'd eventually write another book of the same name - a book which led to his fame as Lawrence of Arabia - but this biography discusses the man behind the legend, and uses his letters and stories of those who knew him to build a valuable story of the five years Lawrence spent traveling the Middle East before the war. From his scholarly background to his journeys, these journal entries and diaries capture his experiences and life in a manner accessible even by those with no prior familiarity with the man or his writings. The lively approach makes this a recommendation for literary as well as history, travel and biography readers.

Goldeneye Where Bond Was Born
Matthew Parker
Pegasus Books
80 Broad Street, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10004
9781695986869 $27.95

Goldeneye Where Bond Was Born: Ian Fleming's Jamaica narrows its focus to Goldeneye, the house he built overlooking a beach in Jamaica, and considers how the Bond novels and stories were influenced by this environment. It's hard to neatly peg this coverage: any literary collection strong in Fleming titles will want to include it, as well as film collections where James Bond movies are of interest. It's reviewed here because it also explores Fleming's world and retreat, considers his Jamaican friendships, and in presenting a bigger picture of the country's evolving relationship with the world, it offers contrasts between 1950s Jamaica's approach to independence to its present-day world. The result is an outstanding survey packed with insights key to understanding Ian Fleming's world and how it translated to his famous James Bond character and scenarios, as well as a cultural and social survey of Jamaica's evolving importance in the world.

The Bird Market of Paris: A Memoir
Nikki Moustaki
Henry Holt & Company
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 400, New York, NY 10010-7725
9780805096514 $26.00

The Bird Market of Paris: A Memoir comes from a life-long bird lover and a literary writer who reveals her struggle with alcoholism and her relationship with her successful grandfather, also a storyteller and bird expert, and is a solid pick for any who want a memoir of one woman's struggles with booze and how it replaced her life's passions. When her grandfather died while she was in graduate school, her dependence upon alcohol grew even more severe, with blackouts and emergency room visits becoming the norm. Her story is harrowing, insightful, and more importantly, charts the way out of a seemingly impossible dependence that could serve as a roadmap for recovery.

The Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf

Marvel Comics in the 1980s
Pierre Comtois
TwoMorrows Publishing
10407 Bedfordtown Drive, Raleigh, NC 27614
9781605490595 $27.95

Marvel Comics in the 1980s: An Issue By Issue Field Guide to a Pop Culture Phenomenon is a 'must' for any comic book collector and represents the third volume in Comtois' series which takes individual issues and traces comic book history through them. The new book covers marvel's final historical phase in an era which included Stan Lee's move to the West Coast, Jim Shooter's demise as editor-in-chief, and more. Discussions pair history with interviews and surveys that clearly chart not just the course of Marvel's 1980s world, but its major influences and final history, adding to a treatment that provides satisfying discussions of the evolution of the industry as a whole as well as Marvel in particular. No serious comic book collector should be without this survey!

The Audiobook Shelf

The Geneva Strategy
Jamie Freveletti
Hachette Audio
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9781478979562 $30.00

The Geneva Strategy is based on Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne series but isn't written by Ludlum - but that doesn't mean it can't be recommended. Freveletti does a fine job of returning another Covert-One adventure, narrator Jeff Woodman successfully captures the tone and drama of an action-packed thriller which makes this audio a particularly compelling listen, and a vivid worldwide search by a team set to recover kidnapped government officials comes to life in a top recommendation especially notable for prior fans of Ludlum in general and the Jason Bourne sagas in particular.

Jonathan Kellerman
Random House Audio Books
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 5th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780804194228 $45.00

Motive provides a new Alex Delaware novel, narrated by veteran John Rubinstein and presented in an unabridged story that presents the victim, Ursula, a successful divorcee who has been gunned down in what looks like a revenge crime. There are two motives: her business partner and ex-husband and her divorce lawyer - also her lover. But as Alex discovers, there are really more perps than that - and this is when things really begin to heat up. Anticipate a vivid mystery that comes to life under the hands of a seasoned author well versed in creating a thriller mystery and in returning Alex Delaware's investigations to the limelight with fresh new action: an approach spiced by John Rubinstein's lively rendition.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

If Joan of Arc Had Cancer
Janet Lynn Roseman, PhD
New World Library
14 Pamaron Way, Novato, CA 94949
9781608683185 $15.95

If Joan of Arc Had Cancer: Finding Courage, Faith, and Healing from History's Most Inspirational Woman Warrior is a guide recommended for women who have or have had cancer, and it uses the figurehead of Joan of Arc to discuss how women can find their own inner strength to deal with cancer. This takes the form of over thirty attributes called 'Flames of Courage', each of which represents different themes in meditation and interpretation and which offer readers pathways to locating their own inner courage and power. Years of the author's experience leading workshops for women with cancer have tested these affirmations and make this the perfect guide for any woman struggling with a diagnosis.

The Antibiotic Era
Scott H. Podolsky
Johns Hopkins University Press
2715 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218-4363
9781421415932 $34.95

The Antibiotic Era: Reform, Resistance, and the Pursuit of a Rational Therapeutics comes from a physician and historian who examines the history of antibiotics and how they were developed and prescribed - but it's more than a medical history survey. It details struggles of reformers from the 1940s to modern times as they advocated for better use of drugs and against over-prescribing. The first wave of such reformers concentrated on regulating the drug industry and led to controlled clinical trials for establishing therapeutic efficacy, but there was no attempt to stop physicians from inappropriately prescribing approved drugs. In an era where concerns over antibiotics revolve around better regulation and more appropriate prescription practices even as pharmaceutical companies are bringing marketing to the TV viewer, the need for an assessment such as The Antibiotic Era has never been greater. Thus, this book's value will only increase over time, and is recommended beyond health collections alone.

Healing Without Medicine
Albert Amao, PhD
Quest Books
c/o The Theosophical Publishing House
306 W. Geneva Road, Wheaton, IL 60187
9780835609210 $19.95

Though the likely readers of Healing Without Medicine from Pioneers to Modern Practice: How Millions Have Been Healed by the Power of the Mind Alone will be new age or spirituality followers who will embrace the idea that all healing is self-induced, this book is featured here because any with an interest in healing will find its lessons and insights thought-provoking and important. Chapters consider how the human psyche interacts with the physical body, how spirituality enters into the bigger picture of illness and health, and how the power of mind works in the overall healing process. The result is a survey highly recommended for any reader interested in alternative healing.

The Herbal Handbook for Home & Health
Pip Waller
North Atlantic Books
2526 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA 94704
9781583948927 $27.95

The Herbal Handbook for Home & Health: 501 Recipes for Healthy Living, Green Cleaning & Natural Beauty covers all kinds of recipes for everything from stain removers and oven cleaner to cough medicine, toothpaste, mouthwash, and more, and is a pick for any who would apply herbal remedies for better health. It shows how to substitute gentler plants for toxic solutions that often add allergens into the home, and comes from a herbalist who provides recipes from her own library and from other leading herbalists. The result is a pick for any who would reduce toxins in the home for a better, healthier lifestyle.

Drugs Without the Hot Air
David Nutt
Box 145, Cambridge, CB4 1GQ, England
9781906860165 $19.95

Drugs Without the Hot Air: Minimising the harms of Legal and Illegal Drugs is a highly recommended survey of the pros and cons of drugs, and considers how illegal and legal substances alike affect people. It gathers evidence under one cover, provides young people, parents and teachers with insights on substances that alter states of consciousness or kill pain, and addresses issues ranging from the development of tolerance and why some don't become addicted to drugs to the freedoms and choices revolving around drugs. The result is a wide-ranging discussion that is recommended for not just health readers, but for collections strong in social issues, as well. The latest research and statistics are paired with medical insights to make for a powerful read.

Whole Body Barefoot
Katy Bowman
Propriometrics Press
PO Box 482, Carlsborg, WA 98324
9780989653985 $12.95

Whole Body Barefoot: Transitioning Well to Minimal Footwear focuses not just on feet, but on footwear and barefoot options, and comes from a biomechanist who explores how feet and shoe choices affect the entire body's health. Now, there have been books about foot and leg care published in the past; but most focus on physical conditions that evolve - not so much on how footwear affects them. By narrowing its focus to shoes and minimal shoes this provides a set of insights and routines that will appeal not just to health readers, but anyone with feet. From how to augment feet for different terrains and uses to movement choices, standing foot massage strategies, and various supportive exercises, Whole Body Barefoot is especially recommended for those who would go barefoot and better understand foot care and health requirements.

What's Wrong With My Child?
Sally M. Pacholok, RN, BSN and Jeffrey J. Stuart, DO
Quill Driver Books
2006 South Mary, Fresno, CA 93721
9781610352444 $16.95

What's Wrong With My Child? From Neurological and Developmental Disabilities to Autism... How to Protect Your Child from B12 Deficiency comes from the authors of Could it Be B12? and provides another specific focus on the problems involved with B12 deprivation, and is a pick for any concerned parent whose child has been diagnosed with developmental delay, behavioral problems, or autism. B12 is a vitamin deficiency easily treated but often not diagnosed. It can easily be misinterpreted as autism and other neurological disorders, and can cause mental illness, seizures, and more. This remains the only book for parents that cover the basics of how to identify a possible B12 deficiency from fetal development through adolescence, and discusses intervention techniques and treatments while emphasizing techniques for working with doctors. The result is a treasure trove that should be in any collection catering to parents.

The Mindfulness Diet
Dr. Patrizia Collard & Helen Stephenson
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9780600630517 $9.99

At first glance The Mindfulness Diet: Eat in the 'Now' and Be Your Perfect Weight for Life looks like a new age title - or, maybe, a cookbook - but it's reviewed here in our health section because, actually, it's a little bit of everything. With the 'mindful diet' there's no fasting or dieting, and no definitions of 'good' and 'bad' - just a better awareness of nutrition and how every mouthful of food relates to underlying food issues and health. Mindfulness techniques are applied to eating habits and accompany some 70 quick, easy recipes that promote enlightened eating over submitting to cravings. Add insights into food choices and eating that truly satisfy on physical and emotional levels and you have a little cookbook with a difference, especially recommended for new age readers with some prior interest in applying mindful techniques to food.

When Your Life is Touched By Cancer
Bob Riter
Hunter House Publishers
PO Box 2914, Alameda, CA 94501-2914
9781630266790 $24.95

When Your Life is Touched By Cancer: Practical Advice and Insights for Patients, Professionals and Those Who Care is a special focus on the first days that follow a cancer diagnosis: a time of heady fear, despair, and confusion. The author is a cancer survivor who considers the issues that accompany a cancer diagnosis, following patient experiences from that initial moment through treatment and beyond and offering specific insights. From how to discuss cancer with friends, family and medical professionals to breaking the news to others and handling what happens when treatment is over, When Your Life is Touched By Cancer, more so than others, discusses the emotions accompanying diagnosis and is designed to be picked up and put down randomly, at will. This in itself is a special feature that contrasts sharply with other cancer books that could prove more overwhelming in detail and require a progressive approach: the beauty here lies in a flexibility that is just the ticket for a world newly changed.

The Social Issues Shelf

School Shooters
Peter Langman
Rowman & Littlefield
4501 Forbes Blvd., Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
9781442233560 $36.00

School Shooters: Understanding High School, College, and Adult Perpetrators is a pick for any frightened by school shootings, and addresses common misconceptions about the perpetrators and their acts. Peter Langman considers nearly fifty national and international cases of school shootings in the course of dispelling myths and exposing factors that led to rampages, and provides a survey that considers violence prevention tactics and how they succeed or fail. The result is a powerful combination of social and psychological analysis that provides insights on perps, programs to thwart them, and school safely, and should be read by any concerned about the escalation of school violence.

How to Be a Husband
Tim Dowling
Blue Rider Press
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780399172939 $26.95

How to Be a Husband may sound like an autobiography or a self-help title and, indeed, it can reach into these audiences; but it's featured in our Social Issues section because, quite simply, it should reach more than those looking for personal revelations or tips. It combines humor on 'what not to do' in a marriage with a survey of what defines a good husband, and it provides plenty of fun insights into the changing standards between men and women and how society views them. The humor serves as a palatable delivery device that invites readers to consider the elements that make for a good husband, how they've changed over time, and the ironies and inconsistencies of relationships. The result is a lively read that is intriguing and fun, while delivering the very serious message of changing images of husbands and wives over the decades.

Digital Destiny
Shawn Dubravac, PhD
Regnery Publishing, Inc.
One Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20001
9781621573739 $29.99

Digital Destiny: How the New Age of Data Will Transform the Way We Work, Live, and Communicate addresses the changing technology of human lives and considers how different new inventions being worked on will change daily lives in the next decade. From watches which can measure vital signs and monitor health to devices that adjust environment to match mood swings and cars that drive themselves, these assessments come from an economist who reports not just on the latest technologies and their applications, but how digital changes will affect human endeavors for better and for worse.

Alpha God
Hector A. Garcia
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781633880207 $19.00

Alpha God: The Psychology of Religious Violence and Oppression could also have been featured in our Religion/Spirituality Shelf section, but is reviewed here for its wider importance to social issues holdings as well as readers of psychology or religion. It offers a history tracing the belief of a single god to primates, offers the author's original research in the process of exploring the concept and its evolutionary process, and most importantly, tackles the topic of religious violence that continues to plague modern times. It's a bold exploration of an avenue of evolution that applies to human religious choices, and it explores why religion exists, its history, and contends that it's built upon evolved psychological patterns. Perfect for classroom discussion at the high school to college level, Alpha God offers much important spiritual, psychological and social food for thought, with not a light dose of controversy added for close reflection.

Detained and Deported
Margaret Regan
Beacon Press
24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210
9780807071946 $25.95

Detained and Deported: Stories of Immigrant Families Under Fire tells of the plight of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. - many of whom have lived in the States for years - and who are being detained and deported at unprecedented rates, their American-born children consigned to foster care. Thousands are taken from their families and held in detention centers for months or even years, while others are sent back to violent nations or dropped off in Mexican border towns. Many will illegally cross back to get home to their children. Detained and Deported provides a hard-hitting report based on years of reporting in the Arizona-Mexico border region and comes from a journalist who gathers the stories of these deportees. It belongs in any collection strong in immigrant issues.

The Terrorism Studies Shelf

ISIS: The State of Terror
Jessica Stern and J.M. Berger
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062395542 $27.99

ISIS: The State of Terror provides a close inspection of the kinds of tactics ISIS uses to frighten citizens and lure new soldiers, and provides an assessment of these methods and approaches governments might use to respond to them. It comes from two of America's foremost experts on terrorism and uses their unique access to intelligence sources and law enforcement entities to consider the evolution of the Islamic State and to consider how it arose from other terrorist responses gone awry. Its emphasis on how to modify present ideas of terrorism and terrorists sets this apart from others and provides a clear assessment that addresses government responses past and present and how they may be modified in the future.

The Business Shelf

Debt: The First 5,000 Years
David Graeber
Melville House Publishing
145 Plymouth Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
9781933633862 $32,99

Debt: The First 5,000 Years is both an economic history and a business title, and is recommended for readers interested in the history of debt and its influence on culture. It's hard to neatly 'peg' Debt: The First 5,000 Years: call it a book about economic growth and ideas, or call it a history, or even call it a book about cultural morality and you'd be correct in all assessments. It will reach a wide audience of readers serious about understanding the world history of debt and its accompanying political and economic debates, and it appears in an expanded, updated edition to include the latest economic events and analysis. College-level audiences will find it a pointed observation.

The Birth of a Brand
Brian Smith
Beyond Words Publishing
20827 NW Cornell Road, Suite 500, Hillsboro, OR 97124
9781582705354 $24.00

The Birth of a Brand: Launching Your Entrepreneurial Passion and Soul considers how companies are formed and grow, and compares the branding process to the birthing process in a guide that considers how products are developed, new ventures are promoted, and how branding works. He's served as a mentor to business leaders and incorporates their experiences and his own in a narrative that shows how businesses grow and mature. The result is his investigations can serve as a roadmap to others, guiding fledgling businesses around the potholes and directly to success; especially since they're presented in the kind of format that links business savvy, branding insights, and psychological approaches to building better, more efficient business perceptions.

The Attacker's Advantage
Ram Charan
Public Affairs Books
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 West 57th Street, #1321, New York, NY 10107
9781610394741 $24.99

The Attacker's Advantage: Turning Uncertainty Into Breakthrough Opportunities comes from a global business expert who has advised some of the world's top companies and business leaders, and here presents a game plan for handling some of the most difficult business problems. It's all about adopting an 'attack posture' rather than honing defenses, and it's about getting ahead of traditions and those who keep to them to make the most of rapidly changing global markets. Adversaries in such a marketplace appear quickly and become complex, powerful forces in an unprecedented fashion: The Attacker's Advantage advocates taking the reins and becoming one of these people, holding the ability to spot the need for change and new directions while others are fortifying their existing strongholds.

The Self-Help Shelf

Better Than Before
Gretchen Rubin
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780385348614 $26.00

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives identifies approaches that really work to change habits, and specifies goals specific to getting more sleep, improving health, letting go of work or the tendency to procrastinate, and more. Readers expecting this to be a serious, dry coverage will be surprised that the author's research blends well with an engaging manner that creates a lively dialogue rather than a dry litany of habits. The latest science on decision-making processes and willpower thus blend neatly with practical tips on how to break habits in a guide highly recommended for any who would better understand the sources of self-defeating habits and how to adjust them.

But I'm Not A Wicked Stepmother!
Kathi Lipp & Carol Boley
Tyndale House Publishers
351 Executive Drive, Carol Stream, IL 60188
9781589978010 $14.99

But I'm Not A Wicked Stepmother!: Secrets of Successful Blended Families is for any new stepmother who wants to succeed at building a strong blended family, and comes from two stepmothers who discuss strategies to help women blend two families into a unit. Stories of their personal experiences blend with accounts of other stepmothers and expert advice on methods, offering realistic insights into the special challenges of being a stepmother and also providing practical advice and hope on how to overcome common obstacles to success. The result is a guide many a concerned new stepmother (and those with some experience) will pick up for insights.

Worry Less So You Can Live More
Jane Rubietta
Bethany House Publishers
11400 Hampshire Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55438
9780764212659 $13.99

Worry Less So You Can Live More: Surprising, Simple Ways to Feel More Peace, Joy, and Energy is a religious-based series of admonitions showing how to release anxiety and worry to lead a better life 'in the moment', and is recommended for self-help readers who want spirituality injected into the equation. It provides practical tools for change, uses discussion questions and journaling as well as first-person author insights, and presents insights on 'the fear box' and other self-limiting approaches to life that ultimately thwart a clear vision of a more spiritual world. The result is a how-to guide that is firmly grounded not just in belief, but in tested methods to overcome personal limitations that often originate from negative internal patterns.

The Fashion Shelf

Models of Influence
Nigel Barker
Harper Design
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062345844 $40.00

Models of Influence: 50 Women Who Reset the Course of Fashion comes from a fashion photographer who profiles some fifty of the most influential models of the 1940s to modern times, considering each woman's place in fashion and how her physical characteristics and attitude influenced the world of beauty. These biographical profiles are accompanied by a wealth of photos of each model in a powerful collection of images from a seventy-year time frame, and serve to compliment a history that surveys the changing world and definition of beauty and fashion. With its in-depth survey of the fashion world's history and culture, this is a 'must' for any arts holding.

The Interior Design Shelf

The Interiors of Chester Jones
Henry Russell
Merrell Publishers
c/o 60 Cycle Media Relations LLC
8755 Lookout Mountain Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90046
9781858946252 $65.00

The Interiors of Chester Jones displays the works of Chester Jones and the interior designs he worked with, and is a recommended pick for any arts collection strong in interior designers. Jones was a former architect and his reputation as a UK top designer is solid. This catalog of his works and interiors display creations that aren't a flashy as some, but conversely are more functional. Furniture styles and fabrics, wood and carpet textures, and attention to functional details and art alike make The Interiors of Chester Jones a powerful attraction for any arts professional and for designers who would understand Chester Jones' approach and incorporate some of his creative spark into their own interiors.

Digital Painting Techniques, Volume 6
3D Total Publishing
29 Foregate Street, Worcester, Worcestershire, WR1 1DS UK
9781909414112 $49.99

The latest volume of Digital Painting Techniques represents the sixth year of a series that profiles the latest digital painting trends and techniques and gathers together, under one cover, the works of industry experts. It's a top visual representation of the latest illustrators and design trends of the industry and traces character and scene creation, how fantasy worlds are depicted, the basics of designing sci-fi scenarios, and more, and it offers aspiring artists a treasure trove of tutorials and tips designed to illustrate and enhance the creative process of working in the digital painting environment. Add full-page color concepts, interviews and discussions, and how-to insights and you have a guide that both illustrates the latest works and approaches on the market and lets fellow artists in on some industry secrets as how it's done. This focus on techniques as well as art makes for a dual recommendation both for aspiring artists who want to pick up ideas and those who want to browse the latest information on new trends in the digital art world, making for a versatile, highly recommended pick for both audiences.

The Crafts Shelf

Hot Knots
Kat Hartmann
250 Wireless Boulevard, Hauppauge, NY 11788
9781438095652 $21.99

Hot Knots: Fresh Macrame Ideas for Jewelry, Home, and Fashion considers a wide range of macrame techniques from old designs to modern kinds of knots, and covers some 18 projects with a wide range of applications, form housewares and accessories to jewelry. The instruction takes the form of step-by-step tutorials that teach basic knotting techniques, then apply them to particular projects. Over 200 color images make it easy to follow these new knotting possibilities, while the discussion of which projects lend to what kinds of knots makes for a particularly involving survey. There are plenty of books on knotting on the market; but few offer the diversity in project applications of this new guide.

The Science Shelf

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 is a fine addition for any collection interested in storm science and research, and covers events of the April, 2011 climax of a superstorm that devastated over twenty states from Texas to New York in three days. Three hundred and forty-nine tornadoes touched down. Journalist Kim cross captures the science and the human effects connected to this event, offering a dramatic report of challenge and survival that combines the science of super storms with the human drama of their aftereffects. The result is recommended for science and general interest collections alike as a vivid history that captures the storm's havoc and aftermath.

Exploration and Engineering
Erik M. Conway
Johns Hopkins University Press
2715 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218-4363
9781421416045 $34.95

Exploration and Engineering: The Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Quest for Mars reveals how the lab's engineers have contributed to the evolving technology that has led to Mars exploration breakthroughs, and is a 'must' for any reader of modern astronomy who wants insights into how the lab conducts its research, solves problems, and handle technological challenges. From locating funding to the changing goals of Mars explorations, this draws many direct connections between engineering advancements and space objectives, and provides a fine history of evolving purposes and supporting technical advancements. The result will interest engineers, any involved in astronomy, readers who like accounts of exploration and achievement, and of course, those with a special interest in the products and purposes of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Plumb's Veterinary Drug Handbook, eighth edition
Donald C. Plumb
Wiley Blackwell
350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148
9781118911921 $84.99

The eighth updated edition of Plumb's Veterinary Drug Handbook is a 'must' reference for veterinarians and not only updates all of the monographs, but adds over forty new systemic drugs, identifies dosages by their USA label status, adds two new appendices on multi-drug sensitivity in dogs and common drug store toxins, and expands monographs which are listed alphabetically by generic name. Add an attention to re-arranging dosage information for better at-a-glance information and the inclusion of color sidebars of highlighted important references and you have a key drug reference no practicing vet should be without, offering the latest details in a format that lends to quick research and at-a-glance information.

A Matter of Breeding
Michael Brandow
Beacon Press
24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210
9780807033432 $18.00

A Matter of Breeding: A Biting History of Pedigree Dogs and How the Quest for Status Has Harmed Man's Best Friend provides a powerful attack on the breeding industry, and provides dog owners and would-be owners with a review of pet store and breeding industry standards and their problems. It blends research reports with consumer studies to consider how the idea of 'purebreds' has produced some real problems, and it surveys the ethical issues surrounding dog pedigrees and breeding history. From social criticism of people and their pets to insights on dog care and eugenics around the world, A Matter of Breeding provides a powerful and hard-hitting assessment of industry-accepted standards and routines and chronicles all different types of abuse and such issues as fighting dogs and show animals. Anyone with more than a mild interest in dogs will find this a solid historical and social approach to their breeding and management.

Secrets of a Dog Trainer
Victoria Schade
Howell House
c/o Wiley Professional Trade Group
111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774
9781118509296 $18.95

Secrets of a Dog Trainer focuses on providing positive solutions to typical dog-training issues, and offers insights for all kinds of dogs of all ages, whether it be a new puppy or a dog that's been part of the family for years. Veteran trainer Victoria Schade offers an approach that helps readers understand the reasons behind dog behaviors, and how to use this knowledge to tailor and guide better habits. It's best to address behavior modification concerns when they develop, not after they're ingrained habits: this book shows how to provide predictable outcomes for any dog and is a pick for any dog owner who wants to learn better management skills.

The Gun Shelf

The Art of the Rifle
Jeff Cooper
Paladin Press
5540 Central Ave Suite 200, Boulder, CO 80301

The Art of the Rifle presents specific instruction on using a device that has largely languished since World War II: the rifle. Here, under one cover, is everything that's needed to learn how to handle the rifle, from shooting under different kinds of hunting conditions to cleaning and maintaining it. Visuals throughout keep the book accessible even to the newcomer to the rifle, while rifle owners receive basic to advanced education on handling and maintaining their guns. One would think these directions would be widely available - but, they're not. The Art of the Rifle fills a gap in the gun owner world and is a 'must have' reference for any rifleman.

Elementary Gunsmithing
Perry D. Frazer
Skyhorse Publishing
307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018
9781629144399 $14.95

Elementary Gunsmithing: A Manual of Instruction for Amateurs in the Alteration and Repair of Firearms is a recommendation for sports and gun collections alike and reprints a 1938 classic: one of the few books of its time to address the finer art of gunsmithing to an audience of amateurs. Beginners receive the basics of caring for guns, learning how to solder and mount parts and even how to operate a gunsmithing business. It's not for the owner of modern firearms so much as for the newcomer to gunsmithing who wants a review of the basics, and it stands as strongly today as a reprint as it did back in 1938.

The Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf

Yes, And
Kelly Leonard & Tom Yorton
Harper Business
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062248541 $27.99

Yes, And: How Improvisation Reverses "No, But" Thinking and Improves Creativity and Collaboration comes from The Second City in Chicago, a comedy club which has produced some of television's most famous actors and comedians, and offers insights on how its successful program also applies outside of the comedy and acting world to teachers, managers, and even politicians. The Second City's formula for success involves eliminating fear, working with failures, and using life experience to climb the next rung in one's career, and it's explored here with an eye to showing how specific improvisational methods have helped organizations and individuals find their strengths. While improve sounds spontaneous and can be frightening to those who cultivate a sense of familiarity and routine, it in fact offers many powerful insights. Yes, And brings these insights to a much wider audience than actors alone, and makes them accessible to all.

The Comic Galaxy of Mystery Science Theater 3000
Chris Morgan
McFarland & Company
PO Box 611, Jefferson NC 28640
9780786496785 $29.95

The Comic Galaxy of Mystery Science Theater 3000: Twelve Classic Episodes and the Movies They Lampoon takes an original television show that became a cult hit and considers the cheesy movies they spoofed. This covers the history of the show, provides in-depth coverage of twelve of the episodes, and offers readers a critical survey that covers both original films and the Mystery Science Theater's biting comedy analysis of them. The result is a recommended pick for any film history collection strong in humor, science fiction, or the specifics of the Mystery Science Theater approach.

The California Shelf

Dan Chavkin and Lisa Thackaberry
Pointed Leaf Press
136 Baxter Street, Suite 1C, New York, NY 10013
9781938461163 $55.00

Hand-in-Hand: Ceramics, Mosaics, Tapestries, and Woodcarvings by the California Mid-Century Designers Evelyn & Jerome Ackerman provides the first monograph of the artists whose works were key to the development of California mid-century modernism, and follows their careers in the decorative arts from their early works and creation of the Jenev Design Studio to their involvement in the California Design exhibition from 1954 to 1976. They developed and expanded their styles for almost thirty years and became known for a range of mediums from ceramics and weavings to wood carvings: this gathers all their creations under one cover and adds extensive insights into their techniques and the revolutionary designs they fostered. From new drawings and new insights to discussions of their impact on California's art world, Hand-in-Hand is a pick for any serious arts collection; particularly California libraries or those involved in design.

Sara Benson,
Lonely Planet Publications
150 Linden Street, Oakland CA 94607
9781742206196 $24.99

Sara Benson,'s California offers a guide that's been researched and updated from top to bottom, and which packs in many new special features, from tips on touring the wine regions of the entire state to reviews of best road trips, scenic drives, and discoveries to be made off the beaten track. From a color photo spread accompanying a discussion on California wildlife to sidebars of tips on how to navigate local traffic, kid-friendly family places, 'best caves' in California's gold country, and numerous small regional and city maps throughout, this is the best take-along travel tote one could choose for a tour of the state, and is a highly recommended planner for destination-oriented visitors.

The Bay Area Forager
Mia Andler and Kevin Feinstein
The Foraging Society Press
97806154396122 $24.95

The Bay Area Forager: Your Guide to Edible Wild Plants of the San Francisco Bay Area provides a fine botany guide specific to the area; so the prerequisites for enjoyment of the book are an interest in foraging, using wild foods, and proximity to the Bay Area. Chapters are packed with information on individual plants, but they also include discussions of broader perspective on the value and concepts of foraging and harvesting ethics. The bulk of the coverage consists of color photos of plants accompanied by clear notes on what they look like, when they're available, where they can be located, and how to forage for them and use them. A peppering of recipes completes the fine regional focus on wild foods, making this a top take-along tote for any would-be forager.

Legendary Locals of Ukiah
Darlene Bergere
Legendary Locals
c/o Arcadia Publishing
420 Wando Park Blvd., Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
9781467101820 $21.99

Legendary Locals of Ukiah represents something different in the visual history approach of Arcadia Publishers by celebrating local characters who have influenced the city's history, and is a recommended pick for Ukiah residents and any who hold a special affection for the city. From a disabled veteran who drives other vets to doctors' appointments to a disaster responder, the organizer of the town's popular "Sundays in the Park" free concerts, and personalities in business, family and community circles, the approach provides a well-rounded juxtaposition of textual history and black and white photos, covering artists, rebels, community leaders, and more. The result is a powerful presentation specific to Ukiah's community and evolution and key to any real understanding of its growth and culture.

The Setup
Pete Crooks
BenBella Books Inc.
10300 N. Central Expressway, Suite 400, Dallas, TX 75204
9781940363318 $24.95

The Setup: A True Story of Dirty Cops, Soccer Moms, and Reality TV sounds like fiction but is actually a true nonfiction story of a retired cop, a PI firm staffed by soccer moms, and a real-life formula that combined the feel of Charlie's Angels with the realities of training 'super moms' in advanced investigative techniques and self-defense. The author came across this story in 2010, when Chris Butler's publicist offered him unparalleled opportunity to ride along with Butler and some of his PIs as they started to film a reality TV show based on their business. The only problem was: something seemed off about the whole affair. Digging deeper, he discovered the operation was a set-up: and so evolves a story that provides a powerful assessment of the lure of reality TV and its pitfalls and the truth behind what sounded like an amazing achievement. Northern California residents, in particular, will be fascinated by the premise and events that unfold right in their own back yards.

Lighting Out
Daniel Duane
Mountaineers Books
1001 SW Klickitat Way, Suite 201, Seattle, WA 98134-1161
9781594859212 $16.95

Lighting Out: A Golden Year in Yosemite and the West provides a memoir of climbing and discovery and comes form a Berkeley native who rejects his classmates' East Coast perspectives an business focus to return West in search for nature and a sense of self. His memoir of his climb of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley follows his mastery of the finer art of rock climbing, his development of physical prowess after years of honing intellectual pursuits, and his failures and successes. It's as much a story of self-exploration as it is of climbing, but offers much to fellow climbers (especially novices) and to those who will appreciate a 1980s coming-of-age story.

The Independent Publishers Shelf

Switch On
Nick Seneca Jankel
Watkins Publishing
Angel Business Club
359 Goswell Road, London, England, EC1V 7JL
9781780288338, $14.95,

Switch On: Unleash Your Creativity and Thrive with the New Science & Spirit of Breakthrough is all about connections between head, heart and spirituality, but adds a healthy dose of scientific reasoning into the mix as it considers social issues, communities, and how everyone thrives.

And as if this weren't enough to consider, Switch On also outlines the possibilities of 'breakthrough biodynamics', a blend of neuroscience, philosophy and spiritual reflection on the process of transformation. It uses all these facets to present a program designed to challenge old belief systems and negative patterns and replace them with mindfulness and new beliefs that bring peace, healing, and renewed purpose in life.

That's a lot to pack under one cover: that Jankel achieves all this with a delicate dance between self-help, spiritual examination and case histories that examine and personalize the process makes for a powerful showcase not for the lighthearted, but perfect for the new age thinker who wants something more concrete and reasoned than ideals alone.

Love Triangle
Darwin Porter & Danforth Prince
Blood Moon Productions
75 Saint Marks Place, Staten Island, New York 10301-1606
9781936003419, $27.95,

Love Triangle: Ronald Reagan, Jane Wyman & Nancy Davis may find its way onto many a Republican Reagan fan's reading shelf; but those who expect another Reagan celebration will be surprised: this is lurid Hollywood expose writing at its best, and outlines the truths surrounding one of the most provocative industry scandals in the world.

There are already so many biographies of the Reagans on the market that one might expect similar mile-markers from this: be prepared for shock and awe; because Love Triangle doesn't take your ordinary approach to biography and describes a love triangle that eventually bumped a major Hollywood movie star from the possibility of being First Lady and replaced her with a lesser-known Grade B actress (Nancy Davis).

From politics and betrayal to romance, infidelity, and sordid affairs, Love Triangle is a steamy, eye-opening story that blows the lid off of the Reagan illusion to raise eyebrows on both sides of the big screen.

Black and white photos liberally pepper an account of the careers of all three and the lasting shock of their stormy relationships in a delightful pursuit especially recommended for any who relish Hollywood gossip.

Shell Shock
Steve Stahl
Harley House
P.O. Box 3363, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067
9780986323713 Paperback, $17.95
9780986323706 Hardcover, $29.95
9780986323720 E-book, $9.99,

Shell Shock is a novel that should have appeared decades ago, and examines battles and how they affect soldiers' mental illness. It's based on events from World War I to modern times and injects a thriller feel into a saga which portrays a famous Stanford psychiatrist, Dr. Gus Conrad, who discovers a secret military group formed during World War I to encourage heroism.

Based on the true story of Private Harry Farr, a real officer who served in the British Army during WWI and was executed after being treated for shell shock, this story comes from a psychiatry professor at U.C. California and is packed with true-life accounts of the phenomenon of post-traumatic stress disorder and its lasting impact on soldiers.

A search for military records, a family's struggle to uncover closely-held secrets, and a group's fierce commitment to bravery and secrecy: all these facets come together in an unusual blend of military history, thriller, and psychological suspense story.

While the many twists make it sound complex; in fact under Stahl's firm hand the story line assumes a logical progression of events and is well-done and involving on many levels.

So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films
Troy Howarth
Midnight Marquee Press, Inc.
9721 Britinay Lane, Baltimore, MD 21234
9781936168507, $49.95

Unless you're an avid foreign film buff, you may not be aware of the 1963 release of the Italian film classic 'The Girl Who Knew Too Much', an event that led to the establishment of a new, uniquely Italian genre called 'giallo'. For years these films presented combination of murder and mystery that emphasized a gory mix of horror, blood-letting and suspense, presenting its action in a Hitchcock-like manner to captivate its audiences.

Since then, although the genre has received much attention, there's been surprisingly little in the way of detailed explorations and analysis - until So Deadly, So Perverse: in itself a blockbuster achievement in its ability to capture the genre's duality, attractions, and complexity.

The author is (as might be expected) a longtime giallo film fan, not only seeking out every movie possible but reading everything he could find on the topic. While his is not the first book to analyze and consider its pros and cons, it certainly is comprehensive and well-detailed, seeking to not just outline giallo movies and their plots and approaches, but to offer a greater depth of understanding of the genre than its competitors.

Readers should already be somewhat versed in these films to appreciate the work and detail of So Deadly, So Perverse; and should be more than just casual or occasional viewers. Such an audience will value a text packed with history of producers, actors, and specific films, will find it loaded with color film ads, lobby cards, art and illustration throughout, and will appreciate the candid, information-packed appraisals that ultimately lend a definitive feel to this exploration of giallo's intentions and unique approach.

Add an index of titles and you have a definitive, invaluable reference no international film collection should be without!

Walk in the Flesh
Peter Bailey
Barbarian Books
Box 170881 Boise, ID 83717-0881
9781622060412, $3.99,

Terrorism. Nanotechnology. A killer designed to erase his body - and all evidence of his presence - after each murder. A man made into a killer through loss. There's a lot happening in Walk in the Flesh; and under a different hand, the results could have been confusing - but Peter Bailey's ability to draw in even the most seasoned thriller reader with something unexpectedly different will especially delight those who are far too used to predictability.

Opening with Neil's insertion into Iran with murder in mind, Walk in the Flesh exhibits a rare ability to grab readers with only few paragraphs of description. Perhaps 'grab' is too light a word in this case; for the story opens with the bang of death and many questions and just keeps firing on all cylinders.

Peter Bailey's ability to not only describe action and create exquisite tension but capture the sights, smells, and sounds of the world enhances his powerful survey: "Breathing deeply, he instructed his endocrine system and gripped the table tightly as his heart beat faster and faster, until it was vibrating hummingbird-like in his chest. As his perception of time increased, the piped music slowed down, turning Tori Amos into a deep baritone. Across the room a smoker's cigarette left a comet trail of ash as he lifted it to his mouth."

Plenty of authors write about terrorism, nanotechnology, international murders, and protagonists bent on revenge. Few can pull off the finer balance between thriller and science fiction that Peter Bailey achieves. Add computer references and intriguing new technology applications and you have a multi-faceted story line that doesn't just grab: it immerses. Very highly recommended!

The Legacy of Lost Things
Aida Zilelian
Bleeding Heart Publications
PO BOX 520
1710 Sukhumvit 50, Prakanong, Klongtoey, Bangkok 10260
9780990573227, $14.95,

It's rare that a first novel is powerful: usually authors are honing their styles with their first books; but The Legacy of Lost Things is a standout because it appears such refinements have already been done, and what is left is a true gem that centers on the dysfunctional interactions of an Armenian immigrant family living in the United States.

Aida Zilelian is a New York writer with many publications to her name, but this is her first book - and if this is any indication of her powers, it's a formidable entry into the literary world, indeed. In it she follows three generations of an Armenian family and the changes they experience when a daughter goes missing, forcing the family to examine their heritage, their interactions, and their world.

Lesser works would have turned the drama into an emotionally wrenching saga; but there are bigger truths going on in The Legacy of Lost Things, and so the metaphor of being lost applies on many different levels within the family structure and in the context of individual growth.

Don't expect your usual 'vanished child' pop drama. The Legacy of Lost Things moves deftly beyond the personal to embrace the social and political worlds of Armenian expats and society, and this is its crowning strength, which sets it well apart from others, cementing its characters in solid descriptions, dialogue, and insights that leave readers satisfied.

We Are the Destroyers
D.K. Lindler
First Life Publishing
9780991509027, $16.95,

We Are the Destroyers tells the story of Captain Bel'Lar, who recognizes that overconsumption is destroying his own planet and synthetic foods are turning his people into mutants under control of the Brotherhood of Syn. He's one of the few to recognize this only because he's also one of the few remaining Organs (those who still live the organic lifestyle) and so he's the one who arranges for an escape from his dying planet to the amazing blue-white planet.

For many, this saga would have been enough drama - but the pleasure in We Are the Destroyers lies in the fact that this is just the beginning. Bel'lar discovers (through visions) that in fact he has not only lived again, but repeated the same patterns of being the one charged with saving his people from their greed.

Does past predict future? Are patterns inevitably repeated, and is Bel'lar doomed to make the same mistakes over and over again? Is his vision of environmental and spiritual destruction accurate?

The combination of spiritual and ecological reflection, combined with drama and a mission to save mankind, contributes to a powerful story that is first in a projected 'We Are...Are We' series of science fiction stories examining visions, fate, and responsibility. Reader affinity for a certain degree of new age sentiment and reflection is recommended for a better appreciation of Lindler's approach, which is more ethically based than most fantasies.

America's Suicide
Michael H. Davison
Dapa Publishing, LLC
P.O. Box 3488, Littleton, CO 80161
The Cadence Group
9780979243714, $17.00,

America's Suicide pinpoints ways in which the traditional American vision and dream is being destroyed, from ideals of national self-reliance and creative entrepreneurial dreams to the pride of being an American, itself.

What has divided this country so seriously? What forces are dictating social and political paths that are so detrimental to the nation; and why do Americans seem so accepting of these choices?

Chapters consider two reasons: a moral crisis affecting the world in general and this country in particular, and the political problems and solutions that are doomed to failure because of this moral dilemma.

With its powerful blend of social and political commentary, America's Suicide documents a force that has its roots, Davison maintains, in socialism. How these forces have condemned science and progress alike are considered in a title loaded with food for thought and recommended for thinkers who will receive a damning discussion of socialism's discontents.

Remembering Olympus
Royce Murcherson
Koehler Books
210 - 60th Street, Virginia Beach VA 23451
9781940192994, $15.95,

Remembering Olympus is hard to neatly categorize: part magical adventure, part mystery, and part time slip saga about other lives and other worlds, it straddles the line between several genres - and does so with good balance and finesse.

Aaron is a professional whose talents have become mired in management and he's stagnating in his job and life, until he meets heiress Miranda and, more importantly, Claire: a publisher who leads him into a mystery and memories of another life and time.

His choices in handling his life will lead to either a repetitive pattern or a changed world, and make for a fantasy that is a cut above most, and requires more thinking and examination from its readers than your usual leisure fantasy read.

Can the protagonist keep an open mind about his discoveries? Can readers join him in the process of suspending closely-held beliefs and learning about other realities and alternate purposes in life?

A healthy dose of new age thinking and an affinity for sagas which, like the classic Cloud Atlas, invite self-examination and inspection of belief systems will lend to an appreciation of the divergent threads running through Remembering Olympus. As Aaron moves from typical to atypical worlds, he comes to understand love, deception, and mirror images of himself, " changed by time, the other changed by deeds", and their ultimate meaning.

Just as the first-person narrator experiences "...the strange feeling of being drawn to specific people for particular purposes.", so readers will find this story a compelling exercise in self-realization and possibility; all dictated not by the gods, but by very human choices.

John Muir
Mary Colwell
Lion Books
c/o Trafalgar Square, Distributors
Wilkinson House, Jordan Hill Road, Oxford OX2 8DR, England
9780745956664, $16.95,

John Muir: The Man Who Saved America's Wild Places provides a biography of the man who founded the U.S. National Park Service and the Sierra Club, and covers his life experiences as an inventor, botanist and explorer who loved nature and who not only wrote about it, but championed its cause at a time when nature was taken for granted or exploited.

Other Muir biographies are on bookshelves, but this one offers a greater degree of historical context paired with explanations that are more wide-ranging than most, from the impact of Darwin's publications on evolution to the university experiences which introduced to him new scientific concepts and new challenges to his fundamentalist faith.

Where others would focus on Muir's ecology, wanderings, and contributions, Colwell's coverage includes Muir's philosophy and its influences, and peppers passages from Muir's travel journals with descriptions of wilderness adventures that often read with the drama and passion of a good fiction adventure story.

California collections in particular and any strong in biographies of early wilderness leaders will find this a powerful acquisition and a strong contender for first place in any John Muir collection.

The Gods Must Be Us
Dennis N. Clegg, PhD
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House, Inc.
PO Box 5100, Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100
9781504325967, $14.99,

The Gods Must Be Us: When Fiction Becomes a Miracle is a mind/body title especially recommended for new age collections and readers, and is based on the concept that special powers considered to be miracles can be within everyone and can be daily occurrences. But this is not so much about personal transformation as it is a spiritual adventure story based on the author's own experiences with 'the supernatural'.

Do miracles exist in daily lives? The story line follows a group of people in the middle of an atomic war, when they realize their special abilities involve taking the energy out of radiation.

Unlike a story that might ordinarily be tempted to be classified as 'science fiction', here are many spiritual and new age insights on synchronicity, deep personal connections, and opportunities to create new worlds. The result is an absorbing read that embeds new age concepts into an engrossing story of a group of 'new people' who put their talents to good use: a saga that holds the rare ability to entertain while appealing to new age and science fiction readers alike.

In the House of Leviathan Evil Runs Deep
B.D. Bruns
World Waters
9780985663575, $15.00,

In the House of Leviathan Evil Runs Deep neatly demonstrates the fact that the best kind of horror/thriller combination is spiced with an author's experiences: in fact, the idea for this book came to B.D. Bruns as he was sailing off the coast of Italy, and is based on his love of museums and old things.

It's set in the 1860s and presents laborer Giuseppe, who witnesses Old Man Grapaldi summoning the devil, with predictable results: violence at the mill begins to threaten his family, and their church is challenged. As darkness takes over, Giuseppe must overcome his own disability and fears to save his family - but this isn't your usual contemporary horror novel of bloodletting.

It's a story that is solidly based on psychological horror: as such, it provides a powerful blend of images and experiences that rely on well-developed protagonists and settings steeped in historical background and different acts of courage.

Literary fans of the horror genre will find it an absorbing story that sacrifices light predictability for depth and solid development, making In the House of Leviathan Evil Runs Deep a standout.

Rattlesnakes and Bald Eagles: Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail
Chris Townsend
Sandstone Press
c/o Dufour Editions, Distributors
PO Box 7, Chester Springs, PA 19425-0007
9781908737731, $35.00,

Rattlesnakes and Bald Eagles: Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail is packed with stories and tales from an experienced long distance walker who shares his adventures hiking the Pacific Coast trail in the 1980s: a 2,600-mile jaunt from Mexico to Canada that took six months and included many adventures.

Townsend's photos take the form of snapshots that accompany first-person stories of difficult hiking challenges and lovely scenery, providing the feel of a photo album and a travelogue all in one. There are two-page color spreads, color maps which introduce each chapter, and discussions of nature sightings and weather challenges permeate the story.

Three audiences will find this engrossing: fellow hikers who dream of hiking the trail and who want a feel for its experiences, armchair readers who will appreciate the vivid nature descriptions and the reinforcement of color snapshots of scenery and animals throughout, and any who reside near the trail who want to know more about its possibilities.

Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop Elements
Jenny Newell, Junior Editor
3DTotal Publishing
29 Foregate St., Worcester WR1 1DS, United Kingdom
9781909414099, $34.99,

Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop Elements is literally a step-by-step manual that leaves nothing to guesswork and assumes no prior knowledge of Photoshop Elements, and is a recommendation for newcomers to both Photoshop Elements and the concept of digital painting.

While other books cover both topics, the notable difference here is a step-by-step format, the inclusion of charts and graphs to supplement painting examples, and both small-sized and full-page color embellishments that lend life to the process and teach by example.

Many titles overwhelm beginners with too much information packed into too short a format. Others present an approach that assumes a degree of program, computer, or artistic knowledge. In order to truly appeal to beginners, the superior production makes none of these assumptions and provides a comprehensive overview that builds a basic software knowledge base, then uses projects to teach art theory and advanced applications.

Another 'plus' is the projects themselves, which range from animated figures to landscape scenes that include fire, clouds, all kinds of lighting effects (from moonlight to artificial lighting), and a host of characters. The specific details and examples in Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop Elements review all the options and the technical details to achieve them: add a dash of basic art knowledge and the rest is up to a reader's creativity and drive.

Lieu: Science Fiction Short Stories
Lafcadio Adams, Editor
Idle Winter Press
9780692385029, $16.99,

Lieu gathers nine science fiction short stories and novelettes and narrows the topics to exchange, replacement, upgrade and masquerade - and if this sounds puzzling, initially, that's because the ideas are meant to be both broad enough to include a diverse selection of stories under one cover and unusual enough to rule out the ordinary.

There are big names here, from Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. and Robert Silverberg to Fritz Leiber and Frank Herbert. All were originally published in science fiction magazines in the 1950s, and all approach their topics in very different ways, from adding doses of humor and mystery to creating something that skirts the edge between science fiction and a literary work of another genre entirely.

'The Judas Valley', for example, places the Judas figure in quite a different role when aliens face annihilation and monsters and myths are questioned. 'The Tunnel Under the World' presents a nightmare like none other - and the reality of living in a town built on a tabletop - if, indeed, it is a nightmare and if the town is truly real and not a dream. And 'Old Rambling House' takes a tax accountant out of this world.

The result is a powerful collection of stories which are longer than most, packed with some of the biggest talents in science fiction, and include novelettes which typically don't make it into the more common short story category.

A Bird-Lover in the West
Olive Thorne Miller
Idle Winter Press
9780692371916, $14.99,

A Bird-Lover in the West reviews the natural history of birds in Ohio, Colorado and Utah; and while the foothills of the Rocky Mountains may not be what a reader might expect from the 'West' (i.e. no California, Oregon or Washington observations), it's a celebration of nature that is designed to capture a sense of place, not provide a definition of either 'the West' or even the bird.

Chapters combine the first person observational attitude of a memoir with the natural history insights of an amateur birder who shares her observations of bird habits and oddities: "After tea, as I was congratulating myself that they were all safely out in the world, without accident, suddenly there arose a terrible outcry, robin and blue jay voices in chorus. I looked over to the scene of the fray, and saw a young jay on the ground, and the parents frantic with anxiety."

Avid birders likely know many of these observations, but it's the reader relatively new to the fine art of birding who will appreciate Miller's celebration of their lives and habits, and who will relish the delicate winding of human and natural history, poetic observation, and natural wonders that comprises her celebration of life.

Cali Sky: the Nowhere Year
Samuel Joeckel
Privately Published

Prepublication Manuscript

Cali Sky: The Nowhere Year represents the first book in a projected multi-volume series, and tells of nine-year-old Cali Sky, who awakens one morning to discover an acoustic guitar in her closet, which awakens the muse of music in her and leads to fifteen years of learning and advancement as a guitar player.

They are years in which rock and punk rock grew; years during which Cali Sky is sheltered from musical oddities and rebellion by her careful parents - until she meets a boy who not only wants to learn to play the guitar, but holds the keys to alternative music and a world she's never encountered before.

As Cali Sky learns about songs, bands, and musical approaches beyond her experience, she comes to understand not only the rock offshoots she's been sheltered from, but her parents and peers, as well. It's a coming of age story that may be centered around music, but which includes some candid observations, harsh language, and insights into the sentiments of punk. Though Cali Sky: The Nowhere Year sounds like it'll be a sweet story of growth, it's actually a gritty saga of a sheltered girl's emergence both musically and emotionally, and it's packed with a journey that at times is nearly adult in its perspective and characters.

In short, Cali Sky is anything but a casual young adult read: picture Catcher in the Rye and On the Road with more than a dash of musical genius and countercultural influence and you'll have an idea of Cali Sky's journey, which is recommended for mature teens through adult audiences and cemented with the strong flavors of not just rock 'n roll music, but punk rock.

The Magical Slow Cooker
Sarah Olson
Front Table Books
c/o Cedar Fort Inc.
2373 W. 800 S., Springville, UT 84663
9781462115334, $19.99,

The Magical Slow Cooker: Recipes for Busy Moms provides keys to home-cooked meals via the slow cooker which range from a surprising breakfast dish of Raisin Bread French Roast Casserole to Pumpkin Flan dessert and V8 Chili.

With the many, many slow cooker cookbooks on the market today, one might wonder at the need for yet another, but this cookbook comes with a difference: it began with the author's blog of the same name in 2013, and designed to help share some unusual slow cooker recipes. It also covers some topics not in competing cookbooks, from party fare such as Buffalo Wings to an entire chapter called 'Chilies', comprised of dishes based on the chili.

It's packed with full-page color photos throughout, and it includes many variations busy cooks will appreciate, providing the creative impetus to adapt dishes into easy take-offs.

If only one slow cooker family-oriented cookbook were to be chosen, The Magical Slow Cooker should be at the top of the list, for all these reasons!

Black Broadway
Stewart F. Lane
Square One Publishers
115 Herricks Road, Garden City Park, NY 11040
9780757003882, $39.95,

Black Broadway: African Americans on the Great White Way is written by one of America's leading Broadway producers, and provides a powerful history of black theater which uses both text and illustrations to consider how African Americans have pursued an art traditionally dominated by whites.

It offers a historical overview that traces how minstrel shows blossomed, how they allowed African American performers to demonstrate their stage abilities, and how the vaudeville craze became a center stage for the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington, paving the way for jazz and then the entry of people of color into the upper echelons of Broadway performing arts circles.

The Broadway experience evolved slowly over the decades: so this coverage takes time to reflect this evolutionary process, showing how directors, producers, shows, and dramas changed. There's nothing quite like it on the market, making this illustrated history a 'must' not just for African-American history holdings and arts collections, but any library serious about stage and film development.

The Art Rules
Paul Klein
Intellect Books
The Mill, Parnell Road, Fishponds, Bristol BS16 13G, UK,id=18592/#send_me_a_message
9781783204656, $23.00,

The Art Rules: Wisdom and Guidance from Art World Experts is not just for artists (though it is directed to artists who would see their works exhibited). It explores a topic that is generally murky and primarily learned through trial and error: what museum curators seek in contemporary artists, how galleries choose between artists when creating an exhibit, and how to sell art to corporate art consultants and in other lucrative venues.

Most books covering the business of art generally focus on matters any small business would need to know. This book's specific focus offers the tools necessary to move one's art works into the public eye, and covers specifics from how to make it with and without a gallery to what kinds of schooling are good and bad and how to reach out to the right people in the process of gaining exposure.

In the art world, too much tends to be ethereal. The art-centric focus of The Art Rules is refreshing and should be in every aspiring artist's library.

The Antiques Magpie
Marc Allum
Icon Books
Omnibus Business Center
39-41 North Road, London N7 9DP, UK
9781848317420, $15.95 US / 8.99 GBP,

The Antiques Magpie: A Compendium of Absorbing History, Stories and Facts from the World of Antiques comes from an Antiques Roadshow host who carries readers along on the search for true antiques, exposing many forgeries and scams along the way and revealing auction techniques and treasure location in the process.

While avid collectors may already know some of these tricks and tips, amateurs will just as likely not, and both audiences will relish the oddities and adventures Allum experienced in his own search for authentic and unusual antiques.

One doesn't expect humor from a collector's guide - and that's because, technically speaking, The Antiques Magpie is not a 'collector's guide' in the traditional sense, but an invitation to adventure in exploring the world and personalities of the antiques hunt. From the unusual origins of the willow pattern in the famous china to the possibility of poisonous chalices and the dangers of cryptic patents, this is a fun read for any with even a minimal interest in antiques and collectibles.

The Darkness
W.J. Lundy
Phalanx press
119 S. Washington, Charlotte, MI 48813
9781507838785, $10.50,

The Darkness begins in the streets of the U.S.A. when civil unrest, mayhem, and chaos suddenly rocks Jacob's world. His first survival instinct is to lock his family behind barricades and await the country's return to normalcy. His second is to realize that not only will nothing change soon, but his neighbors are as dangerous as the forces and strangers that roam the streets. His third instinct is to not just protect, but attack.

In some ways The Darkness is an apocalyptic novel like many others: it presents the dilemma of a family man determined to protect his own, and it posits a suddenly-changed world where even one's former friends become enemies. But actually the latter is the emphasis here, and the difference between The Darkness and others of its ilk: it does an exceptional job of documenting man's inhumanity to man and also the possibilities survivors face as they encounter circumstances and personas entirely outside their experience.

Anticipate a lively saga with many explosions, military encounters, and an attention to vivid detail that will delight fans of apocalyptic novels who seek new versions of end-of-world possibilities.

The Dirty Apron Cookbook
David Robertson
Figure 1 Publishing Inc.
202 - 445 W. 6th Ave, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V5Y 1L3
9781927958179, $34.95,

The Dirty Apron Cookbook comes from the Dirty Apron Cooking School, which caters to students who want to gain more kitchen skills, and translates this objective into a cookbook designed to both teach basic cooking skills and encourage creativity and a sense that recipes can be 'foolproof' if given the right structure and pre-testing regimen.

In The Dirty Apron Cookbook, this takes the form of full-page food photos and instructional sequences that adopt a step-by-step approach to the cooking process, pairing recipes with chef's notes and tips and tricks and assuming no prior knowledge from home cooks

There are many variations on themes (such as with a Grilled Corn and Clam Chowder) and many exciting new dishes (such as Maple-Seared Scallops). While the color photos of completed dishes are definitely a draw, it's the step-by-step images that hold the biggest appeal: that and a host of recipes that sound exotic but are actually quite easy to duplicate.

Too often beginner's cookbooks offer up the same kind of fare. The Dirty Apron Cookbook takes this process a step further in providing dishes that reinforce cooking skills, assure successful results, and reflect a professional's attention to detail.

Rabbit Behaviour, Health and Care
Marit Emilie Buseth and Richard A. Saunders
Nosworthy Way, Wallingford, Oxfordsire, OX10 8DE, UK
9781780641904, $40.00,

Rabbit Behaviour, Health and Care is a practical guide to caring for rabbits and is directed to new owners, who receive an overall program for understanding a rabbit's nature, requirements, and special needs as well as an overall approach to rabbit health.

This is a much-needed book because while rabbits are appealing, popular pets, they have many unique needs above and beyond the dog or cat; and most of their health and behavior issues can be directly attributed to an owner's poor actions or inactions.

From how to hold a rabbit and identify any health issues early, before they become chronic or serious, to how rabbits interact with other animals and how they age, this is no light treatment of basic diet and health, but even delves into veterinary management and diagnosis.

No rabbit owner should be without this overview, which goes beyond simpler surveys to delve into medical treatments and options.

Good Cop, Bad Daughter
Karen Lynch
Nothing But the Truth, LLC
980 Magnolia Avenue, Suite C-5, Larkspur, CA 94939
9780988375420, $15.95

Good Cop, Bad Daughter: Memoirs of an Unlikely Police Officer tells of a mother's abuse and the scenario of an uncertain childhood leading author Karen Lynch to become one of the first female cops in San Francisco. Even more surprising, Lynch was raised in a counter-culture tribe in the Haight-Ashbury summer of love, was taught to despise cops, and became involved with the police department primarily because the San Francisco force was ordered by the courts to hire women, and Lynch decided to prove she could make it in a 'good old boys' network.

Her memoir should be read by any female who aspires to break the glass ceiling or enter into a 'man's world', and by any who struggle to overcome childhood teachings and reconcile them with adult experiences.

Chapters document such challenges as dating classmates during rigorous police academy training, surviving Code Three driving exercises despite a near lap dance, and continuing to engage with a counter-culture family while serving in as a community police officer.

Sometimes it's hard to tell where cop and daughter experience end and begin; but that's the beauty of a memoir that manages to follow both with equal passion, offering readers a powerful blend of topics that ultimately boils down to confronting deep-held beliefs and assimilating them with modern realities both at home and on the job. Readers who appreciate powerful memoirs and insights into police training will relish Good Cop, Bad Daughter.

See my prior email - somehow, my monthly Independent Press Shelf went missing; I'm hoping it can be added, as there are 50 publishers and they had expected to see their book in May....

Simple Prayers for People of All Faiths (or No Faith)
Nancy Humphrey Case
He-Leadeth-Me Press
345 Davis Hill Road, Hyde Park, VT 05655
9780991483310, $9.95,

Simple Prayers for People of All Faiths (or No Faith) provides a Bible-based collection of prayers - so the 'no faith' label would seem incongruous, until a reader gets into the collection and discovers its unusual approach: pairing Biblical quotes with author interpretations.

While the general approach has been done before in other religious books, what makes Simple Prayers a standout isn't its attention to selecting quotes so much as its added author responses to these Biblical passages.

For a taste of Case's process, try the quote "...God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (II Timothy 1:7) paired with the additional "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear:..." (I John 4:18) and then cemented by Case's own commentary: "This fear is not coming from God, Therefore it can have no real power over me. Rather, God is giving me the power to shut my mental door on it and open the door to what Love is telling me."

Chapters are organized by subject ("Assurance", "Truth", "Power") and excel in simple reflection, making it especially easy for busy spiritual thinkers to digest this book in bits and pieces, using a browser's easy format. This elevates it above other books about prayer which would lend cumbersome weight to the process: 'simple' in the title is thus followed through in the text, with attention to easy admonitions making it a fine pick for any spiritual collection.

Anime Explosion, revised edition
Patrick Drazen
Stone Bridge Press
P.O. Box 8208, Berkeley, CA 94707
9781611720136, $45.00,

The updated, revised edition of Anime Explosion: The What? Why? Wow! Of Japanese Animation is the perfect introduction for any new to the idea of anime, and provides a combination of historical background and social and artistic insight that will appeal uniformly to fans, newcomers, and any interested in learning more about Japanese animation.

Fifteen essays about Drazen's favorite anime provide a good starting reference for exploring the art, examining the underlying Japanese culture which is the birthplace of the anime form. This comes from an author who is more than casually involved in research, and who is an avid speaker and participant at anime conventions, art and literary events, and magazines and literacy festivals.

From how Japanese folklore is reflected in specific anime films in his collection to common characters and depictions of action and events, Anime Explosion tours not just the genre, but the culture of anime, placing it in perspective of the animation world as a whole and assessing its blessings and curses alike. No anime fan or newcomer should be without this fine analysis, which is lively and filled with important keys to understanding the directors, artists, and choices that comprise the anime world.

The Stove-Junker
S.K. Kalsi
Little Feather Books, Inc.
P.O. Box 20202, Park West Station, New York NY 10025
9780990779063, $16.95,

The Stove-Junker is a debut novel presenting one Somerset Garden, a stove-junker of advanced years who journeys back to his ancestral home in Pennsylvania to renovate his old house.

Somerset's life has been anything but positive, and at this point it's more about loss than satisfaction: his beloved wife is gone, his rebellious son has vanished, and he's facing nothing but loneliness and anger when an isolating blizzard brings with it the discovery of a strange child squatting on his property.

To say that The Stove-Junker is a story of loss and redemption would be to simplify its focus and approach: it's as much about revisiting the events of past and present and making peace with the world as it is about finding new purpose in life; and much as Somerset fiddles with old, broken things and makes them new, so the images of his past come to reflect his ability to change his present: "While Cole like a brave ran through the woods, while Nona sat in her parlor painting birds, while the sun rose and fell and the seasons changed, I fiddled with stoves. I rebuilt broken timers. I welded shoddy manifolds. I hand-painted oven temperatures on die cast metal knobs. You could spend decades just admiring the quiet upheaval of metal on which, embossed like a signature, danced the dialects of old artisans, their vernacular of glyphs and ideographs in daisy petals, flowering ivy, olive stems."

Metaphorical - almost lyrical in its observational qualities, like a well-done Proust observational - and darkly compelling, The Stove-Junker wonders "did you die?" and comes up with an answer that embraces life. Somerset is seeking answers - but is he listening? The Stove-Junker is about that listening process, and offers compelling imagery to cement its visionary process in a story highly recommended for any who love poetry, philosophy, and evocative stories of life changes and meaning.

The Cancer Solution
Jack C. Westman, MD, MS
Archway Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403

The Cancer Solution: Taking Charge of Your Life With Cancer - A Cancer Handbook for Inquisitive Laypersons and Health Care Professionals offers a practical guide for anyone diagnosed with cancer and for families caring for them; but it isn't your usual 'how to live with a cancer diagnosis' book. Instead, it focuses on a new viewpoint of what cancer is and how to treat it based not on old diagnosis models of tumor size and location in the body, but on models that take into account an individual patient's natural defenses and how to fight cancer through a process called neoplasia.

While Dr. Westman readily acknowledges that there's good reason to question claims of successful cancer treatments that fall outside the usual models and border on quack cures, he also uses clinical studies and data on survival rates and such factors as nutritional influences and case histories to offer a surprising amount of alternative treatments.

His documentation of common obstacles to progress and the political, financial and social barriers to investigating these alternatives more closely make for particularly important chapters relating to cancer care and how patients are informed (or not) about their prognosis and treatment options.

No miracle programs here: just hard facts about what works, what's possible, and why these possibilities aren't being included in traditional approaches to cancer management.

Billy Bobble Makes a Magic Wand
R.S. Mellette
Elephant's Bookshelf Press, LLC
9781940170090, $TBA,

Billy Bobble Makes a Magic Wand is recommended for middle school readers and tells of twelve-year-old Billy Bobble and his best friend Suzy, who find their lives changed when Billy inadvertently uses his interest in quantum physics (and Suzy, her interest in microbiology and magic) to create a magic wand that opens the door to the Quantum World, where anything is possible.

In this mirror universe, Billy's mother isn't schizophrenic and Suzy can help her friend. In this universe, a working magic wand doesn't just open the door to new possibilities and reworks of old scenes, but it explores the power of science and friendship and even offers some interpersonal understanding in the process: "The more he tried to figure out his wand, the less he could grasp it, and the worse the feeling got. He wondered if this was what other kids went through in school every day. No wonder why they hated it."

As relationships change as much as worlds, Billy Bobble Makes a Magic Wand offers a rare opportunity to understand the feelings, motivations and actions and reactions between people - and that makes it a real winner, recommended not just for middle school grades, but for many an adult leisure reader who will enjoy a story about a protagonist who does more than experience adventure.

Bits: A Comedy Writer's Stream of Consciousness
Kenny Solms
Prospecta Press/Easton Studio Press
P.O. Box 3131, Westport, CT 06880
9781632260161, $19.95,

Bits: A Comedy Writer's Stream of Consciousness receives a preface by Carol Burnett and comes from an author who wrote movie lines, TV show parts, and interacted with industry greats from Jack Benny to Steve Martin.

Bits could all too easily have become an 'I was there" kind of autobiography where big names and encounters are tossed around; but it's actually much more - it's a survey of the work of the comedy writer, how it translates into film and stage, and the odd and fun things that can happen between writing a comedy skit and seeing it play out.

So while big names and events are provided, there are also whimsical moments, keys to understanding the comedy writer's role and special challenges, and a success streak that leads straight to Broadway in a shine of promise that actually doesn't go as far as hoped.

Any interested in film, TV, and comedy or comedy writing in particular will appreciate the lively presentation in Bits.

Pretend You're In a War: The Who & The Sixties
Mark Blake
Aurum Press
74-77 White Lion Street, Islington, London, England, N1 9PF
9781781311875, $29.99,

Pretend You're In a War: The Who & The Sixties uses the history of one famous band, The Who, to explore the British rock music scene of the sixties, and explores one of the most prolific, exciting bands of the times who produced hit after hit between 1964 and 1969.

More than your usual focus on a music group or musician, Pretend You're In a War uses the band's productions to explore the atmosphere and sentiments of London, England, and is based on the author's own interviews with band members and their friends and professional contacts - some conducted for the first time.

It helps to be a prior fan of The Who, and it also helps to have an affinity for 1960s history and culture. Readers with such backgrounds who have already read a host of musician histories and stories will find Pretend You're In a War offers something different in its approach to events: more research-based, with a stronger focus on The Who's early years.

Coming Into Balance
Jane Ely, D.Min.
Parvati Press
9781942523000, $28.95,

Coming Into Balance: A Guide for Activating Your True Potential belongs in new age and spirituality collections alike, and provides a book of spiritual healing practices based on the Medicine Wheel concept, a spiritual Mandela found in many cultures from Native American to Celtic and Hindu. While some prior familiarity with the Wheel of Life concept is recommended to make the most of this book, its purpose is to provide a template for empowerment and success via a workbook packed with keys to developing circles of consciousness and connection in the world.

While concepts of mandalas, medicine wheels and circles of life aren't anything new to the field of new age thinking, what is different here is having a step-by-step guide that provides exercises and informational keys to change - and, of course, this presupposes that readers are interested in both hard personal work and change.

Those with such a purpose are admonished to use this workbook's step-by-step process with mindfulness, without skipping ahead, skimming its surface, or mistaking simplicity for shallowness. Every chapter holds a different focus, whether it be using moon cycles to track significant events and times in one's life to understanding how the medicine wheel is replicated in nature. Each chapter is significant, each is full of promise, and each requires work to make the most of its insights: the rest is up to the reader.

A Jumble of Thoughts
James Sitton
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington IN 47403
9781496931375, $16.95,

A Jumble of Thoughts isn't an autobiography, as one might anticipate: it comes from a former Border Patrol Agent, Foreign Service Officer and Special Agent who chooses the essay format to transmit his opinions on a range of issues, from foreign policy (where he's at his strongest) to medical care, cynicism, and 'challenge coins' that are part of the military experience.

These 'rants and raves' present pointed observations of life through a wide range of topics, from immigration issues and civil rights to the death of his friend Frank Bryant in Afghanistan.

An affinity for the essay format, and an interest in a wide ranging series of topics and opinions from seasoned agent's views of life is the prerequisite for appreciating the messages in A Jumble of Thoughts. Readers with such interests will find it indeed a jumble that follows no linear path - and thus lends a rare opportunity to browse at will, jumping from subject to subject with nary a set path in mind.

Few reads offer such opportunities!

How We Do Both: Art and Motherhood, second edition
Michi Jigarjian and Qiana Mestrich
Secretary Press
PO Box 1950, New York NY 10013
9780988321441, $24.99,

Distributor: Small Press Distribution:

How We Do Both: Art and Motherhood belongs in women's studies collections, appears in its second edition, and pairs small, vivid color photos with a discussion that focuses on the concept of the mother/artist and how children have affected their artistic process. It discusses how motherhood and art balance one another, what methods female artists use to assure that both needs are met, and offers first-person insights that discuss incorporation as much as equilibrium.

This vivid survey will reach any woman who struggles with the nature of motherhood and its demands versus the inner drive to express themselves through art, providing personal methods, insights, and reflections that will inspire individuals and communities alike.

Having children means that life - and art - of necessity are changed. As How We Do Both demonstrates, it doesn't necessarily mean that either must be sacrificed for a 'greater good'.

After Woodstock
Elliot Tiber
Square One Publishers
115 Herricks Road, Garden City Park, NY 11040
9780757003929, $24.95,

After Woodstock: The True Story of a Belgian Movie, an Israeli Wedding, and a Manhattan Breakdown comes from an author who helped begin the gay liberation movement in the summer of 1969 and kept the Woodstock Festival from being cancelled; but despite these achievements, the events in After Woodstock take place later, and represent the third volume in his memoirs (begun in Palm Trees on the Hudson and continued in the best-selling Taking Woodstock which was made into a film.).

Because there's so much prior history to enjoy, it's recommended that biography fans read these predecessors before turning to After Woodstock, which offers a smooth continuation of encounters in the entertainment world.

Tiber journeys around the world in search of more experiences and meets up with remarkable individuals along the way. Family conflicts and challenges, relationships affected by the AIDS crisis, and many humorous ironies ("As an atheist, I find it funny that one of the most important creative moments in my life involved a scene shot in a place of worship.") translate to a remarkably rich series of life encounters that, quite simply, provides a rollicking good read; especially for prior fans of Tiber, who will appreciate even more depth and action in this latest addition to his ongoing life story.

Who Gathers the Breeze
David Vigoda
Collioure Books
21 Aviation Road, Albany NY 12205
9780972825085, $15.95,

Love and business often form stormy relationships when they collide, but have a long history of connections - and there's no better exploration of this process than David Vigoda's Who Gathers the Breeze, a novel that centers upon two very different women who undertake a pilgrimage for very different reasons.

For Margherita, it's a bid for freedom in her politically controlled world. For the equally ambitious Tiffany, it's a drive toward new discoveries. Both have husbands firmly entrenched in tradition and business, and both lives reflect the results of the excess, greed, and manipulation so prevalent in the business world.

What makes Who Gathers the Breeze remarkable is Vigoda's attention to creating believable, empathic characters against the backdrop of these business pursuits. Times may change, people may change, and experiences may change; but within all this there's room for observation, transformation and power - and the fact that love plays a key role in this process is only one facet of a novel that's all about finding courage, the right path, and a better life.

There are not just singular roads here, but at least four - and the decisions involved in picking between them are just part of what makes Who Gathers the Breeze a strong standout recommended not for casual readers who simply look to be entertained, but for those who wish a solid piece of literary achievement filled with philosophical, ethical, moral, and spiritual introspection.

Marine Mammal Observer & Passive Acoustic Monitoring Handbook
Victoria Todd,
Pelagic Publishing
PO Box 725, Exeter, EX1 9QU, United Kingdom
9781907807664, $61.99,

Marine Mammal Observer & Passive Acoustic Monitoring Handbook represents an instruction manual of mitigation measures to minimize acoustical and physical disturbances to marine mammals from industrial and military activities, and is based on some two decades of offshore experience and a decade of supplying commercial and scientific services.

Until now, there's been little written in the way of world standards for various marine operations that impact mammals; but as drilling, dredging, pumping and more take place increasingly on and under the world's waters, the need for this book becomes much more acute.

Suppliers, recruitment agencies, businesses, contractors, regulators and more will find the Marine Mammal Observer & Passive Acoustic Monitoring Handbook pairs scientific research with advice and tested solutions to common problems, educating readers about the increased need for monitoring operations and routine adjustments to reduce noise and disturbance.

From PAM theories to best practices and devices, this is no light coverage, but a technical guide that pulls together data and projects from various disciplines and pairs them with charts, graphs, and scientific discussions key to making decisions about modifications. No marine operator or marine science collection should be without this detailed, in-depth technical reference.

A Spacious Life: Memoir of a Mediator
Narissa Doumani
Palmer Higgs, Publishing
9780994238122, $24.95,

Author Narissa Doumani was born in Sydney, Australia and grew up well educated, loved, and well-dressed; but struggled with the meaning of life and how to be truly happy. Her memoir reflects this struggle and the process involved in arriving at answers, and offers readers a blend of autobiography and spiritual reflection in a self-help journey that describes what forces change her life after she meets a Buddhist yogi in a Thai forest cave, who leads her on a spiritual journey.

While none of these subjects is new (self-inspection, spiritual seeking, or a search for meaning beyond materialism), what is different in A Spacious Life is where Doumani ends up in the course of her quest - and how she takes readers along for the ride.

Her observations of her state of mind and its methods is revealing and involving ("My entire life was a house of mirrors reflecting back at me the vomit of my own psyche. Why couldn't I look upon even one simple object without a host of thought-forms rushing to it like moths to a flame?") and her relationships contribute much to her evolution ("There are various methods of training the mind in compassion. It can, and should, be actively cultivated. However, I hadn't received any such training and didn't even know it existed. The next couple of years with the Fighter formed the basis of my early training.")

Just how she took an 'outpouring of energy' and translated it into gems of insight to ultimately lead the life of a mediator cognizant of karma, choice, and actions makes for an involving story that ultimately questions what elements make for a meaningful life - and how to reach them.

Before the Movies
Terry and Deborah Borton
John Libbey Publishing Ltd.
3 Leicester Road, New Barnet, Herts EN5 5EW, UK
c/o Indiana University Press (distributor)
Herman B Wells Library 350
1320 E. 10th St., Bloomington, IN 47405-3907
9780861967117, $48.00,

Before the Movies: American Magic-Lantern Entertainment and the Nation's First Great Screen Artist, Joseph Boggs Beale is, surprisingly, the first book about American screen entertainment before the movies, and uses pioneer Joseph Boggs Beale's works to show how he not only contributed to, but nearly defined screen entertainment in the pre-movie era with his magic lantern shows.

He produced over two thousand images for an audience of millions and his lantern slides were extensive: Before the Movies catalogs all these images, placing them in historical perspective and adding charts, graphs, and discussions of screen art in general and Beale's role in particular. This catalog of Beale's works operates on several levels: as a basic reference to his works, as a guide to his images covering the wider context of his era, and as a tribute to an artist who worked in the field for over twenty years and whose efforts led to a body of work that reflected and affected American culture as a whole.

No serious film or movie history holding should be without Before the Movies!

Behind the Counselor's Door
Kevin Kuczynski
Health Communications Inc.
3201 S.W. 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442-8190
9780757318412, $13.95,

Behind the Counselor's Door: Teenagers' True Confessions, Trials, and Triumphs comes from a high school counselor whose years of working with students led to an awareness of common issues and themes in their lives. His intent in revealing his students' lives is to inspire and enlighten: chapters based on his (and their) experiences thus provide examples of common obstacles to communication.

Unlike other books covering adult interactions with students, the intended readership here is teens, themselves. These real stories are meant to serve as inspirational accounts to help peers through their own daily struggles. While Kevin Kuczynski's opinions and thoughts are interjected throughout, it's the words of the teens that stand out; and though the book's title sounds as though it's directed to adults, it's the subtitle that says it all (it could have said "by teens/for teens" - but then, adults will ideally learn from it, as well!)

The Student Resistance Handbook
Cevin Soling
Spectacle Films, Inc.
9780990939900, $14.95,

School can be an oppressive environment, quashing spirit and creativity and providing an education based more on obedience and rote learning than actual engaged learning. This environment can, however, be challenged and changed, as is advocated in The Student Resistance Handbook, written by a film director who considers why, if, and how kids can rebel against their schools and take back their civil rights.

It provides a course of action for kids to tackle school oppression but focuses on legal and non-violent methods of resistance designed to disrupt school operations and return a sense of dignity and control to students. The focus on civil rights denials offers methods of overloading the system and making reasoned demands.

High school students will likely be the readers of this guide, but any age group will find it a reasoned, involving survey of how students can take back their educational environments while retaining a sense of dignity and purpose in the process of confronting authorities.

Linda Howard Zonana
Outskirts Press
10940 S. Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478701538, $11.95,

Vertigo! When the World Spins Out of Control: Meniere's Disease, Benign Positional Vertigo and Other Vestibular Illnesses is about inner ear imbalances, sudden onsets of vertigo, conditions that can thwart medical diagnosis and treatment, and is recommended for any who have struggled with regular, ongoing or undiagnosed vertigo.

Sometimes vertigo is temporary and other times it evolves into a chronic condition, but repeated bouts can alter lives - and it's a more common condition than one might think; not limited to the elderly or hearing-impaired.

The author's sudden and prolonged struggle with vertigo led to her diagnosis of Meniere's Disease even though her symptoms didn't fully match the disorder. Her decision to conduct her own research into Meniere's and her findings, which appear here, blend personal experience with her encounters with the medical community.

It should be noted that this focus is only on vertigo caused by inner ear problems. Interviews with some fifty people who suffered with vertigo provides in-depth discussions and research that has been reviewed by health professionals, and it considers alternative therapies (such as yoga), which may not be prescribed by a doctor, but which can help. Any who suffer from ongoing vertigo will find Vertigo, which includes many case histories, offers hope and understanding.

American Made: A Boomer's Reflection
Cliff Branch
Annie's Publishing
9781573977341, $29.95,

There's no better discussion that captures the nuances and feel of the baby boomer generation than American Made: A Boomer's Reflection, which begins in the 1960s and proceeds to modern times. It packs in over 600 color photo images and details the last fifty years of American pop, business and cultural changes from one of the pioneers in youth marketing during the post-Vietnam era - but that's only the tip of its iceberg.

American Made also reveals business partnerships and changing business environments with an eye to examining changing priorities, offering critiques of education, the growing pains and evolution of civil rights struggles, and personal and political processes.

It's difficult to easily categorize American Made's wide-reaching chronicle: call it an autobiography, then add in a healthy dose of social observation and reflection and make it personal with vignettes. Because that's the crux of Branch's survey: a personal approach to social change that shows its strength in the colorful words and photos packing hundreds of pages.

The Window Sash Bible
Steve Jordan
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781505299144, $45.00,

Author Steve Jordan has worked in house restoration for decades, and blends a sense of history into his books as well as a sense of how-to skill: thus, his The Window Sash Bible: A Guide to Maintaining and Restoring Old Wood Windows is replete with preservation insights as well as the mechanics of how to handle old window sashes.

Of course, the prerequisite to fully appreciating Jordan's book is an interest in repairing and maintaining old historic windows, rather than simply replacing them. The idea that old troublesome windows may be fully restored instead of replacing them with cheap units is central to any preservationist's viewpoint and a key component of the 'how-to' efforts posited here.

Step-by-step black and white photos of the restoration process require some degree of familiarity with tools and woodworking systems. From repair to maintenance, this is the book of choice for any owner of an old building who wants keys to restoring and preserving one of the most basic facets of the building.

Mah Jongg: The Art of the Game
Ann M. Israel and Gregg Swain
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive, North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
9784805313237, $24.95,

Mah Jongg: The Art of the Game features color photos throughout by Michel Arnaud and provides an unusual collector's guide to mah jongg tiles and sets (something very different from the usual player's guide), pairing a history and collector's focus with insights on vintage sets from around the world.

There are very few such references on the subject and this is perhaps the only book to thoroughly document the origins of the game, its evolution, and the wide diversity of playing tiles that have evolved throughout history.

Add hundreds of color photos of these sets and extensive historical background and you have a celebration that will attract players and collectors alike. While players might initially be disappointed that this doesn't cover game strategy, they should quickly come to appreciate the book's wider focus and intriguing insights, which are all but impossible to find elsewhere.

Armageddon, Texas
Tommy Zurhellen
Atticus Books
20 Waverly Place, 2nd Floor, Madison NJ 07940
9780991546916, $14.95,

Armageddon, Texas is hard to neatly categorize: it may sound like a novel of apocalypse but in fact hides a blend of scripture and myths as it retells the medieval pagan poem Beowulf, adding a modern spin to the saga.

One wouldn't anticipate humor in the pages of such a venture; nor a dog's-eye view of matters ("I stand my ground by the river, wondering what I smell like, besides dog. Maybe it's still that damned chicken."); but both are present in a rollicking romp that adds to a series not hitherto seen by this reviewer.

In this world, there's a disruptive Eve. In this post-apocalyptic journey there is survival and ironic relics from past lives. And in this unusual approach is a story that stands out from the crowd of apocalyptic doomsday stories, juxtaposing spirituality with joie de vivre and fun. Fans used to the ordinary 'journey' accounts of apocalyptic tales will find Book 3 of 'The Messiah Trilogy' offers something quite different and promises a unique journey.

Money, Murder, and Madness: A Banking Life
Forrest Russell Cook
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781496959614, $16.95,

Money, Murder, and Madness: A Banking Life at first glance seems to be yet another novel about banking issues, pinpointing common problems with banking regulation. With so many books on the subject on the market, it's initially hard to see the need for yet another; but Money, Murder, and Madness's difference is that it comes from an author who spent his career in the banking industry and who blends personal stories from that career with an analysis that adds a history of the American banking system.

This isn't from some low-level manager, either: Cook eventually served as President and CEO of two major banks in the New England area; so his insider's viewpoint comes from high-level associations and provides details other banking exposes don't match.

From how board members and bankers reacted to various banking crises over the years to the changing history of state-chartered banks, political 'redlining', banking changes under various players and dominant forces in economics, and more, the lively Money, Murder, and Madness is the item of choice for any who would receive an executive's view of the industry's challenges and changes.

The Flower Farmer's Year
Georgie Newbery
Green Books
c/o UIT Cambridge Limited
PO Box 145, Cambridge, England, CB4 1GQ
9780857842336, $39.99,

There are plenty of books on the market that discuss growing small-scale vegetables for farming and marketing; but fewer that do the same for cut flowers. That's one reason why The Flower Farmer's Year is a standout: it comes from an artisan flower farmer and florist who has become one of the UK's leading independent cut-flower farmers.

Readers don't need to be situated in the UK to appreciate her advice: chapters cover the basics of starting a cut-flower patch, from what to grow to what sells and is easiest to cut, and includes tips on turning a small farming operation into a business and growing it successfully.

The inclusion of marketing tactics and social media is an unexpected and welcome enhancement to a guide that focuses on the types of shrubs and flowers that lend to bouquet combinations, while keys to 'finishing' displays to gain maximum sales are invaluable. Add color photos throughout and you have a well-detailed guide that covers all aspects of not just growing, but marketing and profiting from cut flowers.

Windowsill Art
Nancy Ross Hugo
St. Lynn's Press
P.O. Box 18680, Pittsburgh, PA 15236
9780989268851, $18.95,

Windowsill Art: Creating One-of-A-Kind Natural Arrangements to Celebrate the Seasons, by Nancy Ross Hugo, is filled with lovely color photos and presents a naturalist's artistic insights into how to gather and display "found" objects in nature to create intimate, often spontaneous, arrangements for the windowsill. And for contemplation.

First, there's ready acknowledgment that the art of window decorating isn't just about being creative: it's about looking for ways to display a plant or flower that reveals its unique character. It's also about cultivating practices that keep artistic results alive and changing. It is a new way of looking at plants and window art that advocates "creating something new at least weekly".

Lest one believe that there isn't enough material or refreshingly different approaches for the same window, Windowsill Art proves otherwise, pairing full-page seasonal color photos of a rich variety of displays with personal observations about how and why they work.

Any who want a beginner's guide to seasonal natural arrangements should begin here: the combination of its chatty tone, colorful presentations, and discussions combines creative and spiritual insights with artistic advice to make for a warm, enthusiastic introduction.

Dreams of My Mothers
Joel L.A. Peterson
Huff Publishing Associates
4214 Alden Drive, Edina, MN 55416
9780989527781, $14.95,

Dreams of my Mothers: A Story of Love Transcendent is an unusual blend of fiction and biography: based on a true story, it's both a coming of age saga and the story of two women who are mothers from opposite ends of the world whose love for the same child brings them into new lives. This is a vivid, highly engaging emotional read that follows the unexpected threads of their life stories, offering perspectives from three vantage points and deftly traversing avenues of pain, internal conflicts, redemption and resolution to arrive at the heart of the story: unconditional love. How one boy faces his mixed, complicated heritage and two mothers face the path and results of trans-national, trans-racial adoption makes for a powerful saga that's heart-wrenching yet profoundly, satisfyingly hopeful.

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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