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The Bookwatch

Volume 17, Number 12 December 2022 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Environmental Studies Shelf Biography Shelf
Philosophy Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Angela McKinney
9781956019414, $3.99 ebook

Untangle: How to Create Big Possibilities Through Small Changes introduces self-help readers to process of working through confusion, entanglements, and feeling stuck to come out the other side of a conundrum stronger than before. While many self-help guides seem to have addressed this approach, Angela McKinney adopts a different perspective through not just exercises and admonitions, but a discussion of links between seemingly-small stressful situations and their connections and contributions to bigger patterns of habits that trap.

Clarity comes not from a singular path, but from a blend of lessons and examples from others and the analysis and direction McKinney provides to illustrate how individuals can untangle themselves from self-destructive or limiting patterns. McKinney acknowledges that this process may initially seem convoluted or challenging.

Notes based on the Untangle Workshops that McKinney conducts, provided by those who successfully employed specific strategies to improve their lives and modify their reactions to life, make important connections between tapping creative potential and understanding self-limiting messages and approaches that have held that possibility at bay. Without such creative solutions, untangling unconscious reenactment patterns can be challenging. Reality checks cover such disparate entanglements as overwork, aggressive energy, and self-limiting internal messages, offering methods to overcoming these in the form of play and creative problem-solving engagements, and venturing into new, unfamiliar territory on many different levels.

McKinney's proven strategy allows participants and readers to move ahead into their best lives. All that's required is a willingness to absorb the messages, experiences, and guidelines in Untangle, which ideally will be readily available in both general-interest and self-help libraries.

The Environmental Studies Shelf

Climate and Energy Decoded
Tushar Choudhary, Ph.D.
HopeSpring Press
9798986435800, $15.99 Paper/$8.99 Kindle

Climate and Energy Decoded: A Realistic Overview of Climate Change, Renewable Energy & Low-Carbon Transition offers a realistic assessment of climate change and the discussions surrounding it and human energy use, and is recommended reading for libraries looking for reasoned debates that blend scientific with political analysis.

From the foundations of climate change science and the history of climate change to a survey of power and energy usage and reviews of advantages and challenges in each method (from nuclear to geothermal and hydropower), this book considers low-carbon alternatives, but incorporates some of the key debates surrounding renewable power issues and why and how various options either work or fail.

Of particular note here, which sets this book apart from similar-sounding discussions, is an attention to not only footnoted supportive references, but insights into why scholarly analysis often falls short in addressing these issues. The result is more than just a rehashing of familiar-sounding issues, but offers many new insights into the process of solid research and scholarship itself, shedding light on why so many inconsistencies are reported (and come to be seen) as true.

Decoding climate and energy problems thus faces the added burden of tackling the methods of investigation, analysis, reporting, and conclusions that lead to falsehoods that further muddy the waters of climate change issues.

While Climate and Energy Decoded lives up to its promise of providing more enlightening contrasts between different options, its added value lies in its meticulous pinpointing of how research, study, and reporting methods fail, and how readers can conduct better research more thoroughly grounded in a vetted approach to critical thinking.

Libraries strong in climate issues and research papers will find Climate and Energy Decoded an excellent acquisition. Ideally, it will be chosen for classroom and reading group discussions about not just climate change, but the methods used to represent its science.

The Biography Shelf

Remarkable Women series
TwoDot/Globe Pequot
c/o Rowman & Littlefield

Two new editions of titles in the "Remarkable Women" series are top picks for libraries looking for biographical profiles of women who made their marks in different states.

The second edition of Christy Karras's Remarkable Utah Women (9781493066841, $19.95) selects seventeen strong women who made a name for themselves in a state oddly known for its religious rigidity and women's rights alike. The women featured here have achieved many things, from Emmeline B. Wells, who was president of both the Mormon Relief Society and the Women's Suffrage Association, and Reva Beck Bosone, the state's first female judge. New biographies have been added for this edition to profile activists and historians.

The third updated edition of Wynne Brown's Remarkable Arizona Women (9781493066865, $19.95) selects seventeen women of quite remarkable, diverse backgrounds, from poets and historians to lady bandits, educators, and activists. Each of these women broke free from social and political restrictions to change others' lives and make a mark on their state.

Each book provides riveting insights that readers will find perfect for studying the states in general and women's lasting impact in particular, and deserves a place in any women's history collection that's strong in biographical inspection.

The Philosophy Shelf

Punk Rock and Philosophy
Joshua Heter and Richard Greene, editors
Open Universe
c/o Carus Books
9781637700228, $24.95

Punk Rock and Philosophy: Research and Destroy adds to the publisher's series Pop Culture and Philosophy with a 7th volume designed to especially appeal to pop music fans of punk rock. This audience will find the book offers thought-provoking discussions suitable for contemplation and group debate as they consider the essence of punk rock and its relationship to controversial thinking. From early punk's history and its relationship to political situations to the philosophical and ethical foundations of many of its major groups and songs, readers receive diverse essays that are compelling, passionate, contemporary links between philosophical thinking and modern musical culture.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Baen Books
P.O. Box 1403, Riverdale, NY 10471

Two new books from Baen are highly recommended picks for libraries seeking lasting, memorable reads.

P.C. Hodgell's Deathless Gods (9781982192167, $17.00) is a fantasy filled with intrigue and action. Jamethiel Knorth has returned from battle, but faces further struggles between political forces and administrators of the land. As she faces betrayal and danger on the home front, she confronts a heir willing to do anything to depose her house and position, including employing invisible assassins. Combine that with her charge to compete in a game which holds deadly possibilities and what results is a compelling read packed with intrigue, political twists, and a memorable character whose world shifts not from unknown but too-well-known influences at home.

David Weber and Jacob Holo's The Janus File (9781982192150, $25.00) is a Gordian Division novel about time, crime, and a human/AI partnership that involves time machines and freak accidents. Detective Isaac Cho's investigation with a new sidekick with an attraction to violence is further complicated not just by his partner, but their forced association together as a case of murder evolves to be so much more. Readers interested in lively sci-fi and investigative stories alike will find much to relish in this story.

Baen Books
P.O. Box 1403, Riverdale, NY 10471

Simon R. Green's The Dark Side of the Road (9781982192211, $16.00) is a novel of supernatural intrigue and investigation and displays Ishmael Jones's latest supernatural mystery. Ishmael is trying to stay under the radar, but an invitation to spend Christmas at his employer's mansion brings him out of his preferred darkness and into the light of a strange disappearance. Fenced in by expectations and blizzards alike, Ishmael Jones finds himself boxed in by a dangerous killer and his own limitations.

Eric Flint's 1824: The Arkansas War (9781982192174, $17.00) provides yet another alternate history story that invites readers to rethink possibilities of "what if" were history different. A social and political crisis packed with racial strife emerges as a hybrid nation of blacks, Indian tribes, and political ambitions result in the build-up of an army in Arkansas. Familiar historical figures appear in this re-envisioned sequence of events to provide thought-provoking action that will especially attract alternate history sci-fi enthusiasts.

Both of these new novels from Baen Books are fine additions to libraries looking for stories that hold allure beyond their genre boundaries.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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Oregon, WI 53575-1129
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