December 2016 Prime Picks
with a Story
Sell with a Story: How to Capture Attention, Build trust, and Close the Sale represents a different approach to gaining sales: influencing buyers through the finer art of creating a sales story, based on traditional storytelling approaches.
From why and when salespeople should employ such techniques to how to use them to make the kind of points that lead to a successful sale, Sell with a Story uses one-on-one interview examples between buyers and sellers at over 50 companies as examples of the processes involved, and reviews the basics of crafting and delivering a great story that leads to sales success.
Exercises and illustrations of such approaches as building a suitable story problem and applying it appropriately makes for a specific business guide that is highly recommended for any salesperson looking for creative, different methods of landing a sale.
The Computer Corner
Microservices: Flexible Software Architecture is a recommended reference for computer reference libraries catering to software architects seeking a practical guide to microservices, and assumes little prior knowledge as it defines what they are, how they differ from other modularization processes, and how to apply them to specific kinds of projects.
Best practices are reviewed, Eberhard Wolff's opinions and experience in the field are explored, and discussions even include points where experts disagree, inviting software architect readers to form their own opinions of what works better and why.
From keys to supporting microservices to techniques to adjust their architecture, Microservices: Flexible Software Architecture is a recommended basic for any collection appealing to advanced IT and software programmers.
with the Windows Sysinternals Tools
Mark Russinovich and Aaron Margosis
Troubleshooting with the Windows Sysinternals Tools: Guidance from the Tools' Creator provides an update to the Windows Sysinternals Administrator's Reference in showing programmers how to optimize the Windows Sysinternals system and how to improve its reliability and performance.
This is intended as a basic introduction to Sysinternals and its various applications and customization processes, and demonstrates how to use its many tools, from Process Explorer and Sysmon to handling files opened remotely and troubleshooting various errors.
Small-size (sometimes difficult to clearly see) black and white screenshots accompany clear discussions of installation, configuration, and organizing and working with various applications in a solid reference highly recommended for programmers new to using the Windows Sysinternals tool set; or who want better guidance on how to use them, from the tools' creator himself.
The Little Bookroom
Carne: Rome Sustainable Food Project gathers meat recipes from the American Academy in Rome and is fifth in a series of cookbooks to select favorite recipes from the Academy with American cooks in mind.
The meat dishes in Carne are divided by type of meat (Beef & Veal, Pork, Lamb, Poultry, and Rabbit) and each recipe is introduced with a short essay on how is cooked and served in Italy, and what makes it a classic Italian dish.
Full-page color photos of finished dishes accompany introductions and recipes which are easy to follow. The author's notes on modifications and traditions and the dish's appearance on Italian tables makes for a lively gathering which goes beyond the usual recipe collection, making Carne an attractive addition to any cookbook collection; even those already containing general Italian titles.
Avenues are Possible
Shanta Nimbark Sacharoff
Other Avenues are Possible: Legacy of the People's Food System of the San Francisco Bay Area could have been featured in a column covering social issues or movements; but is reviewed here because anyone with an interest in food distribution systems should know about this history of the rise and fall of the San Francisco People's Food System during the 1970s.
With a blend of Bay Area and natural food movement history, this book uses new interviews, historical research, and Shanta Nimbark Sacharoff's own experience as a co-op member to chart the social movement which fostered the natural foods movement.
The People's Food System successfully and aggressively challenged consumers and marketers to rethink agribusiness and supermarkets, and created a series of food co-ops that combined political consciousness-raising with new ideas of how to grow and distribute healthy foods.
From restructuring and financial concerns to community involvement in food management, Other Avenues are Possible is especially eye-opening because it comes not from a historian or reporter, but from a participant who was part of the movement from its early days, making this a very highly recommended survey for any interested in the politics and culture of food.
Bauder and Dean, Publishers
It's difficult to easily categorize or define the audience for Imagining Ichabod: My Journey Into 18th-Century America Through History, Food, and a Georgian House; primarily because it's a combination historical piece, artistic examination of Georgian architecture, and a food survey of 18th century American recipes and dishes, and thus will appeal to very different audiences.
Paula Bennett embraced the history of her Georgian-era home and learned about its construction and history, and these lessons are imparted in a lively examination of how people lived and interacted during those times, contrasting them with the author's perceptions and experiences of modern life within Georgian walls.
She also connects her house's oddities and architectural constructs with culinary history, such as observing that a cut-out in their kitchen floor, covered by a wooden "lid" when not in use, led directly to the dumbwaiter in the cellar and might have been used by the house's owners to bring up ice to restock the icebox, enabling the enjoyment of ice cream at home at the turn of the last century.
Color photos and illustrations throughout pepper a lively connection between past and present lifestyles and approaches that led to different house arrangement and construction purposes, contributing to an unusual and engrossing book highly recommended not just for history, culinary and arts libraries, but for general interest readers who will find this a unique, very accessible blend of all three themes.
Garden Through the Seasons at Giverny
Monet's Garden Through the Seasons at Giverny is both an art book and a gardening title, as the focus on artist Monet's garden considers how it was conceived of, evolved, and run by Monet, and how it ultimately inspired over five hundred of his best paintings.
Chapters adopt a seasonal approach in their examination, with Vivian Russell's colorful, full-page photos accompanying biographical notes about Monet, his garden's changes, and the transformations it experienced over the years.
From Monet's preference for traditional species to the annual management of his garden legacy, gardeners and those interested in art will both find much to love in a book that is as specific about the Monet family's legacy as it is about how it's managed and the art work that evolved from its creation and influences.
One Told Me Not to Do This
No One Told Me Not to Do This is the third collection of Ryan's prints, which were created between 2009 and 2015, and packs in some two hundred screenprints along with commentary on how they were created.
The artist has produced dozens of posters and screenprints over this twenty year period, and this book gathers the artist's favorites, adding notes on what makes them standout achievements. Over 200 pieces are included here - but even more valuable, to artists, are the accompanying insights on how their conception and evolution.
Blend good-sized (some full-page) color illustrations with these notes and you have an exceptional guide to not just Jay Ryan's art, but to the process involved in making superior screenprints.
B. Byron Price, Editor
University of Oklahoma Press
Picturing Indian Territory: Portraits of the Land That Became Oklahoma, 1819-1907 accompanies an exhibit of the same name. It collects images spanning nearly nine decades in scope, from scientific illustrations to paintings and portraits. The intent is to counter the usual visuals produced by reporters and non-Natives who typically document the creation of Indian lands and the peoples who inhabit them, employing better images that further narrow the focus with a collection of art pieces that help define and record an era in western Oklahoma that saw many changes and transformations.
More than a collection of Native artists or historical depictions, Picturing Indian Territory helps redefine the accuracy of images of these peoples and their lands, cements the artistic gathering through three essays that place these pieces in historical perspective, and creates an authoritative, rich visual legacy of western Oklahoma native peoples and their culture which offers a more well-rounded survey than most.
Native American or Oklahoma history collection should be without this.
Sacred and Stolen: Confessions of a Museum Director presents all kinds of issues that belay the image of the museum as a dull place where little happens other than the setup and takedown of displays, covering behind-the-scenes stories that range from inside thefts and dealing with fakes to bribery, exhibition challenges, and clever thieves.
More than a survey of exciting museum adventures, however, Sacred and Stolen considers the politics, processes, and job of being a museum director and the complex world of art transactions and exhibits, adopting a lively tone as it surveys how exhibitions are put together, challenges to managing art collections, and international interactions over the possession and content of art.
While this lively survey will be a top pick for arts collections, it also holds attraction for lay audiences with only casual interest in art museum operations, and deftly belays the idea that art museums are dull or routine.
University of Oklahoma Press
Show Town: Theater and Culture in the Pacific Northwest, 1890-1920 follows the history and evolution of theatre in early Spokane and boomtowns in the west at the turn of the 20th century, and uses this relatively small town to reflect the evolution of not only show business but culture in the rugged West.
From the construction of Spokane's first theater and how the new venue changed and appealed to audiences used to different approaches to entertainment to how the city drew away from its Victorian perceptions of entertainment to offer productions that appealed to different classes of people and segments of society, Show Town uses theater to trace the evolution of one small city in the West, and will especially appeal to Northwest holdings strong in history and the arts.
Du Iz Tak? ("What Is That?") features an invented language, beautiful and whimsical drawings, and a nature focus to provide a fun and different story.
While parental assistance might be needed (because the invented language will prove somewhat puzzling to the very young), the picture story of two damselflies who find something wonderful in life is a fun tale and an unusual approach.
Even more importantly, it makes some important yet subtle observations about language and communication which will not escape the attention of young picture book readers who pursue the story and its visuals with adult assistance.
The Rains tells of Chance Rain and his older brother, who face vast changes when their community turns into a war zone overnight, with plague-infected children being dragged away by inhuman adult predators, changed by a parasite that only affects those eighteen and older.
Stories similar in theme (adults gone mad and children struggling to survive without them) have appeared on the market over the decades; but what sets The Rains apart from these or other, more typical zombie-type transformations is an attention to detail that moves beyond a survival story and into the realm of an alien encounter.
One of the driving forces of the story (that teen hero Patrick's eighteenth birthday is only a few days away) is also one of its most gripping features, adding pressure into a powerful story of family relationships threatened and changed by a contagion that holds deadly changes for everyone on the planet regardless of their age.
Readers of apocalyptic or alien encounter stories will find Gregg Hurwitz has created a gripping scenario that's hard to put down. The Rains is recommended not just for mature teens, but for new adults and adults, as well.
Two fine new books from Sleeping Bear Press are especially recommended for libraries seeking appealing stories with special, lasting interest to middle grade and picture book readers.
Middle grade readers who enjoy series stories about the outdoors will relish Judy Young's The Wild World of Buck Bray: The Missing Grizzly Cubs (9781585369706, $16.99), which follows eleven-year-old Buck's visit to Alaska's Denali National Park to shoot the first episode in a children's wilderness show.
Buck is excited to be a star and is equally excited to visit Alaska; but when he finds that being in a film isn't as interesting as he thought, he is disappointed - until two grizzly cubs vanish.
Challenged to work with a girl to solve this mystery, Buck finds his world expanding in more ways than one.
Sharon Gibson Palermo's Winter, Winter, Cold and Snow (9781585369539, $16.99) gives young picture book readers a very simple set of rhyming couplets as animals are questioned about what they know about their woodland neighbors and their habits.
Kids learn about wildlife, winter experiences, and animal interactions through a gentle story that includes simple, fun drawings by Christina Song.
excellent choices for collections seeking superior works and longevity
from their acquisitions.
Screen Made Easy
Jeremy Hanke and Michele Yamazaki Terpstra
Michael Wiese Productions
Screen Made Easy: Keying and Compositing Techniques
for Indie Filmmakers appears in its
second updated edition,
which has been completely revised and revamped to include the latest
technology, cameras, and video programs.
Whether the reader is a director, a film or video artist, or a photographer, Green Screen Made Easy is for anyone who would move their skills and projects into the area of digital compositing, and pairs a handy production checklist with overviews of how to better work within the green screen environment for superior results.
With its tricks for extracting difficult edges and using third-party keying plug-ins to considering keying tools, among many others, Green Screen Made Easy should be a basic addition to any filmmaking library.
Mark Hallett and Mathew J. Wedel
Johns Hopkins University Press
The Sauropod Dinosaurs: Life in the Age of Giants packs in hundreds of color photos and illustrations in the course of explaining the latest discoveries about sauropod dinosaurs, and is a recommended reference for any college-level science collection with more than a casual interest in dinosaurs.
Naturalist Mark Hallett's art and science works have appeared as articles in Smithsonian, National Geographic and others, while co-author Mathew J. Wedel is a sauropod expert and associate professor who has written numerous papers on the subject. The combined forces of these two create a lively and engrossing natural history which reconsiders the science and nature of the sauropods in particular, offering new insights based on the latest research and thinking.
The lively color images throughout lend to general reader appreciation; but it's the student of paleontology who will get the most out of the many specific details herein.
Blackwell's Five-Minute Veterinary Consult Clinical Companion: Small Animal Toxicology appears in its second updated edition to cover the most important facts a vet or clinician needs to know when dealing with an animal that's been poisoned, organizing all information into a format that lends to very quick consultation under emergency conditions.
It should be noted that though the second edition adds new toxins and reference information, it's not extensive; so owners of the first edition will likely have enough basics to retain that edition. Newcomers without either edition, however, will find this update includes information from more toxicology experts and retains the at-a-glance, quick reference format that makes for an exceptional pick for use under emergency conditions, adding fourteen new topics to this edition that ranges from poisonous lizards to plants.
The result is a key acquisition especially recommended for any practicing vet who doesn't have the first edition in hand, yet.
Biography & Autobiography
Am Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson and Ben Greenman
Da Capo Press
I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir comes from the co-founder and songwriters of the Beach Boys; and though one might think his experiences whould have received attention long ago, Wilson has in fact been relatively silent about his life and music - until now.
Wilson's periods of mental stability were reflected in periods where his music experienced comebacks; but these relatively short interludes were preceded and followed by descents into mental illness and experiments with alternative, radical psychological treatments that both challenged and changed him emotionally and artistically.
Prior fans of the Beach Boys in general and Wilson in particular will find I Am Brian Wilson is a powerful testimony to his resilience and to the ongoing struggles of a reclusive artist who faced some of his worst demons and yet continued to produce world-changing music.
His lively account of 'time jumps and time lands' and the influencers of sanity and insanity make for a powerful memoir that's candid, often surprising, and hard to put down; especially recommended reading for prior Wilson fans and followers of popular music alike.
University of Oklahoma Press
Lois Lenski, Storycatcher is recommended for prior fans who either grew up with or are familiar with children's author Lois Lenski's books, and comes from a historian and educator who followed Lenski's life from her roots in a small Ohio town to her many award-winning writings which detailed the lives of America's children.
Lenski was no singular author: she spent five decades creating such memorable works as Strawberry Girl, Texas Tomboy, and a wide range of writings, from picture books to novels, poetry, and songbooks.
This author/illustrator produced some of the most classic American children's stories of her times, crafting works that emphasized understanding regional differences and family dynamics. Rich in real scenarios and local settings, these works became part of the fabric of American children's literature.
Having a biographical coverage that delves into her many achievements and influences makes for a powerful contribution highly recommended for any fan of Lois Lenski.
Son Wears Heels
University of Wisconsin Press
My Son Wears Heels: One Mom's Journey from Clueless to Kickass began in 1992, when the author's only child, Harry, told her he felt he was a girl - at two years of age. At that time, mother Julie Tarney had no idea what that meant. There was no precedent for raising a transgender child, and no clues on how she should be parenting him. There was no Internet to turn to for information, no peers to chime in with similar experiences, and no medical support. Even the term 'transgender' and related language was not part of the common vernacular.
In her quest to be the best parent possible to her non-confirming child, Julie Tarney decided to rely on her instincts to determine the best way to guide her son and their relationship, and My Son Wears Heels documents this process and its ultimate results.
There are many books about transgender experiences; but this one, from a parent's early experiences at a time when the term and its meaning weren't even a part of her language, is especially powerful in its story of how one mother's approach forged a path that ultimately created a different, closer relationship with her son.
City: The Jan & Dean Story
Surf City: The Jan & Dean Story belongs in any collection strong in popular music history and biography and comes from half of the Jan & Dean group, Dean Torrence, who experienced the heyday of California surf music in the 1960s.
Dean Torrance was more than a participant: his music joined others in riding the wave of surf music beyond California and into the mainstream, and his story documents this process and how Jan and Dean not only helped create and promote a uniquely-California sound, but how surf music became part of the cultural message of its times.
As chapters document encounters with musical greats, peer movements, influences on surf and car music topics, and more, readers gain a full-bodied set of insights into the evolution of and lasting impact of surf music, right from the horse's mouth, by one of its major musical artists. Surf City is highly recommended for fans of popular music history in general and surf music in particular.
of the Earth
Mary Mann Hamilton
Trials of the Earth: the True Story of a Pioneer Woman is a posthumous memoir that comes from an early female pioneer who was, luckily, encouraged to write down her experiences as a female pioneer. Her journal captures the experiences of a young girl who was married to an older Englishman at the age of eighteen, journeyed to the American South, survived floods, tornadoes, bears and the deaths of some of her children, and undertook jobs that most of her peers would never experience.
Mary's written account was submitted to publisher Little, Brown's writer's competition in 1933, but it didn't win. Its story could have ended there, relegated to a desk drawer or the scrap pile, were it not for a small academic press that uncovered a copy of the manuscript and published it.
Its appearance here, by the same major publishing house that rejected it so many decades ago, makes for an especially notable mention: few books appear over eighty years after an original submission was rejected.
Mary Mann Hamilton's life is recounted with an unusual attention to small daily experiences as well as larger, life-changing ones, and is especially recommended for collections strong in women's history and early pioneer women's experiences.
with Young Writers
Kristin Ackerman & Jennifer McDonough
Conferring with Young Writers: What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do is for any adult who has wanted to offer words of wisdom to a struggling child to help them overcome their literacy challenges, and comes from authors who have been teaching writing for several years. Fellow teachers are given the tools for helping students understand how writing is put together and why it succeeds or fails. This structured teaching approach includes ideas for encouraging young writers by choosing writing examples better matched to their interests and skills levels.
Chapters also come with plenty of case history examples of 'voice' and conferences between educators and kids on various approaches to creating more effective writing, offering specific insights on how to change focus and conversational interactions to better reinforce writing efforts.
The result is more than a key to writing more effectively. It's a key to better communications about the overall process, filled with real-world examples that parents and educators alike will appreciate.
Need to Talk About Pornography
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
We Need to Talk About Pornography gives teachers a resource for educating young people about pornography and its impact on body image and relationships, and is directed to educators of ages 11-19 looking not just for new approaches to the topic, but for a complete tool kit, including reproducible materials.
The focus is on group learning activities that encourage discussion and interest in identifying porn and understanding its impact. Chapters demonstrate how to instigate discussions ranging from how sex is portrayed to pornography's link to body image.
Activities encourage student reflection and also supply specific teacher approaches to opening discussions, following through on the reflection, review, and summary process, making We Need to Talk About Pornography a 'must' for educators who would not just introduce the topic, but create lesson plans that expand upon its underlying issues and their impact.
California Smoke is about drug lords, graft, small-time losers, and a cannabis industry in Humboldt County, California that's about to become even more hot and controversial thanks to legislation about legalizing marijuana.
Part of the reason why it's such a gritty, realistic read is that many of its foundations are based on reality; from the rural Western cowboy-like atmosphere that is Northern California's Humboldt County to the real struggles and conflicts raised by its blossoming cannabis-growing industry.
Hank Shaeffer adds just the right mix of characters to his story to make the most of this atmosphere, from an ex-Bay Area cop trying to solve the mystery of his father's death to a professional killer, a drug lawyer, and a host of small-time operators trying to eek out a living in a county notorious for its marijuana.
Think 'modern Western', add in a distinctive Native American flavor, add an atmosphere of intrigue and social observation, and blend in California scenarios and special interests for a thriller that is supercharged with emotion, diverse crime scenes, and enough special interests to keep everything on track and engrossing.
Scott Burn, Publisher
The Enemy Within tells of 17-year-old Max, whose regular apocalyptic visions lead him to the edge of desperation as he considers suicide to escape them. When he lands in an institution, Max meets with a counselor who sees in his visions something more than mental illness, and who embarks with him on a journey to uncover their real meaning.
Max didn't expect his visions to attract special military interests in his abilities; and he didn't anticipate that his survival instincts will kick in to not only resist suicide, but the forces that would capture him and use these abilities.
Add an evolving friendship with others who also are marked with special powers and who also have attracted special interests for a compelling blend of coming-of-age story, thriller, and high-stakes survival in which one boy's choices could change the world.
The Enemy Within will appeal to mature teens, new adults, and beyond: any reader who enjoys survival sagas, apocalyptic reads, and fast-paced quasi-sci-fi stories of deadly visions and intergalactic influences.
ASIN: B01M63DFPS $5.99
Book 2 of the 'Lunar Rampage' series, Lunar City, crosses the line between a mystery and horror story as it tells of Cora's return to a town that she once fled, which was devastated by werewolf attacks. Expecting to return to the man she left behind, she discovers he's gone missing and that deadly forces are hunting for him.
Cora had hoped she could lead a life away from the werewolves; but her grandmother's need leads her away from a life of comfort and back into a tangled web of mystery and deception which sends her straight into a city of werewolves, an encounter with their leader, and a struggle for survival that comes with a very high price tag.
Fans of horror fiction revolving around werewolves are in for a treat with a story that takes the werewolf theme a step further, adding mystery and investigative processes that immerse a granddaughter in a story seemingly without end. Facing a life that might change forever, Cora makes hard choices in this captivating, different kind of werewolf story.
Robert M. Herzog
The Story Plant
Imagine coming across a gaping hole in parts of the world: a beach that vanishes, voids that appear in reality, or mind-bending alternations of the environment that just don't make sense. Imagine that these gaps are so otherworldly and strange that nobody admits to noticing them, until these feelings and observations become so prevalent and blatant that they can no longer be ignored. Now imagine that the human race becomes tasked with a race against time to solve the mystery of these growing voids before they take over enough to destroy everything.
That's the crux of A World Between, a different kind of apocalyptic scenario that charges the greatest scientific thinkers in the world to solve an unprecedented problem that defies everything mankind knows about physics and the laws of nature.
The plot takes a while to build, as different characters with disparate special interests are introduced. The element of mystery and intrigue builds slowly but steadily and soon one is immersed in the tale of a mind-bending phenomenon that threatens everything, making perfect leisure reading for anyone who enjoys a blend of thriller and apocalyptic vision.