February 2016 Prime Picks
Biography & autobiography
Darwin Porter & Danforth Prince
Blood Moon Productions
Bill & Hillary: So This Is That Thing Called Love is both a biographical coverage of the Clintons and a political exposé; so readers interested in more than the Clintons' personal lives now have a detailed, weighty exploration that traces the couple's social and political evolution, from how each entered the political arena to their White House years under Bill Clinton's presidency.
One might expect a light survey from a biography, but Bill & Hillary is anything but: as much as it contains gossip, scandal, and biographical sketches, it also delves deeply into the news and politics of its times, presenting enough historical background to fully explore the underlying controversies affecting the Clinton family and their choices.
Sidebars of information and black and white photos liberally peppered throughout the account offer visual reinforcement to the exploration, lending it the feel and tone of both a gossip column and political piece - something that probes not just Clinton interactions but the D.C. political milieu as a whole.
The result may appear weighty, sporting over five hundred pages, but is an absorbing, top recommendation for readers of both biographical and political pieces who will thoroughly enjoy this spirited, lively, and thought-provoking analysis, which arrives in perfect time for Hillary's presidential run.Bill & Hillary
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JP Publishing Australia
978-0-9875694-5-5 - print
978-0-9875694-6-2 - ebook
Campervan Kama Sutra offers a delightful blend of autobiography, travelogue, and humor piece and is especially recommended for leisure and armchair readers with a prior interest in family travels in general or Australia in particular.
The story opens with a hair-raising scenario: rising waters around the camper, a dead engine, and a family stuck in the outback with little hope of rescue.
When the author posed the idea to family and friends of a three-month family outback expedition, only his wife was skeptical. Everyone else enthusiastically endorsed the idea as being educational and a special opportunity for all. There was a narrow window for this to happen to include the three kids with minimum impact on their educations. Now they are stuck - and on her birthday, nonetheless - on a journey she never wanted for her family.
From strange encounters with strange individuals along the way to tales of fateful encounters, poor preparations, and chance disasters, Campervan Kama Sutra is a rollicking good armchair read that will delight any fan of travel as well as those who prefer to stay in the safety and comfort of their homes while enjoying a family's incredible journey.
Jack's Life: A Biography of Jack Nicholson has been updated and expanded from its original 1994 appearance, so even those who believe they're familiar with the old version will want to re-look at this new coverage, which comes from a seasoned film biographer who adds new research and interviews to expand upon his definitive biography.
The survey does more than gather filming events and career statistics: it probes the psyche of Nicholson on and off cameras, considers his upbringing and his Hollywood encounters, and brings to life the successes and failures throughout one of the most prolific personalities in Hollywood history.
Nicholson holds over sixty films to his name and understanding his personality and background is essential for an in-depth approach to his acting career. Jack's Life provides this depth and is highly recommended for any Nicholson fan.
New Age, Health and Healing
Shaman's Miraculous Tools for Healing
Alberto Villoldo with Anne E. O'Neill
Hampton Roads Publishing
A Shaman's Miraculous Tools for Healing reveals modern shamanic practices and their potential for healing, and comes from a pioneer of shamanism and energy healing who gathers twelve stories that serve as examples of such practices.
Each story serves as both an example of the possibilities of shamanic healing applications and as a case history that embraces mind/body connections and new approaches.
Alberto Villoldo is a traditional mental health professional who became devoted to indigenous practices, and who has spent several decades studying South American shamanic practices. This lends to a book that juxtaposes his insights with each healing example being presented, resulting in a back-and-forth dialogue that highlights each experience from two viewpoints.
The result is a survey that is a highly recommended acquisition for any new age reader interested in various healing practices and shaman insights. '
Aldous Huxley's Hands: His Quest for Perception and the Origin and Return of Psychedelic Science draws together psychedelics, neuroscience and historical biography along with more than a light dose of serendipity which resulted from journalist Allene Symons's discovery of a lost photo of Aldous Huxley.
Until her discovery, she had no idea that Huxley was once a friend of her father's - but her father had meticulously photographed human hands in his efforts to develop a science using them to predict mental states, and among the box contents she discovered the name of Huxley on the back of an image.
Her journey to understand her pragmatic father's relationship with Huxley led her on a journey that reconstructed Huxley's experimentation with psychedelics and, ultimately, her own father's involvement in the era.
Both new age and general-interest and science readers will relish this vivid story of Huxley's circle, which reached out to include unlikely participants in its strange new world.
Pain: How to Get Rid of It Forever
Hale & Iremonger
0 86806 675 3 $29.95
The sheer volume of health books on the market about back pain should be an indicator of not only how pervasive this condition is, but how tricky it is to alleviate.
This title makes some big claims: that its readers may be able to permanently end their back pain; but this achievement doesn't come without work. That work is provided by physiotherapist John Perrier, who designs a coverage that leaves no treatment option unturned in the quest for a better back.
First, suffers need to understand some basic physiology, and the introductory sections focus on the spine's structure, different kinds of common injuries that cause back pain, and how muscles, nerves, and vertebra injuries can change.
Next, a self-assessment quiz allows readers to narrow the causes of their back pain, while a final section offers a blend of back exercises and tips to sit, stand, walk, lift, and even sleep to lesson impact on the back.
From drugs and diets to common myths about what causes back pain, this isn't a light and quick overview, but delves into a variety of treatment options, questions, and insights on back health.
Spinal pain is complex, but this book helps suffers understand the factors influencing pain and its alleviation, and will find it an excellent self-help approach to supplement physician advice and physiotherapy.
Note: the ebook version is in two volumes: Back Pain: How to get rid of it Forever, Volume 1: The Causes and Back Pain: How to Get Rid of It Forever Volume 2: The Cures.
Heal Your PTSD: Dynamic Strategies That Work comes from the trenches in using decades of the author's work healing her own PTSD, and offers a program that helped her full recovery and also made her a top post-trauma coach for others.
Brief thought processes, quick exercises, and guidelines to recognizing PTSD patterns and symptoms and gaining freedom from them contribute to a book that is packed with insights on how healing proceeds, what inhibits it, and how to overcome common obstacles to success.
Chapters offer a step-by-step approach to creating change which takes baby steps to approach a bigger goal of full recovery, discussing wider concepts such as how to apply the idea of purpose to not only the healing process, but to one's overall life goals.
The result is a 'must' for any PTSD sufferer who would learn the basic tools for recovery.
Rashelle Brown, BS, CPT, CHC
Reboot Your Body: Unlocking the Genetic Secrets to Permanent Weight Loss shows how each person can alter his or her genetic blueprint to overcome genetic codes by following a set of healthy lifestyle habits, and it's the perfect read for any who feel they are 'doomed' to follow in a fat relative's footprints.
The key to success lies in identifying and applying these habits, and that's where Reboot Your Body really shines: it synthesizes hundreds of hours of research and real-world trials to provide a method that isn't based on a specific diet approach nor even a specific exercise routine.
If you look at the success or failure of programs, one of the more successful is Weight Watchers, because of its flexibility. This book adopts a similar approach, pairing the latest research on weight loss and habits with facts and tips from those who have achieved lasting weight loss no matter what their body type or family history.
Chapters come from the author's work with dozens of clients and provides all the specific approaches needed for a DIY weight loss program, highly recommended for any who seek a blend of flexibility and applied research results from a weight loss program.
Don't Have to Die to Go to Heaven
Susan Allison, PhD
You Don't Have to Die to Go to Heaven: How to Find Guidance and Healing in the Spirit Realms asks a different question: what if direct experience could be used to prove that spirit worlds exist, and that there is no death, and what we are actually immortal? If it sounds like science fiction, be advised that the premise here is quite serious: Dr. Susan Allison uses shamanic trances and spirit travel to other realms to foster such encounters.
Her perspective draws in connections from gurus, divine teachers, and more, and shows how to make spiritual connections with heaven without a near-death experience.New age readers with a special interest in the afterlife will find this approach embraces the wisdom of ancient cultures, connecting them to modern approaches to journeying to different realms. Mindful awareness is just one of the techniques promoted to connect with these realms: combine exercises with the insights provided here and you have a powerful survey packed with opportunities for spiritual and psychic growth.
Food Writing 2015
Holly Hughes, Editor
Best Food Writing 2015 takes a wealth of food writings from 2015 and sifts through them to gain the best products from websites, magazines, newspapers and blogs. It will delight any who love to read about food, cooking, culinary trends and history, and it examines a wide range of topics, from upscale chefs and culinary innovators to comfort foods and exotic productions alike.
Perhaps one of the finest features of this series as a whole is its evolutionary nature. Because it's published yearly, that year's latest trends and foodie concerns are profiled; and because it's compiled from a wide range of sources rather than a single source, its contributors come from all kinds of perspectives and offer a wide variety of topics.
This year's best picks include writings about seven common food myths, the paradox of the most exciting meat cooking innovations happening in Peru, a country with the lowest meat-eating index in Latin America, and the evolution of the lunch counter in American culinary and social history.
With many new writers appearing in book form for the first time here, Best Food Writing 2015 is everything a foodie could want: diverse, literary, and lively all at once, and a treasure trove of mouth-watering reflections that represent the best of 2015's discussions.
in the Mango Tree
Douglas & McIntyre
Chicken in the Mango Tree: Food and Life in a Thai-Khmer Village comes from a best-selling food writer and photographer who lived in the tiny Thai village of Kravan with his partner, and so it blends stories of rural village life with recipes to create a lively blend of travelogue, cultural discussion, and culinary insight piece.
While this approach may not attract readers who seek cookbooks alone, those who recognize the value in a wider-ranging discussion that follows the seasons of a year in Kravan and presents dishes particular to each season will find this a treasure trove of dishes that easily translate to American kitchens.
There are thirty recipes here, to give an idea of the balance between recipes and the rest of the two hundred plus pages of content, and there are also color photos galore of people, places, and dishes.
Cooks who enjoy learning about other cultures in general and Thai regional cuisine in particular will find a lively read in Chicken in the Mango Tree: Food and Life in a Thai-Khmer Village, which uses food and traditions to create a fun set of insights connected by culinary traditions.
Making Artisan Cheesecake: Expert Techniques for Classic and Creative Recipes includes vegan, gluten-free and nut-free recipes as it tells how to combine ingredients and flavors for some unique fare.
Any cookbook that packs in color photos tends to attract cooks and this is no exception, but one thing that makes Making Artisan Cheesecake so unusual is its innovations.
You simply won't find Saffron Cheesecake with Pineapple or a savory Roasted Tomato with Parmesan Cheesecake everywhere, nor do dishes such as Brown Sugar Peach Cheesecake or Blueberry Cheesecake Trifle readily come to mind.
All these and more make for a cookbook more than a bit out of the ordinary, and highly recommended for novice and experienced cheesecake makers alike!
Mission Chinese Food Cookbook
Danny Bowien and Chris Ting
Mission Chinese Food Cookbook's recipes stem neither from a home cook nor a traditional restaurant, but from a food truck that operated late at night in San Francisco's predominately Latino Mission District. It began as an after-hours 'pop-up' place that wanted to revolutionize the ideas of Chinese food, and was spearheaded by author Danny Bowien, a young chief interested in innovative definitions of Chinese cuisine.
That's why in Mission Chinese Food Cookbook you'll discover such unusual dishes as Chili-Pickled Pineapple, Sizzling Cumin Lamb, Stir-Fried Corn with Chiles and Smoked Bamboo, and even Dill Pickles or Pastrami.
But culinary fans interested in innovative variations on themes will be especially delighted to find this isn't just a cookbook, but a dialogue that tells the story of a restaurant innovation movement that has spread across America and challenged definitions of what constitutes Chinese cuisine in this country.
Packed with color photos throughout of foods and people, Mission Chinese Food Cookbook is especially recommended for readers drawn to the innovative and to new, original interpretations of ethnic cuisine.
Life on a Plate
My Life on a Plate: Recipes from Around the World follows Kelis' lifelong affection for food, which began as a child when her mother worked as a chef in her own catering business, run out of their Harlem home. By observing her mother at work, Kelis absorbed not just the process of being a cook, but the process of being a professional cook on a schedule.
At age seventeen she signed her first recording contract and began to travel around the world, expanding her culinary knowledge through small restaurants and local treasures during her ten years in the music business.
Giving up this career to attend Le Cordon Bleu gave Kelis direction and made her a chef in her own right, and My Life on a Plate follows this process as it provides a collection of her favorite recipes that blend her Puerto Rican heritage with dishes she discovered around the world.
Add artistic, full-page color photos of such dishes as Yellow Beans and Fried Salt Pork and Pineapple Beef (served in a hollowed-out pineapple) and you have a gorgeous presentation that accompanies every dish with a personal insight or experience in a delightfully vivid, unique and artistic presentation.
New Southern Table: My Favorite Family Recipes with a Modern Twist is suitable for entertaining not just at the holidays, but any time, and translates Southern cuisine with a new modern flair for international influences.
Home cooks should thus expect a blend of dishes that include such innovations as a Meatloaf Po'Boy, Shrimp Pesto Naan Pizza for outdoors entertaining, a Coffee Milk Tea influenced by the author's trip to China, which combines coffee with green tea, and Cornmeal Tarts served with a cilantro cream sauce and filled with a spicy beef and black bean blend.
While some dishes may sound complicated, most are quick and easy to put together, and require ingredients that can be readily found in an average modern supermarket.
Add color photos of most of the fare and you have a winning, appealing collection highly recommended for any home cook looking for a taste of something different.
Morgan Morano's The Art Of Making Gelato: 50 Flavors To Make At Home (9781937994440, $25.00) comes from the founder of Morano Gelato, who learned how to make gelato in Italy, and who shares some fifty gelato and sorbetto recipes that incorporate innovative flavors with traditional Italian fare.
Full-page color photos of completed ice creams accompany recipes for Jasmine Gelato, made with jasmine essence or extract, a Tiramisu recipe with Marsala wine, light corn syrup, brewed espresso and dark chocolate, and Apple Pie gelato, made with cinnamon and apple pie filling.
The result is a different approach to gelato making which invites home cooks to try something different.
Sally's Candy Addiction: Tasty Truffles, Fudges & Treats for Your Sweet-Tooth Fix by Sally McKinney (9781631060311, $25.00) joins other candy-making primers, offering some 75 sweets that pair easy recipes with lovely color photos throughout.
While many novices might think candy making is complex, Sally's recipes take the guesswork out of the process by simplifying the candy-making process and presenting many recipes beginners can easily duplicate.
Add tips and insights on the process to build candy-making skills and you have a winning, appealing candy coverage that proves even bare-bones beginners can produce successful results.
Harper Wave/Anthony Bourdain Books
Rice, Noodle, Fish: Deep Travels Through Japan's Food Culture blends a travelogue, a cultural exploration of Japan, and a culinary survey all in one and is recommended for food fans with a special interest in Japan's regional cuisines.
From sushi temples in Tokyo to Osakan street food and ramen, Goulding embarks on a 5,000-mile journey through Japan's regions in search of the best Japan has to offer, interviewing local chefs, bloggers, family cooks, and more in an exploration that is hard to pin down.
At once a travel guide and cultural exploration, it uses the medium of food as an intersection of various topics and interests and adds a healthy dose of Japanese history into its survey.The result is peppered with full-page food photos and personal insights and revelations in a feast for the eye and mind, highly recommended for any interested in Japanese cuisine and life.
Historical DelightsRepublic of Spin
Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency is about the dizzying spin of politics and political process in America, and provides an intriguing survey that considers not just politicians, but how journalists, advertising, social scientists and business have joined to create image in American issues and candidacies.
Chapters take political events and go behind the scenes to examine the processes and approaches of these spinners of truth, considering how presidents were made or destroyed by their images and choices made to craft public opinion.
Starting with Theodore Roosevelt's use of the press and continuing to Obama's Twitter and social media marketing, Republic of Spin examines the changing methods of crafting public image and policy and is a 'must' for any who would examine what the Presidency is really all about.
Rose Marie Beebe and Robert M. Senkewicz, Editors
University of Oklahoma Press
Testimonios: Early California Through the Eyes of Women, 1815-1848 began in the 1870s when historian Hubert Howe Bancroft sent out interviewers to gather oral histories from pre-statehood Californians. These interviewers came back with a surprise: when the men weren't available, they gathered accounts from the women of the household instead.
These interviews were archived at the University of California, there to be forgotten until Testimonios, which gathers thirteen women's firsthand accounts of California's early history.From gold rush events to struggles with insurgents and how each woman's past and unique experiences led to different perspectives on California's evolution, this is a powerful collection of diverse experiences and impressions that is recommended as a powerful 'must' for not just California history holdings, but for women's issues collections.
Scintillating Sci-Fi and Fantasy
the Birds in the Sky
Charlie Jane Anders
All the Birds in the Sky takes place in a time like ours, but speaks of a slightly different world and utilizes an alternating chapter approach as it tells of Patricia, a girl who can talk with birds, and Laurence, a science geek who runs away to MIT to watch a homemade spaceship launch.
The two share many qualities - both are outcasts in middle school, and each finds solace in one another from a harsh world that has rejected them, and which includes an assassin who wants to destroy them and their newfound connections to one another.
It's also a time-travel piece because ten years later these two young geniuses are in San Francisco living glamorous-sounding lives as a rock star and a musician, employing their special talents in much the manner of Superman, in secret, to save the world.
There's a war erupting between science and magic, placing them on the battle lines of a possible apocalyptic event. Can their special abilities, their friendship, and their choices change the world?
Hearts will soar even as Patricia and Laurence face a terrible choice and possible sacrifice as they evolve. All the Birds in the Sky is quietly gripping and hard to put down: a different kind of surrealistic journey through an apocalyptic threat that calls upon two courageous young geniuses to save the world.
End of All Things
The End of All Things provides a new story in the 'Old Man's War' universe and deserves ongoing mention and recommendation both for prior fans of the series and newcomers alike.
Fans might recall that the first book, Old Man's War, earned Scalzi the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and started a series that would eventually be adapted into a TV show.
This book was released as four e-only serial novellas before its appearance here as a final hardcover, and begins where The Human Division ended as it returns to a world where humans have expanded into space only to face a universe of different alien species, all of which wants to destroy them.
It sounds complex and it may also seem that familiarity with the prior books are a prerequisite, but newcomers will find it easy to enter this universe at this point and the only real requirement is an interest in military and political sci-fi and alien/human confrontations. Such an audience will find The End of All Things filled with satisfying twists and human/alien confrontations that build solid characters and exciting, believable scenarios between them.
John Sandford and Ctein
When a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and an internationally renowned photographer and author join forces, the result is likely something to be reckoned with; especially if it's a vivid science fiction thriller combo that blends a powerful premise with equally strong protagonists.
Saturn Run is such a marriage of talents, set in 2066 in a not-too-distant future where America and China are competing to expand their space programs and colonies in space.
National interests come to a halt when a massive object is spotted near Saturn which holds the likelihood of intelligent life and advanced technology, heading straight towards Earth.
The best space teams in the world are assembled to meet mankind's first alien race; but the social and political ramifications of their encounter will change their world and their place in space.
Fast-paced and complex, Saturn Run is a recommendation for sci-fi fans of 'first encounter' alien stories who appreciate more depth in their reading than a casual adventure could offer. Social and human insights and revelations closely examine what changes an encounter or potential confrontation with an alien life form could bring to human society.
Slow Regard of Silent Things
The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a lyrical, lovely read recommended with a caveat: audiences should hold a prior familiarity with Rothfuss' far weightier The Kingkiller Chronicles, and that same audience should not expect the depth and complexity of the other books.
The Slow Regard of Silent Things focuses on a minor mysterious character from the prior series, Auri, who is a fleeting waif living in the dark, abandoned places of the world, and brings her perspective and world to life.
Because Rothfuss' fans wait avidly for each new book - which is years in the making given their weighty complexity - they might be disappointed momentarily in the focus on Auri and her world; but the intention here is to create and present a slow-simmering story line that takes a prior mystery and unfolds it piece by piece.
Fans who have only experienced Auri as a fleeting minor image woven into the greater tapestry of the Chronicles now have an opportunity to better absorb her perspective, viewing her world and choices through her eyes and ultimately gaining insight into a pocket universe that is only casually explored in the other books.
Gentle, metaphorical, lyrical and evocative (and an easy read in comparison to its complex predecessors), The Slow Regard of Silent Things offers yet another sampling of the multi-faceted, complex universe Rothfuss is building, and is especially recommended for avid fans who want a tidbit of something new.
Novel New Novels and Mysteries
After the Crash embraces both mystery and thriller components as it tells of what happens when one baby survives a plane crash in the Alps in a seeming miracle that brings with it a conundrum: which of two newborns on board the plane is she?
Two families claim the child as theirs - and neither has any proof, given that the story is set in 1980 before DNA testing. One family is poor, one is privileged. One lives in the country, one in Paris. And both will do anything to believe this survivor is theirs.
As if this weren't enough tension, it soon becomes clear that a greater mystery surrounds the child and challenges everyone who comes in contact with her.
The stage is set for a riveting thriller and readers will find it an absorbing story that's hard to put down as events progress in unexpected directions and in ways nobody will predict.
of the Republic
Zachary Thomas Dodson
Bats of the Republic: An Illuminated Novel makes for an especially striking debut adventure story that features several generations of a family's restless world, but begins in 1843, when a courier must leave his Chicago home to deliver a secret sealed envelope into the wild Republic of Texas.
It's three hundred years later, in 2143, and the United States has divided into seven city-states. At this time Zeke inherits an old sealed envelope from his grandfather's estate, and finds his life changed as he becomes involved in a conspiracy of secrets that could destroy everything he loves.
Add hand-sketched maps, drawings, and nature etchings to the blend of mystery and science fiction and you have a book that's hard to easily categorize, straddling the line between novel, sci-fi and thriller.The gorgeous illustrations throughout make for a winning story that's complex, weaving past, present and future worlds in a satisfying saga that's unpredictable and hard to put down.
Home & Garden
Colin McCrate and Brad Halm
High-Yield Vegetable Gardening isn't another basic gardening guide: it presumes one has a small plot and wishes to maximize its yield, and it shows vegetable gardeners how to choose varieties and methods developed by the authors, who were CSA farmers.
The approach thus teaches how to think like a farmer in planning for not just successful crops, but abundant harvests. A routine involving mapping one's plot, making a plant calendar, rotating crops, and more helps gardeners make the most of any size plot by streamlining and applying gardening science to the effort.
The result is especially recommended for small-plot gardeners who already have the basics down, but who want a better set of insights into how to manage their garden for the highest possible crop yields.
Two examinations of science, nature, and relationships to humans and general and homeowners in particular are recommended picks that should be on any homeowner's reading list.
Ancient Fire, Modern Fire by Einar Jensen (9781936555642, $19.95) presents the author's experiences as a firefighter, environmental historian and life safety educator to consider the history of how people deal with fire and fire safety.
Chapters delve into the history of fire prevention methods, how it differs from urban to rural settings, and how changing one's basic understanding of fire is key to preventing tragedies.
From the basics of fire science (geared to a general-interest, non-expert reader) to arson, world myths surrounding fire, and sacred ceremonies conducted with fire, this provides a treasure trove of details.
Linda Masterson's Living with Bears Handbook (9781936555611, $24.00) pairs a basic natural history of bears and understanding their behavior with a focus on what happens when the homes and lives of people intersect with bear interests, and gathers solutions to many of these problems of bear encounters and conflicts.
A basic understanding of bear behavior is necessary to adopt measures that help bear-proof a home and keep them from being attracted to gardens, garbage, and other human habitats or habits, and this is provided in the course of explaining real-world solutions to bear problems.A bear manager's experiences and case studies from across the U.S. and Canada round out the information and make for a fine study that should be in every rural homeowner's library.
Children and Teens
Nicola Davies' I Don't Like Snakes (9780763678319, $15.99) receives fun drawings by Luciano Lozano as it explores a little girl's fear of snakes. There are many reasons why she doesn't like snakes - even though her family has snakes and loves them.
As the story evolves, the little girl's reasons for disliking snakes ("Because they slither!") turns into a gentle natural history education about the nature of snakes and their activities. But can her mind be changed, even with a little more knowledge?
A fun series of encounters stretches her imagination and confronts her fears.
Jane Yolen's The Stranded Whale (9780763669539, $15.99) receives gorgeous drawings by Melanie Cataldo as it explores a Maine family who comes upon a giant whale stranded on the beach.
How can they rescue it?
Good reading skills or parental assistance will lend a special appreciation to the story of a family and a whale's dilemmas.
Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson's Owl Babies (9780763679613, $6.99) is a board book pick for ages 0-3 and deserves ongoing recommendation as a classic bedtime read-aloud choice for the very young.
The story of three baby owls who find themselves alone makes for a special story of fear and love as the owlets contemplate a life without their mother and huddle together for comfort, awaiting her return.
The illustrations are simply gorgeous, with bright colors and engaging owl drawings.
Anthony Browne's Willy's Stories (9780763677619, $16.99) tells of a young monkey named Willy who uncovers a new adventure every time he goes through new doors.
being shipwrecked on an island and coming across a mysterious footprint
sand to an encounter with Friar Tuck in the countryside, kids are
consider 'what happens next' in a series of one-page adventures that
good reading skills and encourage much contemplation.
The result is a fun read that does more than dish out stories: it encourages kids to think about possibilities as they read.
Penny Dale's Dinosaur Rocket! (9780763679996, $15.99) presents a group of prehistoric friends who decide to board a dinosaur rocket to journey into space and visit the moon.
The fun drawings accompany a zany, appealing story line as the dinos whiz around in dinosaur buggies and countdown to a launch, and each easy episode is accompanied by sound effects kids can emulate as parents read the fun story aloud.
These are lovely picture books, highly recommended for any interested in animal and nature stores.
Susan Ross' Kiki and Jacques (9780823434275, $16.95) tells of a preteen's difficult life: after his mother dies, his father is jobless and drinking again and an older boy is pressuring him to do something illegal and dangerous.
Jacques looks forward to the start of soccer season, but when Somali refugees change everything in his world, including his beloved soccer team, Jacques finds little to hold on to.
Add a touch of romance into his middle school adventures and you have a story that is winningly unpredictable, telling of what happens when two very different cultures collide and when two lonely individuals discover they might have something in common.
Madelyn Rosenberg's Nanny Returns (9780823435333, $16.95) provides middle grade readers with a fun story of one Nanny X, an agent for Nanny Action Patrol who takes three young charges on a whirlwind of action when she investigates a threat to the national treasures of the United States.
Add pacifier stink bombs and ruses that involve the children in fun subterfuge and escapades for a hilariously funny middle grade read that will intrigue any fascinated by Encyclopedia Brown, Mary Poppins, and other whimsical investigators.
Flying Eye Books
Wild About Shapes is a delightful spiral-bound presentation for ages 3-7 and uses animals and shapes interchangeably to create a colorful and fun introduction in a caravan of colorful shapes.
Alternating pages of paper and acetate encourage youngsters to look carefully at the evolution of shapes and colors and while simple words encourage different ways of perceiving changing shapes, parents as well as kids will find the acetate pages provide satisfying examples of how colors and shapes can be transformed through a simple change in perspective.Animals appear from virtually nowhere in a lovely production that will invite all age ranges to take a second or closer look at how shapes evolve and change.
The 9th updated edition of the CompTIA A+ Certification Exam Guide offers an 'all in one' exam guide that's been fully revised and updated to provide a complete coverage of the latest releases of CompTIA A+ exams 220-901 and 220-902, and is a 'must have 'reference for any who would take the exam.
Included in its extensive references are everything the exam taker needs to know to work with CPUs,RAM, motherboards, and hard drives, covering all the foundations of setting up, configuring, and troubleshooting PC operations and their peripherals.
Even wired and wireless networks, security protocols, and cloud technologies are covered - everything that might be on the CompTIA A+ exam - making this a definitive guide not just for exam takers, but for IT professionals who can quickly use to it as a basic refresher course.
If only one reference were to be chosen for these exams, this should be at the top of the list: its coverage and screen shots make it a top reference.
Steven M. Bellovin's Thinking Security: Stopping Next Year's Hackers (9780134277547, $39.99) is a recommended read for network security professionals who work with AV software, firewalls, encryption systems and more. In such an environment hacks and attacks are typical and it pays to remain one step ahead of those who would bring down even an organization well focused on security.
Thinking Security: Stopping Next Year's Hackers is the item of choice for any who would think about system security in different terms, and comes from one of the world's most renowned security experts. It addresses the fundamentals of designing security systems for lasting safety and shows how to match countermeasures to actual threats, moving beyond outdated approaches to building security systems.
Even more important, it teaches how to design better security systems and handle breeches in a more effective manner, discussing how to assess new security products for their long-term potentials.
From encryption systems and their phases and makeup to when custom solutions should be created, Thinking Security: Stopping Next Year's Hackers is all about adopting a mindset that considers both present and far-reaching security threats, and is a 'must' for any designer and IT professional.
Joshua Glazer and Sanjay Madhav's Multiplayer Game Programming (9780134034300, $54.99) is recommended for any game programmer who would move to advanced network game architecture, and provides a powerful guide to building reliable networked multiplayer games - one of the biggest businesses in the modern gaming world.
Chapters provide a foundation covering basic network programming before moving to general game development and then the specifics of handling game objects in a network environment. Chapters build on this knowledge as they cover formatting, synchronization, handling large-scale gaming environments, and blending gamer services and running games in a cloud atmosphere.
With its supporting website packed with C++ code for all book examples and its attention to providing highlighted warnings for areas of typical problems, this is a 'must' for any programmer looking to venture into the multiplayer arena.
Total Control: High Performance Street Riding Techniques appears in its second updated edition to clarify and discuss the techniques used by professionals in motorcycle riding, and considers the psychological and physical requirements and demands of high performance street riding.
It takes these skills and assesses them using small 'digestible' parts that considers different components of the techniques and how to develop them, and it is used as the foundation for the Total Control Advanced Riding Clinics that are used by the US armed forces to help improve motorcycle riding.
From steps to proper cornering and controlling body positioning (and why that's important) to the suspension, chassis, and bike setup itself, both rider and machine are covered in specific discussions packed with illustrations, photos, charts, and plenty of visuals.
The result should be in any motorcycle enthusiast's collection as a powerful and basic reference to better performance riding.
Can Act on Camera
Michael Wiese Productions
You Can Act on Camera: Insider Tips for Delivering a Great Performance Every Time should be required reading for every actor moving from stage to camera: it teaches specific techniques to take the novice through the first day on a camera set, from handling directors and crews to recognizing the often-unspoken signs of frustration in the course of a shoot.
These aren't generalities but specifics derived from a range of experiences collected by the author, who has personally coached and trained big names in the movie industry, and who is head teacher at the Joanne Baron/D.W. Brown Studio.
From using willpower like a muscle and knowing when to flex or control it to confronting thorny psychological issues to achieve one's best acting persona, this advice is supplemented by interviews with actors to provide many different avenues to success.
Candid and revealing, You Can Act on Camera is a solid recommendation for any aspiring film actor.
with an iPhone
Art with an iPhone: A Photographer's Guide to Creating Altered Realities pairs haunting images and new approaches to handling the iPhone camera with advice on how to employ a few apps to enhance the iPhone camera's inherent strengths.
This book covers the entire process, from discussing which apps to invest in and how to use them to considering the overall artistry possible in iPhone applications.
Casual users might be surprised to discover that focus, exposure, and more can be controlled using the iPhone. All the professional tools available to non-phone cameras are available here, and this step-by-step instruction book shows how to maximize options and apply them properly.
Packed with color photo examples at every step, this is a top recommendation for any iPhone photographer seeking professional results.
Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis with Robin Gaby Fisher
Choosing Hope: Moving Forward from Life's Darkest Hours doesn't come from the usual psychiatric professional, but is written by a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut who hid fifteen first-grade students in a tiny bathroom, saving their lives from a shooter.
One might expect such an author to produce a book about her choices and experience; but though Choosing Hope stems from that, it's not about Sandy Hook events, but about the process whereby people gain empowerment over unpredictable, uncontrollable influences in their lives.
Hope is provided as a choice, here, and an alternative to despair and hopelessness. Any who have felt their basic feeling of security dissolve under life's pressures will find a tool kit on how to regain hope. While the events at Sandy Hook prompted this book, they didn't define it: there's a bigger picture involved; one which Choosing Hope explores in chapters that tell how to choose purpose, change perspective, overcome obstacles and, ultimately, create new worlds.
Any who have found their lives shattered will find especially relevant and useful this roadmap to regaining power and applying it against all odds.
Coloring Ocean Mandalas
Coloring Ocean Mandalas provides thirty designs for relaxation and uses nautical themes and underwater worlds to link mindful mindsets with art.
These themes range from whales and mermaids to sea horses, jellyfish, and dolphins, and sometimes add a good touch of whimsy and fun into the mix, as in a circular submarine with flowers, a periscope, and a mariner looking at the world through a spyglass.
Most especially, it's a colorful celebration of the ocean for any who love the sea and adds an extra dimension of relaxing detail to the adult coloring world.
Geography of Genius
Simon and Schuster
The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World's Most Creative Places, from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley comes from a travel writer and former NPR correspondent who considers how innovations occur and when, where and why these leaps take place.
In keeping with his interests in travel and other cultures, Weiner researches circumstances of genius with an eye to exploring its geographic connections and presence, offering a survey that traverses history and place to examine how creative genius is fostered so that ingenuity takes place.
Chapters argue that genius is not a personal or private event as much as a public event that is heavily influenced by surrounding environment, and he discusses the ways genius is typically examined, the fallacies in logic that result, and the influences and approaches that attack genius and innovation in the world.
From why trauma and hard times fosters genius to how tension encourages leaps in thinking, The Geography of Genius provides a powerful survey that's a highly recommended pick for both leisure readers interested in geography and innovation and for those who would probe the historical connections between genius and worldviews and influences.
to Be Alive
How to Be Alive: A Guide to the Kind of Happiness That Helps the World examines many philosophical and psychological foundations of happiness and contentment, including how to decide what career should be pursued, how to feel good about life, and how to develop core values and passions that support life decisions.
As many seem chronically miserable despite their apparent wealth or good luck, this book should be required reading for any looking to get the most out of life: it covers everything from money and career to making friendships and gaining the most from interpersonal relationships, and it offers case history stories of individuals who have turned their lives around and discovered new meaning.
From better approaches to decision-making to finding simplicity in life's daily chaos, How to Be Alive proves that happiness does not lie everywhere nor in a singular approach, but embraces a range of insights, methods, and alternative ways of living.
to Talk About Places You've Never Been
How to Talk About Places You've Never Been: On the Importance of Armchair Travel provides a fun book for armchair travelers and those who hit the road, and maintains that physical travel alone is not the only route to discovery: a concept that will delight those who have neither the will nor ability to undertake long journeys.
Chapters discuss these alternatives to physical treks that have been used by explorers, writers, and philosophers over the decades to experience foreign cultures and new ideas. The purpose is to show that a reader can improve their knowledge of other peoples and places and engage others in discussions about these new ideas without even leaving home.
It's the 'how' that is the question here, and this book packs in details about approaches to learning new things and discussing them in new ways, making for a top recommendation for any who cultivate a thirst for new and different concepts.
Laurie Klein, BFA, MFA and Kyle Klein, BFA
Infrared Photography: Artistic Techniques for Brilliant Images is a 'must' reference for digital photographers who would learn and apply some of the basic artistic techniques surrounding infrared to photo results.
It covers the basics of how to expose infrared in digital images, how to handle their different tones and how to apply them to portraits and landscapes alike, and how to understand the special challenges of the medium which can lead to common problems.
It also covers some of the strengths of infrared and tells how to make the most of them.
From shutter speeds and changing viewpoints to shooting structures or nudes or just adding an infrared glow, this coverage is loaded with color photo examples throughout in a pick highly recommended for photographers who have basic skills down but who are just entering the realm of infrared's many options.
Peter Andrew Sacco, PhD
The modern world is so connected in so many ways that for some, it's difficult to recall quite what it was like before the internet made communications a snap.
Now think of the favorite devices of apocalyptic novels: zombies, viruses in man or computer, hostile takeovers by fellow man or aliens, or even meteor strikes, to name a few. Any one of these could bring down the net and, with it, connectivity. How would mankind survive? More importantly, how would you survive?
Dr. Sacco's title is about that process, and it covers the basics of how to survive if the internet shuts down. In some cases, this means going 'back to basics': newspapers for news, dictionaries and encyclopedias for information. In other cases, this means adapting to alternative ways of playing games, engaging with others, and developing new hobbies.
The Internet Apocalypse covers all possibilities in its survey of changing focus and lives in a possible post-internet era. It offers a mix of practical information, such as understanding different kinds of banking systems and how they operate, and details specific to conducting personal lives and business without the internet's infrastructure.
Forewarned is forearmed, and this guide's focus on various aspects of life that will be changed by the internet's absence allows survival-minded thinkers to understand their options and alternative resources in advance of any possible disaster.
About Us, Without Us!
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Nothing About Us, Without Us! 20 Years of Dementia Advocacy comes from a woman who has advocated for dementia for several decades, and whose efforts have assured that dementia patients are included in discussions of how to manage it.
This gathers her presentations and speeches, offering challenges to traditional methods of viewing and handling dementia and offering specific keys to readers on communications, visiting, and better understanding the mind of those diagnosed with any kind of dementia.
From life after diagnosis to mental health advocacy measures, this is a hard-hitting book that is at once a health guide, a history, and a set of insights that should be read by both dementia patients and their loved ones.
Boxes Super Paper Pack
Creative Publishing International
Origami Boxes Super Paper Pack contains ten box designs and over two hundred pages of double-sided origami paper, along with step-by-step instructions for folding boxes with and without lids, and is recommended for paper folders who have some basics down and who want to move to the next step.
Some thirty different colors and patterns are printed on both sides and bound into a book but can be easily removed to make the boxes, while instructions are simple enough to follow that any new to origami will find it easy to produce their first project.
With over thirty pages of instruction and two hundred papers, crafts users will find plenty to appreciate here, in a collection recommended as a gift for any interested in crafts in general and paper-folding projects in particular.
a Love Story
University Press of Kansas
Those who were active in the 1960s well know the dangers of pesticides and the warning message in Rachel Carson's Silent Spring; but it seems this message, though acknowledged at the time, has long been lost as pesticide use in America has actually soared in recent decades. Why has this happened?
Pesticides, a Love Story seeks out the answer as it considers the bigger pictures of American beliefs in progress and chemical solutions to common problems. Chapters trace the evolution of this belief system with an eye to showing how chemical pesticides became an intrinsic part of American culture, and details how acceptance of their risks and dangers overruled cautions.
Chapters tackle how this kind of acceptance was fostered by the pesticide industry, and how economic and social pressures have led to hazardous conditions.
More than another 'warning' book and more than an analysis of agricultural choices, Pesticides, a Love Story presents real answers on the ongoing lure of the chemical solution and is an essential read for any who puzzle about the connections between pesticide use, special interests, and the American public's malleable psyche.
Sierra Starlight is a gorgeous nature photography book that uses California's Sierra Nevada mountains as backdrops for capturing night skies, and pairs full-page lovely images with some of Rowell's stories of how he took the photo.
If the name Rowell sounds familiar, it should: Galen Rowell was also a mountaineer and photographer and it looks like the heritage has passed well from father to son.
Beautiful full-page celestial and mountain scenes are accompanied by facing pages of detail on how the locations were scouted, while each photo contains notes on the camera, settings and exposures, and other special equipment used to capture the image.
The result will attract two audiences: those with a special affection for California mountain and celestial scenes, and those interested in the finer art of nature photography in general. Highly recommended as a beautiful collection of celestial sights.