February 2017 Prime Picks
Rick L. Garner, Editor
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Digital Art Therapy: Materials, Methods, and Applications surveys the latest developments in digital technology and their applications in art therapy environments, reviewing photography, gaming and virtual reality options, and stop motion art therapy with an eye to both technical applications and therapeutic results.
From a chart of developmentally appropriate apps and case study examples from therapist practices to a peppering of color and black and white photos depicting art therapy in action, articles cover the basics of using these tools in therapeutic settings, outlining their potential benefits, risk assessments, client feedback on the process, and more.
The result is a collection of specific applications that will interest any art therapist looking for reviews of the latest digital art materials and their relevance to the therapeutic process.
Gregory T. Whitman, MD and Robert W. Baloh, MD
Johns Hopkins University Press
Dizziness: Why You Feel Dizzy and What Will Help You Feel Better considers a medical problem that at first glance might seem fairly innocuous when compared to other conditions; but which is actually more pervasive and troubling than many might imagine.
Two doctors co-authored this book and provide their different experiences and expertise to analyze dizziness, balance, and related issues, assessing different conditions, medications, or environments that can contribute to an ongoing problem with dizziness.
Readers will learn about different kinds of dizziness and their different definitions, symptoms, and treatment options; and will also receive patient stories about their own health challenges with ongoing dizziness symptoms and difficult diagnosis processes.
Any general health collection needs this assessment, simply because there are so many factors involved in diagnosing and treating ongoing dizziness that the subject tends to be not only confusing, but rife with controversy. The two doctors simplify explanations of these matters, creating a survey that is packed with insights and information.
Tim Murphy, PhD and Loriann Oberlin, MS, LCPC
Da Capo Books
Overcoming Passive-Aggression: How to Stop Hidden Anger from Spoiling Your Relationships, Career and Happiness offers more than most other books about passive-aggressive behavior, going the extra mile by offering insights on how to overcome such behavior, from bullying and family conflicts to identifying hidden agendas and dealing with them more effectively.
If this book and approach sound familiar, perhaps that's because Overcoming Passive-Aggression is a revised edition of a classic offering newly updated chapters that include online bullying, divorce, and health issues.
Those already familiar with the book will find its quizzes, exercises, and case history examples are still here; but have all been revised and updated to reflect new information and studies on passive aggression's origins, approaches, and impact.
No psychology reader or mental health collection should be without this timely assessment of the methods and impact of passive aggressive behavior.
These five crafts guides offer aspiring jewelry makers specific projects designed to teach skills during the process of creating polished, professional-looking jewelry pieces, and are recommended for any seeking new ways to expand skills.
For a basic, torchless introduction to metalwork, Judy Freyer Thompson's Simple Metalwork Jewelry (9781627002509, $22.99) is a strong pick, demonstrating how metal can be worked without using a torch and without expensive tools and materials. Over twenty projects range from bracelets and necklaces to earrings; but of special interest is the introduction to basic metalworking techniques.
These are imparted in a series of good-sized, step-by-step color photos that accompany clear how-to instructions. Tips on mixing and matching different sizes, using common materials to help bend and work with metal, and calculating how many links to make for a chain accompany materials and tools lists for an easy survey of all options.
Kelsy Eason's Micro-Macrame Jewelry: Stylish Designs for Everyday Wear (9781627003209, $21.99) translates the tradition of macramé knotting to jewelry-making efforts and comes from a designer who applies the seven core knots of macramé to a range of projects.
Photos and instructions accompany over twenty projects designed to teach basic methods in the course of producing macramé jewelry.
Teresa Morse's Learn to Use Two-Hole Beads with 20 Fabulous Projects (9781627003759, $21.99) is a beginner's guide to using two-hole beads and comes from a beadwork teacher who covers over twenty projects designed for this book.
A notably strong point is that there is a wealth of color photos for each project: close-up productions that cover each stage of a project's creation. Where necessary, close-up inspection of a particular, potentially complicated instruction is provided to leaves little to guesswork.
The overall effect of this wealth of close-up and color images is a beautiful creation and an inviting way of absorbing the two-hole bead's potentials and various methods for using it.
Lauren Andersen's One Jump Ring Endless Possibilities for Chain Mail Jewelry (9781627003032, $21.99) shows what can be achieved with just 3/16" jump rings, and offers a simple approach that belays the usual complexities of producing chain mail jewelry.
Color photos throughout embellish a survey of chain mail projects that require only one size jump ring to make a wide range of chain mail projects.
Eve Leder's Casual Bead Elegance Stitch by Stitch (9781627003124, $22.99) comes from a designer who covers a range of bead stitches and is directed to beginners who want a basic introduction to various stitches, weaves, and their applications in jewelry making.
small but good-sized color photos abound in a collection that includes
of materials and tools lists to accompany keys to creating each piece.
Newcomers to bead stitches will find this particularly accessible.
The Bully, the Bullied, and the Not-So-Innocent Bystander
The Bully, the Bullied, and the Not-So-Innocent Bystander was first published over a decade ago and received much acclaim, becoming the standard guide to bullying prevention long before bullying became the buzzword topic that it is today. Its focus was on providing real-world solutions to the problem, not theories about its presence; and it was directed to solving problems between kids of preschool to high school age.
This newly updated edition has been completely revamped for modern times, expanding the topic to include the latest studies on bullying, from the characteristics and approaches of the bully to the psyche and responses of victims, and it uses modern psychology and social insights to explore new thoughts about bullying and its prevention, both online and offline.
Chapters address such diverse issues as trusting adults to help, how family structures and actions contribute to bullying and victimization, how to understand what bullying is and what it is not, and antidotes to bullying. The depth and detail of discussions allows adult readers to understand the many psychological influences of and options surrounding bullying at home, online, and in the school, and makes for a powerful prescription for today's social environments for kids of all ages.
Four new titles from Stenhouse offer educators key ideas and approaches, and are strong picks for any teacher's reference library.
Anne Collins & Linda Dacey's It's All Relative: Key Ideas and Common Misconceptions About Ratio and Proportion Grades 6-7 (9781571100928, $24.00) is a spiral-bound reference that packs in thirty modules aligned to specific Common Core State Standards. The flip chart considers different mathematical processes, common barriers to understanding, and classroom examples that emphasize the different ways teachers can overcome these barriers to learning using visual models.
Students often stymied by the concept of ratio and proportion will find this visual approach and clarification overcomes many conceptual challenges and forms a solid foundation for applying such math to solving real-world problems.
Anne Collins and Linda Dacey's The Xs and Whys of Algebra: Key Ideas and Common Misconceptions (9781571108579, $24.00) is a good supplemental text collecting algebra examples for seventh- to ninth-grade courses, and holds the potential of serving as both an introduction to algebra and as a survey of points where students tend to feel confused, such as when using multiple representations for expressions or connecting algebra to geometry.
Teachers of pre-algebra can use this as a starting point for identifying such problems before they arise in a formal algebra learning environment.
Math Work Stations: Independent Learning You Can Count On, K-2 by Debbie Diller (9781571107930, $45.33) focuses on creating and fine-tuning math work stations and adds an extra dimension to the author's previous coverage of literary work stations, applying her basic approach to help early learners absorb the basics of math concepts and analytical thinking. The concepts are based on NCTM and Common Core State Standards and link math vocabulary, concepts, and literature to work station approaches and models for specific projects, from addition and subtraction to beginning number concepts.
Color photos, models and charts throughout illustrate the physical creation of these learning stations and how students can use them.
Caren Holtzman and Lynn Susholtz's Object Lessons: Teaching Math Through the Visual Arts, K-5 (9781571107961, $33.33) shows what happens when a math instructor and a visual art educator join forces, and gathers images on an accompanying CD to pair everyday objects with hands-on activities that reinforce mathematics ideas in lessons for K-5 grades.
Each chapter includes an introduction of basic concepts, an assessment of everyday objects to be used, math content areas, overviews, and guiding questions, and vocabulary and materials lists.
The clear view of what each lesson will translate to in a classroom setting, its emphasis on using materials easily accessible from existing school supplies, its reproducibles, and its focus on creating concepts that could apply beyond the K-5 grades makes Object Lessons: Teaching Math Through the Visual Arts, K-5 an excellent reference.
Michael Urban and Joel Murach
Murach's Python Programming covers beginner to professional programming routines for Python, and is recommended even for those new to programming, discussing the basics of getting up and running not just with Python processes, but in tailoring general approaches to programming.
Beginner's guides typically focus on too many basics to be of interest to programmers who already hold advanced skills; but the special pleasure of Murach's Python Programming lies in its ability to appeal to professional programmers who have the basics down, but who need familiarity with the Python environment.
Chapters include code examples and interface illustrations, charts and exercises, and step-by-step approaches to applying Python's strengths to specific projects. The 'how to' focus on working with Python's algorithms and object-oriented design capabilities makes for an outstanding guide that is recommended for newcomers and advanced programmers alike.
The 10th updated edition of Cay S. Horstmann's Core Java Volume II - Advanced Features (9780134177298, $59.99) represents an extensive update to reflect the Java SE 8 version, and has been completely rewritten to reflect best practices, the many new features of this Java incarnation, and the applications and purposes applied by SE 8 over earlier Java editions.
Java programmers with prior background in some of its other versions will find this an extensive, in-depth coverage of the new version's codes, processing options, libraries, master applications for Swing components and advanced programming, and more.
code, notes throughout (with caveats designed to emphasize the new
differences and features), and discussions of drivers, URLs, and user
authentication processes and security concerns offer extensive detail
facts and concepts to real-world programming challenges and business
applications, making for a highly effective reference manual
advanced Java programmers.
The third edition of Bill Wagner's Effective C#: 50 Specific Ways to Improve Your C# (9780672337871, $44.99) comes from a .NET expert who outlines some fifty methods of using the C# 6.0 language to produce better code, and is based on his identification of new approaches that will involve prior C# programmers in routines designed to refine and emphasize programming best practices.
From when, how and why to apply different variables to C# programming options to avoiding throwing exceptions in functions and actions and making small changes to sample methods for big results, Effective C#: 50 Specific Ways to Improve Your C# is an excellent title highly recommended for C# programmers who want to refine their methods and streamline their code for better results.
Kevin Hoffman and Dan Nemeth's Cloud Native Go: Building Web Applications and Microservices for the Cloud with Go and React (9780672337796, $39.99) is directed to developers working on large-scale cloud projects, and is designed to address the needs of high-volume users and high-trafficked sites.
The authors delve into cloud-native applications and introduce Go, a performance-oriented language especially well crafted for cloud development requirements. Code examples accompany discussions of testing, integration processes, using metadata, building a web application using Go, and more in a recommendation for programmers new to cloud native concepts in general and Go in particular.
Rising: Conversations in Southern Rock
Michael Buffalo Smith
Mercer University Press
Capricorn Rising: Conversations in Southern Rock compiles interviews with the stars, producers and artists of the popular 1970s Southern rock recording label Capricorn, founded in Georgia in 1969, and comes from an author who has spent several decades researching and interviewing the genre's top recording artists.
The diversity of voices and experiences thus could not be more satisfying, documenting the major musicians, movers and shakers in country music and their influences and achievements throughout Capricorn's many productions.
While Capricorn Rising will be of special interest to prior fans of Southern rock music history, it also offers many insights for popular music readers in general, documenting the rise of one notable recording studio and record label and how the fusion of musicians, music, and behind-the-scenes producers created not just a record label, but a genre brand that was to change the nature of Southern music. Fans of popular music history will find Capricorn Rising an absorbing approach that uses the experiences of those who lived this era to explore Southern rock music's evolutionary process.
in the Hands of Artists
Guns in the Hands of Artists pairs essays by a range of contributors (including a congresswoman and a captain) and artists who capture the machinery and atmosphere of guns and violence in new ways, creating an intriguing blend of social statement and artistic response that deserves a place in both arts and social issues collections.
Plenty of statements about guns pose questions about various social, political, and ethical issues; but few adopt a visual perspective about the process which takes written insights about various facets of gun control and gun usage and couples these with artistic renditions for a powerful visual impact, as well.
Guns in the Hands of Artists is unexpectedly powerful and makes concrete connections between social change and artistic endeavors, altering the usual nature of dialogue on the topic of guns to include an extra dimension. Guns in the Hands of Artists is an exhibition created by giving guns taken from the streets of New Orleans to a variety of nationally recognized artists for representation. Their impact is as powerfully rendered in book form as in gallery format.
Cast of Characters: Wolcot Gibbs, E.B. White, James Thurber, and the Golden Age of the New Yorker considers a period of time deemed The New Yorker Magazine's golden era, when its literary works and reporting were at its height and reached a wide audience with works reflecting the cutting edge of American culture and thinking. This survey is highly recommended reading for anyone interested in journalism in general and The New Yorker's history in particular.
More than just a review of the magazine's publishing history, this documents the writers, editors, and key moments and participants in The New Yorker's evolution. The focus then narrows to a particularly lively group whose friendships, rivalries, and contributions are chronicled through a gathering of their letters, writings, interviews and more.
This lively compendium of facts and personalities is a key read for anyone who would understand the special impact of The New Yorker on American lives.
Catcher's Trap is billed as 'dark
fantasy/horror', but it's also a vividly compelling read for those
genre, as well; a work of literature that should reach well beyond
The protagonist, Andres, leads a depressed life and has little hopes for his future, so being kidnapped by supernatural beings seems just another nail in the coffin of his bleak life when the kidnapping, conducted by a charismatic figure, leads into a supernatural realm even darker than his own.
Enslaved in a world that makes his prior one look good by comparison, Andres is enslaved, tortured, and discovers that in order to find any degree of freedom or peace, he must confront his inner demons as well as those in the wider world around him.
To categorize and limit this read as 'horror' or 'sci-fi' would be to do it a disservice: its existential character and his struggles offer many revealing insights into the mechanics of choice, opportunity, and perspective which readers will find thought-provoking.
Gehenna Publishing House
978-0-9972803-0-2 978-0-9972803-1-9 $19.99
In what world could a personal relationship with God go awry so badly as to cause a man who has lost everything to embark on a mission to find the last "Manus Dei system" in existence, to regain memories of the daughter he's lost? In what universe could a machine prove the existence of a deity whose only desire is to abandon what he has created? And under what circumstances do resurrection, reincarnation, and reawakening cause this completely abandoned and broken personality to embark on a mission to either rescue his daughter or destroy the god who won't help him?
Plane Walker is unexpected on many levels. For one thing, it takes science fiction to a whole new level, creating such subplots and experiences as the scientific proof of deity, synesthesia, torturous diagnostic machines and technology's ruinous effects on life's simplicity.
There are also philosophical reflections sprinkled throughout ("In a way, having a child is the only way a human can ever be godlike. It is the only way a mere mortal can create life, standing shoulder to shoulder with the Deity that created us. Why would a god so intent on letting its own children die and suffer be so willing to allow us to have children of our own? Perhaps it is some form of guilt. Perhaps the God wants us to accomplish what It never could.") that keep readers thinking about bigger pictures and issues.
Black and white art by Nicholas King illustrates events and adds an extra dimension of enlightenment and horror elements to this winding story. It should be mentioned that Plane Walker is Book 1 of the Manus Dei trilogy; but unlike other first books written with follow-ups in mind, this stands well on its own as a powerfully-written tale complete unto itself.
Finally, Plane Walker includes a journey into space that engages readers and characters in existential questions and alien worlds alike. What will Lazarus do when and if he finds his daughter - and what will be the costs of doing so? As the dash into a possible afterlife is revealed, readers will delight in the fact that Plane Walker is anything but predictable or easy. It's a complex work of art that invites readers into the protagonist's world and then embarks on a romp through time, space, and religious inspection as Plane Jumping takes him through and to new worlds both horrible and hopeful.
The Novel and the World
Quixote: The Novel and the World considers how a relatively obscure novel by a comparatively obscure 1616 writer became one of the classic novels of world literature, and follows the evolution of the figurehead and novel about Don Quixote some four hundred years after its writing.
While readers might initially think this survey will only interest students of Cervantes, it actually holds much wider attraction and implications for all kinds of literary readers. Ilan Stavans outlines an analysis of the author's influences, his times, and why the plot and character of Don Quixote became a universal - and much beloved - figure.
In providing a history of how Don Quixote evolved, Stavans includes a concurrent inspection of Spanish culture, world history, literary evolution, and how this novel crossed continents and worlds to offer a unique message to all who encountered it, making it into a classic.
Best served alongside a reading or re-reading of the classic novel, this interpretation's broad, sweeping range will delight students of literature and history and the fans of the psychology and figure of Don Quixote alike.
the Monkey Learned Nothing
University of Iowa Press
And the Monkey Learned Nothing: Dispatches from a Life in Transit is an armchair traveler's delight and comes from an author/traveler determined to visit every country on earth.
This book describes encounters in fifty countries, gathering anecdotes, itineraries and cultural encounters that range from Argentina, where an "entire country runs double books" since the bank crisis of 2002, where apartments were paid for in cash and sported their own armed guards, to Iran's desert city of Izad, where air conditioning and an inhospitable environment contribute to overall unfriendliness.
countries Tom Lutz visits are, for the most part, Third World and
countries that typically don't receive great attention elsewhere. The
move from India to South America and into the Middle East, providing a
glimpse of other cultures and settings that usually won't be in other
titles, making this a top recommendation for armchair readers who would
European cafes and Western culture for a taste of something completely
Make 'Em Laugh
Debbie Reynolds and Dorian Hannaway
Make 'Em Laugh: Short-Term Memories of Longtime Friends appears after Debbie Reynolds' death and captures her life and relationships with fellow entertainers of her times, sharing stories of Hollywood in general and her career in particular.
Dorian Hannaway has known Reynolds for over thirty years and has written about her before, collaborating with her on other projects, but Make 'Em Laugh is a fine survey that goes beyond biography and autobiography to add many details and anecdotes of Hollywood that will delight fans of not just Reynolds, but Hollywood personalities and gossip.
This focus on romances, dramas, friendships, fun hijinks, and entertainment industry humor is itself a funny, fun presentation that promises rich and lively dialogue and insights for any interested in either Reynolds and her world or Hollywood history in general.
Population Control: How Corporate Owners Are Killing Us makes a startling claim: that a small group of wealthy people in the world who control almost every industry is conspiring to eliminate vast populations on the planet, with the goal of reducing the world's population to some 500 million.
Why, how, and where this network causes the deaths of people around the world makes for a startling, compelling case for a conspiracy theme that sounds like science fiction but comes across as all too possible and, perhaps, even probable.
Chapters focus on corporate owner efforts towards this end, from bad water and an increasingly drug-oriented society to outbreaks of disease and the CDC's role.
Jim Marrs is a journalist who has written about plots and conspiracies before, so he does have a particular focus and history; but his well-reasoned evidence is both startling and offers much food for thought, backing what seems like impossible contentions with powerful proof.
Any general interest reader, especially those who look for conspiracy accounts, must look at the bigger picture exposed by Jim Marrs in Population Control.
Your Voice Free
Roger Love with Donna Frazier
Set Your Voice Free: How to Get the Singing or Speaking Voice You Want comes from a vocal coach who has been internationally recognized for his work by top recording artists, speakers and celebrities. This is not just because of his teaching abilities, but due to his development of a vocal technique that has helped speakers and singers connect better to their audiences.
Readers who aspire to improve their vocal chords will find this book packed with tips covering everything from understanding and working within one's vocal range to speaking with confidence and strengthening vocal chords for more effective delivery.
The method involves many different considerations; not just toning one's vocal prowess. Among those considerations: how to choose music that profiles your vocal strengths, marketing what is original about your voice, understanding the unexpected side effects of vocalizing on high and middle ranges of the scale, understanding how stage presence and movement work together, and more.
This is a 'must' for any who would review all the facets that translate to vocal prowess and success.
SlothLove: An Inspiring and Intimate Visual Journey into the World of Sloths comes from a wildlife conservationist and photographer who gave up a comfortable life in the U.S. to photograph wildlife in Costa Rica; there to fall in love with the sloth.
Full-page color images of sloths provide images of two of the six species of sloth in the world and include close-up shots of adults and babies while accompanying descriptions discuss the sloth's abilities, natural history, and the effects of habitat destruction on their future.
Engaging, fun photos are accompanied by further discussions about the author's involvement with the KSTR rescue center and provide inviting personal insights into sloth behavior and features, making SlothLove a top recommendation for natural history collections appealing to a wide range of audiences and age groups.
Woman in the Story
Michael Wiese Productions
If The Woman in the Story: Writing Memorable Female Characters in Trouble, In Love, and in Power sounds familiar, that's because it's been an industry mainstay for over seven years, appearing here in a newly revised edition packed with new case studies and insights on how to create and work with meaningful female characters in film, video, and stage productions.
Screenwriters receive a survey that focuses on phases and themes in the process of plot and character development. Exercises, role choice questionnaires and food for thought, and tips on typecasting (or not), choosing a character, exploring her psyche, and more make this revised republication of ongoing recommendation to new audiences and prior fans alike; especially libraries looking to replace their shopworn references with an update of a classic.
History and Politics
The Alps - A Human History from Hannibal to Heidi and Beyond blends geographic, human, and natural history as it surveys the Alps from the unusual vantage point of a journey across the mountains, undertaken by an author who is afraid of heights.
The blend of a wide-ranging travelogue and a focus on their historic, cultural and literary figureheads (from Heidi to yodelers) and representation contributes to a fun romp through myths, legends, history, and discussions of remote mountain communities in general and alpine culture in general.
The history of the Alps isn't always light-hearted: brutal crossings, political strife and battle arenas, and powerful exploration challenges are part of their vivid history; all narrated in captivating dialogue here.
The result will appeal to a wide audience, from those who enjoy armchair travelogue reads to readers who hold a particular affection for mountain domains and alpine history, or a special interest in the Alps.
Best Democracy Money Can Buy
Seven Stories Press
The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: A Tale of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits returns a New York Time best-seller to new public attention, appearing in an updated election edition that arrives in perfect time for the aftermath of Donald Trump's election but holds considerable ongoing value for future generations, as well.
From 'spoiled' and winning and losing votes to the motives behind voter fraud and crimes, Greg Palast's collection blends fun black and white political commentary comics added by Ted Rall with a thought-provoking examination of glitches, ironies and inconsistencies, the history of citizen rights and their erosion, and much more.
The result is a powerful survey that offers a fun but pointed review of democracy's downfall in a lively, witty survey designed to appeal to a wide audience of not just politically savvy readers, but general-interest Americans.
Explosion of Deferred Dreams
The Explosion of Deferred Dreams: Musical Renaissance and Social Revolution in San Francisco, 1965-1975 reviews the social, political, and musical milieu of San Francisco from a different viewpoint than most music-oriented histories, considering the social and political state of affairs that influenced musicians and, in turn, led to original musical creations that created social movements.
From the evolution of the San Francisco Sound and its subculture to how the blend of art and politics created a whirlwind of controversy and revolution at the heart of the City, Mat Callahan uses interviews, primary sources, and his own experiences to consider the revolutionary atmosphere and changes reflected in music of the times.
The result is a powerful survey that should be a 'must' not just for music collections, but for any strong in social issues and San Francisco Bay Area history and culture.
Carter: Elected President with Pocket Change and Peanuts
Mercer University Press
Jimmy Carter: Elected President with Pocket Change and Peanuts deserves ongoing recommendation as a powerful survey of how a peanut farmer became involved in local politics and eventually rose to become President. Though it uses a biographical examination of his life to document this rise to office, Jimmy Carter also analyzes how ethics and values are formed, how the path to the Presidency is paved with local encounters, and how political careers are forged.
It's the latter focus which makes Jimmy Carter especially notable. The book's ability to document the process of becoming a political figurehead and the evolution of election laws governing this attempt makes for many insights that come not from the usual historian or reporter's perspective, but from an author who herself worked in the "peanut Brigade" and observed many of these events in person.
The result is a vivid survey of not only Jimmy Carter's life and achievements, but the political processes that led him to the top.