July 2015 Prime Picks From Larger Presses
New Age, Self-Help, and Inspirational
Dieter Hagenbach and Lucius Werthmuller
One Bluebird Court
Santa Fe, NM 87508
Mystic Chemist: The Life of Albert Hofmann and His Discovery of LSD is published on the 70th anniversary of LSD's discovery and blends a history of scientific research and consciousness theory with a discussion of psychedelic studies by close friends of Hofmann, who survey Hofmann's mystical childhood experiences, his chemistry studies with Paul Karrer, and his controversial probe into LSD's science and applications to therapy.
His work would come to be embraced by the hippie generation and influenced developments in science, computer technology, and psychology. This book is a spirited, solid survey of Hofmann's influences and does a fine job of charting the course of his personal and professional life and how it changed the world.
Sidebars of information and color and black and white photos discuss the intersections of art, science, creativity, and history which takes lifestyle analysis and drug research a step further, covering all the controversies and facet of Leary's LSD research in a 'must' for any collection strong in 1960s culture in general or psychedelic history in particular.
Atria/Beyond Words Publishing
9781572704869 $16.00 www.beyondword.com
The Mystical Backpacker: How to Discover Your Destiny in the Modern World blends a travelogue with an inspirational personal growth survey as it examines how to find renewed purpose in life, and how to achieve direction through cultivating new experiences.
In a combination of spiritual quest, guidebook to heart, mind and new experiences, and autobiography, The Mystical Backpacker picks up and journeys where other books fail to reach, taking the vision quest concept a step further in providing not just her own experience, but step-by-step directions offering the same opportunities to questioning readers.
"Magical moments," Papp maintains, "are happening around us all the time." To recognize, celebrate, and embrace both large and small 'miracles' are part of life's process and purpose, and The Mystical Backpacker employs a tested method whereby all ages can discover renewed purpose and magic through their own journeys.
Complete Dictionary of Dreams
Dr. Michael Lennox
Plenty of dream dictionaries permeate the new age market, but Dr. Michael Lennox's approach is worth a second look: his manual packs in over 1,000 cross-referenced dream symbols and their universal meanings, it offers keys to their interpretation and meaning, and it does more than merely define the symbols, discussing how to understand their underlying meaning in the realms of the subconscious and conscious mind alike.
These specific symbols hold opportunity for spiritual and psychological growth and they also hold keys to translating sleeping perceptions into waking life changes and new directions.
All this is wrapped into an interpretation approach that embraces body, mind and spirit and uses the dream state as the opening salvo in a model for positive change. Its author, a practicing psychologist and one of the most respected dream interpreters in the U.S., has appeared in television and radio shows and here offers basic formulas for success.
9781454916055 $19.95 www.sterlingpublishing.com
Master Your Brain: Training Your Mind for Success in Life is for readers who want concrete strategies pulling from the latest discoveries in psychology and neuroscience to provide a systematic approach to pairing brain functions with more effective communication skills that will apply across the board to business and personal goals alike.
The discussion isn't theory alone: it takes the form of step-by-step exercises teaching readers how to identify and visualize success, how to build milestones for achievement, and how to take into account both personal behavior patterns and how colleagues and friends factor into these habits.
How to take the latest scientific knowledge and translate it to greater personal achievement is explored in chapters that consider everything from the latest science of face watching to addressing concerns of past and future alike to provide greater balance and perspective on choices and direction. The only prerequisites here are a prior appreciation for scientific and psychological research and a willingness to consider how they can improve approaches to daily life.
Ben Decker & Kelly Decker
9780071839839 $27.00 www.mhprofessional.com
If only one business communication handbook were to be considered for a modern collection, Communicate to Influence: How to Inspire Your Audience to Action should be among the top contenders, coming from the Fortune 500 expertise of Decker Communications consultants who build a program for both daily and business strategies.
Leadership and good speaking skills don't necessary come together, client understanding isn't necessarily furthered by meetings unless they are effective communication devices, and even the best of messages can fail with poor delivery.
Based on the authors' two-day intensive seminars, Communicate to Influence covers a host of alternative approaches to business communication and considers common myths, areas where leadership fails, how to attack cumbersome speech habits to trim the fat and create powerful, hard-hitting talks, and more.
This isn't a pick for the business leader already well versed in communications strategies and seminar production; it's a recommendation for those who have little clue as to why their current systems don't work as well as they should, and who want specific examples of fine-tuning approaches for more effective communications.
Way You Wear Your Hat
9780847844784 $50.00 www.rizzoliusa.com
Despite their style appeal and ongoing designer changes, too few fashion books focus on the hat: an issue contemporary milliner Patricia Underwood seeks to resolve in The Way You Wear Your Hat, an oversized, artistic exploration of different styles of hats and their designers over history.
This is no casual presentation of hats, but an in-depth exploration of how different styles came to be accepted, how designers and milliners incorporated top hats, bowlers, 'beach umbrella' hats, and other productions as accessories to designer clothing, and how collaborations with Underwood resulted in innovative new trends.
An interest in fashion history and style is the prerequisite for this artistic, full-bodied presentation that delves into the process of crafting a hat, pairing it to a trend or style, and even constructing hats from various materials. The oversized appearance of the book lends to its inclusion in any arts collection strong in fashion history.
Crafting, Sewing, Creating
David Page Coffin
Creative Publishing International
9781589238268 $26.99 www.craftside.net
The Shirtmaking Workbook: Pattern, Design, and Construction Resources: More Than 100 Pattern Downloads for Collars, Cuffs & Plackets is for any who have tried their hand at shirtmaking but who want more options for developing custom patterns, converting an existing pattern, understanding the four basic placket types to customize shirt collars and styles, and more.
It's an exploration of digital pattern-making and alteration processes that requires of its readers some basic background in sewing and shirt-making, but no particular expertise in using computers. All that's required is an interest in taking shirt-type garments and reworking them - and this book excels in the process, between full-sized patterns, clear step-by-step directions, extensive lists and bibiliographic references, and color examples on nearly every page.
With The Shirtmaking Workbook in hand, many seamstresses who want to tackle more advanced and customized shirtmaking now have the tools and explanations needed to streamline what could otherwise be a confusing process.
2006 S. Mary St.
Fresno, CA 93721
9781610352185 $24.95 www.woodworkerslibrary.com
The Creative Woodturner: Inspiring Ideas and Projects for Developing Your Own Woodturning Style at first glance appears to join other woodturning how-to guides; but this one holds an important difference: it assumes a level of basic knowledge of its readers and doesn't waste chapters explaining these A-B-Cs.
This means a woodworker who wants specifics to the woodturning process - not just a general book on how to work with wood - receives instant gratification with a discussion that comes from a master turner famous for his creations and instructions, who provides sixteen projects designed to better hone a woodworker's woodturning style.
Color photos of completed projects accompany plenty of step-by-step detail to provide the basics of how to apply woodturning techniques to an overall creative style, making The Creative Woodturner a real standout in the world of woodturning guides.
9781408841181 $26.00 www.bloomsbury.com
Two Turtle Doves: A Memoir of Making Things draws important connections between making jewelry and reflecting life, and focuses on the process by which life experiences are translated to art. The explanations exploring this course creates an unusually artistic survey of how childhood hobbies evolve into something greater, using the life of English jewelry designer Monroe as an example.
One needn't have familiarity with either Monroe's jewelry or with art in general: all that is necessary is an appreciate for the memoir format, which takes first-person reflections and life experience and translates them to artistic pursuits; as in a discussion on solder.
The result is an inviting read, rich in description and reflection, revealing the process of how childhood interests translate to adult artistic pursuits. Artists and general-interest readers alike will find Two Turtle Doves accessible and absorbing, going where few art books dare: into the evolution of an artist's worldviews and approach to life and wellsprings of inspiration itself.
Days in History
National Geographic Books
Bad Days in History: A Gleefully Grim Chronicle of Misfortune, mayhem, and Misery for Every Day of the Year offers something unexpected from National Geographic: a compendium of 365 days of disaster trivia. Author Michael Farquhar has surveyed centuries and research to uncover the highlights of historical snafus which range from President Bush's famous projectile vomit session on the lap of the Japanese prime minister at a State Dinner to 1956, when rock 'n roll came to be considered 'dangerous', Paul Revere's lesser-known naval disaster in August of 1779, and a depressed diary entry in October of 1928 by Hitler's propagandist Joseph Goebbels who complained of a lack of friends, no wife, and a major spiritual crisis.
An affection for either historical trivia or oddities of events that leans towards the darker side of history is all that's required in order to appreciate a survey that is fun, pointed, and true, refuting the notion that history is dull and lending to leisure browsing and fun, spirited reading.
Political and Social Issues
9781621573708 $27.99 www.regnery.com
The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech is recommended reading for left- and right-leaning readers alike; which may seem a strange recommendation at first glance - but it lends to thought-provoking food for thought on all sides.
Everyone values freedom of speech - they’ve been central to American political and social concepts since the founding of this country - yet Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers maintains that a growing intolerance from political 'lefties' is eroding American freedom of speech, and she calls this process 'The Silencing'.
No matter which side of the political spectrum a reader is on, it's intriguing to note the process of promoting and enforcing conformity and the efforts to shut down debates on modern issues.
While her book attributes this process to the liberal left, both sides will learn about government policing, how news is legitimized or delegitimized, how opinions are dismissed rather than assessed or debated, and how freedoms of expression are limited or attacked. In analyzing these processes, The Silencing provides invaluable information on how repression is fostered and thus should be part of any collection strong on American freedoms and how they are maintained or attacked.
Lyle J. Goldstein
Georgetown University Press
9781626161603 $29.95 www.press.georgetown.edu
Meeting China Halfway: How to Defuse the Emerging US-China Rivalry charts the increasing tensions between the two countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and while this isn't either new news or new to a book, what is different here is the book's focus not on generalities, but specifics on where the two nations clash and where opportunities for compromise still lie. Chapters use policy proposals to illustrate such opportunities, with each chapter detailing a "cooperation spiral" based on not just analysis of American studies, but hundreds of Chinese-language resources, including military publications.
In order for such a title to be a true representation of both worlds, such an approach is necessary - and has never been undertaken, until now; as perhaps evidenced by the fact that these tensions have continued to escalate.
Meeting China Halfway should be viewed as much more than another documentation of differences, but as starting point for defining new opportunities for better communication and, ultimately, cooperation. This makes it a 'must' for any college-level student of China studies, political studies, or diplomatic world relationships.
United States and
Rowman & Littlefield
At first glance Ron Hirschbein's The United States and Terrorism would seem to join a plethora of others on the topic of terrorism, but it's the book's subtitle ('An Ironic Perspective') that first hints about a different approach to the subject of terrorism in college-level political science circles, with subsequent pages pairing a candid, hard-hitting analysis with unexpected ironic observation in exploring the myths and propaganda in terrorist experiences.
As one example, the use of terrorist bombing during World War II was considered appropriate and patriotic, while the Vietnam War's juxtaposition of the classic elements in a tragedy - "irony and hubris", is explored in a survey that calls attention to the oddity of a mighty nation that defeated Nazi oppressors being defeated by Third World peasants.
The irony is not only not lost here; it's traced through different eras, different strategic approaches, and through different movements defining, celebrating or condemning, and analyzing the historical and political foundations of terrorist activities around the world.
Pair this approach with extensive bibliographic notes for each chapter and you have a college-level reference perfect for political science debates and terrorist history studies alike.
The Computer Corner
HTML5 and CSS3, 3rd Edition
Anne Boehm and Zak Rualcaba
9781890774837 $54.50 www.murach.com
The third updated edition of Murach's HTML5 and CSS3 teaches the basics of both getting started with the programs and building professional-quality web pages after the basics are absorbed, and is a top recommended reference for aspiring web developers.
It doesn't just survey methods: it teaches the basics of more effective web design, showing how to build pages that look sharp on any kind of device, how to enhance websites using visuals and the latest HTML5 features and how to work with older Flash-oriented browsers, and how to move from more efficient coding to better design building and deployment.
Chapters are packed with code, models and step-by-step instructions for creating them, screen shots and samples of web pages, and descriptions that cover the basics of applying HTML5 and CSS3 to various web structures.
Recommended for the programmer new to these approaches, who wants a quick start to mastering the two and using them more effectively in professional-quality web design pursuits, Murach's HTML5 and CSS3 serves as an all-in-one training and reference manual.
The Culinary Corner
Hardie Grant Books
9781742708799 $39.95 www.hardiegrant.com.au
The New Nordic: Recipes from a Scandinavian Kitchen takes traditional Scandinavian recipes and gives them a new twist, preparing them in modern ways and offering embellishments on familiar Nordic approaches to cooking. Thus, a traditional fish patty Fisk features a French twist on its Dutch origins to lighten the process, a Nordic flaked salmon burger is paired with parsnip fries and given an ocean trout substitute alternative, and a recipe for Stout Lamb, Lentils & Cranberry lightens the traditional Nordic stew by foregoing the heavy cream and creating a lighter version infused with malt vinegar, stout, and dried cranberries.
The whole collection is cemented by full-page color photos to accompany each dish, resulting in an accessible cookbook recommended for experienced Nordic cooks seeking modern twists, or newcomers to Nordic cuisine who want contemporary dishes filled with flavor and easy, foolproof instructions.
Islands of Greece
Hardie Grant Books
97817427076939 $39.95 www.hardiegrant.com.au
Competing cookbooks covering the cuisines of the Greek islands have appeared before, but Seal's The Islands of Greece holds a difference from its competitors by including many regional dishes not seen elsewhere and pairing these with lovely color photos by Steven Joyce, who includes images of the islands as well as finished dishes.
Recipes include a heavy dose of seafood dishes, are often introduced with personal notes from the author's experiences with the dish, and appear in full-page color to compliment such recipes as Vine Leaves Stuffed with Pork, a wine-infused Squid Ink Risotto, and a skewed Chicken Soulvaki.
Steps are clearly explained and there are no specialty ingredients or complicated approaches being described, which makes this cookbook quite accessible for any American cook, whether familiar with Greek cookery or not.
Culinary Adventures of a Travelling Cook
The Culinary Adventures of a Travelling Cook came from the rediscovery of an aerogram from Sri Lanka with a recipe on it: an event which led to a series of journeys and the production of a cookbook written by a cook and artist who shares dishes gleaned form her numerous local and overseas travels. With its lively and rich blend of travel lore, recipes, and culinary encounters, Barnes has created a synthesis of travel cooking in a production which straddles the line between travelogue and cookbook.
Recipes are tailored to appeal to novice cooks as well as those with a solid working knowledge of world cuisines, and are often accompanied by a side dish of history, as in the recipe for Pasta al Forno, which explains that Ethiopia's strong Italian presence has resulted in some unexpected traditions, even though the country was never colonized.
Add a wealth of full-page color photos of finished dishes and readers will discover a delightful plethora of culinary and cultural riches steeped in deliciously unique culinary adventure exploration and highly recommended for any would-be world explorer.
Southern Gentleman's Kitchen
The 'new South' still retains many of the social sentiments of the old; particularly when it comes to the figure of the Southern gentleman and his concerns with hospitality, home, and traditions. Still, it's unusual to find a cookbook that incorporates these sentiments into the kitchen itself - typically woman's territory - and spiced with 'Gent's Tips' for cooking each recipe.
Over a hundred fifty recipes are considered intrinsically Southern, have been fully tested by Southern Living's test kitchens, and offer a blend of Creole, regional and Southern fare, from the author's own spice blend and Salsa Fresca rub for his Blackened Catfish recipe to his inclusion of a traditional Lowcountry classic "Frog Moore" Stew of smoked sausage, shrimp, tomatoes and corn, or a recipe for Oven "Fried" Okra.
Color food photos and candid, personal discussions of food origins, history, and men's cooking make for a lively and appealing cookbook especially recommended for any Southern gentleman who wants to partake of the finer art of cooking.
9781612123752 $14.95 www.storey.com
Chowderland: Hearty Soups & Stews with Sides & Salads to Make takes the traditional concept of the New England chowder and pushes the envelope, incorporating chowder innovations from both coasts and expanding the concept into stews and accompanying dishes. While this approach might dismay cooks who anticipated a narrower definition of 'chowder', it will delight those who wanted to expand the concept.
Here are lovely photos, historical references, local anecdotes, traditional and untraditional recipes, and variations on themes; all from an award-winning food journalist and cookbook author who specializes in New England cuisine.
One might not believe a Saint Patrick's Chowder embraces some of the elements of the chowder tradition; but it does, with its cured meat, potatoes and onions presented in a broth in this dish - or a Day-After-Thanksgiving Chowder which uses leftovers to basically create a savory broth base in which to house them.
If a reader's definition of 'chowder' is narrow and involves a milky broth and seafood, this book will attack those boundaries; but those who want to take the concept a step further will delight in a chowder cookbook packed with flavorful ideas, juxtaposing traditional dishes with innovations and supporting sides.
9781572841710 $24.95 www.agatepublishing.com
Summer Cooking: Kitchen-Tested Recipes for Picnics, Patios, Grilling and More comes from the Chicago Tribune staff and provides a fine guide for preparing over a hundred dishes and drinks from the Tribune's archives of tested recipes.
The focus on summer cooking lends to chapters that gather dishes that are portable (for cookouts, tailgate parties or picnics) and suitable for outdoor dining, while the recipes cover everything from appetizers and salads to main dishes, sides and drinks. There's also a focus on recipes which are quick and easy to put together.
Why is all this exceptional? Because the Tribune is one of the few newspapers that still runs its own test kitchen - so all the recipes have been vetted and are guaranteed to be foolproof, helping this collection stand out from other summer cooking books.
Sweet Side of Ancient Grains
9781581572926 $19.95 www.countrymanpress.com
The Sweet Side of Ancient Grains: Decadent Whole Grain Brownies, Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and More features modifications to traditional desserts using whole grain 'ancient grains' such as teff, buckwheat, and quinoa which hold the added benefit of being free of gluten and additives.
While their health value (compared to processed flours) have been proven, what hasn't been discussed - until this title - is their ability to be used in desserts.
This cookbook's focus on whole grain and ancient flours offers a range of examples proving that good taste and dessert appeal can come from spelt, teff, quinoa, and whole wheat flours, and provides the supporting recipes, paired with full-page color photos, to prove it can be done. All that's needed on the part of an interested baker is access to these grains (which usually translates to a whole foods market, though they are becoming increasingly available in regular supermarkets as well).
Nathaniel's Nutmeg or, The True and Incredible Adventures of the Spice Trader Who Changed the Course of History is a lively read and a top recommendation for any who enjoy culinary history - even those who may already be well versed in the general history of spice discoveries around the world.
This audience - which will consist of cooks, travelers, history buffs, and nonfiction readers who delight in learning new facts - will find in Nathaniel's Nutmeg an unusual engrossing account of harrowing world explorations, confrontations, risks taken in the name of discovering and exporting new spices to a hungry world, and more.
Where similar-sounding accounts adopt the drier focus on dates and events, Nathaniel's Nutmeg couches all in the silky, delicious, spicy embrace of the appeal of new tastes and traditions. Where competing accounts of the spice trade would concentrate on a single facet of culinary history or world exploration facts, Nathaniel's Nutmeg embraces all in the smoke and fire of social, political, and culinary evolution.
All these facets come together in a lively read promising to attract and entertain even those who normally eschew culinary history in favor of cookbook recipe collections.
With so many books about gluten-free cooking, baking, restaurant dining and more already on the market, it's hard to see the need for yet another addition to the informational mix: hasn't it all been covered already, elsewhere, in everything from gourmet cookbooks to health titles?
Perhaps the very glut of information on the market - some of it competing or lacking - is what makes Gluten-Free All-in-One for Dummies recommended above competitors and especially for readers who want a single book on the topic: it offers not just recipes and not just the latest health research, but a collection of information which starts with the basics of adopting a gluten-free diet and kitchen and moves out from there.
Chapters embrace the basics of gluten-free living, from shopping more effectively for regular and specialty products alike and keeping kids happy on a gluten-free diet to cooking with wheat alternatives, addressing the unique issues of gluten-free baking (the biggest challenge), and understanding what's involved in successful recipes versus marginal substitutions; all this in a format that lends to quick reference, packed with summaries and at-a-glance information.
Scintillating Sci-Fi and Fantasy
9780062190376 $35.00 www.harpercollins.com
Seveneves is an apocalyptic story with a difference - as one might expect in a weighty production from the bestselling author of Anathem, Cryptonomicon, and Zodiac and many others.
Where else would you find an apocalyptic story in which the end of the world opens the door to the beginning of something different? What other writer would not just employ the techniques of psychology, science, and philosophy; but do so in such a manner as to challenge ideas of how the human race would survive if the Earth became uninhabitable.
In this case, the moon suddenly explodes, prompting an ambitious plan threatened by mankind's tendency toward self-destructive behaviors and by the reduction of skilled forces to a handful of intrepid survivors. But remember: this isn't the story of an ending - it's a story of a beginning. Thus this setting opens the account and details the journey of mankind five thousand years later back to the now-alien home world of Earth.
It's a gripping shift on a theme, dressed in a manner that only Neal Stephenson could achieve, and will delight sci-fi readers looking for an unexpected twist on the survivor theme.
Novel New Novels
St. Martin's Press
9781250055804 $26.99 www.stmartins.com
Readers of Clive Barker already know the special brand of horror he excels in: slow-building stories that tend to pit good against evil, turn good into evil, or expose the evil underbelly of something considered relatively benign. Avid readers of Barker will easily remember two of his early and memorable protagonists in the form of detective Harry D'Amour, who specializes in supernatural and magical investigations and crimes, and his evil rival Pinhead.
Be forewarned: the two are back, prior familiarity with their characters is recommended to provide the exquisite preface for appreciating their return in The Scarlet Gospels, and such audiences will find this just as complex a horror story as any of Barker's prior books.
Fans of the horror genre will delight in the character of the 'Hell Priest' and his special brand of horror, and may wish to give The Hellbound Heart a re-read before embarking on this latest game between the two. Such an audience will delight in this spellbinding saga, which is a delightful return to a horror-infused past after so many years.
Home and Garden
P.O. Box 18680
Pittsburgh, PA 15236
Two new gardening books from St. Lynn's Press will stand out in the gardening book section, even for avid gardeners who have numerous references and who think they've read it all.
One recent production is C.L. Fornari's Coffee for Roses … and 70 Other Misleading Myths About Backyard Gardening (9780989268837, $17.95) will take many a popular folk tale and turn it upside down with new facts, and comes from a horticulture expert to takes these common garden practices and examines their underlying science (or lack thereof).
So if grandma's folk stories are dear to your gardening heart, look elsewhere: this more closely examines the myths, outlines the realities, and provides scientifically-based alternatives based on solid facts that will save time, energy, and money and result in better gardening success.
Can a compacted lawn be aerated with spiked shoes? Is there a miracle product that can control weeds easily? Should a privacy fence be chosen from the fastest-growing shrubs and trees and what could those be? This delves into many possibilities and, in the end, doesn't just dispel myths, but outlines better gardening routines; all related in an easy question-and-answer format replete with color gardening photos throughout.
Lisa Mason Ziegler's Cool Flowers: How to Grow and Enjoy Long-Blooming Hardy Annual Flowers Using Cool Weather Techniques (9780989268813, $17.95) focuses on the basic 'secret' to enjoying an early flower-filled spring garden: hardy annuals which bloom early and stay late, but which must be started in fall and winter.
This compendium of advice comes from a cut-flower farmer who offers her simple, tested techniques and focuses on some thirty of her own favorite annuals which are especially suited to cutting.
The techniques focus on cool weather strategies and offer small color flower photos along with tips specific to each, and guidelines on how to get the most bang from the bloom.
From container gardening to sprouting from seeds and choosing between outdoor and indoor planting options, Cool Flowers isn't suitable for warm regions but offers many creative insights for those who can take advantage of seasonal cool months for maximum spring results.
The California Corner
Arcadia Publishing's 'Images of America' series enjoys widespread distribution in just about every major gift shop and bookstore across the country, and always presents a sepia-toned cover as its trademark. Two new books cover very different facets of regional California history and are top recommendations, following the formula of requiring a vintage photo or illustration to tell each story.
The Pacific Italian Alliance works with author Ralph A. Clark in producing Italians of San Joaquin County (9781467132329, $21.99), a rich visual history of some of the first European settlers in California. Italian immigrants flocked to the state after gold was discovered in the mid-1800s: this collection stems from the efforts of the Pacific Italian Alliance, who works with historian Ralph A. Clark to compile and present images from sources ranging form museum holdings and historical societies to archives and the family albums of several long-time Italian American families.
Rich in images and stories, it's a celebration of the peoples and pasts that represent San Joaquin County's heritage.
Anne Evers Hitz's Emporium Department Store (9781467132503, $21.99) narrows the history to a single major San Francisco shopping institution, The Emporium, which operated for a hundred years from 1896 to 1996.
As a San Francisco native, this reviewer well remembers the Emporium from childhood years - but not like it is here. Chapters survey how the Emporium began, how it grew and was nearly ended in the 1906 earthquake, and how it dominated Market Street until the mid-century thereafter, using rooftop carnivals and a variety of shopping enticements to battle economic downturns and changing shopper habits alike.
Both books offer visual and historical treats unavailable elsewhere and are top recommendations for any California collection.
Biography & Autobiography
Simon and Schuster
9781451675757 $30.00 www.simonandschuster.com
Big Science: Ernest Lawrence and the Invention that Launched the Military-Industrial Complex tells of scientist Ernest O. Lawrence, whose early invention of the cyclotron would be only one of the discoveries he would make to change the nature of scientific investigation and help humanity understand the world.
More than a scientist with a talent for physics, Lawrence was able to take his inventions to new levels, opening the door to the nature of 'big science' and its associations with military and business pursuits. While he won the Nobel Prize in physics, he was also involved in the Manhattan Project, worked to end the arms race even as he produced the science that helped develop the hydrogen bomb, and became one of the most important, world-changing scientists of our times.
Michael Hiltzik's blend of personal and research sources contribute to a weighty, in-depth survey not just of Lawrence, but of scientific and military interactions over the decades since World War II, making Big Science a recommendation for science, social issues and biography readers alike.
9780062301239 $28.99 www.eccobooks.com
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future examines the life and contributions of an innovative American businessman and inventor whose efforts have created not just revolutionary products and advancements, but visionary new business structures.
It's unusual to find a multi-faceted survey that blends biographical examination with insights into how one man's visions created companies and changed worlds, with technological innovations fueling changes in three different industries; but Bloomberg BusinessWeek writer Ashlee Vance had unusual access to Musk and was able to create the kind of biographical sketch that moves far beyond your usual narrow portrait of one man's life and influences.
Musk's unique vision and his strategic efforts to change the world are perfectly captured in chapters that contrast his life and approaches with the methods and lesser focus of American businesses and the world at large in a story that succeeds in pinpointing much of the reasons and influences behind his unprecedented successes, making this a pick for business, technology, and social issues readers as well as biography enthusiasts.
We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
9781608198061 $28.00 www.bloomsbury.com
Be forewarned: Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? A Memoir doesn't assume the structure or content of your usual memoir format, and will be a pleasant surprise to any who want a creative take on the memoir format.
For starters, it looks like a graphic novel, with pages of cartoon illustrations accompanied by 'handwritten' notes and autobiography: the perfect format of choice for the first memoir of a New Yorker cartoonist.
Secondly, the format pairs Chast's classic witty observational style with a close inspection of her aging parents and the tools she used to deal with them over the decades; and while some of the themes (dementia) are anything but laughing matters, it's Chast's approach, which blends a sassy revealing tone with candid if not sordid set of parental unit encounters, which is unique.
Any who eschew the memoir format for over-predictability, who avoid accounts of parents and adult children because they are overly negative or dull, or who want a comic-embellished approach to humor and painful realities will find Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? A Memoir simply shines.
9781590792698 $24.95 www.selectbooks.com
Once upon a time daughter Lauri Taylor had a comfortable life as a housewife and mother in Orange County California: a life changed forever when she received the news that her mother had been found dead on a deserted beach in Baja, Mexico.
Law enforcement investigations in two countries offered no answers on the crime - and so Taylor embarked on her own investigation and the story of what happened to her mother became years of international searching through male-dominated agencies that obviously overlooked something in the course of their investigations.
What Taylor didn't anticipate is revealed in chapters that show how her investigation of her mother's murder led to a probe of her mother's life, relationships, and secrets - and ultimately to a probe of her own relationship with her mother.
True crime stories often come from family members and often adopt this approach to revealing family interactions: what sets The Accidental Truth: What My Mother's Murder Investigation Taught Me About Life apart from these sagas is its added exposes of international crime solving challenges, various agency interactions, and the hard work involved in synthesizing records and data from two countries to put together a coherent picture of events that climaxes in a final, unbelievable scenario and truth.It's the unusually winding nature of the story leading up to this revelation - and the psychological probe of family psyches and the author's own perceptions - that makes The Accidental Truth a compelling story highly recommended for any true crime reader.