March 2016 Prime Picks
Mysteries & Thrillers
Barbara De La Cuesta
Carpenter Gothic Press
ASIN: B0079KSRAO $0.99
Ned's been long out of touch with the wife he divorced and the family he left, but when force of habit brings him to Carrie's door, she can't deny him a drink - especially when her childhood friend Hester (who now lives with Carrie and her kids) encourages Ned to stay for a visit.
One thing leads to another and the unexpected visit turns into an open-ended stay when Ned falls ill, even though both women are suspicious of these seemingly-accidental circumstances and his underlying intentions.
Thus Ned slowly begins to weave himself back into their lives, and Hester, Carrie and her kids (along with their new roommate Jaya) find all their presumptions challenged and changing, as a result.
It soon becomes evident that The Artful Lodger is more than a mystery: it's an exploration of tangled relationships, evolving lives, and separations that sometimes turn into unexpected new connections.
As each character finds their path in life is anything but set and predictable, so readers are carried along on a journey that intersects three women, one man, and all of their expectations about past and future choices. Suicide, escape, the quest for different, happy lives, and dreams that embrace them: all these elements make for twists in the tale which are anything but standard and anticipated.
The writing is lyrical, evocative, and insightful ("No, she doesn't hate stars and trees and nature in general. They just have their place, she thinks."), and the overall result is appealing and nicely presented, recommended for novel readers who enjoy complex tales of interpersonal relationships.The Artful Lodger
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Education and Schools
Jeffrey E. Stern
St. Martins Press
The Last Thousand: One School's Promise in a Nation at War is as much about social issues as it is about education, and comes from a journalist in Afghanistan who offers his observation of the lasting effects of over a decade of the American military occupation of that country.
This perspective is honed by experiences at the Marefat School and the students and teachers involved with it, and reveals how this progressive, pro-women's rights school has become one of the country's most successful institutions.
Marefat School educates both sexes and encourages students to think about and question their worlds in a process not normally associated with this region of the world, but by adding the wider perspective of the political and social situation and why this school is a standout, it's really a bigger picture view of what happens in countries after American occupiers leave.
Any interested in either education, military or social issues will find this a compelling, vivid set of insights into one extraordinary approach to success.
The Computer Corner
Steven M. Bellovin's Thinking Security: Stopping Next Year's Hackers (9780134277547 $39.99) is recommended for IT professionals with a particular interest in security, and provides a new method of analyzing security needs to develop a different approach to preventing intrusions.
The basic premise here begins with the idea that security is a systems problem requiring different routines to address gaps and common problems, and it also maintains that backups and Plan B routines should be established to counter the possibility of failure.
There are many myths associated with the topic of computer security and Thinking Security addresses many of them, from wireless issues and fallacies in thinking about the security or vulnerability of such systems to how to evaluate defenses and make wide-ranging changes that address not just present-day known vulnerabilities, but possible feature issues.
The result is a security approach no IT professional or business manager should be without.
Peter Gottschling's Discovering Modern C++ (9780134383583, $49.99) provides an introduction for using the latest C++ programming routines and is recommended for any programmer who wants to get up to speed quickly with the concepts and applications of C++.
Examples from real-world issues use the author's experience training professionals and students alike to craft problems and solutions that demonstrate C++'s strengths and abilities, but heart of the book is designed to help relative newcomers get started quickly - and to this end, templates provide recipes for success.
The emphasis is on writing the best software possible to take advantage of C++'s strengths: chapters not only provide formulas but discuss common errors and how to address them.
Filled with code and screen examples, Discovering Modern C++ is a fine recommendation for any programmer who would learn from a blend of best practices and real-world examples.
Big Data Fundamentals: Concepts, Drivers & Techniques provides a guide to big data basics and comes from IT professionals who explain the basic concepts and their applications, adding case study examples to cement each foundation idea.
As a primer to the subject, it provides college-level readers and computer IT students with a guide that connects the basic concepts of big data management to business pursuits, offering chapters that show how to adopt, set up, instigate, and create powerful plans for gathering, storing, and using big data.
From data warehouses and considering various kinds of Big Data resources to processing in batch mode, applying analytics, and considering different methodologies, Big Data Fundamentals is packed with charts and diagrams and provides everything needed for an IT reader to get up and running.
Andrew Pinkham's Django Unleashed (9780321985071 $49.99) uses the author's background as a teacher of the computer Django system to tackle common common issues and programming questions, providing a step-by-step user-friendly guide for any who would better understand how Django works with website development.
From how to write Pyton code and solve problems that revolve around Django applications to applying Django's particular approach to real-world problems, this book is a 'must' for relative newcomers who would get up and running quickly.
It teaches how to use Django templates to best advantage, how to troubleshoot common problems and apply Django Forms and models to typical applications, and how to protect a website while taking advantage of Django's processes.
The result is a highly recommended pick for any Django programmer and relative newcomer to the program's potentials.
Andy Nicholls, Richard Pugh and Aimee Gott's Sams Teach Yourself R in 24 Hours (9780672338489, $39.99) presents a format that provides 24 lessons of one hour or less each to impart the basics of R, and is especially recommended as a teach-yourself workbook that pairs real-world examples and problem solving with R basics supported by quizzes and exercises for self-testing.
Chapters cover all the basis, from installing and understanding the R environment to writing and working with common R structures, plugging data into various R functions, and applying families of functions to best advantage.
Code examples, summary processes, tips for understanding the grammar of graphics terminology, insights into creating various models, and more all contribute to an outstanding self-learning tool that promises newcomers the quickest, most methodical learning process for absorbing R and its applications.
Started with Data Science
Getting Started with Data Science: Making Sense of Data with Analytics packs in stories about data science to provide a jargon-free coverage of basic theory and technique, and pairs discussions with real-world examples and hands-on exercises.
Rather than presenting theory and tossing in a few case histories, this book builds a data science foundation of progression discoveries by encouraging readers to problem-solve and answer data science questions from consumer, education, online and technology applications.
Each problem walks readers through the options and resolution process and provides charts, tables, maps, and plenty of visuals. The result is a study that is packed with data science insights and which excels in its presentation and approach. It's not the typical textbook of facts, but teaches a system and a method of troubleshooting that ultimately result in a professional approach to the data science field as a whole.
Yourself Java in 21 Days, 7th Edition
The 7th updated edition of Teach Yourself Java in 21 Days appears in a new seventh edition that covers Java 8 and Android development, and teaches how to use the Java language to create a variety of applications.
One might think that such a study would be directed to programmers with prior Java experience, or to programmers familiar with other languages; but in fact, no previous programming is needed at all (though computer and programming basics will help).
Learners receive a self-guided workbook that creates chapters based on foundation information provided in a progressive manner. This means that the building blocks of knowledge assume a logical format and allow all kinds of computer learners at all levels to absorb Java 8's basics in a methodical manner.
Each chapter includes exercises and self-tests and teach also adds certification practice questions, for those who intend on getting certified.
This edition has been completely revised and expanded, so owners of older editions should consider it an important replacement which retains the same easy approach and examples as prior editions, but adds all the latest Java 8 features. It's a 'must' for anyone who would learn Java in a self-directed self-study approach, but will also serve well as a classroom supplement or text.
Unleashed, 2016 Edition
The 2016 edition of Ubuntu Unleashed covers 15.10 and 16.04 editions and provides the same attention to detail as its predecessors in a new edition. Ubuntu programmers who have either utilized previous editions or who want a comprehensive and in-depth coverage that begins with the basics and moves into advanced customization processes will find everything here that's needed to make Ubuntu a productive business asset.
It offers more than added information about the latest features, but revises and updates the entire book to incorporate much new information on how to apply it more effectively in a web development environment.
From initial setup and monitoring to applications for mobile devices and on the cloud, Ubuntu Unleashed assumes no prior knowledge and covers both basic commands and advanced applications. Configuration code, editing default settings, turning regular tasks into programs that run when a system is booted up, and hosting a virtual domain are only a few of the topics covered in a computer guide packed with real world examples, code, and clear discussions.
Chelsea Green Publishing
Cheddar provides an appealing discussion not just of cheddar cheese's history, but of how it progressed from being one of the first cheeses to be industrialized to how it moved from traditional farm wheels to become packaged as singles and marketed in different shapes and forms.
Even cooks who think themselves well versed in cheese identification, varieties and usage will likely find new information here, from insights on cheese grading and advances in culinary science that led to the development and marketing of Velveeta to the changing flavors of cheddar over the decades.
The result is a cheese history that will delight any prior fan with more than a casual interest in cheese in general and cheddar in particular.
Cooking with Seeds packs in a hundred recipes for familiar foods enhanced by a range of seeds, from pumpkin and chia to flax, hemp, poppy and sesame seeds, and it's a recommendation for cooks who want to take advantage of the nutritional qualities of seeds by using them as additions to ordinary dishes.
Recipes range from snacks and all meals to desserts and feature an international flair with such productions as a pine-nut enhanced Cod Fillets with Saucy Braised Leeks, Cheddar Hemp Scones, and Harissa Braised Chicken Legs with chia seeds.
All that’s required is an access to cooking seeds and an interest in using them in a variety of dishes: the cookbook provides fairly simple recipes with a minimum of specialty dishes and is perfect for cooks who want to expand their seed cooking repertoire.
Strictly speaking, My Fat Dad is a memoir that incorporates recipes and food insights with autobiography, but its connections between family and food are so closely presented that fans of culinary reads will welcome it as a lively saga filled with insights on growing up in a food-oriented household.
Dawn learned to cook from her grandmother but spent her childhood hungry, as her obese father was always on a diet that the family had to follow.
In a chaotic and ever-changing household, Dawn gained a particular kind of appreciation for food and cooking that would ultimately lead to her own love of wholesome food.
Toss humor with food psychology and family insights and then add a liberal dose of humor to the mix and you have a funny, deliciously moving story that's hard to put down, and which originated as a popular blog series before becoming a book.
Wheat Flour and Corn Products
L.W. Rooney and S.O. Serna-Saldivar, Editors
AACC International Press
Tortillas: Wheat Flour and Corn Products is not light consumer or cookbook reading, but is recommended for college-level students of culinary studies who want a specific, 300-page technical discussion of the technology and development of corn and wheat tortilla products.
From food safety and development processes to the chemical properties of tortilla flours, effects of preservatives on the shelf life of tortillas, properties of corn kernals and how they lend to tortilla production, and more, these are technical discussions directed to scientists, product developers and nutritionists.
Students and food science professionals looking to learn more about tortillas and their production and distribution will find the technical discussions perfect for an in-depth understanding of everything involved in tortilla making and use.
Scintillating Sci-Fi and Fantasy
Jim C. Hines
Revisionary is Book Four of the Magic Ex Libris series and tells of a possible utopian future thwarted after magic is revealed to the world. It's a year since the event, and Isaac's role in the discovery of magic hasn't changed the world for the better.
Some want a war between magical and non-magical forces. Others want to lock up any suspected of supernatural powers with the idea that such makes them automatic threats.
Isaac is in the middle of struggles that envelope all sides as he discovers that the intersection of magic and ordinary may not be what he has dreamed.
Familiarity with the prior books will help solidify the events that evolve in Revisionary, but newcomers will find it accessible and engrossing as well as forces come into place and Isaac's decisions and options become clearer.
Strong characterization and a moving story line contribute to an engrossing saga.
Self-Help and Health
MGTOW Building Wealth and Power:
Single Men Only
ISBN: 978-1-4917-8720-5 (sc) $13.99
ISBN: 978-1-4917-8721-2 (e) $ 3.99
There's a reason why MGTOW Building Wealth and Power is directed to single men, and that's because so many money management books address special audiences, from couples to teens to seniors, but relatively few focus on the special needs of single men nor advocate for their singular interests apart from being coupled.
How does this group differ from others? For one thing, single men tend to wield greater assets and monetary strength because many have no family obligations to plan for. Bachelors thus have unequalled opportunities to gain control over their personal freedoms and futures, and many of these opportunities are integrated with money management approaches unique to this approach (labeled here as 'MGTOW', or Men Going Their Own Way, which is actually a worldwide movement).
Inherent in this philosophy is a perception of many of the toxic premises of marriage and living together that result in patterns of domination and repression which extend into financial and work matters. Men struggling with abusive expectations and financial plans that only serve to further entrap them will find much to admire about this book and its tenants, which blends the MGTOW perspective with specific financial approaches that differ widely from conventional thinking.
MGTOW is not a membership organization; it's a philosophy about a particular way of life that advocates freedom and inclusiveness. It's not one man's ideal, but a rising global phenomenon that embraces a wide range of ideals. Thus, it should be mentioned that just as MGTOW is not a singular idea; so this book is not just about financial planning.
Single male readers receive a combination of lifestyle insights and financial advice that opens with a definition and a history of the relatively new worldwide movement and its basic philosophy. It then reviews the social issues revolving around traditional ideas of masculinity, patriarchy, and paradoxes in traditional relationships.
Later chapters move from social consciousness and philosophical examination to the nuts and bolts of financial planning. Be advised: just as the concepts discussed are not linear, so the presentation approaches change. Readers might not expect a fictional case history in 'The Girl Who Cried Rape' in a financial planning primer, for example, and so men should be flexible and prepared for changes in tone and approach as MGTOW Building Wealth and Power provides its hard-hitting information through diverse approaches which readers can readily absorb and understand.
From the high costs of codependence and addiction to learning when to exit an investment, how to handle dating and challenges to self-sufficiency, and how to manage not just money but life, this wide-reaching coverage pairs case history examples with keys to moving beyond the perception that males are workhorses destined to live a life of labor.
Any young man who wants to achieve financial security and realize dreams of travel, self-fulfillment and pursuing independence will find much to like about and reflect upon in MGTOW Building Wealth and Power.MGTOW Building Wealth and Power: For Single Men Only
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Clinical Communication in Medicine provides a powerful compilation of theories and models of healthcare communication and discusses all kinds of scenarios typical in clinical communication settings, from breaking bad news to patients and families to standard practices in handling older patients.
From diversity issues to core concepts in the doctor-patient relationship, this examines the foundation principles of clinical communication and the various options and processes this involves.
From being proactive to skills that come into play when handling emergencies, Clinical Communication in Medicine discusses all kinds of scenarios and options, contrasting different coping strategies and approaches, and should be required reading for any medical student.
a Different Key
John Donvan and Caren Zucker
In a Different Key: The Study of Autism provides a powerful history of autism using a series of dramatic episodes to narrate the story of how autism came to be recognized, diagnosed, and explored.
Years of patient determination, researcher and physician studies, and frustration went into this process, captured here through stories that range from dark misconceptions of autism to how determined individuals both autistic and not struggled to understand these conditions.
The authors' own families have struggled with autism, so they are especially invested in providing powerful, thought-provoking documentation that is more than just another study, but captures the powerful personalities, struggles, and efforts involved throughout the process of diagnosing and understanding a challenging condition over the years.
Lucy Whitman's People With Dementia Speak Out (9781849052702) takes the experiences of over twenty people from diverse backgrounds who tell about their diagnosis and how they lived with dementia, and provides too few books on the topic can offer: a roadmap for survival.
These personal accounts discuss a range of life challenges, from gaining support from friends, family and other places to living with the slow erosion caused by dementia; but if it's one major truth they succeed in illustrating, it's that dementia experiences are not the same for all.
Having an abundance of information from different people serves to illustrate that though the physical forms of dementia may be similar, how they are experienced and processed is a very individual task.
Readers who would gain a better understanding of dementia's feelings and experiences will find People With Dementia Speak Out an outstanding collection of diverse people, experiences, and coping mechanisms.
Annie Heiderscheit edits Creative Arts Therapies and Clients with Eating Disorders (9781849059114), a primer gathering the expertise of a range of creative arts therapists from around the world who examine how their practices have benefited from applying these therapies to clients with eating disorders.
Art, dance, drama, music and writing therapies have encouraged growth and change in a clientele notoriously difficult to transform: these articles explain how each therapy is instituted in the course of traditional eating disorder treatments, and how inpatients, outpatients, and varying degrees of ED disorders benefit from these different creative arts approaches.
Clinical practitioners and students of ED will find these case illustrations combine theory with applications that promise positive change and results that last.
History and Politics
Harry W. Crosby
University of Oklahoma Press
Californio Portraits: Baja California's Vanishing Culture provides an updated, expanded version of the original 1981 treatise titled Last of the Californios, which surveyed the history of the mountain folk of Baja California, and is a fine and well-detailed account that represents one of the most extensive reports of Baja's occupation by the Spaniards in the 17th century to its modern times. It's a history and cultural inspection that examines the lifestyles, society, and political encounters of these early peoples and comes from an author who rode hundreds of miles by mule to visit with various Californio families and document their lifestyles. His personal accounts and reports from modern-day descendants covers their daily lives and history in an account peppered with vintage black and white photos throughout.
St. Martins Press
The Fight: A Secret Service Agent's Account of Security Failings and the Political Machine comes from an author who served in the Secret Service under three Presidential administrations, and discusses security problems and what caused him to leave the Secret Service at the top of his profession in pursuit of political office.
It's a hard-hitting story of presidential security, politics, and citizen rights and it ranges from autobiographical discussions of his experiences in the service as an agent to insights into the intersections between security and politics.
Because issues of security are typically of internal concern and not part of general public knowledge, the stories in The Fight will enlighten many about subjects ranging from how presidents are protected to internal hierarchies and workings of the secret service system.
The discussions of politics, leadership, and changing security challenges makes for a lively presentation that will reach beyond political science readers into general-interest circles.
Children and Teens
Flightless Adventures of Princess and Pearl
Michelle Seelye Drucker
The Flightless Adventures of Princess and Pearl will reach chapter book readers ages 6-10 with a simple story of two penguin chicks who lead easy lives until one day they awaken to discover their parents have vanished.
There's only one option: they need to set out on a journey to find them … and so the two young penguins embark on a series of adventures that include a high degree of danger as they thwart hungry sea lions who would love to eat them.
But, can they find their missing parents?
Illustrations by Caroline O'Neal are in black and white and provide fun small penguin illustrations heading each new chapter.
Kids will learn about different kinds of penguins (the heroes are Gentoo chicks, while others they encounter are Rockhoppers and Little Blue Fairy penguins) in a presention that incorporates a good amount of penguin natural history in the course of its fictional tale. The story line includes lessons on survival, parent/child relationships, and evolving friendships as well as discussing dangers and uncertainties and revealing how to face the world.
The result is a fun, appealing story that kids will find easy to read, filled with natural history and psychological insights.The Flightless Adventures of Princess and Pearl
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Marilyn Singer's new Echo Echo (9780803739925, $16.99) is illustrated by Josée Masse and provides the third collection of 'reverso' poems that bring myths to new life.
Using this approach, the poem tells a well-known story - when read from top to bottom. When read in reverse, however, the same words offer something very different. Lovely color drawings on facing pages provide beautiful embellishments to these amazing words and images.
Cece Meng's Always Remember (9780399168093, $17.99) is illustrated by Jago and tell of an old turtle who goes for his last swim. His friends will miss him, but they lovingly recall his meaning in their lives, and think about how Old Turtle's memory will always be with them.
Kids receive a lovely discussion of death, change, and ongoing life meaning as they receive a picture book that winds up as a celebration.
Harlan Coben's The Magical Fantastical Fridge (9780525428039, $17.99) tells of Walden, who has never noticed how amazing his fridge is - until he's transported into one of his own drawings posted on it. From a battle with a crayon monster to time travel, Walden struggles with his own creations in a fun story filled with pictures by Leah Tinari and a zany, magical world.
These are all wonderful picture book picks that stand out from the crowd.
Lind Sue Park's YaksYak: Animal Word Pairs (9780544391017, $16.99) receives fun drawings by Jennifer Black Reinhardt as it tells of animals in a comically fun manner.
The play on words has badgers badgering each other, ducks ducking, and steers steering. Word definitions accompany the dual meanings, which give kids fun insights and whimsical food for thought.
David Litchfield's The Bear and the Piano (9780544674547, $16.99) tells of a young bear who uncovers something wonderful in the forest: a strange object that makes horrible sounds when he touches it. There's something strangely compelling about the oddity, however, and so the bear learns to make lovely sounds that enchant his friends and the forest.
The sounds are so lovely that he's invited to share these sounds in other places, with fits in perfectly with his desire to explore - but can he really leave his beloved forest home? Good reading skills will enhance this gentle story of talent and moving away from the familiar.
Anne Hunter's Cricket Song (9780544582590, $16.99) tells of night sounds that include not just crickets but frogs, owls, and more. As kids learn about the various calls of the wild at night, they receive a gentle bedtime book about these sounds and how animals are connected in nature.
Parents will find this makes a particularly lovely read-aloud selection filled with sleepy animals and the normal night sounds surrounding them.
Cockatoo, Too points the way to two cockatoos and funny plays on 'two', 'too', 'tutus' and more as it provides a very simple picture book that ultimately helps kids understand the differences between different types of 'twos' while presenting a fun jungle scene, too.
When tutued toucans enter the picture, there's just too much fun in this hilarious story of birdbrains who get together for some hijinx while exploring variations that are just too much fun.
Stepsister and the Big Bad Wolf
Cinderella's Stepsister and the Big Bad Wolf is illustrated by Migy Blanco and tells the real story, which includes the fact that she really had three stepsisters, and wasn't very nice, herself.
The youngest Ugly sister, Gertie, is kind - but she's being forced to act as mean as the rest if she wants to get to go to the ball. It's really Gertie, though, who doesn't live up to the Ugly family name. She just can't be truly bad, no matter how hard she tries.
Good reading skills will help youngsters interested in a new take on the Cinderella and Big Bad Wolf tales, which is a fun and hilarious, different kind of story.
Mark Chen's Mastering Composition for Photographers: Create Images with Impact (9781608959815 $37.95) not only teaches photographers the basics of photo composition, but covers the basics of when and how to apply these principles and how to design images that are striking and captivatingly different.
There's a fine art as well as a science involved in moving an image from 'interesting' to 'striking', and Chen covers this process through example, teaching photographers about the underlying elements inherent in different shots and options.
From using stacked composition to emphasize group dynamics to analyzing masterpiece works to understand their underlying force, Mastering Composition for Photographers teaches by both example and discussion of key influences on composition choices.
No aspiring photographer should be without this.
The same goes for Jim Cornfield's The Soft Touch: A Photographer's Guide to Manipulating Focus (9781608959495, $34.95): this is an invaluable, necessary reference for any photographer at any skill level who wants details on how to manipulate depth of field and focus to capture moods for all kinds of objectives, from weddings and boudoir to commercial photography and indoor shots.
Tips come from several photographers who explain their various techniques for manipulating softness to produce different effects, and include color photo examples throughout and discussions of mystique, creating image, and fine-tuning a photo's impact.
The result is a powerful survey that's a specific, top reference for those photographers who have moved past novice endeavors into more advanced pursuits.
Media Interview Techniques: A Complete Guide to Media Training provides a guide to giving successful media interviews and uses the models Robert Taylor developed to blend with a wider view of published research and opinion. This is, therefore, not theory but a tested, research-supported model of proven techniques which have been successful both in national and international arenas, and which help interviewees prepare for media interviews.
Chapters provide common rules ("never look at the camera"), discuss the basics of delivery and voice tones, tell how to handle hostile questions, and most of all, show how to stay in control of the interview no matter what direction it should take.
The result is a powerful survey, highly recommended for any who would participate in media interviews prepared to field any and all hurdles encountered in the process.
Lillian R. Aronson's Small Animal Surgical Emergencies (9781118413487, $149.99) offers a veterinarian reference to soft tissue and orthopedic emergencies, and describes surgical procedures and emergency room processes for any involved in small animal practices.
From step-by-step procedures for stabilizing animals to using diagnostic equipment, assessing and diagnosing patients, understanding the basic principles of various surgical options, and assessing competing surgical options, this book is packed with color photos of surgeries, charts, diagrams, bibliographic references, and everything needed to handle small animal surgical emergencies.
Despite its approach, this is no quick read but offers much detail in a format that lends to an easy location of material along with much in-depth discussion.
Ma Taylor, RL Coop and RL Wall's Veterinary Parasitology (9780470671627, $229.99) provides a definitive veterinary parasitology reference for students of veterinary science and practitioners working in the field, and appears in an updated fourth edition that has been turned into a two-part reference reflecting the latest advancements in parasitiology science.
New to this updated edition are new approaches to teaching the science, detailed parasite descriptions and a new structure that lends to the reference's use in the clinic or in a classroom.
Charts, diagrams, descriptions of parasites common to different animals from sheep and goats to dogs and cats, and epidemiology and treatment for each make for a powerful reference that is a 'must' for students of veterinary science.