November Prime Picks
Biography & Autobiography
Bitwise: A Life in
Bitwise: A Life in Code is a memoir about David Auerbach's experiences in the computer world, but adds a personal and philosophical inspection that elevates it above a title that ordinarily would have been recommended for science and technology or computer science collections alone.
Auerbach begins his discussion not in the computer lab, but with his childhood interest in using computers to draw ferns and explore and represent his environment. As he comes of age amid the systems that change his world, readers are treated to a blend of autobiographical and scientific inspection that documents the evolution of technologies and engineering and how these devices translate personal experiences into larger viewpoints and bigger-picture thinking.
Anyone with an interest in how technology affects human perception and experience will find Bitwise filled with important first-person reflections on frameworks for understanding and evolving perceptions of the world.
When Kim Brooks, mother and author of Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear, left her teenage son in the car when she ran into the store for a few minutes, she didn't realize that a stranger's observation and recording of this event would lead to an unexpected police involvement in her life that led her to question her decisions as a parent, upending her life for years to come.
Readers will find her memoir of her parenting experiences in general and two harrowing years of challenge to this job to be thoroughly engrossing as it considers not only parenting values, but the larger role fear plays in parenting choices and experiences.
The result is an illuminating, powerful study of parents and children in modern society, and should be on the reading lists of any parent who would consider new views of parenting options and cultural values.
Baking for Breakfast
Cheryl Day & Griffith Day
Baking for Breakfast: 33 Muffin, Biscuit, Egg, and Other Sweet and Savory Dishes for a Special Morning Meal is recommended for bakers who don't mind having an emphasis on the sweet side of breakfast choices.
From muffins, coffee cakes, and sweet quick breads to traditional cinnamon sticky buns, this small collection provides a wide range of breakfast-friendly dishes.
More savory dishes to de-emphasize sugary treats would have made for a better-balanced baking guide, but the fare chosen for this book, and its colorful photos of finished products, are designed to appeal to cooks seeking relatively quick meals based on sweet fare that holds maximum appeal either as a side dish to heartier savory fare or for quick, on-the-go consumption (as with the muffins).
Bottom of the Pot
Bottom of the Pot: Persian Recipes and Stories comes from a Persian food expert who provides an introduction to her family's favorite dishes, and serves up a wonderful introduction to the cuisine and Iran's culture as it pairs stories about this rich heritage with full-page color photos of finished dishes.
Chapters are separated into sections by ingredients and general types of dishes and are introduced by first-person stories about the author's family, their experiences, memories, and special interest in particular sections of the book.
From Everyday Turmeric Chicken and Roasted Dill Salmon (the latter from the author's stepmother's experiments) to Lentil Rice, which represents one of the staples of Persian cuisine, Bottom of the Pot is an outstanding introduction to Iranian fare that excels in not just presenting basic Iranian dishes, but in providing the surrounding cultural references that make for a greater understanding of the Iranian people as a whole.
More so than most competing cookbooks, Bottom of the Pot is a well-rounded and nicely presented affair that deserves to be a staple in any international cookbook library.
The New Filipino
Jacqueline Chio-Lauri, Editor
The New Filipino Kitchen: Stories and Recipes from Around the Globe comes from an author who holds expensive background in the food industry, holds a degree in hotel and restaurant administration, has worked in several countries, and has a special interest in promoting Filipino cuisine to those who may be unfamiliar with Filipino foods.
Home cooks who may have relatively little knowledge of this culture and cuisine will find The New Filipino Kitchen a winning introduction that contains such easy standards as Baked Chicken Adobo Infused with Coconut Milk, Habichuelas (Navy Beans with Chorizo and Tomato Chutney), and a noodle Pansit Bihon Guisado (Stir-Fried Rice Noodles with Shrimp and Adobo).
Another plus to this book: readers shouldn't expect just another recipe collection. The New Filipino Kitchen includes essays about Filipino culture, culinary traditions and experiences, and family memories of cooking and eating together; and thus presents a much wider taste of Filipino experience than a cookbook alone could have achieved.
Pastrami on Rye
Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli is new in paperback and will reach a wide audience interested in Jewish cuisine and New York culinary history alike.
Pastrami on Rye is more than a consideration of Jewish food, but closely examines Jewish cultural ties to the deli, a central place for meeting, eating, socializing, and networking. The deli came to represent the cornerstone of the Jewish community in New York, and its rise and fall is chronicled from its heyday in the 1920s and 30s to its decline as Jews moved away from the city's center and become more involved in international fare.
Pastrami on Rye's lively survey should be considered not just for culinary history collections, but for any collection strong in Jewish and New York City culture.
To Know and Nurture a
Kari Yates & Christina Nosek
To Know and Nurture a Reader: Conferring with Confidence and Joy is recommended reading for teachers who want to engage students through questions, reproducibles, and conference-style discussions.
Chapters juxtapose specific reading goals with classroom examples and case histories, pairing tools and tested strategies with tips on moderating challenges, taking purposeful action, understanding and supporting authentic responses, and helping set goals with students rather than for them.
Charts, discussions, samples and strategies for incorporating flexibility make for a lively task-and-talk-based approach that excels in giving students direction through a cooperative, collaborative process. The guidelines to forming cooperative interactions, rather than reinforcing an authoritarian position, make To Know and Nurture a Reader a revealing, involving approach indeed.
Mike Casey, et.al.
Rowman & Littlefield
Online Teaching: Tools and Techniques to Achieve Success with Learners is for online teachers seeking more effective strategies to reach students through electronic mediums and delivery systems, and goes beyond the usual approach to consider how options actually work in a successful online environment.
Novice educators as well as those more experienced (yet under-familiar with online teaching options) will find Online Teaching packed with both basic and advanced discussions of choices, improvement techniques, tools, and keys to crafting better online collaboration and learning processes.
From creating course goals and assessment tools to techniques that enhance accessibility and course design and applications, Online Teaching is not only filled with tested strategies, but each chapter includes bibliographic notes for reference and further reading. All this makes for a solid survey that educators will find both practical and authoritative.
David Gill: Designing
Anne-Marie Manley, Editor
David Gill: Designing Art explores the career and artists fostered by a notable designer whose artists may already be well familiar to London gallery viewers. David Gill is interviewed for this production, which features various works from his galleries.
The oversized format of this edition presents large-size images which translate well to book form, while profiles of many of these artists include discussions of their approaches and backgrounds, insights about the mediums they work in, and the artistic journey that lead up to their exhibitions, recognition by Gill, and success.
The artworks range from a private house project to works by design artists such as the Campana Brothers, who produce artistic pieces inspired by early Roman influences.
Anyone interested in David Gill's approach and artists will find David Gill: Designing Art an exceptional compilation.
Mike Grell: Life is
Drawing Without an Eraser
Dewey Cassell with Jeff Messer
Mike Grell: Life is Drawing Without an Eraser will appeal to any comics, illustration, and arts library with its survey of the DC comics pro who made a name for himself in the 1970s and 80s.
More multifaceted in his artistry than many of his contemporaries, Grell also created literary works, pioneered creator-owned figures, and made a big impact during his long career, which is revealed during the course of interviews with many of his peers.
Packed with color comics pages, full-page covers, and discussions of Grell's prolific creativity, Mike Grell: Life is Drawing Without an Eraser should be in any comics or graphic novel library as well as in any art collection that specializes in illustration.
A Victorian Flower
A Victorian Flower Album: Collected and Painted in the Summer Evenings of 1873, As a Pleasing Recreation provides beautiful flower paintings and identifications that will appeal to artists and botany collections alike.
Each flower painting is accompanied by the flower's botanical name and other artistic embellishments, from butterflies to moths. The attention to detail produces botanical accuracy and artistry alike.
The result is a gorgeous gathering of 1800s drawings that will especially delight those studying to be botanical artists.
Novel New Novels
The House by the
Flame Tree Press
The House by the Cemetery comes from a Bram Stoker award-winning author who presents a delightful haunted house story about carpenter Mike, who wants to rehab a notorious legendary house to make it into a haunted house attraction.
There's no need for a remake to emphasize its dark history, however, as Mike comes to realize that he faces a formidable force in a ghost who makes her presence known, and who finds Mike's project the perfect point of entry into a world she needs to inject with her dark force.
As secrets long hidden are revealed and the blood begins to flow, a frightening scenario evolves in this riveting horror thriller, highly recommended for fans of ghostly encounters.
The Little Shop of
St. Martin's Press
The Little Shop of Found Things blends romance and magic into a fine story of supernatural connections, a mother and daughter's new start as proprietors of an antique shop in a small historic town, and a woman's ability to sense stories of the past from the antique pieces that flow through the shop.
The story becomes a timeslip saga when Xanthe is transported back to the 17th century to confront a ghost, the origins of her antique, and her own ability to make things right before it costs her everything she loves in the present world.
From the world of 1605 to modern times, Xanthe's struggles come to life in a rich story of an English world changed by injustice, creating a compelling, cozy leisure read.
Sizzling Politics and Social Issues
The Coming of
Mark R. Cheathem
Johns Hopkins University Press
The Coming of Democracy: Presidential Campaigning in the Age of Jackson closely examines presidential campaigning tactics and changes from 1824 to 1840, considering the early republic's political movements, social environment, campaign approaches, and voter sentiments.
Key to this inspection is an examination of why the Jacksonian period resulted in more informed voters and democratic processes when songs, political cartooning, and other devices would seem to hold more entertainment value than political enlightenment.
College-level readers interested in American history and political evolution will find this narrow inspection of a key period in history an important start for contrasting past and present forms of political and social expression.
Fraud: How the Left Plans to Steal the Next Election contains a decidedly partisan approach as it maintains that the left is going to do everything possible to seize control of the government and impeach the president. It claims that leftist politicians are set to steal the next election through undemocratic means, and it exposes exactly how this could occur.
Voters on both sides will want to read Fraud to consider the specter of voter fraud, how it is defined and conducted, how it affects political process, and more—whether or not they completely agree with Eggers' stance on connecting such fraud with illegal immigration and progressive voter objectives.
Four new audiobook productions are recommended picks for libraries seeking durable packaging, solid writing, and narrators that bring stories to life.
Yunte Huang's Inseparable: The Original Siamese Twins and Their Rendezvous with American History (9781684410606, $39.99) is narrated by P.J. Ochlan, whose smooth and compelling voice is a well-done compliment to Huang's biography of conjoined twins who were 'discovered' in Siam by a British merchant in 1924, who marketed them as oddities.
From their initial role as museum exhibits and traveling entertainment to their move beyond freak-show status to enter the world of the rich and famous, Inseparable provides a uniquely Asian-American viewpoint of how the twins were marketed and how their lives changed.
Edith Sheffer's Asperger's Children: The Origins of Autism in Nazi Vienna (9781684411740, $34.99) is read by Christa Lewis, whose voice lends authority and a compelling level of quiet drama to Sheffer's account of psychologist Hans Asperger who, in the 1930s and 40s, attempted to define autism in children; and whose reputation as a compassionate researcher flew in the face of facts that his work was influenced by Nazi psychiatry approaches and ideals.
Readers interested in the history of psycholgy in general, Nazi influences on the discipline, and the history of Asperger's diagnoses will find the audio story Asperger's Children: The Origins of Autism in Nazi Vienna an eye-opening listen indeed.
Nafissa Thompson-Spires' Heads of the Colored People (9781684413706, $29.99) is read by Adenrele Ojo, who enlivens a series of literary short stories that reveal black identity and middle class dilemmas alike. Each story creates lively characters who struggle with their lives and fears in modern society, posing different perspectives on black experience and culture in a manner that readers will find reflective and revealing; especially given the audio emphasis Ojo provides.
A Walk in the Woods: Meditations on Mindfulness with a Bear Named Pooh by Dr. Joseph Parent and Nancy Parent (9781684413980, $24.99) is read by author Dr. Joseph Parent, whose smooth familiarity with his own writing and approach lends immediacy and a compelling tone to this audio.
Readers who would survey the basics of mindful thinking as seen from the Pooh perspective will find A Walk in the Woods a delightful way of understanding mindful approaches to life, with the audio presentation reinforcing mindful manners concepts of daily living.
All are exceptional listens, especially recommended for lending library collections.
Science, Nature & Technology
The American Lab
C. Bruce Tarter
Johns Hopkins University Press
The American Lab: an Insider's History of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory comes from a former director of the famous laboratory who does more than sift through its founding in the 1950s and its status as a scientific think tank for advanced experiments.
C. Bruce Tarter's access to the Lab results in a survey that embraces its scientific, political, and social impact, from its position during Cold War times and its importance as a nuclear testing site to various inventions that came from the Lab to change military and scientific approaches to defense and research.
As chapters detail Lawrence Livermore's programs and studies, they include many details on treaties, university and governmental interactions and programs, discussions of and controversies surrounding its changes, and more.
The American Lab is highly recommended reading not just for science collections; but for anyone who would better understand the intersection of and connections between political, scientific, educational, and military communities.
Rachel Love Nuwer
Da Capo Press
Poached: Inside the Dark World of Wildlife Trafficking discusses illegal wildlife trading and tells how author Rachel Nuwer's ecology research trip to Vietnam resulted in a career in journalism, reporting on poaching in countries around the world.
What sets her account apart from other studies on the subject is her personal involvement and familiarity with poaching circumstances, from the efforts of rangers, conservationists and activists who struggle against it to those who find poaching too lucrative to ignore and consumers who purchase poached items.
Poached goes beyond statistics to capture the personal aspects of all sides of poaching issues and wildlife trafficking enterprises. This personal touch allows for a far greater understanding of the social, economic, and psychological facts influencing species preservation and the perception of their value, either alive or dead.
Any nature collection strong on wildlife issues must include this thought-provoking, enlightening survey.
Three new quilting guides are recommended acquisitions for any needleworker's collection, emphasizing projects that excel in visual embellishment, foolproof step-by-step instructions, and specific, easily-finished products.
Aneela Hoey's Stitch & Sew: Beautifully Embroider 31 Projects (9781617456398, $26.95) features embroidery done on a small scale to enhance cases, coin purses, pouches, and bags.
Five projects that offer the basics for creating a drawstring bag, zipper pouch, and a change purse are accompanied by over thirty embroidery designs that move from beginning to advanced stitches in a progressive manner that teaches embroidery basics.
Lynn Schmitt's The Art of Mixing Textiles in Quilts: 14 Projects Using Wool, Silk, Cotton & Home Décor Fabrics (9781617455407, $29.95) demonstrates how to more effectively mix fabric types to produce exceptional quits, covering everything from cuts and piecing to matching fiber content and overcoming common problems.
These quilts, pillows, and other small projects assume a three-dimensional perspective and excel in clear assembly, construction, and finishing step-by-step instruction, including large-size patterns and color photos of finished products.
Paula Doyle's Easy Stack Quilts: Fast, Fun & Fabulous Kaleidoscope Quilts for Fabric Lovers (9781617455476, $26.95) presents the kaleidoscope method alternative to the stack-and-whack concept, and shows how to create a variety of blocks from one fabric using a different cut-and-stacking method.
Quilters who have large stashes of large-print fabrics will find Easy Stack Quilts an excellent approach to using up odds and ends, with charts of piecing and cutting specs for different quilt sizes accompanying projects, step-by-step directions, and color photos.
All are excellent needlework additions to any project library and many an individual collection.
Hope and Other
Simon & Schuster
Hope and Other Superpowers: A Life-Affirming, Love-Defending, Butt-Kicking, World-Saving Manifesto is a powerful account by a progressive pastor who injects hope and anger into political and social situations which often may seem insurmountable. More so than any other book on modern social and political activism, Hope and Other Superpowers should be required reading for anyone who wants to work against prejudice, hatred, and despair.
Those already familiar with his popular blog Stuff That Needs to Be Said well know that Pavlovitz's voice pulls no punches and rails against despair and fear. These prior fans (which number over a million) as well as newcomers will find this just the kind of stirring, uplifting account that injects a sense of personal power and achievement into what is often a stupefying, depressing scenario of political and social unrest.
Hope is everywhere; but most of all, it's in this call to action, which should be required reading for all Americans.
How to Be a Better
How to be a Better Tourist: Tips for a Truly Rewarding Vacation is highly recommended for any traveler who would improve their vacation experience, and considers the various factors involved in making a getaway a great experience, from cultivating educational and emotional connections to new places to better travel methods and stress reduction.
This is no singular formula for success but a revised way of looking at vacation time, analyzing some common pitfalls of vacation ideas, places tourists neglect to explore, why some folk should consider staying home instead of traveling, and the psychology and mechanics of travel as a whole.
The result is an innovative examination of vacation and tourism that invites would-be travelers to consider all their options and choices.
Work Party: How to Create & Cultivate the Career of Your Dreams is for women's issues and business collections alike, offering a key to success for young women who are interested in redefining the nature of work based on their needs.
Jaclyn Johnson was on an upward career trajectory when she was abruptly let go from her job. Her answer to this defeat was to begin her own company with a business partner who proved questionable, leading to her struggle to break up their association when she was twenty four years old.
The story of how she then created the Create & Cultivate platform and came to invest in many million-dollar projects is both an autobiography and a set of business examples that are inspirational, purposeful and lively, all in one.
Young women interested in emulating her success will find Work Party an example of extraordinary achievement and some of the routes to success.
The Bunny Band
Bill Richardson & Roxanna Bikadoroff
Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press
The Bunny Band tells of a dilemma faced by Lavina the badger, who loves vegetables but must face the fact that some denizen also enjoys them, and is eating them overnight.
The snare she sets to trap the culprit yields a frightened bunny who makes an eloquent case for his release.
A rollicking rhyme accompanies a surprising revelation that kids and read-aloud parents alike will relish in this delicate story of a little bunny's special talents.
Two fine picture book reads are recommendations for libraries looking for appealing illustrations paired with engrossing stories.
Jan Brett's The Snowy Nap (9780399170737, $16.99) tells of Hedgie the hedgehog, who heads to his burrow to hibernate for the winter.
Lured by the descriptions of all-weather friends who detail the season's snowy glories, Hedgie becomes determined to stay awake against all odds to enjoy winter's beauty; but he may need a little help from his friends.
Parents who choose The Snowy Nap for its fine drawings and read-aloud ease will find it a beautiful story perfect for bedtime pursuit with young listeners.
Nancy Tupper Ling's The Yin-Tang Sisters and the Dragon Frightful (9780399171154, $17.99) features vivid drawings by Andrea Offermann as it tells of very different twins Wei and Mei, who face a terrible dragon that's landed in their village.
He's blocking the road, and nobody can make him budge; but perhaps the yin and yang nature of these twins can achieve what no singular approach could accomplish.
Kids with good reading skills who enjoy dragon folk stories will relish this lively account of personal power, differences, and strengths gained from unexpected collaborations.
Rules of the Ruff
Rules of the Ruff provides advanced elementary to middle grade readers with the fun story of twelve-year-old Jessie, who is spending the summer at her aunt and uncle's house. Lacking entertainment or companionship, Jesse decides to ask Wes, a grouchy neighborhood dog walker, if she can become his apprentice to learn the trade; and soon she's absorbing the 'Rules of the Ruff' that go along with caring for dogs.
It takes unexpected competition and courage from an equally unpredictable source in order for Jessie to defend her role and newfound ambitions in this fun read which dog-loving kids will relish. It's especially strong in its portrait of the character of a spunky new learner who won't accept defeat.
Simon and Schuster
Six new releases are top recommendations for libraries seeking lasting lending value from their leisure reader selections.
Readers ages 9-12 will appreciate Sean Easley's The Hotel Between (9781534416970, $17.99), which tells of twins whose mother has died, and who are missing their father, as well. When a golden sign promises answers to their questions and magical entry to countries all over the world, including fantastic beings and strange possibilities, the twins enter the Hotel. One twin is convinced that his father is connected to it, and that he may be lost in its never-ending corridors.
Reminiscent of Jane Langton's The Diamond in the Window but with more fantasy elements, The Hotel Between combines a vivid saga of a child's search for a missing parent with descriptions of a fantastic world beyond an ordinary door.
Meg Leder's Letting Go of Gravity (9781534403161, $19.99) is recommended for ages 12 and older, and also tells of twins. Parker and Charlie are opposites in their personalities and approaches to life, even if their looks are similar; but Charlie got leukemia and Parker did not. Charlie is in remission and Parker is on her way to success, but their relationship has been challenged by his diagnosis and difficult recovery.
When Finn enters their lives, with his penchant for graffiti, things change further as Parker begins to face truths about her relationship with her brother and the consequences of her reactions to his illness.
Tony DiTerlizzi's The Broken Ornament (9781416939764, $17.99) reaches picture book readers ages 4-8 with an evocative holiday story that pairs the talents of a Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator and a New York Times bestselling author.
Jack wants to make this year's Christmas the best; but when he breaks a dusty heirloom ornament, his mother is more than a little upset. But with so many trappings involved in Christmas, what is the big deal about one old ornament?
When a fairy emerges from its ruins, Jack begins to understand its real magic and purpose.
Robert Burleigh's Sylvia's Bookshop (9781481472456, $17.99) receives colorful and fun illustrations by Katy Wu as it explores a magical bookshop whose attractions are reviewed through a rollicking rhyme.
Books can be fun: that's the underlying message that the bookstore narrator tells as the story uncovers the many worlds books can open ("Books are like rivers that flow through my head./Books are like roads," she just might have said.").
This celebration lends to read-aloud and an early appreciation of the fun that books can offer readers.
Raúl Colón's Imagine! (9781481462730, $17.99) tells of a boy who often passes a museum, but one day stops to wonder about its contents.
A world of wonder awaits beyond its doors, explored in a wordless story based on Colón's experience with a museum and its many possibilities. This book is a perfect way of introducing young readers to a museum's purpose and attractions.
Katherine Halligan's Herstory: 50 Women and Girls Who Shook Up the World (9781534436640, $19.99) will reach ages 8 and older with its vivid collection of biographical sketches of women around the world through various time periods, who each made an impact on others' lives.
The true stories excel in presenting different kinds of influences, from political rulers to sports achievers, artists, dancers, and healers; and pair fun drawings by Sarah Walsh with color images of women past and present.
The multicultural approach excels in diversity and creates a collection of insights that point out that achievement and recognition need not be singular, making for an excellent picture book reference and a starting point for reports as well as inspiring leisure reading.
All are powerful, highly recommended standouts.
Sleeping Bear Press
Helen L. Wilbur's A Tuba Christmas (9781585363841, $16.99) receives fun drawings by Mary Reaves Uhles as it tells of Ava, who wants to play the tuba for the annual holiday concert.
She's not interested in the piano, violin, or other instruments: she wants to apply the tuba's somber tone to the holiday spirit, even though it initially seems an ill-suited match.
Perseverance and a small girl's determination to find a place for herself and her beloved instrument make for a vivid story that reads like no other holiday tale.
Aimée Bissonette's Aim for the Skies: Jerrie Mock and Joan Merriam Smith's Race to Complete Amelia Earhart's Quest (9781585363810, $16.99) is illustrated by Doris Ettlinger, who adds beautiful, realistic paintings to this story of two women who met in 1964, and who, separately, planned to fly around the world.
Both women were influenced by Amelia Earhart and wanted to follow in her flight footsteps; both separately planned their dream; and when they met, it was after they'd picked the same time for departure.
Women's history and issues of the times comes to life in a lovely portrait of achievement recommended for picture book nonfiction readers with good reading skills who want a factual story that reads with the drama and flair of fiction.