October 2015 Prime Picks From Larger Presses
New Age, Self-Help, and Inspirational
Carl Llewellyn Weschcke and Joe H. Slate, PhD's Communicating with Spirit: Here's How You Can Communicate (and Benefit from) Spirits of the Departed, Spirit Guides & Helpers, Gods & Goddesses, Your Higher Self and Your Holy Guardian Angel (9780738744681, $34.99) wraps a personal empowerment subject with a wide-ranging discussion of the tools of psychic empowerment in a book that packs in not just theory, but verifiable techniques gathered from world religions East and West.
Where traditional thoughts would simplify the process and rely on mediums and psychics to make such connections, Communicating with Spirit embraces all the possible processes and approaches that lend to a better sense of other dimensions and how to handle communications with them.
From energy tools from witchcraft to discussions of politics, new age religions, meditation as evocation, basic steps for exploring and experiencing spiritual worlds, and much more, this primer is packed with a synthesis of methods and techniques that places yoga, quantum research, mediums, channelers, and anything to do with psychic communication studies and efforts on the same page - at last!
Keith Sherwood and Sabine Wittmann's Energy Healing with Women: Meditations, Mudras, and Chakra Practices to Restore Your Feminine Spirit (9780738741123, $18.99) belongs in health and healing, women's studies and new age collections. alike as it provides chapters considering energetic issues that affect emotional, spiritual and physical well-being.
It's a gathering of techniques designed to confront inherent belief and spiritual limitations and it provides a powerful survey using story examples, history, theory and exercises designed to help readers replace negative patterns with positive, life-affirming ones. From the problems of multi-tasking to symptoms of energetic trauma, it's a powerful tool for change.
It's a Wonderful Afterlife: Inspiring True Stories from a Psychic Medium by Kristy Robinett (9780738740737, $15.99) offers a personal saga of author and psychic medium Kristy Robinett, who has communicated with spirits since she was a child. Her offering takes the form of stories that answer common questions and concerns about the nature of the afterlife and spirit experiences there, and gathers not just her own insights, but those of clients, as well.
The result is a powerful survey that offers a glimpse into other states of being and their patterns of logic and survival: highly recommended for any who are curious about such worlds.
Women, Wild Voices
New World Library
9781608682939 $15.95 www.newworldlibrary.com
Wild Women, Wild Voices: Writing from Your Authentic Wildness is a recommendation for a range of readers, from those who pursue women's interests and issues to creative writers and new age readers, and reflects Judy Reeves' years as a writing coach specializing in women's efforts.
Her popular workshop now broadens its scope to each beyond walls into an audience interested in exploring their lives through creative writing, and with a tool in hand that provides activities, exercises, and discussions designed to nurture and express the 'wild voice' in women.
The result is a combination of creative writer's guide and new age read that tells women how to nurture and realize the creative wordsmith within.
of the Middle East
9781858946283 $24.95 www.merrellpublishing.com
Art of the Middle East: Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World and Iran is a definitive guide highly recommended for any arts collection interested in a solid representation of Middle East artists, packing in the works of some 230 artists in a new edition that's been revised and expanded to include new pieces and changes in the region.
Anticipate a surprisingly lavish production that doesn't challenge the bookshelf with an oversized format, yet offers broad overviews which blend examples of modern art with in-depth discussions of their influences. This is presented in seven themed sections for quick, at-a-glance reference.
The period of time covered is 1945 to present, contributing a well-rounded survey of various arts mediums and the latest contemporary creators working within them.
The inclusion of twelve artists new to this edition and discussions of the influence of the Arab Spring on the arts makes for a formidable addition to any academic or arts holding seeking a lavishly-illustrated, definitive guide in an affordable package that doesn't break the library budget or challenge the bookshelf.
Cindy Ann Coldiron
9780764348648 $39.99 www.schifferbooks.com
Contemporary Wildlife Art deserves ongoing recognition and recommendation because it stands out from the crowd of wildlife art that typically focuses on paintings to embrace a wide range of mediums.
Over seventy-four modern artists and well over three hundred art pieces blend personal artistic reflections of artists from around the world with works in a diverse range of styles and media, from paintings and photography to glass, woodcarving, mosaics, stoneware and much more.
As far as the wildlife represented, it crosses the animal kingdom to include birds and even insects. Since many competing artistic explorations of animals focus on mammals or birds alone, this broader cross-section of creatures is to be commended.
Any wildlife and nature enthusiast interested in artistic representations will find in Contemporary Wildlife Art an outstanding survey of all the possibilities, influences, and options in capturing wildlife through artistic efforts.
Architects 16: Overlay
Architectural League of New York
Princeton Architectural Press
Overlay: The Architectural League of New York gathers the exceptional works of young architects whose approaches make them exceptional upcoming talents to watch for, and represents a showcase of projects that have earned The Architectural League of New York's prestigious Architectural League Prize. Winners of this annual competition's award produce works to fit a changing theme: this collection's theme was 'Overlay' and the architectural techniques developed for the competition represent a wide range of interpretations of the topic.
Chapters profile projects from contributors around the world, from a 2011 opera house in South Korea and a dynamic university public space in Finland to installation art in New York and a residence addition in Malibu, California.
The diversity of projects and their scope makes for a collection that takes the idea and runs with it: aside from the unifying idea of 'overlay', the architectural interpretations are as diverse as their contributors.
From written to graphic interpretations, each project is accompanied by color or black and white photos and each pairs background discussions and interpretation approaches with discussions of fabrications and intentions. Any architectural library looking to profile the artistic and unusual new creators of style will find Overlay an apt, intriguing, and highly recommended addition.
Picture Book Picks
Adam Stower's Troll and the Oliver (9780763679569, $16.99) tells of a cheerful little red-headed boy who loves to go out in the world, attracting the attention of a hungry troll who views him as a dinner opportunity.
The problem is, the Troll may try to eat the Oliver, but he's too quick, always dashing away with a smart little rhyme to tease the appetite and anger the troll.
What's a hungry troll to do when faced with the too-clever Oliver? A fun and simple story emerges that parents will love to read aloud to kids.
Libby Hamilton, Mathieu Leyssenne and Jason Kraft's The Ultimate Pirate Handbook: Everything You Need to Know About Pirate Life (9780763679637, $19.99) provides a fun activity book packed with flaps, fold-outs and more, and covers the realities of life aboard a pirate's vessel.
From robbing and kidnapping to what happens to a pirate when he dies, this is a rollicking and fun exploration that takes pirate facts and presents them in a vivid, memorable manner.
Not suitable for the rigors of library lending, The Ultimate Pirate Handbook's attractive format lends to at-home pursuit and enjoyment.
Fire Birds: Valuing Natural Wildfires and Burned Forests uses in-depth interviews and research and a picture book format to document for young readers who dozens of species of birds use burn areas. A number of birds actually prefer burned forests over other environments, neatly refuting the idea that a burned area is a habitat wasteland not conducive to wildlife.
The focus on the research of University of Montana professor Richard Hutto blends his findings with gorgeous close-up color photos of birds in burned areas, providing large-size and uniquely captivating images to delight not just young naturalists with good reading skills, but parents who will find the coverage and concept eye-opening.
Ethan Long's Ms. Spell (9780823432929, $15.95) provides a fun read for ages 6-10 and presents the image of a witchy teacher who adds a bit of magic into the educational system.
What begins as a simple spelling bee covering 'there, their, they're' turns into a virtual circus under Ms. Spell's hand, posing potential for chaos - and learning. Kids will find it satisfyingly different as well as educational.
Stephanie Calmenson's Ollie's Class Trip: A YES-and-NO Book (9780823434329, $15.95) is illustrated by Anny Carter and tells of a class trip that holds all kinds of possibilities of magic both real and unreal.
A call-and-response text blends with fun drawings and teaches social skills and appropriate school behavior as it covers the zany events surrounding a class trip.
Tim Hamilton's Is That A Cat? (9780823433841, $16.95) tells of a cat who only wants to play with his kind, and who keeps thinking he sees another cat in the world. Unfortunately what appears to be a cat is usually something else - or, is it? A gentle story covering optical illusions and perspective is presented with very simple, fun drawings.
Denise Brennan Nelson's Leopold the Lion (9781585368280, $16.99) for ages 6-8 provides a fun story of how to children adopt a friendly lion over the summer vacation, only to find that when they return to school, Leopold has too much idle time on this hands.
But time management isn't the problem - it's the health issues that stem from sitting around, which changes Leopold's very personality. How can his friends help him be the lion he was when he met them?
The underlying messages about physical fitness are clear, and when folded into the gentle story of a lion who loves to eat, it offers good insights to kids about their own habits and their impact - all couched in a fun picture book read.
The message in Mary Ann McCabe Riehle's The Little Kids' Table (9781585369133, $16.99) also delivers a fun message: a group of rambunctious cousins attending a family dinner find plenty of fun at the kids' table - much more than adults experience - but what happens when they have to eat food they hate? Unexpected fun … fun that perhaps some adults would even envy.
A rollicking rhyme holds together the realistic story of kids who find their own table holds a bountiful helping of joy.
Debbie and Michael Shoulders' M is for Money: An Economics Alphabet (9781585368174, $16.99A) is illustrated by Marty Kelley and uses poetry and easy language to teach young picture book readers about money management basics.
The poems are easy, the rhymes cover everything from free markets to abundance and goods and services, and sidebars of much more detail and print offer learning opportunities for parents who might either embellish upon the concepts in the rhymes or for older kids who enjoy some rhyme and are able to absorb more detail.
The Nutcracker's Night Before Christmas by Keith Brockett (978158536869X, $15.99) receives fun illustrations by Joseph Cowman as it explores a Nutcracker production cast getting close to the main event and facing disasters ranging from illness to wrecked props.
All of this happens right up to Christmas Eve and would seem to indicate the production will be a complete disaster - or will it? It might take some ingenuity to pull it off, and The Nutcracker's Night Before Christmas creates a winning, surprising miracle for kids who enjoy holiday picture book reads.
Harold Reitman, MD with Pati Fizzano and Rebecca Reitman
Health Communications Inc.
Aspertools: The Practical Guide for Understanding and Embracing Asperger's, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Neurodiversity comes from a medical doctor with a career as an orthopedic surgeon who handles facts about his daughter, who was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome while in her twenties, forcing Dr. Reitman to realize that his parenting skills had been off target because of his lack of knowledge about the condition and the tools required to handle it.
He thus is writing the book he wished he'd had, offering parents and healthcare workers a guide to the different brain patterns of Asperger's paired with resources and approaches to handling kids on the spectrum.
These can be as simple as giving more specific instructions to Aspie kids, understanding the inertia problem in the Aspie brain, and offering routines and modifications that work better with these differences in mind.
No parent should be without this relatively simple set of tools, which assume lively proportions when paired with case histories and personal insight.
Brian Cole, MD and Rob Panariello
978145096445 $21.95 www.humankinetics.com
Basketball Anatomy: Your Illustrated Guide to Optimize Performance and Minimize Injury profiles the authors' expertise on basketball exercises, anatomy, and injuries, and is a 'must' for any player or coach more than casually involved in the sport.
It offers keys to developing a performance routine that minimizes injury, maximizes results and even lends to rehabilitation for those players who have already suffered on the court, and it uses illustrations of muscles involved in the basketball player's process to examine who injuries happen and how to avoid them.
While anatomy is an intrinsic part of understanding the process, readers needn't have a prior familiarity with the topic; just an affinity for improving strategies to lesson detrimental impacts.
The second updated edition of Chinese Auricular Acupuncture narrows the focus on Eastern medicine to ear acupuncture techniques alone, and uses the concepts of traditional Chinese acupuncture to examine clinical applications of ear acupuncture points.
This updated second edition includes five new chapters incorporating new research and common questions as well as ethical issues that may arise, and it provides an easy format that allows newcomers and seasoned practitioners an easy path to applying auricular acupuncture techniques to a range of health conditions.
From Oriental medical theory basics and Western contrasts to clinical perspectives, Chinese Auricular Acupuncture is a solid reference that provides specific techniques, discusses common issues, and includes everything needed to effectively apply acupuncture in this manner. And while one might anticipate the discussions to be medically weighty and scientific, a surprisingly pleasing, easy approach makes this accessible even to beginning students of acupuncture.
9781412855723 $49.95 www.transactionpub.com
On Multiple Selves takes an unusual approach in refuting the idea that a human being has one unified self: instead, Lester maintains, the mind is naturally made up of multiple selves, and this should be considered a normal psychological phenomenon and not an indication of mental illness.
Decades ago, psychology held that multiple or split personalities were an aberration that needed treatment - a serious mental illness that was one of the conditions that separated 'healthy' from 'mentally ill' individuals. So the premise here is particularly eye-opening and makes the case for the healthy development of multiple personalities in response to different stimuli that provoke different identities to emerge in response.
From what situations tend to encourage development of multiple selves to how bilingualism and other tendencies use multiple abilities and selves to maximum benefit; this book is replete with thought-provoking discussions no psychology student or reader will want to miss.
David J. LaPorte
9781633880689 $18.00 www.prometheusbooks.com
Paranoid: Exploring Suspicion from the Dubious to the Delusional considers the foundations of all kinds of paranoia, from pathological killers to those who harbor a degree of healthy (or unhealthy) suspicion about life and its events, and provides an in-depth overview from a psychologist and research who analyzes the elements that define paranoia, why it happens, and what forms it can take.
All this is supported by vignettes in chapters that consider lay terms, clinical analysis of the condition, and the psychological, social, and cultural ramifications. Also included is the author's idea that paranoia could become an epidemic, and of concern to public health.
There's a lot to consider beyond textbook definitions and mental health approaches, and Paranoid succeeds in providing general-interest and psychology readers alike with a healthy degree of analysis and insights on the subject, making it a pick for health and general-interest holdings alike.
The Culinary Corner
Book of Kitchen Know-How
There's a lot of talk in culinary circles about farm-to-table eating and using fresh ingredients, but too many cookbooks lack specifics on how to properly prepare and preserve the fresh foods being promoted - which is different from obtaining a simple vegetable cookbook of recipes.
Enter The Backyard Homestead Book of Kitchen Know-How: Field-to-Table Cooking Skills, a compendium of kitchen skills that tells how to mill flour, make cheese, preserve meats, and more: information usually seen in homesteading guides rather than cookbooks.
Don't expect your usual recipe guide; but do expect a focus that includes charts and tips on everything from how to roast a duck and make maple syrup from a tree to using poultry shrink bags, pressure canners, and how to preserve the pick of the harvest for tomatoes, strawberries, and more.
While The Backyard Homestead Book of Kitchen Know-How: Field-to-Table Cooking Skills offers plenty of recipes, its special focus is on using homegrown abundance: so access to a blossoming garden or farm and an interest in utilizing fresh ingredients year-round are the only prerequisites to an appreciation of this intersection between recipe and technique.
The Quick-Look Cookbook
Gabriela Scolik & Team/No.Parking
9781616288747 $25.00 www.weldonowen.com
Eat! The Quick-Look Cookbook comes from a team of food lovers and graphic artists who illustrate some 400 step-by-step food and drink recipes using a graphic artist's perspective, creating what is, in effect, a cookbook and an art book all in one.
Its recipes focus on global cuisines and international influences and include various sauces, stews (such as Braise Lamb Shanks with Citrus Fruit), and step-by-step instructions on making spinach stuffing and more. The printed recipes and directions are quite small to allow for the step-by-step graphic art visuals - so small that older cooks may find their eyesight challenged. Bolded or larger print might have enhanced the at-a-glance recipe and instructions but would have necessitated smaller graphics - which are already about as small as one would wish for, given that each recipe recipes its own color-coded page.
The result will especially delight any interested in not just step-by-step instructions and recipes, but graphic art renderings of culinary techniques. This audience, especially, will be able to appreciate the format, layout, and care that's gone into the visual representations in Eat!
Gubbeen: The Story of a Working Farm and Its Foods is a standout in many ways; not the least of which is an unusual focus on an Irish family farm's productions of some fifty different types of food plus Gubbeen cheese, which has received awards and international acclaim.
It's not too often that a cookbook embraces a tribute to a particular product or a single farm, so Gubbeen stands in a class by itself both for using four different perspectives of the farm's family owners to explore its meaning and operations, and for including recipes that use the farm's produce in such a way that any reader from any part of the world can enjoy some unique creations.
Readers can utilize Gubbeen in several ways: as a memoir of one Irish family's culinary heritage and achievements, and as a cookbook replete with recipes for such dishes as Roast Garlic and Chorizo Soup or Cardamom Shortbread. Add color photos of the farm's processes and step-by-step cooking methods and you have a real winner recommended for any with an interest in farm cooking and an Irish family's operations.
Masters at Home: Recipes, Stories & Photographs
Absolute Press/Bloomsbury Publishing
9781472904117 $35.00 www.absolutepress.co.uk
The Masters at Home: Recipes, Stories & Photographs deserves ongoing mention and recommendation as a fine synthesis of stories, recipes and photos centered on master chefs from around the world who share their three favorite recipes here. This approach benefits from professional-quality culinary photos by David Loftus in a collection that includes the chef's background, snapshots from their homes, and details on their cooking; so don't expect just a collection of recipes, but something that toes the line between autobiography, culinary history, and recipe book.
Loftus's full-page and smaller color photos pepper nearly every page while dishes such as Frozen Pea Puree and hearty lamb and barley Scotch Broth will prove easily accessible to home cooks. Only one note: ingredients are in metric: American cooks will need to convert - but with the ready availability of online conversion systems, that's not a problem.
This reviewer tested the Slow-Roast Pork with Apple and Lavender Sauce: aside from the challenge of locating dried lavender (a problem readily solved in any whole foods or organic market's spice section), the dish was simply outstanding, and the apple-lavender-infused sauce so appealing that it stands alone as a recommendation for other dishes as well.
The result is a fine survey; recommended for any culinary collection.
the Japanese Way
Nancy Singleton Hachisu
Preserving the Japanese Way: traditions of Salting, Fermenting, and Pickling for the Modern Kitchen follows up on the author's first book Japanese Farm Food and narrows the focus to the process of preserving fruits, vegetables and fish.
More than just a recipe collection, Preserving the Japanese Way documents the daily operations of various producers, artisanal food manufacturers, and cooks, and pairs some 125 recipes with insights on producers and classic Japanese food preservation methods.
Access to a market that sells such items as miso, sake, burdock root, sour plums or katsuobushi flakes requires that home cooks invest in some specialty ingredients for success; but those with such access (or internet mail-order) will find Hachisu's methods revealing and unusual and will appreciate the wealth of flavors that are unique representations of the Japanese method of preserving.
Summer may be over, but Summer Cooking: Kitchen-Tested Recipes for Picnics, Patios, Grilling and More is not: it's just getting started. While summer fare usually brings up images of barbecues, cookouts, outside dinner parties, and light fare, it also features portable appetizers, quick salads and sides, and light beverages designed for warmer temperatures as well as Fall.
Another note: the Chicago Tribute is one of the few newspapers that still runs its own test kitchen; so all these dishes have been tested and tasted by food writers and staff members.
From Asian Summer Rolls which came to Chicago via a Laotian immigrant who began her own establishment to Angie Johnson's Pasties, English in origin but packed with flavors and a hand-carried format that lend to quick meals for busy readers, Summer Cooking is a selection of internationally-influenced summer dishes not to be missed!
United States of Pizza
Craig Priebe and Dianne Jacob
9780789329448 $35.00 www.rizzoliusa.com
The United States of Pizza: America's Favorite Pizzas from Thin Crust to Deep Dish, Sourdough to Gluten-Free gathers the best pizza recipes from across the country, pairs them with color photos throughout, and includes stories about the development, evolution and local attractions.
Where other pizza cookbooks would come from a single cook or innovator, this gathers the creations of chefs from across the country and also adds notes on how the authors discovered their fare. Where other pizza cookbooks would assume some basic pizza-making knowledge or provide these directions using text, The United States of Pizza uses color step-by-step photos to visually explore different techniques. And where others would contain similar dishes, this cookbook excels in presenting such creations as a pulled pork 'Flying Piggie Pizza' or a 'Ham N Cheddar Pizza' made with cheddar spread.
The result is a deliciously diverse creation that assumes little prior experience making pizza dough or toppings, and requires only an interest in innovative productions to prove an exciting addition to any cook's collection.
Richa's Indian Kitchen
Vegan Heritage Press
9781941252093 $22.95 www.veganheritagepress.com
Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen: Traditional and Creative Recipes for the Home Cook goes a step beyond the usual wealth of Indian cookbooks on the market by focusing on vegan cooking methods for traditional Indian fare, adding creative and time-saving embellishments as needed.
These adaptations on traditional themes comes from the author's award-winning blog, which takes the basics and refines them to simplify preparation and ingredients, blending modern techniques and adding alternatives to some Indian spices which might not be found in the typical American supermarket.
Color photos face many of the recipes, variations and histories are explained in introductions to each recipe, and simple dishes such as a Red Lentil Tomato Pulao and Chickpeas in Spicy Sorghum Sauce often require as little prep time as fifteen minutes - a big improvement over Indian cookbooks that don't consider the busy American cook.
The result is a top recommendation not just for fans of vegan ethnic cooking but for any who would enjoy traditional and revitalized Indian cuisine without the associated specialized ingredients or lengthy preparation times.
Novel New Novels
Has Their Reasons
9781629630946 $24.95 www.pmpress.org
Everyone Has Their Reasons stands out in the world of novels partially because it's based on the life of one Herschel Grynszpan, the 'teen assassin' whose actions helped create the 'Night of Broken Glass' when Jews in Germany were targeted as a group by Nazis.
The author wondered why this boy and his actions have largely been ignored by history, so he researched the topic for fifteen years, then wrapped his findings in a novel format which presumably will bring it to a far greater audience than a history or biography format would have achieved.
The story begins in 1935, when teen Herschel escapes Germany, and follows events leading into his trial, when Nazis used him to try to show that their campaign against the Jews stemmed from justifiable provocations. In fact his actions began when the Nazis rounded up his parents and forcibly sent them back to Poland, and his choice of shooting an official to bring world attention to their campaign only serves to backfire and result in a massive wave of outraged retaliation.
The author holds a background as a criminal defense lawyer, which helps him create a vivid, realistic saga that takes the legal process and embeds it with a realistic flavor that will delight fans of historical novels who want more than a touch of facts in their fiction.
Dennis Mahoney's Bell Weather (9781627792677, $28.00) provides a riveting adventure story set in the 18th century where a young woman rescued from a flood river claims amnesia but harbors a dangerous secret.
Because it's billed as a novel, it's reviewed here - but readers should be prepared for a touch of fantasy, magic, romance, and an entwined adventure that moves well beyond the boundaries of the novel format and into worlds of compelling wonder.
Set an in alternate world strangely akin to our own, Bell Weather excels in an atmosphere of surreal beauty and mystery, centering its protagonists firmly in the soil of a place not unlike our own, and creating in these well-done characters a sense of purpose and realistic familiarity that compels readers to immerse themselves in a delightfully changing story line.
Evocative, rich, and well-detailed, Bell Weather's a powerful pick for fantasy and novel readers alike.
Ted Kosmatka's The Flicker Man (9780805096194, $27.00) presents one Eric, whose early work as a quantum physicist has shaded his career, until he's given a new opportunity to make a better name for himself, and stumbles upon a spiritual element that could answer a basic religious paradox about God.
It's surprising to contemplate that action and adventure could blend so well with a quasi-scientific/spiritual story line, but Kosmatka achieves this in a well-wound story that may challenge religious or science readers well cognizant of the traditional adversity between the two disciplines, but which will also delight those willing to set aside religious or scientific prejudice for the sake of a plain, good read.
With its story line using thriller devices to consider matters of the soul and its protagonist caught up in his own, often self-imposed limitations, suffice it to say that The Flicker Man provides satisfyingly thought-provoking and entertaining on many levels.
of Salt and Honey
9781451682847 $16.00 www.simonandschuster.com
At first glance the story line seems to hold little new: a young woman needs to start over and move on from a tragic loss and needs to discover love, hope, and more.
But this is only the face of matters as Frankie faces her fiancé's funeral and the prospect of rebuilding an entirely new life than the one she had envisioned with her first love Alex.
Often death and mortality drives us in entirely new directions and unfamiliar waters, and so Season of Salt and Honey reflects this process as Frankie seeks refuge in solitude and instead finds herself firmly facing some of the hardest truths of her young life.
As if this were not compelling enough reason to imbibe, a food theme runs through the story line - complete with recipes - to add another dimension to the saga. Yes, it's about tragedy and survival: those elements are perhaps predictable. Less predictable is the weaving avenue that ultimately leads to recovery, deftly portrayed in a sweet, slow saga that takes its time to portray character, setting, and events - and thus thoroughly captures the grieving and recovery process without the swift, careless pace which too many other novels bring to the subject.
Home and Garden
9780764348587 $16.99 www.schifferbooks.com
Creating Hawaiian-Inspired Quilts adds an extra cultural dimension to the traditional quilting process by profiling the words and approaches of Hawaiian tradition in quilts that use bright fabrics and Hawaiian inspirations, and is a recommended pick for quilters looking for something different.
Seventeen patterns provide the basics to help newcomers to Hawaiian design get started with both hand- and machine-appliquéd blocks; and once these basics are learned for wall quilts, bed quilts, and more, the patterns can be expanded upon.
Bright colors and flower arrangements are among the Hawaiian themes explored here, with each project including specific instructions, materials lists, and projects that slowly increase in complexity. The result is a basic introduction that quilters can use to get a feel for Hawaiian traditional quilting approaches, building upon the simple block to create a template for bigger and more complex projects.
Hot Chili Grower
Mitchell Beazley/Octopus Publishing
9781784721022 $14.99 www.octopusbooksusa.com
Red Hot Chili Grower: The Complete Guide to Planting, Picking, and Preserving Chilis narrows its gardening and cooking focus to all kinds of chilis, from Scotch Bonnet to Hungarian Hot Wax, and provides step-by-step instructions that begin with sowing seeds and growing chilis to harvesting and using them. While instructions for pickling and preserving the capsicums are included, Red Hot Chili Grower's wealth of details will especially delight gardeners who want a step-by-step focus on growing chilis and handling common problems.
There are charts, checklists, photos and illustrations, and most of all, an attention to the particular growing needs and challenges of different kinds of chilis. At-a-glance information includes heat, sowing instructions, growing needs, and key cuisines and dishes that use each chili. Add full-page color photos that lend to easy identification and you have a fine reference that even newcomers to chili varieties will relish.
The result is a powerful, specific recommendation for any grower who wants a focus on chilis alone, rather than seeing them buried in the usual broader vegetable gardening guide.
Leila Gardunia & Marlene Oddie
American Quilter's Society Publishing
9781604601831 $24.95 www.americanquilter.com
You Can Quilt! Building Skills for Beginners is a 'must' for any who would learn to create blocks that can turn into professional-looking results. It's a beginner's handbook which offers three new block patterns in each chapter which represent progressive difficulty levels, in effect teaching beginners through step-by-step instructions that assume no prior knowledge of either quilting or sewing.
From basic blocks and color pairing and selection to piecing basics and progressing to other quilting methods and applications, You Can Quilt! is especially recommended for newcomers to needlework who find more complicated quilter's guides - even many purported to be for beginners - too daunting.
What makes this a standout for newbies is that no detail is too small to mention, from choosing the right fabric to understanding color combinations. Add complete discussions of finishing techniques and you have a winner that is easily accessed, diverse, and intriguing.
Mojo Lost and Found
Peter D. Kiernan
American Mojo Lost and Found: Restoring Our Middle Class Before the World Blows By is a hard-hitting discussion of national importance and comes from an award-winning author who considers the failure and possible restoration of the American middle class, once a pillar of American strength.
He charts the processes and history of its rise and fall, uses extensive background research to pinpoint both social and political changes that contributed to this situation, and then - most importantly - he covers how the emerging global landscape has further eroded the middle class and how its former glory may be regained.
This will involve changes in American perception of what this class is and how it operates: there's no better place to turn to for clarification than a book that details the economic, historic and social importance of this floundering mainstay, making this a pick for history, social science, and general-interest holdings alike.
Book of Roads
9781632280190 $17.95 www.vivaeditions.com
The Book of Roads: Travel Stories from Michigan to Marrakech blends an autobiographical memoir into a travel survey and comes from an author who has spent much of his lifetime on the road.
As readers follow his sojourns from Detroit to the Philippines, Oregon to Prague, a drunken graveyard survey of his father's influence on his life to a pub crawl in Dublin, they come to see that for Cousineau, life offers more than a journey: it provides new perspectives on peoples and cultures driven by a sense of place and wanderlust alike.
Black and white photos pepper the travel observations and personal reflections of an author who knows just how much to blend the personal with observations of the wider world at large.
Ann Myers and Jill Berkowicz's The Stem Shift: A Guide for School Leaders (9781483317724 $30.00) provides educational leaders with a basic examination of the STEM system and how it applies to preparing students for colleges and careers, and it pairs case studies with discussions of STEM models that work.
The perfect audience for this discussion will be school administrators who would apply keys to how and what children learn to larger questions of how shifts in operating principles happen and how STEM's particular brand of education fosters a greater awareness of choices and opportunities in students, better preparing them for the world outside the classroom.
The result is a powerful analysis highly recommended for any educator serious about taking school leadership and direction to the next level based on STEM's unique opportunities and perspectives.
Dwayne D. Williams' An RTI Guide to Improving the Performance of African American Students (9781483319735, $24.00) provides a step-by-step guide to implementing evidence-based strategies for improving this group's school and testing performance, and takes into account cultural bias and issues, RTI model specifics, and adjustments needed to identify and address disparities in the educational system.
Four core characteristics are identified in instruction and culture, and then move into the specifics of the classroom's processes as a whole. The result is a 'must' for any working with African American students in diverse settings who want to apply RTI basics to this group in a fair and effective fashion.
Catlin R. Tucker's Creatively Teach the Common Core Literacy Standards With Technology Grades 6-12 (9781483358970) provides a powerful survey of how to combine efforts of classroom student success with Common Core standards and requirements, and provides specific recommendations for free apps, tech tools, guidelines and formulas for translating a Common Core standard into a grade-specific, subject-oriented curriculum, and how to apply classroom-tested routines.
Packed with classroom experiences, reprodicibles, and activities and templates, view Creatively Teach the Common Core Literacy Standards With Technology as, quite simply, a 'must have' reference.
Crowdfunder's Strategy Guide
9781626564084 $19.95 www.bkconnection.com
A Crowdfunder's Strategy Guide: Build a Better Business by Building Community comes from a veteran of seven successful Kickstarter campaigns that have raised over $1.4 million, and gathers over forty stories of both successes and disasters in the crowdfunding world.
There have been books on crowdfunding's operations before: but more than a how-to guide to Kickstarter and others, A Crowdfunder's Strategy Guide discusses the basics of how to treat contributors and backers, from communications and updates to soliciting feedback and opinions along the way.
If only one book on crowdfunding strategy were to be chosen for a collection or business pursuit, it should be this one: from money-back guarantees and creating rewards to diversification, A Crowdfunder's Strategy Guide is a top pick highly recommended for any who want to not just investigating crowdfunding, but understanding the factors that lead to its success or failure.
Budgets, 6th Edition
Maureen A. Ryan
Michael Wiese Productions
9781615932214 $29.95 www.mwp.com
The sixth updated edition of Film+Video Budgets includes free downloadable Excel spreadsheet budgets and has been completely revised and updated for seven different film formats from major full-length productions to low-budget student projects, making for a key reference collection designed to cut a filmmaker's data entry and formatting headaches to a manageable level.
Independent filmmakers will find Film+Video Budgets covers all aspects of budgeting for a production: everything from running times and digital conform and color charges to cross-comparisons of rates for editing, music, and other specialty items. The attention to sample budgets for specific projects means that generalities are set aside in favor of satisfying concrete specifics, both in examples and in approaches to creative budgeting.
No general coverage, Film+Video Budgets provides the line-by-line detail filmmakers need in a top recommendation that doesn't just deserve a spot in a film reference collection, but simply MUST appear there, as a mainstay reference.
Making of Asian America: A History
Simon and Schuster
9781476739403 $29.95 www.simonandschuster.com
The Making of Asian America: A History provides a powerful narrative that crosses continents, blends personal with historic and social analysis, and considers how the Asian American population has become the fastest-growing group in the United States.
It's fitting that such a study would come from the granddaughter of Chinese immigrants who is one of the nation's respected scholars on history: it provides a focus on Asian immigrant processes and lives and considers Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Indian, and other communities and how they evolved. The result is a hard-hitting and well-detailed survey that connects Asian immigration history with the bigger pictures of evolving Asian communities throughout America, providing a work that moves between the microcosm of individual lives to the macrocosm of changing U.S. relationships with Asia abroad and Asian-Americans at home.
Few books provide the in-depth level of socioeconomic analysis as The Making of Asian America: A History; and few hold the ability to draw key connections between seemingly diverse Asian cultures and the bigger pictures of immigration, assimilation, and communities restructured under American laws and changing social systems.
Both college-level and general-interest library collections should consider it an essential addition: scholarly, yet quite accessible.
9781634502351 $24.99 www.skyhorsepublishing.com
Sleepwalker: the Mysterious Makings and Recovery of a Somnambulist is both a memoir and a health title and tells of a lifetime sleepwalker who was twelve when the severity and danger of her condition hit home by nearly ending her life. A popular 'A' student by day, at night she was less predictable, and when her move to Manhattan triggered a series of dangerous episodes she couldn't control, Frazier looked to build safety in numbers by creating nighttime situations that assured she wouldn't be alone.
While there have been numerous books written about sleep disturbances, none adopt the personal touch and narrowed focus on sleepwalking as Kathleen Frazier does, blending scientific and health facts with a riveting saga of her sleepwalking experiences.
The result is an emotionally-charged memoir that shouldn't be limited to fellow somnambulists, but makes for engrossing reading for all audiences.
Gets In Your Eyes
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes and Other Lessons from the Crematory is about death and is also autobiographical writing at its best, using as its foundation the author's education on death and what happens to a corpse. As such, it combines the two in a lively series of vignettes not for the weak and not for those who wouldn't closely examine the funeral industry, its methods, and social constructs about death.
While Doughty ultimately left her job as a cremation operator to attend mortuary school and find romance and her self, this mortician's memoir embraces strong elements of exposé, autobiography and social reflection, and is a powerful piece that doesn't neatly fit into any genre, but holds the ability to attract readers from many walks of life.
It contrasts well with books about death and burial processes in America, adding the concurrent 'human touch' of the author's life as she finds her true calling within the business and outside of it, and is a top recommendation for memoir readers who want a flavor of something different - even if it's death.
to Get Tough
Donald J. Trump
It doesn't matter if you think Donald Trump is the answer to the next Presidential election or not; and it doesn't even matter if you love or hate him. What is important in his Time to Get Tough: Make America Great Again is that this passionate account lends many insights into Trump's believes, perspectives, and contentions, gathering them all into one book designed to identify American goals, values, and why his leadership is important.
Supporters of Trump will recognize many of his well-publicized signature statements but will also receive background information leading up to and proceeding them them - items typically omitted from news roundups and editing processes.
Those who are not supporters will want to review his contentions and ideas with an eye to assessing the pros and cons of current and future leadership and Presidential politics a whole.
Either way, it represents a call for action: who is to take this action depends on the American public and reader assessments of Trump's strengths and ideas in a passionate roundup of political observations recommended for readers who enjoy strong opinions and fodder for political debate on either side.
Science and Nature
Guide to the Neighborhood Birds of New York City
Johns Hopkins University Press
Field Guide to the Neighborhood Birds of New York City receives lovely color photos throughout by Beth Bergman, illustrations by Trudy Smoke, and an urban approach to identifying birds in different New York City neighborhoods that requires only a proximity to New York to prove appealing.
Leslie Day is a local naturalist interested in showing residents not just what each species looks like, but where to find them and how to understand their urban habits and habitats. Urban dwellers who might otherwise pay little attention to wildlife may be surprised to know there are some ninety avian species commonly seen, while others will appreciate at-a-glance information on behavior and habitats.
While descriptions don't mention where the birds are native to (as in the ovenbird, which is migratory), they do excel in pointing out where New York residents can see birds and how they can use behaviors as well as visual cues to identify them in a coverage recommended for any New York City dweller interested in ornithology.
Sheila Lakshmi Steinberg and Steven J. Steinberg
GIS Research Methods: Incorporating Spatial Perspectives is a college-level text describing how researchers in different science disciplines can apply GIS techniques to their research methods, and offers a basic introduction that teaches how to blend spatial thinking and GIS technology into research analysis. From digital data sources and GIS-based analysis methods to taking research and data results and incorporating them into policies and findings, this is a specific focus that is recommended for science and social science collections alike; especially those looking to understand how public participation may be sparked by GIS-supported results. From field research to analysis and evaluation efforts, GIS Research Methods adopts a wide-ranging perspective and approach that doesn't rely on a particular program's version or incarnation to prove successfully accessible.
by the Sea
New World Library
David Helvarg's Saved by the Sea: Hope, Heartbreak and Wonder in the Blue World is nothing short of a lovely gift from ocean to land, and blends the memoir format with an overall discussion of the author's love of the sea and the world he discovers both within and under the ocean.
Discussions of how to take precautions when diving, the fragility and preservation of coral reefs, turtle fishermen and those who fish the sea, and the evolution of marine science blend well with the author's personal discoveries and examine all facets of ocean life, research, discoveries and management.
From Helvarg's establishment of the nonprofit Blue Frontier Campaign in early 2003 to trips along the coasts, this is a journey replete with social, political, scientific and personal revelations.
Truth About Tesla
Race Point Publishing/Quarto
The Truth About Tesla: The Myth of the Lone Genius in the History of Innovation might at first glance seem to provide yet another survey of Tesla's life and science; but in fact it uses newly uncovered information to refute many of the myths surrounding his life and delves into the more complex circumstances surrounding Tesla's works and inventions; in the process refuting some of science history's most beloved beliefs.
The origins of some of the greatest electrical inventions in history aren't really those of Edison and his contemporaries, or Tesla, but can be directly traced to other influence and discoveries. The story of how these inventions ultimately moved away from their true source and became attributed to others is just as fascinating as surveys of the politics of scientific research and its interaction with patent laws.
Taking three inventions attributed to Tesla - alternating current, the Tesla coil, and wireless transmission - this book dismisses the myths surrounding their origins and offers a more detailed survey of how they came to be.
Popular biography would place Tesla at the heart of the mythos of the misunderstood and unheralded lone inventor: that The Truth About Tesla: The Myth of the Lone Genius in the History of Innovation offers quite a different historical perspective makes for an approach that is essential for understanding not only Tesla, his world, and his contemporaries, but the nature of scientific acclaim as a whole.