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SirReadaLot.org


We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

November 2007, Issue # 103


Arts & Photography / Crafts & Hobbies / Computers & Internet / Digital Photography

Digital Family Album Special Occasions: Tools for Making Digital Memories by Janine Warner (Watson-Guptill Publications)

From Christmas to Mother's Day to the Fourth of July, there is no better way to remember the fun, laughs, and good times, than by having a photograph to look back on, and digital cameras have made it easier to record these special occasions. However, even several years after the popularity of digital photogra­phy has captured the imagination of the public, many photographers remain perplexed as to how to put these images to good use.

Digital Family Album Special Occasions shows readers how to turn digital photos, prints, and other keepsakes into dynamic crafts and gifts for special occasions and holidays. Janine Warner provides the direction and ideas photographers need to do something fun, creative, and use­ful with their bounty of pictures. With step-by-step directions, Warner, herself a technology expert, helps ‘laypeople’ become comfortable with using technology creatively, whether they are scanning and downloading on a Mac or a PC, editing images in Adobe Photoshop Elements, or designing layouts in Microsoft Word. Warner shows readers how to turn digital photos, prints, and other keepsakes into:

  • A scrapbook, combining text and photos, for Father's Day.
  • A calendar with photos of loved ones to mark the highlights of each month.
  • Custom-made websites with digital slideshows of family and friends.
  • Specialized greeting cards and gifts for everyone on the holiday list.
  • Fun party invitations.
  • Online photo galleries and digital slideshows that won't put the audience to sleep.

Digital Family Album Special Occasions packs in a year's worth of ideas for celebrating all the major holidays and special occasions. With Warner’s instructions, readers can choose the right equipment and software, know what to look for when buying a digital camera, take better pictures and edit them, create personalized cards, holiday letters, and other gift items, share projects via e-mail and the Web, and edit, repair, and enhance photos. Instructions show readers how to design dozens of digital photo projects, many of which use templates they can download free from DigitalFamily.com.

Digital Family Album Special Occasions combines digital photography, crafting, and special occasions to make it easy to share good times with friends and family, whether they live around the corner or around the globe. In this easy-to-use book, readers will find everything they need to turn their family photos into festive cards, scrapbook pages, cookbooks, web-sites, and whatnot.

She helps scrapbookers cross the bridge from paper and glue to a more digitized world.

Arts & Photography / Entertainment / Music / Biographies & Memoirs

Jimi Hendrix: An Illustrated Experience (with 70 minute CD) by Janie Hendrix & John McDermott (Atria Books)

Over the course of just four years, Jimi Hendrix left an indelible stamp on the world, shaping popular music and culture with his creativity. He remains the most innovative guitarist of his era, literally creating the vocabulary of the guitar while redrafting the param­eters of electric blues. Jimi Hendrix celebrates the life of Jimi Hendrix as told through text, rare photographs, removable documents, reproductions of memorabilia featuring drawings from Hendrix's childhood, his rare handwritten song lyrics, and never-before-seen archival photographs, and a 70-minute audio CD.

With exclusive access to the private family archives, co-authors Janie Hendrix and John McDermott tell the story of Jimi's life, from his formative years in hardscrabble Seattle through his short-lived days in the eye of a fanatic and dedicated public, to the aftermath of his sudden death and his legacy.

In addition to 30 interactive features, the book includes a 70-minute audio CD with interviews and commercially unreleased recordings of live concert music and a Record Plant jam session. Listening to Hendrix work out musical riffs, holding pieces of the ephemera that chronicle his life, readers experience Hendrix the way they were meant to.

Assembled by Janie L. Hendrix, Jimi's sister, head of the family companies of Experience Hendrix and Authentic Hendrix and John McDermott, catalog manager for Experience Hendrix, and authorized by the Hendrix Estate, Jimi Hendrix is a package that illuminates the life Hendrix.

According to Jimi Hendrix, rooted in the Delta blues of Muddy Waters, Hendrix had an intense curiosity that propelled him to cast a wide net, discovering the stylistic elements that informed early rock 'n' roll. Hendrix drew encouragement from greats like Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, and later, the Beatles and Bob Dylan. This blurring of musical and cultural styles composed an essential element of Hendrix's appeal, both explaining and making it hard to fathom how long the guitarist languished in impoverished obscurity before finally achieving success in the United Kingdom. Given the scope of his achievements, it is still difficult to believe that established music impresarios passed on Hendrix time and again, until Animals bassist Chas Chandler changed Hendrix's fortune, plucking him from the depths of Greenwich Village in 1966. It was Chandler's passion and belief in Hendrix's abilities that provided the guitarist with the opportunity he had sought since, as a child in Seattle, he had strummed a broom as his first guitar.

Hendrix came to prominence in a fast-changing world. While Carnaby Street and Swinging London embraced him quickly, America took longer. Hendrix worked diligently, carrying his message and music to a burgeoning youth culture struggling for racial equality and agonizing over Vietnam. Hendrix spoke to them through his music, challenging his listeners to ‘learn instead of burn,’ and to hear his ‘Message to Love.’ In ‘Machine Gun,’ Hendrix invoked the power of the Delta blues as he challenged man's inhumanity to man; ‘I Don't Live Today’ was dedicated to the plight of the American Indian and other repressed minority groups; and in his uncon­ventional and controversial rendering of the national anthem, he spoke to a youth culture that felt increasingly alienated from its country. In time, the interracial, intercontinental Jimi Hendrix Experience emerged as the biggest grossing concert act of the era.

As his popularity blossomed, Hendrix stood as a figure of rebellion, a counterculture outlaw focused on his music and altogether disinterested in the machinery of pop stardom. Throughout his career, Hendrix would refuse to be classified – by the fans, the press, his labels – and both his life and music exuded a sense of freedom. An artist committed to innovation, he bristled at labels others applied to him and to his music. "What I hate is society these days trying to put everything and everybody into little tight cellophane compartments," Hendrix complained. "I hate to be in any type of compartment unless I choose it myself. They don't get me in any cellophane cage. Nobody cages me."

Jimi Hendrix details the rich life and remarkable career of one of the world's most important and influential musicians. Despite his early death, Hendrix was not a tragic figure, but he remains an enigma, an inno­vator frozen in time at the age of twenty-seven. An indispensable addition to any music lover's library, the hands-on, boxed book set is a truly interac­tive experience.

Arts & Photography / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Popular Culture / Comics

Our Gods Wear Spandex: The Secret History of Comic Book Heroes by Chris Knowles, illustrated by Joseph Michael Linsner (Weiser Books)

  • Was Superman's arch nemesis Lex Luthor based on Aleister Crowley?
  • Can Captain Marvel be linked to the Sun gods on antiquity?
  • What role did the pulps play linking the occult and comic books?
  • What involvement did famous writers like Bram Stoker and Arthur Conan Doyle have in Occultism?

With the popularity of occult comics writers like Invisibles creator Grant Morrison and V for Vendetta creator Alan Moore, the vast ComiCon audience is poised for someone to seriously introduce them to the esoteric mysteries. Christopher Knowles is doing just that in this book. Knowles, presently associate editor and contributing writer for the award-winning magazine Comic Book Artist and a contributing writer to Classic Rock Magazine, has worked in the comics industry for over 20 years, as both an artist and writer. Joseph Michael Linsner is creator of popular comic book goddess Dawn and has painted covers for many of the major comic book companies.

In Our Gods Wear Spandex, Knowles answers these questions and brings to light other links between superheroes and the world of esoterica. Occult students and comic-book fans alike will discover connections, from little known facts such as that DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz started his career as H.P. Lovecraft's agent, to the extensive influence of Madame Blavatsky's Theosophy on the birth of comics, to the mystic roots of Superman. Our Gods Wear Spandex also traces the rise of the comic superheroes and how they relate to several cultural trends in the late 19th century, specifically the occult explosion in Western Europe and America. Knowles reveals the four basic superhero archetypes – the Messiah, the Golem, the Amazon, and the Brotherhood – and shows how the occult Bohemian underground of the early 20th century provided the inspiration for the modern comic book hero. Chapters include: Ancient of Days, Ascended Masters, God and Gangsters, Mad Scientists and Modern Sorcerers, and more.

Our Gods Wear Spandex explains how superheroes have come to fill the role in our modern society that the gods and demi-gods provided to the ancients. It catalogs the movements and magicians who played a crucial part in the development of social phenomena like the Batman or X-Men films, or of TV shows like Heroes or Smallville.

Knowles traces the histories of both American comic books and the superheroes who came to define them. It reveals the deep and abiding religious, occult and magical roots of legendary characters like Superman, Spiderman, and Wolverine. Ultimately, this work argues that these fantastic characters are not mere entertainment, but also serve as de facto deities for our modern technological society.

You think superheroes are something new? Wait'll you read the exciting spin that Knowles and Linsner put on them! – Stan Lee

Anyone who wants to investigate the archetypal and esoteric roots of comics – the secret history – could hardly do better than to read this encyclopedic and up-to-the-minute study. – Greg Garrett, Professor of English, Baylor University, and author of Holy Superheroes! and The Gospel According to Hollywood.

I didn't realize just how much of an effect my pretending to be Doctor Strange when I was six (with, yes, cape, fake mustache and talcum-powered hair) really had on me as an adult until I read Christopher Knowles' Our Gods Wear Spandex, the definitive history of the comics and mysticism crossover. Finally something new for both comics fans and occult readers alike. – Richard Metzger, author of Disinformation

Knowles very entertainingly brings fresh insights to the enduring appeal and mysterious power of superheroes. – Gerard Jones, author of Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book

A lively and compelling history of mankind's eternal need for heroes and gods and the superhuman figures who answer the call. – Clint Marsh, Wonderella.org

Our Gods Wear Spandex has convinced me that magic, mysticism and esoteric knowledge shaped superhero comics from the beginning. As much as any interpreter of the comics, Knowles helps us understand superhero tales as theologies for today's young people. – John Shelton Lawrence, author of The Myth of the American Superhero

Our Gods Wear Spandex belongs on every college student's bookshelf, right next to the copy of the Joseph Campbell book he or she bought and pretended to read. The comic book protagonist has long been overlooked as the contemporary American hero figure. Knowles has written the anthropological companion to Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics. – Bucky Sinister, author of All Blacked Out and Nowhere to Go and King of the Roadkills

From the ghettos of Prague to the halls of Valhalla to the Fortress of Solitude and the aisles of Book Expo and ComiCon, Our Gods Wear Spandex is the first book to show the inextricable link between superheroes and the enchanted world of esoterica; readers will discover countless fascinating connections.

Arts & Photography / Museums & Collections / Reference

Abstract Expressionism and Other Modern Works: The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art edited by Gary Tinterow, Lisa Mintz Messinger & Nan Rosenthal (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with Yale University Press)

Yale University Press, in association with the Metropolitan Museum of Art announces the publication of Abstract Expressionism and Other Modern Works. The book features the Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection, comprising sixty-three modern paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by fifty artists, which was given to the Metropolitan Museum in 2006. These additions greatly augment the Metropolitan's holdings of modem art, particularly the works of the Abstract Expressionists.

The Newman collection includes the only extant grouping of Abstract Expressionist art collected at the time of their creation. Long recognized for its preeminent Abstract Expressionist works, the collection includes major canvases by the great painters of the movement, among them De Kooning, Pollock, and Rothko, and sculptures by David Smith. Also featured are Americans of the succeeding generation as well as a selection of works by early European modernists. Among the outstanding works in that genre are four pieces by Arshile Gorky; Franz Kline's first painting in his mature style, Nijinsky of 1950; Attic of 1949, a Willem de Kooning masterpiece; Number 28, 1950, a major example of Jackson Pollock's revolutionary work; and an early signature painting by Clyfford Still. In addition, the collection includes works by such other well-known American artists as Joseph Cornell, Arthur Dove, Anne Ryan, the abstract painters Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland, and the Pop artist Claes Oldenburg. A number of fine examples of earlier twentieth-century European modernism include paintings by Max Ernst, Fernand Leger, and Joan Miró, a mixed media collage by Kurt Schwitters, and a 1930 relief by Jean Arp.

Abstract Expressionism and Other Modern Works opens with an interview by Gary Tinterow, Engelhard Curator in Charge of the Metropolitan Museum's Department of Nineteenth-Century, Modem, and Contemporary Art, with Muriel Kallis Newman. Comprehensive entries on all sixty-three pieces in the collection follow. Each work of art is reproduced in a color illustration, and the entries have been written by prominent art historians who are experts in their fields. The catalog features texts by 22 leading scholars, including David Anfam, Diane Kelder, and Richard Shiff. Forty-five additional illustrations further enhance the texts.

The Abstract Expressionist paintings that form the heart of this collection were nearly all created in New York City. The Museum's director, Philippe de Montebello, states in his Foreword: "Her [Muriel Kallis Newman's] intelligence and her unwavering enthusiasm sparked a deep awareness and a dedicated involvement with the art and artists of her generation. Mrs. Newman is a Chicagoan, but she has always loved New York, a city she has visited often.... Mrs. Newman's gift represents a New York homecoming for a group of remarkable works of art by many of the outstanding New York artists of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s."

Newman started collecting during the years just after World War II, a fortuitous time when American art was reaching new heights of accom­plishment and was on the verge of worldwide prominence. Her intelligence and her enthusiasm sparked a deep awareness and a dedi­cated involvement with the art and artists of her generation. Beginning in 1949 Newman began meeting with the Abstract Expressionist artists at The Club, a favored hangout, and as she was also an artist, she was readily accepted. Between 1951 and 1954 she assembled the core of her collection. The depth and breadth of the collection are formidable.

As explained in the foreword, Newman is one of the rare collectors who grasped the importance of a radical new development in the visual arts and acted on that understanding immediately and with almost pitch-perfect accuracy. Affluent but neither wealthy nor particularly well connected, through a fortu­itous introduction in 1948 she and her husband dis­covered the work of a few New York artists – Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, among others – who, though already represented by galleries, were still seeking recognition and collectors. Yet, she avows, "I wasn't aware of such a thing. . . . I knew that they were poor. They were. But I had no idea that they were really struggling. Now I know, of course:" As far as she was concerned, she met the artists, befriended some of them, and bought their work.

Upon learning that Newman wished to transfer the collection to the Metropolitan, Gary Tinterow, Engelhard Curator in Charge of the Museum's Department of Nineteenth-Century, Modern, and Contemporary Art, immediately planned this catalogue to celebrate its arrival; assisted by Lisa Mintz Messinger, Associate Curator; Nan Rosenthal, Special Consultant; and Christel Hollevoet-Force, Research Associate.

Newman herself has said: "This is a collection of New York art, and I had always felt it belonged in New York." The fact that she has held firm to her 1980 promise to the Museum, despite the astronomical rise in the monetary value of her collection, indicates once again her commitment to the art she loves and her disdain for the financial speculation that has noth­ing to do with the aesthetic values she prizes.

This outstanding collection greatly enhances the Metropolitan's permanent collection. Abstract Expressionism and Other Modern Works is a handsome and scholarly large format book with color illustrations throughout. The opening interview with Newman by Tinterow captures the donor’s intelligence, commitment, and charm. The publication also benefits greatly from the contri­butions of the many prominent art historians who have contributed texts.

Business & Investing

The Point of the Deal: How to Negotiate When Yes Is Not Enough by Danny Ertel & Mark Gordon (Harvard Business School Press)

Why do so many business deals that look good on paper end up in tatters once they’re put into action? Because deal makers often treat the signed contract as the final destination in their bargaining journey – instead of the start of a cooperative venture.

Traditional wisdom treats negotiation as separate from implementation. Deal makers see their job as getting the deal done and assume that someone else will worry about implementation. This ignores the reality that usually the deal is just a means to something else. Negotiating for implementation means that the value of the deal is not achieved when the parties say ‘yes’, but when they actually implement their agreement. Separating the negotiation from implementation leads negotiators to do things during the negotiation – some deliberately and some inadvertently – that actually hurt them during implementation and even produces deals not worth doing.

In The Point of the Deal, Danny Ertel and Mark Gordon show what negotiation looks like when the players involved strive to make the deal work in practice – not just on paper. Authors Vantage Partner cofounders Ertel and Gordon have advised thousands of negotiators – diplomats, entrepreneurs, labor leaders, lawyers, salespeople, consultants, and Fortune 500 CEOs – and discovered that most underestimate the importance of implementation in the success of their deal. In this book, readers discover how to make the transition from concentrating on getting the deal done to focusing on what it takes to achieve value after the ink has dried.

The Point of the Deal goes beyond advice to individual negotiators on how to negotiate more effectively – it contains chapters on how to manage negotiators as though they are engaged in a real business process and on what organizations must do to ensure that they do deals worth doing. Ertel and Gordon explain how to transition from a deal-maker mentality focusing on making the agreement to an implementation mind-set. The authors show readers how to:

  • Treat the deal as a means, not an end, by asking what the negotiators need from their counterparts over and above a ‘yes.’
  • Consult stakeholders, determining whom they will need to get to ‘yes’ and beyond.
  • Set precedents that will help guide joint behavior after they have signed the deal.
  • Air their concerns – in ways that still get to ‘yes’ and beyond.
  • Help their counterparts avoid over-committing – maximizing the likelihood they'll be able to deliver on their part of the bargain.
  • Run past the finish line – by articulating how they will get from ‘yes’ to the final destination.

With a wealth of examples from multiple industries, countries, and functions, the authors illustrate how their approach to instilling an implementation mind-set works in a variety of familiar contexts for business deals.

Ertel and Gordon are right: it's not only the deal that matters, but what happens afterward. The Point of the Deal provides practical advice on how to negotiate when implementation matters. – Douglas L. Braunstein, head of Americas Investment Banking, J.P. Morgan Securities Inc.

In this important and refreshing book, Ertel and Gordon remind us all: in every negotiation, know your purpose and don't forget it. – Roger Fisher, coauthor of Getting to Yes

Ertel and Gordon are real-world practitioners, passing on invaluable insight gained from around the negotiation table. They show how to achieve real success in your negotiations and, more importantly, how to build long-term, sustainable relationships in which the deal is only the first of many steps. – Darren Childs, Managing Director, Global Channels, BBC Worldwide

Negotiation today requires new skills and approaches beyond the 'yes' to create value. The Point of the Deal provides excellent insights on the importance of – and ways to instill – an `implementation mind-set' for successful business negotiation. – Ulf Weinberg, President, Wyeth Europe

If implementation of the deals you negotiate is important – and it almost always is - this book is for you. It overflows with practical advice on how to really get what you want. – John S. Hammond, coauthor of Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions

The Point of the Deal, shows that negotiation is not the end, but the beginning of a process of realizing value for both parties.

Through a wealth of scenarios – including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, alliances, outsourcing arrangements, and customer and supplier relationships – The Point of the Deal shows what negotiations look like when the players involved strive to make the deal work in practice – not just on paper.

Business & Investing / Marketing & Sales / Popular Culture

Generation Ageless: How Baby Boomers Are Changing the Way We Live Today . . . and They're Just Getting Started by J. Walker Smith & Ann Clurman (Collins)

"The essential thing to know about Boomers is simple yet profoundly important: Do not count them out because they are aging. They are going to continue to matter," write J. Walker Smith and Ann Clurman, both of Yankelovich, Inc, in their new book Generation Ageless. "Baby Boomers, more than any other demographic group, will shape the future of the marketplace."

Boomers, Yankelovich, born between 1946 and 1964, are all of one generation, but they don't speak in the same voice. Their shared experiences created a common set of new values: an emphasis on self, an acceptance of less structured lifestyles, and a desire for more enriching personal experiences. But as Smith and Clurman show, those values are expressed in a variety of ways.

Boomers are the dominant generation in America. Their values and aspirations set the tone for everyone. Advances in medicine and health mean that this youth-obsessed generation is now focused on an everlasting prime of life. In the book, Yankelovich president Smith, and senior partner Clurman, Boomers themselves, dig into what makes this generation tick. According to Generation Ageless Yankelovich Inc. actually coined the term ‘Baby Boomer’ back in the late 1960s, when they first started collecting data on this influential generation. Now, more than thirty years later, they have the most complete information on Boomers yet assembled. To better understand the implications for society and the marketplace, Yankelovich conducted a new study of that generation's hopes, dreams, and aspirations. The results of this ‘Boomer Dreams’ study are presented in Generation Ageless, and they transform and expand our understanding of the Boomer generation.

According to Smith and Clurman, this study of Boomers covered three broad areas. First, Boomers were asked to score various aspects of their current situation. Second, they were asked to rate their worries and concerns about the future. Finally, they were asked to gauge their commitment to different values and aspirations for the future. Generation Ageless reveals what Boomers believe and how those beliefs have changed over time. The book emphasizes three main ideas that motivate them – Youthfulness, Impact, and Empowerment – and the primary dynamics of Spirituality, Self, and Society. They dissect Boomers into six major segments to provide new insights into the world's most talked about generation:

  • Straight Arrows: This is the one group of Boomers for whom spiritual priorities are foremost. They make up one-third of Boomers. They are driven by traditional values and religion. They look forward to sharing their beliefs with others.
  • Due Diligents: This is one of the three groups for which personal priorities are most important. They represent 10 percent of Boomers. They think ahead and plan for the worst. They are willing to take risks, though, as long as they feel protected.
  • Maximizers: Personal priorities are at the top for this group. They account for 15 percent of Boomers. They want to do as much as possible and get the most from life. They seek fulfillment by immersing themselves in everything possible.
  • Sideliners: Personal priorities matter most for this group, too. They make up 20 percent of Boomers. They are less involved in all activities and amusements. They are very private, self-contained, and undemanding.
  • Diss/Contenteds: This is one of two groups for which societal priorities are highest. They account for only 8 percent of Boomers. They see social problems they would like to fix, and their sympathies are with protestors. However, they shy away from getting involved to the point of compromising their own comfort.
  • Re-Activists: Societal priorities are highest for this group as well. They represent 15 percent of Boomers. They are ready to join campaigns in support of social causes. They want to get involved while they still can, before age makes it difficult for them to have an impact.

As told in Generation Ageless, this generation is nearing the traditional age of retirement, but is in no mood to slow down. They are literally middle age-less: holding onto their position at the top of the pyramid for as long as possible, and not fading away into their golden years. Today's fifty- and sixty-year-old Boomers are not eagerly anticipating lives of disengaged retirement. Instead, middle age-less Boomers expect another twenty or thirty years of impact and influence – albeit in a variety of ways reflective of a surfeit of agendas and ambitions they have yet to fulfill.

If you want to know what Boomers are thinking and doing, read this book. Boomers aren't slowing down; they're speeding up. Read this book if you don't want to be left in the dust. – Richard Florida, bestselling author of The Rise of the Creative Class and The Flight of the Creative Class

As a creaky-kneed Boomer and longtime political reporter, I saw myself reflected on every page and marveled at the stunning, against-­the-grain insights about my generation. In 2017 and 2027, as the Boomers refuse to fade into the twilight, Generation Ageless will be hailed as the book that first predicted the social implications of this we-shall-not-be-moved defiance. – Walter Shapiro, Washington bureau chief, Salon.com

Decision makers have forever underestimated the impact of seventy-eight million Boomers. And they are about to do so again. Save yourself from that mistake. Pay attention and read this book. You will never think of aging Boomers in the same way again. – Carol Coletta, president & CEO, CEOs for Cities

After this book, there is nothing else a marketer will ever need to know about Baby Boomers. My mind was racing with ideas before I even got past the Introduction, and there were nonstop insights from that point forward! – Jody Bilney, CMO, Outback Steakhouse

Once again, generational gurus J. Walker Smith and Ann Clurman have tapped deeply and brilliantly into another significant cultural and economic mega-trend. The real Echo Boom is not the children of Baby Boomers but ageless Boomers themselves! – Ed Winter, chairman, Tracy Locke

Generation Ageless is an authoritative and eye-opening look at the past, present, and future of Baby Boomers. For anyone who hopes to sell to, do business with, or just understand this powerful demographic group, Generation Ageless is essential reading.

Children’s / Ages 4-8 / Issues

Times Tables Cheat (Library Binding) by Anastasia Suen, illustrated by Jeff Ebbeler (Main Street School Series: ABDO Publishing Group)

At the Main Street School, a series focusing on common issues, all the kids have character! Latasha, Sophia, and Isaiah are a few of Miss K's students. Their stories offer standard situations and examples of good character, such as patriotism, caring, and respect.

The books ask kids: What would you do in their shoes?

In Times Tables Cheat, Isaiah's first-person narratives teach about cheating through Jeff Ebbeler’s illustrations and Anastasia Suen’s text.

The story in Times Tables Cheat starts out with the kids on the school bus:

Alex sat behind Isaiah on the bus.
I know all my threes,” said Alex.
“Do not,” said Isaiah.
“Do so,” said Alex. “3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 20, 33, 36!”
"Okay," said Isaiah. "But do you know your fours?"
"Sure," said Alex. "4, 8, 12 ..."
"What is it with you two?" asked Dalton. Click! Click! Click! He didn't look up from his handheld game.
Alex turned to look at Dalton. "We're practicing our times tables."
"I know that," said Dalton. "But we're not in school yet.”
"What if we have a pop quiz?" asked Alex.
"Miss K doesn't give one every day;" said Dalton. His thumbs kept moving on the game.
"That's just it;" said Isaiah. "You never know when it's coming."
Click! Click! "Yes!" said Dalton. "I've reached Level 14!"

At the end of the story, after Dalton tries to cheat, Times Tables Cheat shows the kids helping each other:

"The sevens are just football scores;" said Alex. "7, 14, 21 ..."
"I got those three," said Dalton. "It's the other ones I didn't know."
"You can practice with us;" said Alex.
Dalton
looked at his paper. "Okay, okay, but not on the way home. I have to play my game, too."
"Can you help me get to Level 4?" asked Alex.
"Sure;" said Dalton "It just takes practice."

Times Tables Cheat closes by asking kids what they think about what has just happened:

  1. Why didn't Dalton want to practice his times tables on the bus?
  2. How did Dalton get to Level 14 in his game?
  3. Why did Dalton try to cheat?
  4. Do you think Alex should have told Dalton the answer?

And finally, there are Miss K's Classroom Rules:

  1. Ask for help if you don't understand what the teacher is saying.
  2. Make time to study.
  3. Do your own work. Putting your name on someone else's work is cheating, too.
  4. Don't give your work to someone else.

Other books in the Main Street School Series include

    • Cutting in Line Isn't Fair!
    • Scissors, Paper, and Sharing
    • Helping Sophia
    • Show Some Respect
    • Raising the Flag

The books in this series, including Times Tables Cheat, through common classroom situations, help kids think about acceptable and expected behavior in school. The illustrations in the book are brilliant and the text is humorous.

Children’s / Ages 6-10 / Education / Anatomy & Physiology

The Body Box: See How Your Body Works by Anita Gareri (Barron’s Educational Series)

The Body Box , developed by Anita Gareri, creator of more than 100 children’s books including Little Box of Princess Treasures, is an interactive kit packaged in a box the shape of a book aimed at older children, which includes an information book and specially created anatomical models.

A human kidney, a brain, a heart, an eyeball, and a plastic skeleton with removable parts are assembled in this instructive kit for budding junior biologists. The shapes of all organs are rendered in plastic and packaged in a box. The Body Box includes a booklet describing the human body in a series of 14 two-page spreads filled with full-color illustrations, which explain the human body’s organs and functions. The booklet slips into a pocket on the box’s inside cover, and a see-through window shows all model body parts when the imitation book cover is lifted.

The body parts and functions described include the senses, brain, lungs, heart, blood, muscles, bones, stomach, intestines, liver, kidneys, and cells. This interactive pack actually contains replicas of:

  • skin
  • brain
  • intestine
  • lung
  • muscle
  • eyeball
  • skeleton
  • heart
  • liver
  • kidney

Illustrated overlays show the human body’s skeletal and muscle systems.

Using The Body Box young readers will begin to understand how the body works from the inside out. Models of organs are attractively packaged. Fact filled, the kit is unusual and educational, hands-on, and facilitates active learning through manipulation. The shapes of all organs are accurately rendered, and the accompanying book contains full-color illustrations and descriptions, written at a level that is easily understandable by older children.

Children’s / Ages 9-12 / Literature & Fiction / World Mythologies

Lost Cities (Library Binding) by Sue Hamilton (Unsolved Mysteries Series: ABDO Publishers)

Children love mystery and adventure, and the books in the Unsolved Mysteries Series offer them a unique opportunity to study some of the world's most interesting, unsolved puzzles. From bizarre creatures on the land and sea to unsolved disappearances of ships, planes, and even cities, this series will appeal to readers of many ages. Quotes and perspectives from scientists, researchers, and historians, as well as everyday people thrown into the midst of these perplexing mysteries, provides an overall viewpoint from which children can draw their own conclusions.

Lost Cities starts out by asking: How do you lose a city? With today's technology – tracking devices, heat-sensitive locators, and global positioning systems – it seems impossible to lose something so big. But hundreds of years ago, cities did indeed disappear. Some were mysteriously abandoned. Many cities were destroyed because of violent wars. Others were deserted because of famine or disease.

Whatever the reason, complete cities disappeared, abandoned by all who once lived there. Some were lost to the swirling yellow sands of the desert, others vanished into the cold blue depths of the oceans, and still others disappeared behind green walls of thick-growing jungle plants. According to author Sue Hamilton, stories and rumors are all that remain of these once-thriving places.

Some lost cities have been rediscovered. Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas, was found in 1911. Perched high on a mountain ridge in Peru, its buildings and streets are now filled with archaeologists, researchers, and historians, all trying to find out exactly what happened to this city and its people. Other places remain out of reach. Even today, researchers and treasure hunters seek the legendary underwater city of Atlantis. From the Mediterranean Sea to the Caribbean Sea, they continue searching for this sunken city. Lost Cities asks: But did Atlantis ever really exist? Is El Dorado out there – a city of gold waiting to be found? Or is it only a legend? Lost Cities discusses these lost cities:          

  • Atlantis: The City Under the Sea      
  • Camelot: King Arthur's Castle-City  
  • El Dorado: The City of Gold
  • Shangri-La: Where Life is Perfect     
  • Ubar: Atlantis of the Sands   
  • Yonaguni: Real or Myth?      

Lost Cities also contains a glossary and index.

Other books in the Unsolved Mysteries series include:

  • Air & Sea Mysteries
  • Creatures of the Abyss
  • Ancient Astronauts
  • The Bermuda Triangle
  • Monsters of Mystery

These little 32 page books, aimed at children ages 9-12, feature full-color photographs, full-color maps, quotations, and an index. This unique series with interesting unsolved mysteries, as in Lost Cities, will fascinate readers of all ages. With adult themes, they would also work for adult literacy classes.

Children’s (Grades 7-9) / Biography / Political

Nancy Pelosi (Political Profiles) (Library Binding) by Sandra Shichtman (Morgan Reynolds Publishing)

As told by Sandra H. Shichtman, former teacher and editor, in Nancy Pelosi, a book aimed at the middle-school audience, Pelosi grew up surrounded by politics. Her father, Thomas D'Alesandro, served five terms in Congress, and three as the mayor of Baltimore. As a child, Nancy helped him campaign.

Pelosi seemed destined for a political career herself, but instead chose the path of marriage and family. However, she never strayed far from her interest in politics: even as she raised five children, Pelosi worked tirelessly as a volunteer for the Democratic Party, raising money and spreading awareness about Democratic candidates.

It wasn't until all of her children were grown and she was in her late forties that Pelosi accepted a dying friend's request to take over her seat as a representative for California in the United States House of Representatives. Though she was an inexperienced and unseasoned politician, Pelosi drew from her life in the political world and won the election. Soon, she rose to become one of the most powerful people in the House of Representatives and made history when she became the first woman elected to serve as the Speaker of the House. All the while, she held onto values and family and never strayed far from the lessons taught to her as a child growing up in Baltimore.

Shichtman sets Nancy Pelosi in the near present: January 4, 2007, which fell on a Thursday, was hardly an ordinary Thursday in the Congress of the United States. The Democratic Party had taken control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives as a result of the elections the previous November. On January 4th, the 110th Congress gathered in Washington, D.C. to swear in their leaders. The floor was filled with the members of both houses. The galleries were packed with their families and friends as well as invited members of the public. Representative Pelosi of California was sworn in as Speaker of the House, the most important position in American government follow­ing the president and the vice-president. For Representative Pelosi it was the culmination of a long political career.

In accepting the position, Pelosi told the Congress and the American people, "This is an historic moment. It's an his­toric moment for the Congress. It's an historic moment for the women of America. It is a moment for which we have waited for over 200 years."

Author Shichtman in Nancy Pelosi says that Pelosi had come a long way from her beginnings in Baltimore, Maryland, but she still retained the values she had learned as a child living at home.

Nancy’s father Tommy D'Alesandro served five terms as a U.S. congressman. In 1947, he was elected mayor of Baltimore and served three terms. By that time he was married and the father of six children. Seven-year-old Nancy stood beside her father as he took the oath of office. She recalled an incident that took place when her parents took her to a voting place for the first time. A worker for the Republican Party saw little Nancy and gave her a toy elephant (the elephant is the symbol of the Republican Party). Nancy quickly gave it back. "He thinks I don't know what this is. I was offended. In our family, it was about whose side are you on; the whole idea of work­ing for families and the opportunity they had," she explained later.

Nancy Pelosi tells how during their father's reelection campaigns, the D'Alesandro children stuffed envelopes with letters appealing for votes. The letters included reminders of what favors the mayor had done for them in the past and suggested that they could return the favor by voting for the mayor. It was here that young Nancy learned how the game of politics was played.

Nancy Pelosi tells the story from a point of view emphasizing family values, the female point of view, Pelosi’s Italian and Catholic heritage, growing up in the midst of politics and rooted in the New Deal values of service to others. It shows how Pelosi was able to achieve her position through the support of family and community. It should be an inspiration to many, boys and girls alike.

Computers & Internet / Education / Research / Reference

Beyond the Internet: Successful Research Strategies by Barbara A. Chernow (Bernan Press)

Whatever their interests, researchers need to diver­sify their resources and go Beyond the Internet. Author Barbara Chernow, historian, encyclopedist, and reference book editor, challenges the perception that the Internet is a complete research tool. Although the Internet offers a seemingly limitless array of information, cyberspace does not provide all the resources one needs to learn about all subjects. Beyond the Internet reminds researchers, librarians, teachers, parents, and students that the vast majority of material in libraries and archives is not digitized nor will it be in the foreseeable future. This includes documents, and government records that provide the thread that links our past to our present, allowing us to reach back into history, studying memoirs and correspondence.

Beyond the Internet also explores the difference be­tween acquiring facts that answer a specific question and the process of analytical think­ing that goes into accessing and assessing nonelectronic documents. The issue is not what readers cannot find on the Internet, which is a wonderful resource, but what they miss if they only consult the Internet. Serendipitous finds and new interpretations based on pre­viously unknown sources require research in original materials.

Chernow, adjunct assistant professor of publishing at New York University, uses research challenges culled from her own work in American history and as a reference book editor to illustrate the different research resources described. These real-world anecdotes lend a personal element to the practical advice contained in the chapters. These challenges cover such diverse subjects as the Reynolds Affair, America’s first scandal involving charges of insider information and sexual misconduct, the Whiskey Rebellion, the creation of the fifth edition of the Columbia Encyclopedia, a personal search for family history, and interviews with librarians and scholars.

According to Beyond the Internet, if readers want to understand the origins of ter­rorism, study war tactics, or appreciate the culture of the Middle East, they need to con­sult original correspondence and documents. If they want to reverse an educational policy that is ‘dumbing down’ America, teachers and parents need to provide the next gen­eration with knowledge of all the sources available to them. Students must also learn the skills necessary to access these sources, so they can make informed decisions about everything from their personal health to selecting a presidential candidate to forming opinions on the war in Iraq to social security and educational policy.

The skills taught in Beyond the Internet have broad application in better evaluating events in our world today. Chernow shows how to access sources that broaden our understanding of issues; for example, the failure to understand the people of Iraq – their culture, history, and geography – has significantly contributed to the failure of U.S. policy. Another example is understanding the arguments surrounding changes to the Electoral College.

What a delight young researchers are missing if they don’t take their fill from the granaries of libraries – books, manuscripts, journals, archives, collections, correspondence, photographs. By comparison the Internet is as intellectually scant as People magazine. Read Beyond the Internet and learn how to make the knowledge of the ages yours! – Charles J. Shields, best-selling author of Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee

Beyond the Internet presents an informative and entertaining read with useful tips and techniques on how to utilize a wide range of available resources to enrich the research experience and expand and enhance research findings. Real world anecdotes culled from the author's years researching American history add a personal element to complement the practical advice. Chernow`s insider tips and techniques for developing research skills apply to anyone searching for infor­mation, including professionals, teachers, researchers, scholars, students, and general readers.

Computers & the Internet / Programming / Business & Investing / Entertainment / Education / Design & Development / Training

Game Development Essentials: Game Simulation Development (with DVD) by William Muehl & Jeannie Novak (Thomson Delmar Learning)

As an increasing number of Fortune 500 companies, as well as educational and governmental heavyweights take notice of the potential usefulness of game simulations for training, the demand for developers who can skillfully integrate educational tasks with gaming features is increasing dramatically.

Game Simulation Development provides an in-depth look at how games are using a variety of different simulations to incorporate educational and training-based elements. By investigating a wide range of successful games, the book offers critical knowledge regarding why certain game simulations are effective in each genre. Game Simulation Development also explores the ways expert developers consider how players respond to visual, aural, and tactile feedback to make the simulation as convincing and immersive as possible. Additional coverage includes intrinsic and extrinsic knowledge, constructivist theory, social interaction and lateral learning, and how these principles apply to game simulation development.
Authors are William Muehl and Jeannie Novak. Muehl, formerly Development Director for the central animation, cinema, audio, character, environment, concept, and user interface departments, is Senior Producer at Midway’s headquarters in Chicago, where he facilitates the development of globally shared technology, art, and design initiatives across six studios and multiple game teams. Novak, with extensive experience as a game instructor and course developer, is Lead Author and Series Editor of Thomson's Game Development Essentials series and Academic Program Director of the Game Art & Design and Media Arts & Animation programs at the Art Institute Online. Through Indiespace Novak consults with creative professionals in the music, film, and television industries to help them migrate to the game industry.

The book’s coverage of simulations extends to multiple industries, demonstrating the full range of game simulations beyond entertainment. It features full-color screenshots and detailed illustrations. Real-world development challenges and strategies give aspiring game developers an opportunity to apply what they learn. Interviews with industry experts and informative case studies enhance the learning experience. The companion DVD includes game engines, 3D modeling and animation software, documentation, game demos, and articles.

Game Simulation Development is loaded with content and follows a meaningful line of recent publications by Novak in this field. The book includes highly appropriate contributions by industry professionals. Each chapter is well organized and concludes with excellent chapter summaries that promote critical thinking. – Brad Anderson, Chair, Department of Art & Division of Fine Arts, Kansas Wesleyan University

Game Simulation Development is a timely book providing a well-rounded resource for aspiring game developers. For the first time, professional and aspiring game developers have a comprehensive, in-depth resource, complete with hands-on experience, that goes beyond the entertainment-focused aspects of game simulation to delve into its escalating impact on the outside worlds of business, education, and training.

Cooking, Food & Wine

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food (How to Cook Everything) by Mark Bittman (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)

Hailed as ‘a more hip Joy of Cooking’ by the Washington Post, Mark Bittman's award-winning book How to Cook Everything has become the bible for a new generation of home cooks, and the series has more than 1 million copies in print. Known for simple recipes, great-tasting food, and straight-shooting advice, Bittman has inspired a new generation of cooks. Now Bittman has written a guide to meatless meals – a book that for everyone who wants to cook simple but delicious meatless dishes, from health-conscious omnivores to passionate vegetarians.
Everyone knows a diet that includes a lot of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes is healthier than one that doesn't. How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is the cookbook with the potential to make vegetarian cooking accessible to everyone. The book includes more than 2,000 recipes and variations – far more than any other vegetarian cookbook. As always, Bittman's recipes are straightforward and unfussy – producing dishes that home cooks can prepare with ease and serve with confidence. The book covers the whole spectrum of meatless cooking – including salads, soups, eggs and dairy, vegetables and fruit, pasta, grains, legumes, tofu and other meat substitutes, breads, condiments, desserts, and beverages. Special icons identify recipes that can be made in 30 minutes or less and in advance, as well as those that are vegan. The book is illustrated throughout with line drawings and brimming with Bittman's opinionated advice on everything from selecting vegetables to preparing pad Thai. And throughout the book, charts, sidebars, and lists give readers ideas and tips for everything from spicing up tomato sauce to grilling vegetables.
Bittman says, "I wrote this book to convince everyone (and to be sure, me) to increase the proportion of plant-based foods in our diets." How to Cook Everything Vegetarian shows cooks how vegetarian meals can be delicious, simple to make, easy to vary, and enjoyable to explore. To name just a few of the dishes readers will find inside: Cherry Tomato Salad with Soy Sauce, Rich Zucchini Soup, Pan-Grilled Corn with Chile, Eggplant-Tofu Stir-Fry, Pasta with Caramelized Onions, Lentils and Potatoes with Curry, and Breakfast Polenta ‘Pizza.’ The variety of options with many of the recipes is remarkable. For example, with the Essential Bean Salad recipe, there are seven variations including Italian, Japanese, or Indian flavorings. With Butternut Squash, Braised and Glazed, there are six variations, including with Coconut Milk and Curry or with Saffron and Almonds. With Vegetable Lasagna there are White, Pesto, and Vegan variations.

… a wealth of recipes that don't scream vegetarian and plentiful guidelines to make cooking vegetarian as intuitive as cooking with meat. Like his now classic How to Cook Everything, this book opens with terrifically useful, straightforward discussions of essential ingredients, appliances and techniques, which Bittman builds on throughout in to-the-point sidebars and illustrated boxes. The recipes flow thick and fast in his theme-and-variations style: … New vegetarians and vegetarians cooking for omnivores will appreciate Bittman's avoidance of faux meat products in favor of flavorful high-protein dishes like Braised Tofu in Caramel Sauce and Béchamel Burgers with Nuts. Even owners of the original book will find much new to savor while benefiting from Bittman's remarkable ability to teach foundational skills and encourage innovation with them, which will help even longtime vegetarians freshen their repertory. – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

An essential purchase for all cookery collections. – Library Journal, starred review

Mark Bittman's category lock on definitive, massive food tomes continues with this well-thought-out ode to the garden and beyond. Combining deep research, tasty information, and delicious easy-to-cook recipes is Mark's forte and everything I want to cook is in here, from chickpea fries to cheese soufflés. – Mario Batali, chef, author, and entrepreneur

How do you make an avid meat eater (like me) fall in love with vegetarian cooking? Make Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian part of your culinary library. – Bobby Flay, chef/owner of Mesa Grill and Bar Americain and author of the Mesa Grill Cookbook

Recipes that taste this good aren't supposed to be so healthy. Mark Bittman makes being a vegetarian fun. – Dr. Mehmet Oz, Professor of Surgery, New York Presbyterian/Columbia Medical Center and coauthor of You: The Owner's Manual

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is packed with an unprecedented number of ways for readers to enjoy satisfying meals without missing the meat. Bittman delivers the ultimate guide to meatless meals – this masterwork is comprehensive, authoritative, contemporary, and approachable – a book that sets a new standard and finally makes vegetarian food accessible to every home cook. Written not only for vegetarians but for those who – like Bittman himself – are omnivores striving for a more health-conscious, planet-friendly diet, it provides everything readers need to build meals around delicious meatless recipes. And because he is a self-taught home cook, not a restaurant chef, his recipes are straightforward, resolutely unfussy, and unfailingly delicious – dishes that readers can prepare with ease and serve with confidence. Like all of Bittman's work, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is thorough and particularly accessible; much work has gone into making the wealth of information, ideas, and recipes as easy to use as possible. This is a book that cooks will use often, rave to friends about, and buy as a gift.

Education / Creativity

A Handbook of Creative Learning Activities (Spiral-bound) by Steve Bowkett (Network Continuum)

A Handbook of Creative Learning Activities is a hands-on manual for stimulating creative thinking, talking and writing in the classroom. It combines recent ideas of educational importance – such as multiple intelligence theory, emotional intelligence and preferential learning styles – with strategies for implementing these concepts via a range of practical activities. These can be used throughout the curriculum and across a wide age-range with children of all abilities.

The book outlines a model of the mind that incorporates recent findings in brain research with activities to promote learning and creativity. It explores the nature of creative thinking and how it can be effectively driven through an ethos of positive encouragement, mutual support and celebration of success and achievement. It links content and process within the learning environment and addresses the emotional components of the educational experience, and how these can be optimized to enhance self-esteem and confidence in the learner.

Author Stephen Bowkett, who taught English for 18 years in Leicestershire High Schools is now a full-time writer and trainer. Bowkett has arranged A Handbook of Creative Learning Activities into a number of broad sections. Each section contains activities which teachers can use on a stand alone basis. Some activities take just a few minutes, providing stimulus games or warm up sessions. Others are more elaborate: they need preparation and could last for a number of lessons or time slots. The main value of the activities, however, is in using them in combination and in a wide range of subject areas. This will help teachers to develop their pupils' creative thinking across the curriculum.

The activities, designed for use in the British educational system, link strongly with English language study. A Handbook of Creative Learning Activities provides pupils with a wide range of opportunities to develop their English reading skills. The book is also compatible with the speaking and listening programs of study and provides opportunities for different modes of writing. The activities also have clear links with drama and personal and social education. In addition, they are relevant to the curriculum requirements of other subjects – they can develop the use and application of mathematics, help learners investigate scientific knowledge, and help them discover the characteristics of materials in design and technology. The activities can develop pupils' awareness of chronology and change in history; provide motivating techniques to investigate places and themes in geography; and enhance visual literacy in art.

The Activities/National Curriculum matrix provides examples of how the activities can be used when teaching the National Curriculum (British). Of course, teachers will develop their own repertoire of favorite techniques to use with their learners and apply these across the curriculum. For example, a dice journey can be used to explore a medieval village, trace the life cycle of flowering plants, track the course of a river from source to estuary, and create a narrative story.

The following will help teachers make the most of A Handbook of Creative Learning Activities:

  • Equipment and Techniques. The introduction contains a section outlining some of the equipment teachers will need and some of the basic teaching and classroom organization techniques which underpin the book.
  • The Sections. Bowkett divides A Handbook of Creative Learning Activities into sections, each one containing activities which relate to the overall theme of the section. He has also provided an introduction for each section, which considers the benefits and potential uses of the activities.
  • The Activities. Each activity consists of a basic/core activity plus suggestions for extension and variation. Links with other activities in the book are also listed.
  • Practicalities Box. Each activity has a Practicalities Box which provides at-a-glance information about organizing the activity: grouping the students; how much time teachers will need; equipment required; and any other important points they need to know before they begin.

At the back of the book is a section aimed at teachers. The section gives them a chance to develop their own creative thinking skills through a series of tasks and activities.

According to Bowkett, ideas happen because we want them to. Ideas seem to come from some place other than the intellectual conscious part of the mind; and they are accompanied by powerful emotions that have a lot to do with the motivation required to see that idea through to completion. He says he spent many years relying on the Muse before he came across a simple, effective and verifiable model of the mind that accounted for all the characteristics of what he calls the Ping Process – wanting ideas, having lots of them, and turning the most useful ones into finished projects: stories, poems, pieces of non-fiction, or the best way to use up the scraps of food left in the fridge.

For Bowkett, creative thinking boils down to ways of opening up the channels of communication between the conscious and subconscious parts of the mind. The Ping Process involves a large and vital emotional component – creative thinking necessarily needs to be fun. Once that link is established, creativity and enjoyment will feed each other beneficially, leading in the end to the more valuable emotional rewards of increased confidence and self-esteem, satisfaction, pride-in-achievement, and a deep sense of fulfillment based on individual endeavor.

The point also needs to be made that the content of any subject or area of knowledge is of little use unless it is fuel to feed the fire of creative thought. That creative thought, in an ideal world, would be independent and energetic, the property of the individual: it would be judged by the individual, partly on its ‘fun factor’, but more lastingly on its usefulness in furthering the understanding of the thinker. It would not be manipulated or otherwise controlled by outside 'authorities' unless such input respected the principles of the Ping Process and the uniqueness of the individual.

Bowkett asserts that children will do their best (in all senses of the word) if the facts they are fed mean something to them personally, and if the process of meaning-making is an enjoyable one. Those aims are not beyond the scope or abilities of any teacher or parent reading A Handbook of Creative Learning Activities, and the activities in the book go a long way towards achieving them. The book is an imaginative and creative handbook, a user friendly manual providing a straightforward and workable model for teaching creativity using a variety of powerful activities. Teachers will find that by using the book regularly, the techniques will become second nature and the ability to think creatively will develop rapidly. What teachers will especially value is the degree of pupil engagement which the activities generate. This leads to the pupils remaining on task, and when pupils are on task, the quality of their learning is enhanced.

Education / Early Childhood

Easy Daily Plans: Over 250 Plans for Preschool Teachers (Early Childhood Education) by Sue Fleischmann (Gryphon House)

Learning takes place throughout the day in preschool – from the time the children hang up their coats in the morning to the end of the day when they reconnect with their families.

Children are active learners who learn by doing, and active learning allows children to explore and solve problems in their own way.

Aimed at teachers, Easy Daily Plans contains daily plans with developmentally appropriate activities for young children. The book is written by Sue Fleishmann, who taught for 15 years in a Birth to Three Program and was a Child and Family Specialist in a National Center of Excellence Head Start.

Organized by month, this grab-and-use curriculum has over 250 daily plans that teachers can use to plan enriching activities for young children. The book is organized by month, beginning in September. Listed at the front of each chapter are month-long celebrations (such as National Strawberry Month), week-long celebrations (such as National Pet Week), special days (Thomas Edison's birthday, for example), holidays (such as Cinco de Mayo), and general daily plans.

Each lesson plan in Easy Daily Plans is complete with:

  • An opening group time activity.
  • Story time book suggestions.
  • Center activities for a variety of centers, including art, blocks, dramatic play, music, fine motor skills, science, math and literacy skills.
  • Extension activities, such as small group activities, games, outdoor activities, snack suggestions, and additional center activities.

Each daily plan includes a Story Time book list, Group Time activity, and Learning Center Ideas. Additional activities for rhythm and rhyme, small group, projects, outdoor experiences, movement, and games are included throughout the book. Transition and snack ideas are also included in many plans. All of the activities encourage children to improve listening skills, increase vocabulary, follow directions, develop oral and written language skills, cooperate in a group setting, work on fine and gross motor skills, and develop new skills in the content areas. It is simple for teachers to choose the plans that they wish to do that month, read them, collect the necessary supplies, and get started.

The activities are open ended so it is possible to adjust them to suit the range of ages and abilities of the children in the classroom. The daily plans are appropriate for many types of programs, including preschools, Head Start programs, cooperatives, home school programs, and family day care programs.

New or experienced teachers can add energy and excitement to the classroom using the unique ideas in Easy Daily Plans. Supplying a complete year’s worth of daily plans, the book is perfect for busy teachers and caregivers to grab and use. The ideas are creative, fun, and easy to implement.

Education / Test Guides / Statistics / Advanced Placement

Barron's AP Statistics 2008 with CD-ROM, 4th Edition by Martin Sternstein (Barron’s)

FACT: The number of students who take a statistics course in college will soon surpass the number who take a calculus course.

Barron's AP Statistics 2008, written by Martin Sternstein, Professor of Mathematics, Ithaca College, is a test guide to help students prepare for the advanced placement statistics examination.

Six full-length Advanced Placement (AP) practice statistics exams are presented in this manual. Barron's AP Statistics 2008 provides Sternstein’s 15-chapter topic review, which covers everything students will encounter on the actual exam. Topics for review are divided into four general themes: Exploratory Analysis, Planning a Study, Probability, and Statistical Inference. Additional multiple-choice and free-response questions with answers are presented at the end of all 15 chapters. Detailed appendices include exam-taking advice, an AP scoring guide, and a guide to basic uses of TI-83/TI-84 calculators. This version of the manual comes with an enclosed CD-ROM containing two additional full-length practice exams, thus giving students a total of eight practice exams.

The contents of Barron's AP Statistics 2008 cover the topics recommended by the AP Stati­stics Development Committee. Detailed explanations are provided for all answers. Some of the topic questions are not typical AP exam questions but rather are intended to help review the topic. The six full-length practice exams are made up of 276 questions, all with instruc­tive, complete answers. The two new, fell-length exams (with 92 more questions) on the CD-ROM come with answers, full explanations, and automatic scoring of the multiple-choice questions.

Barron's AP Statistics 2008 includes plentiful guidance on test taking. For example, students taking the AP Statistics Examination will be furnished with a list of for­mulas (from descriptive statistics, probability, and inferential statistics) and tables (including standard normal probabilities, t-distribution critical values, χ2 critical val­ues, and random digits). While students will be expected to bring a graphing calcu­lator with statistics capabilities to the examination, answers should not be in terms of calculator syntax. Many students have commented that calculator usage was less than they had anticipated. However, even though the calculator is sim­ply a tool, to be used sparingly, as needed, students should be proficient with this technology.

The official examination consists of two parts: a 90-minute section with 40 multiple-choice problems and a 90-minute free-response section with five open-ended questions and an investigative task to complete. In grading, the two sections of the exam are given equal weight. Students have remarked that the first section involves ‘lots of reading,’ while the second section involves ‘lots of writing.’ The percentage of questions from each content area is approximately 25% data analysis, 15% experi­mental design, 25% probability, and 35% inference. Questions in both sections may involve reading generic computer output.

Sternstein advises students that a correction factor compensates for random guessing in the multiple-choice sec­tion; however, students should guess if they can eliminate even one incorrect choice.

As explained in Barron's AP Statistics 2008, multiple-choice questions are scored as the number of correct answers minus one-quarter the number of incorrect answers. Blank answers are ignored. Free-response questions are scored on a 0 to 4 scale, with each open-ended question counting 15% of the total free-response score and the investigative task counting 25% of the free-response score. The first open-ended question is typically the most straightforward, and after doing this one to build confidence, students might consider looking at the investigative task since it counts more. Each completed AP examination paper will receive a grade based on a 5-point scale, with 5 the highest score and 1 the lowest score. Most colleges and universities accept a grade of 3 or better for credit or advanced placement or both.

A good piece of advice according to Sternstein is for students from day one to develop critical practices (like checking assumptions and conditions), to acquire strong technical skills, and to always write clear and thorough, yet to the point, interpretations in context. Final answers to most problems should not be numbers, but rather sentences explaining and analyzing numerical results. To help develop skills and insights to tackle AP free response questions (which often choose contexts students haven't seen before), the book advises students to pick up newspapers and magazines and figure out how to apply what you are learning to better understand articles in print that reference numbers, graphs, and statistical studies.

Students who use Barron's AP Statistics 2008 should study the text and illustra­tive examples carefully and try to complete the practice problems before referring to the solution keys. Simply reading the detailed explanations to the answers without first striving to work through the problems on one's own is not the best approach. Teachers clearly may use this book with a class in many profitable ways. Ideally, each individual topic review, together with practice problems, should be assigned after the topic has been covered in class. The full-length practice exams should be reserved for final review shortly before the AP examination.

Barron's AP Statistics 2008 fully prepares students for the exam – there’s no other way to say it – with eight, count them, eight, practice exams. Multiple full-length practice exams are complete with all questions answered and fully explained. Equally valuable to prospective test takers is Sternstein’s topic review, covering virtually everything they will encounter on the actual exam. Practice, practice and more practice. The book is especially strong in the area of free response questions.

While a review book such as Barron's AP Statistics 2008 can be extremely useful in helping prepare stu­dents for the AP exam, nothing can substitute for a good high school teacher and a good textbook.

Health, Mind & Body / Psychology & Counseling

Attachment and Sexuality edited by Diana Diamond, Sidney J. Blatt, & Joseph D. Lichtenberg (Psychoanalytic Inquiry Book Series, Volume 21: The Analytic Press)

The papers featured in Attachment and Sexuality create a dense tapestry, each forming a separate narrative strand that elucidates different configurations of the relationship between attachment and sexuality.

As a whole, the book explores the areas of convergence and divergence, opposition, and integration between these two systems. Attachment and Sexuality suggests that there is a bi-directional web of influences that weaves the attachment and sexual systems together in increasingly complex ways from infancy to adulthood. Editors are Diana Diamond, associate professor in the doctoral program in clinical psychology, City University of New York and adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry, Department of Psy­chiatry, Weill Medical Center, Cornell University; Sidney J. Blatt, professor of psychiatry and psychology, Yale University and chief of the psychology section, Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine; and Joseph Lichtenberg, practicing psychoanalyst in Wash­ington and editor-in-chief of Psychoanalytic Inquiry.

Contributors include Massimo Ammaniti, Anna Buchheim, Morris Eagle, Carol George, Jeremy Holmes, Horst Kachele, Alicia Lieberman, Mario Mikulincer, Giampaolo Nicolais, Phillip Shaver, Robin Silverman, Anna Maria Speranza, Maria St. John, Lissa Weinstein, and Frank Yeomans.

The papers in Attachment and Sexuality investigate the myriad ways in which sexuality may consolidate, converge, or conflict with attachment relationships and may foster or curtail attachment security at different developmental points. Each contributor in his or her own way attempts to locate sexual and attachment processes and their corresponding internal repre­sentations ‘in one history they both express, which is that of the social existence of a developing self’.

The unifying thread of Attachment and Sexuality is the idea that the attachment system, and particularly the degree of felt security, or lack thereof, in relation to early attachment figures provides a paradigm of relatedness that forms a scaffold for the developmental unfolding of sexuality in all its manifestations. Such manifestations include infantile and adult, masturbatory and mutual, and normative and perverse. Also central to the papers is the idea that the development of secure attachment is predicated, in part, on the development of the capacity for mentalization, or the ability to envision and interpret the behavior of oneself and others in terms of intentional mental states, including desires, feelings, beliefs, and motivations.

In his paper, "Attachment and Sexuality," Eagle stipulates that the integration of attachment and sexuality is a developmental challenge, most likely to be successfully negotiated by those with secure attach­ment organization. Those with insecure attachment organization are more likely to rigidly segregate passion and attachment (in the case of those with avoidant attachment), or to confuse the two (in the case of those with ambivalent attachment). In these formulations, Eagle introduces conflict back into attachment theory in that he sees attachment and sexuality as not only functionally separate behavioral systems, but also as mutually antagonistic, particularly in men. He reinterprets the split between love and desire observed by Freud to the split between attachment and sexuality, which he hypothesizes has an evolutionary root. Drawing on studies in anthropology, neurobi­ology, and ethology, Eagle traces the process by which romantic love is divided into adult pair bonding on the one hand and erotic passion on the other. Eagle explores how the consolidation of secure versus insecure attachment not only allows for the integration of passion and attach­ment over time, but also establishes specific pathways for oedipal resolution or lack of it.

Mikulincer and Shaver, in their paper "A Behavioral Systems Perspective on the Psychodynamics of Attachment and Sexuality," as did Eagle, apply an attachment theoretical framework to their investigations of sexual and romantic relationships in adults. They view the attachment behavioral system, and specifically the anchoring of attachment security, as the foundation for the development of mutually satisfying intimate relationships. The authors present an impressive number of empirical stud­ies, in which show that individuals with secure attachment status are more likely to experience pleasurable positive feelings and to take a more playful and exploratory attitude toward sex. By contrast, those with insecure ambivalent attachment status tend to subordinate their sexual needs and desires to the quest for attachment security. Mikulincer and Shaver also take on the thorny issue of how oedipal conflict and resolution may vary in individuals with different attach­ment organization with a set of ground-breaking studies.

In Ammaniti, Nicolais, and Speranza's paper, "Attachment and Sexuality During Adolescence: Interaction, Integration, or Inter­ference," the authors apply both research and clinical investiga­tions to explore the linkages between attachment organization and sexual maturation and development in adolescence. Ammaniti and colleagues observe that there is often an initial period of sexual experimentation in adolescence, after which sexual behavior seems to be patterned after attachment status. Those with secure attachment have the internal solidity and freedom to seek out and maintain committed sexual relationships that integrate affec­tion and sexuality. Avoidant adolescents, on the other hand, either shun sexual encounters altogether or seek out casual exploitative sex, while ambivalent adolescents have trouble maintaining rela­tionships, although they perpetually seek them out. Ammaniti and colleagues observe that the mores of the peer group may override the state of mind with respect to attachment in motivating adolescents' behavior, "especially when in the peer group, adolescents engage in risky behaviors that impact on the pleasure and reward brain related systems". Ammaniti and colleagues' clinical analyses of interviews yielded some similarities in mother-daughter dynamics across the genera­tions, including unresolved issues around mourning and separation in the mothers vis-à-vis their own family of origin, that were not evident in the research classification. This disjunction between the clinical and research analysis of the interview illustrates that sometimes overall attachment classification provides delimitation for a more dynamic clinical exploration of the interview.

Weinstein's paper, "When Sexuality Reaches Beyond the Pleasure Principle: Attachment, Repetition, and Infantile Sexuality," like Ammaniti and colleagues' paper, investigates how both infan­tile sexuality and attachment serve the function of regulating and channeling bodily needs and excitement. Although the attachment system patterns bodily imperatives through the responsiveness of the other, the sexual system, particularly in its infantile version, does so through idiosyncratic fantasies that are by-products of the psychic awakening of endogenous excitement, experienced as part of the self. Most important in Weinstein's view, attachment relationships may determine the set point for the child's tolerance for intimacy, dependency, and mutuality in intimate relationships. In Weinstein's view, theory and research on the attachment systems do not in the end explicate the arena of fantasy, bodily experience, and shifting identifications between self and other that contribute to the enduring mystery and creativity of sexuality.

Holmes, in his paper, "Sense and Sensuality: Hedonic Intersub­jectivity and the Erotic Imagination," emphasizes less the creative tensions between attachment and sexuality, than the areas of creative overlap between the two. At the intersec­tion of attachment and sexuality is an arena that he terms ‘hedonic intersubjectivity’ that encompasses the pleasurable, playful, sensual aspects of attachment bonds and their rootedness in both mutually gratifying physical exchanges between child and caregiver and in flights of erotic imagining. Holmes makes the point that not only does bodily pleasure cement secure attachment, but secure attachment renders such physical transactions gratifying. Further, Holmes stipulates that such a secure base, based on gratifying physical exchanges, provides the platform not only for the emergence of infantile sexuality with its associated wishes and fantasies, but also of adult intersubjective sexuality, which enables the individual to give free rein to creative exploration with the partner, to share in the plea-sure of one's attachment figure, and to integrate erotic imagining into the ongoing sexual relationship.

Most compelling is Holmes's portrayal of the ways in which the transference in three cases becomes the arena in which both psychosexual and attachment histories converge. In the paper by Buchheim, George, and Kaechele, "’My Dog Is Dying Today’: Attachment Narratives and Psychoanalytic Interpre­tation of an Initial Interview," the authors investigate the areas of overlap and divergence between attachment and sexuality as it plays out in the transference-countertransference relationship in one particular case of a severely disturbed female, with a history of depressive breakdown, somatization, and conflictual, broken relationships with men. Certain ambiguous features of her presentation led the analyst to do a more formal research evaluation with the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI). The data obtained from the AAI, which revealed a classification of ‘unresolved’ with respect to loss of the father, provided a route to understanding some of the patient's enigmatic verbalizations and behaviors in the sessions. The authors found that the formal AAI classification in fact contradicted both the initial clinical reading of the interview and the initial assessment of the patients' attachment state of mind based on her presentation in sessions and the ther­apist's countertransference responses to it – the AAI revealed the existence of ‘segregated systems’ in the patient characterized by her inability to integrate multiple, disparate rep­resentations of her father as alternately seductive, threatening, and rejecting.

In the paper by Lieberman, St. John, and Silverman, "Passionate Attachments and Parental Exploitations of Dependency in Infancy and Early Childhood," the authors find in the infant's dependency, a concept that bridges the attach­ment and sexual systems. They insist that sexuality and aggression are inextricably intertwined with the attachment system, and that failure to theo­rize the relationships among these aspects of the infant experience has limited the extent to which attachment theory can be consid­ered a comprehensive personality theory. They state that certain manifestations of perversion can best be understood as "sequelae of dependency expe­riences that are repudiated within the attachment relationship.... The pervert cannot act on his own; he needs another person, someone he can use for his own purposes, exploit and destroy".

In the paper by Diamond and Yeomans, "Oedipal Love and Con­flict in the Transference/Countertransference Matrix: Its Impact on Attachment Security and Mentalization," the authors illustrate how attachment and oedipal/sexual themes are often condensed and intermixed in borderline patients. They present data from the AAI, which assesses attachment state of mind with respect to parental figures and is given to borderline patients at the beginning of a psychodynamic treatment. They provide empirical evidence for the idea that psychic representations of preoedipal conflicts are condensed with sexual/oedipal phase representations in patients with severe personality disorders. This condensation predisposes borderline patients to either severe inhibition in their access to erotic fantasy and sexual expression, or overt and persistent erot­icization in the transference and the lingering of oedipal illusions. The authors stipulate that the waning emphasis on the centrality of oedipal conflicts, particularly in the case of the treatment of severely disturbed patients, has been accompanied by a renewed focus on the cognitive and symbolic processes that attend oedipal stage conflicts and their resolution.

In his discussion of the eight essays in Attachment and Sexuality, Lichtenberg in the final essay provides a coherent, and comprehensive metanarrative of how attachment and sexuality are conceptualized theoretically and explored empirically and in compelling clinical narratives in these papers. Lichtenberg's discussion incorporates the long tradition of psychoanalytic knowledge gleaned from the unfold­ing of data about sexuality in the clinical situation and integrates it with attachment concepts. His discussion not only provides a more comprehensive view of the integration of the attachment and sexual systems, but also raises questions about the limitations of such integration. Although playfulness, explo­ration, curiosity, and sharing are expressions of secure attachment, in Lichtenberg's view, the papers in Attachment and Sexuality may tend to underestimate their role in the development of sexuality in adolescence and beyond.

Historically, attachment theory and research have been weakest in their consideration of the role of sexuality in the formation and disruption of attachment bonds, hence this volume fills a significant theoretical gap. Unique in its integration of detailed clinical material and empirical studies.... Attachment and Sexuality is destined to take its place as a classic in the widening literature on the intersection of psychoanalytic thought and attachment research. – Otto F. Kernberg, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Weill Medical College, Cornell University

Until this book, attachment perspectives have not so clearly addressed romantic love and those sexual passions and drives that are equally core to human need across the lifespan. Each of the authors brings a clinically and scholarly rich integration of how passionate love and en-during love are necessarily woven together in all human relationships. This volume will soon be essential reading for all who work clinically with attachment perspectives and it sets a very clear clinical research agenda for all attachment scholars wishing to move the field forward. – Linda C. Mayes, M.D., Arnold Gesell Professor, Yale Child Study Center

Diamond, Blatt and Lichtenberg have assembled a radical set of original chapters explor­ing the many links, and interdependencies, between sexuality and attachment. Emerging from this indispensable volume are important implications for theory and research in developmental, evolutionary and social psychology, as well as for clinical practice. This groundbreaking book is essential reading both for advanced students and scholars in the social sciences, as well as for clinical psychologists, psychotherapists, and psychoanalysts. – Howard Steele, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology, New School for Social Research

The papers in Attachment and Sexuality show that a multifaceted research effort that combines clinical and empirical approaches to the investigations of the intersection between attachment and sexu­ality is well under way. Further, the compelling case material in this volume, and particularly the depiction of the transference and countertransference dynamics, reveals the subjective experiences and psychic mechanisms associated with the integration of attach­ment and sexual systems that might otherwise remain obscure and unintelligible.

Although the papers pres­ent much research and clinical evidence for the ubiquitous influence of early attachment bonds on sexual relationships throughout the life cycle, they also suggest that in and out of the consulting room one sees that human sexuality cannot be reduced to that which is singularly influenced by attachment. The papers leave hanging the ques­tion about whether certain aspects of erotic experience (e.g., the excessive, irrational, enigmatic, transgressive, and subversive aspects of sexuality) are comprehensible within the attachment framework. These topics will no doubt form the basis for future explorations, and the papers in Attachment and Sexuality will help shape the direction and tenor of further dia­logues in the arena of attachment and sexuality.

Health, Mind & Body / Self-Help

The Elder Wisdom Circle Guide for a Meaningful Life: Seniors Across America Offer Advice to the Next Generations by Doug Meckelson & Diane Haithman (Plume)

  • How do I know my fiancé is ‘The One’?
  • How can I improve my relationship with my stepchild?
  • When should I talk to my child about sex?
  • How do I make time for spirituality in my overloaded schedule?
  • Should I accept a secure job even if it isn't my passion?

American seniors today seek to live more uniquely fulfilling lives than previous generations – whether by volunteering for political causes, sightseeing around the globe, or doling out advice in cyberspace. The Elder Wisdom Circle, via its popular website ElderWisdomCircle.org, embodies the adage, ‘age is wisdom’, putting advice seekers in touch with a network of ‘Cyber-Grandparents’, aged sixty to 105, who offer assistance on everything from love and relationships to family and work. The Elder Wisdom Circle is a group of volunteer senior citizens nationwide who offer sage advice for life's big and small moments.

In The Elder Wisdom Circle Guide for a Meaningful Life founder Doug Meckelson and Diane Haithman share a new collection of sage wisdom on an array of life's most universal and provocative questions. Meckelson, who climbed the corporate ladder for seventeen years within the financial services industry before he founded the Elder Wisdom Circle, and Haithman, a veteran staff writer at the Los Angeles Times, covering fine arts have compiled the material. The book is the result of a six-month project, where over sixty individual members, and nine groups across the country, answered letters from advice seekers on each of life's major phases, from childhood through maturity, love and finally, loss. Through e-mail, or through personal interviews, the Elders also provided insight into the personal life experiences that led to their responses. While not every answer submitted is included, a representative sample of the wisdom received on each topic is presented. The Elders cover a wealth of life know-how, including:

  • Advice for Parents and Children
  • Finding Lasting Love
  • Raising a Happy Child
  • Discovering Your Self
  • Making the Right Decisions

Launched in 2001, the Elder Wisdom Circle is a vital online community with more than six hundred Elders across North America, and a few in the United Kingdom, who offer help to anyone who e-mails their website. Featured on NPR and in USA Today, the site has grown to be one of the most popular online advice destinations. What stands out most in the Elder's responses are particular words and associated wisdom that reoccur throughout their collective answers. Their answers may be different, but the Elder's words of wisdom are strikingly similar. Here are some of the words that turn up frequently in the Elder's responses:

  • Action: Take It.
  • Attitude: Keep It Positive.
  • Change: Embrace It.
  • Curiosity: Don’t Lose It.
  • Fairness: Offer It, But Don't Expect It.
  • Help: Give It.
  • Humor: Laugh.
  • Love: Share It.
  • Mistake: Don't Be Afraid To Make One.
  • Perspective: Keep Things In It.
  • Self-esteem: Develop It.
  • Spirituality: Trust It.
  • Perseverance: Make It Happen.

A valuable book, full of common sense and time-tested advice. – Doris Crumbach, author of Extra Innings

Everyone needs a little advice sometimes and the elder wisdom circle's honest, inspirational guidance is just the ticket when you aren't sure of your next step. – Marci Shimoff, coauthor of Chicken Soup for a Woman's Soul

Inspired by his grandmother, Meckelson, a former worker in the financial services industry, founded the Elder Wisdom Circle in 2001. …Many engaging and thoughtful questions and responses are recounted. Although one respondent recommends trusting in God, the circle members are by no means all believers and are required to refrain from proselytizing. The elders are not afraid to discuss nontraditional family structures and also humanely and appropriately deal with inquiries about sexuality. Anyone looking for empathy and practical strategies for overcoming difficulties from those who have been there will profit from this light-hearted guide and be inspired to visit the Web site, elderwisdomcircle.org. – Publishers Weekly

Thoughtful and inspiring, The Elder Wisdom Circle Guide for a Meaningful Life is like a gift handed from one generation to the next. Seasoned by experience, these ‘Cyber-Grandparents’ surprise, delight, and inspire with refreshing advice for how to live a purposeful and fulfilling life at any age. Insightful and sometimes surprising, their guidance will put readers on a path to a more purposeful and fulfilling life at any age.

Health, Mind & Body / Self-Help / Family Relationships

It's All about You: Live the Life You Crave by Mary Goulet & Heather Reider (The Free Press)

I'm a woman. I'm a mom. I want my own identity. I want to spend time with my friends. I want to feel in love. I'm worried about getting older. I could use more sleep. I would love to work out more. Perhaps I could take up a sport or a hobby, but when? I'm short on time, short on energy, and I wonder every day what I will make for dinner. – Everymom, from the book

Being a mother is amazing, although motherhood is not always easy. After bundling the kids off to day care or school, a demanding schedule at the office, or maybe a packed day of running countless errands while shuttling kids to and from ballet, soccer, or other activities, moms get home, manage to throw together dinner; and then meet endless stacks of bills, laundry, and other projects they've been meaning to tackle await them once the kids have finally been put to bed. Meanwhile, their husbands are pushing for some private time, though the only action they can imagine in the bedroom is of the shut-eye variety. Once they do get to sleep, it's all too soon before the craziness begins again.

And these are just some of the daily challenges moms everywhere face. Wouldn't it be great to have a more peaceful and streamlined home life? Wouldn't it be great if all of these things could be made more enjoyable? Wouldn't it be nice to have a life and be the loving Mom? It's All about You is a book that looks to do just that – provide moms with real advice on how to balance love, family, work, money, health, and every other issue that life brings. And to bring back passion to the life that they crave.

Mary Goulet and Heather Reider are the founders of MomsTown, Inc., and the online radio hosts of The Mary & Heather Show. Now, in response to the hundreds of thousands of moms who ask for a plan on how to get their lives back – from having a healthy sex life to finding more time and earning more money – Goulet and Reider have assembled the real advice from their personal experiences as mothers as well as from other moms and specialists.

It's All about You is filled with support for overextended moms, with suggestions on how to find the perfect balance between living a richer, fuller life and being the best mother they can possibly be. Not only do they share their experiences of their busy lives as mothers and wives, but also of starting their business together and sharing secrets from the MomsTown Big Break, an opportunity for the entrepreneurial-minded mom.

It's All about You covers time management, organization, money, sex, meals, and business – issues that busy mothers struggle with, often alone or with little help or support. The book is divided into sections that break down these all-consuming issues – including money, sex, body image, diet, time management, multitasking, controlling chaos, home and office organization, and the importance of girlfriends. In addition to their own advice and that of experts they provide ‘Tips and Takes’ from women around the country, including real life stories they've heard and e-mails they've received. And their advice is tailor-made for their audience. Many of the action-steps are written as ‘Quickies’ – items that can be done in 15 minutes or less, whenever a busy schedule allows. "We know your time is valuable, your energy is treasured, and your thoughts cherished," write Goulet and Reider, "it means the world to us that you are joining us on a journey of renewal, a journey to discover the Unique You."

Goulet and Reider, radio talk-show hosts (The Mary & Heather Show) and founders of the Web site MomsTown.com, put their enterprising and inspiring ideas together in this chatty text that will appeal to busy moms who want to do it all. … Financial issues, sex after children and clearing clutter are also included, with plenty of practical and sometimes unusual tips (i.e., flossing is good for your sex life). The authors claim that many moms suffer from OCI (overwhelmed, confused and irritated), with their lives spinning out of control in their attempts to please everyone. Goulet and Reider encourage moms to follow their motto, Better Done Than Perfect, learning to manage time and use motherhood to empower and strengthen their lives. Their text addresses the busy and multidimensional lives of mothers, offering readers support and advice as they pursue their aspirations within and outside the home. – Publishers Weekly
For any woman who has been blessed with the honorable juggle of motherhood, marriage, work, and life, It's All about You is an incredible guide to finding our way back – back to life as we all once knew it. An empowering, touching, clever take on where and how we fit in our own world. – Liz Pryor, author of What Did I Do Wrong?: When Women Don't Tell Each Other the Friendship Is Over

Written in their trademark witty, fun, and honest voices that have drawn hundreds of thousands of women to their website and radio show, Goulet and Reider are "working to help moms carve out a little extra income, a little extra time, a little extra energy, a little extra joy." Accessible and entertaining, they know what it's like trying to have it all, and they've found the way to be successful at it. In It's All about You they tackle with gusto the challenges that mothers face every day providing insightful and easy-to-implement strategies to not only cope with the daily grind, but also to live life to its fullest. With inspiring examples, true stories, and sound advice and plans, they make all moms feel empowered about themselves and their opportunities.

History / Americas / World / Social Sciences / Slavery & Emancipation / African American Studies

Remembering Slavery: African Americans Talk About Their Personal Experiences of Slavery and Emancipation (with MP3 Audio CD) edited by Ira Berlin, Marc Favreau & Steven F. Miller, with a foreword by Robin D. G. Kelley (The New Press)

Slaves were instructed on pain of injury not to protest an unhealthy relationship fixed by whites for the benefit of whites. Remarkably, slaves did not obey. They managed to bring on the Civil War; in the process, they de­stroyed the system of slavery and delivered a more fully realized American democracy.

…Daughters and sons of Africa, these children who bore the mark of the lash wanted free universal education for everyone, the right to vote for everyone, the right to own and work their land, the right to build communities, worship, and love each other without the threat of mob violence. The architects of a new nation . . . these are the people the Federal Writers' Project and others sought to restore to history during the 1930s and early 1940s. – from the foreword

In 1998, The New Press published Remembering Slavery, a book-and-tape set that offered a startling first-person history of slavery. Using excerpts from the thousands of interviews conducted with ex-slaves in the 1930s by researchers working with the Federal Writers' Project, the astonishing audiotapes made available the only known recordings of people who actually experienced enslavement – recordings that had gathered dust in the Library of Congress until they were rendered audible for the first time specifically for this set. Edited by Ira Berlin, award winning author of Many Thousands Gone; Marc Favreau, editorial director of The New Press; and Steven F. Miller, coeditor of the Freemen and Southern Society Project; with a foreword by Robin D. G. Kelley, Professor of History and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, Remembering Slavery received the kind of commercial attention seldom accorded projects of this nature – nationwide critical and review coverage as well as extensive coverage on prime-time television, including Good Morning America, Nightline, CBS Sunday Morning, and CNN. The tapes have been aired repeatedly on public radio stations across the country. Reviewers called the set "chilling . . . [and] riveting" (Publishers Weekly), "something, truly, truly new" (The Village Voice), "powerful and intense" (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) and "a minor miracle" (Ted Koppel, Nightline).
Now, after almost ten years, the groundbreaking – and bestselling – recordings of interviews with former slaves collected in the original book-and-audio set of Remembering Slavery is available in paperback for a new generation of readers and listeners on a remastered MP3 compact disc.

These, the only known audio recordings of former slaves, capture the texture of everyday slave life from about 1845 through 1865. Transcripts of 124 former slaves’ interviews include stories of family life, marriage, children, work and religion. They tell us what slaves wore, ate, enjoyed and thought. Overall the interviewees provide a day-to-day account of the lives of enslaved people, their work regimens, which varied with geography and the types of crops cultivated, and the culture they sustained under the oppressive conditions of slavery. They recall everyday minor rebellions that helped them maintain a sense of control and dignity and ongoing attempts to formulate families in a system that didn't respect marriage among slaves. The remembrances in Remembering Slavery are joyful when the tales are about fleeing or helping others to flee, and jubilant in the segments concerning emancipation following the Civil War.

Ira Berlin's fifty-page introduction is as good a synthesis of current scholarship as one will find, filled with fresh insights for any reader. – The San Diego Union Tribune

… Historian Berlin … is a master of allowing the natural drama of history to unfold. The tapes particularly are riveting, perhaps especially for those seeking their roots in Southern slavery. … Those wonderfully present voices describe family life, work ethic and recreational patterns, religious ethos and resistance in answer to questions posed in often unmistakably condescending terms by white interviewers. This project will enrich every American home and classroom. – Publishers Weekly
These original recordings … have been remastered using state-of-the-art equipment and sound remarkably clear. … the tapes really come alive when the former slaves are speaking. Their dignity and authenticity are most impressive as they describe family life, daily routine, and work expectations. Despite their rigors and tragedies, the dozen men and women on the selections are not bitter but instead are optimistic, open-minded, and well-adjusted. These are excellent primary historical audio sources that students and teachers will find invaluable. – Rob Tench, Newport News Public Library, VA, School Library Journal  
This collection brings forth, through both sight and sound, as Remembering Slavery is a book-and-tape set, the poignant voices of people who had been slaves. … The interviewers included such luminaries as Zora Neale Hurston and John Lomax, who talked to the ex-slaves about their relationships with their former owners and their relationships with other slaves. The editors' interpolations are kept to a minimum and are used strictly to tie themes together, without disrupting the accounts of those who lived much of their early lives as slaves. … The work itself … gives voice to one of the most significant institutions in American history. – Vanessa Bush, Booklist
[A]n invaluable collection of firsthand accounts by former slaves... – Chicago Tribune
A chilling witness to slavery's persistent legacy. – Booknotes

History comes alive in this invaluable collection. As Robin Kelly says in the foreword to the book, if all of these disparate stories and diverse voices embody one single theme, it is humanity. Remembering Slavery offers inspiration that the human spirit endures and triumphs over the most extreme circumstances. Together the narratives reinforce the incredible ability of African Americans to maintain their dignity and self-worth, to offer the rest of the world a model of humanity that could emancipate ‘free’ people the world over. It is our recognition of the ex-slaves' humanity that enables us to discard the false dichotomies of ‘Sambo’ and ‘rebel’ and see these amazing black survivors as complicated human beings. Remembering Slavery is sure to enrich readers and listeners for years to come.

History / Europe / Biographies & Memoirs

Elizabeth & Leicester: Power, Passion, Politics by Sarah Gristwood (Viking)
Did they or didn't they?

Few relationships fire our imagination like that of Elizabeth I and the Earl of Leicester, Robert Dudley – the love affair immortalized in Philippa Gregory’s The Virgin’s Lover – but nearly fifty years have passed since a book has been dedicated solely to their lifelong love.
In Elizabeth & Leicester, writer Sarah Gristwood explores Elizabeth’s relationship with her confidant Dudley. The book examines this complex relationship in detail and the impact it had not simply on Elizabeth’s and Robert’s personal lives, but also on the intricate dance that was Tudor politics.

Elizabeth and her ‘bonnie sweet Robin’ were childhood playmates who came of age in the treacherous Tudor court. Both had parents executed as traitors. Both found themselves residing in the Tower of London courtesy of Elizabeth's sister ‘Bloody’ Mary.

Soon after Elizabeth became queen she scandalized the royal court with her passionate obsession with the married Dudley. When Dudley’s wife mysteriously died two years later, there was rampant speculation that Dudley had had his wife conveniently dispatched, that the two would marry, that the two would not marry. That Elizabeth had had Amy Dudley murdered knowing the inevitable suspicion clouding the relationship would forever destroy any prospect of formalizing an alliance with a man not of her station. And so it went.

Yet, over the next few decades, Elizabeth and Dudley remained steadfast friends and confidantes. Robert advised Elizabeth, serving as her counselor, unofficial consort, and army commander. He guarded her sickbed and represented her on state occasions. For this, Elizabeth bestowed upon him great titles and even greater lands.

But despite her trust and devotion, she also humiliated him, forcing him to serve as her go-between with numerous royal suitors and unceremoniously attempting to clap him in irons when he finally remarried. Fueled by scandal and intrigue, this royal relationship was never dull.
Elizabeth & Leicester is an intimate portrait of two people who transformed their age. Gristwood, formerly at Oxford, a journalist specializing in the arts and women’s issues, corrects the image of Leicester to shows readers a fierce champion of Protestantism, theater, medicine and exploration, and a major force at Oxford, where he was chancellor. She questions whether Elizabeth was only technically a virgin, whether she and Leicester practiced a form of chaste courtly love or whether Arthur Dudley, accused by Spain of espionage in 1587, was really the pair's illegitimate son.

Why did they never marry? What were Elizabeth's motives in offering Leicester to her half sister, Mary? How much of their passionate attachment – and their restraint – was actually political convenience? In Elizabeth & Leicester Gristwood reignites this smoldering four-hundred-year-old love story in her lush, intimate portrait of two people whose outsized personalities transformed their age.

…Gristwood (Arbella: England's Lost Queen) rightly revises the image of Leicester from the queen's preening and clownish lapdog to a fiercely ambitious political animal, warrior, landowner, philanthropist and patriot with clear policies of his own. … This vigorous, valuable and richly detailed study sheds welcome light on the psyche of a great stateswoman whose bending of traditional gender roles continues to tantalize. – Publishers Weekly

Quite simply one of the most enthralling history books I've ever read. Packed with riveting derail, it is full of engaging and perceptive insights into the truth about the Virgin Queen and the man who meant more to her than any other. You must read this! – Alison Weir, author of The Life of Elizabeth I

Passionately and compellingly tells the story of the secret love and political alliance of the Queen and her great favorite, Robert Dudley. A vivid, entertaining and accessible study of the seething Tudor court and, above all, a fascinating portrait of power, love and royalty in dangerous times. – Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Stalin: Court of the Red Tsar

Vivacious and absorbing. Gristwood is a mistress of the trivial details that enthrall. Full of intriguing suggestions, stimulating analogies and shrewd connections. – Miranda Seymour, The Sunday Times (London)

As well as producing an enthralling account of one particular relationship, Gristwood crams her book with fascinating details of life at court. – The Mail on Sunday

… This is rich terrain, taking us into the heart of our feelings about femininity, power and nationhood. Makes one feel that: Freud's question 'What do women want?’ might have been inspired by the enigmatic behavior of Elizabeth herself. – Telegraph

Vivacious and absorbing. Gristwood is a mistress of the trivial details that enthrall. – The Sunday Times (London)

Passionately and compellingly tells the story of the secret love and political alliance of the Queen and her great favorite, Robert Dudley. A vivid, entertaining and accessible study of the seething Tudor court and, above all, a fascinating portrait of power, love and royalty in dangerous times. – Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Stalin, Court of the Red Tsar

A fascinating book which the London Times called ‘vivacious and absorbing,’ Elizabeth & Leicester by British writer Gristwood is an intimate, startling portrait of two figures who transformed their age, gripping, unconventional account of one of history's most fascinating alliances. For those who adore reading about the royals and the many fans of the Emmy Award-winning miniseries Elizabeth I and feature film Elizabeth, this is a story of enduring love that continues to speak to readers today.

History / Military / Aviation / Engineering

F-15 Eagle Engaged: The World's Most Successful Jet Fighter (General Aviation) by Steve Davies & Doug Dildy (Osprey Publishing)

With its twin tail, the F-15 Eagle is probably the most recognizable military jet fighter in the skies today, and is undoubtedly the most successful jet fighter of all time, having never been shot down in combat. Flown not only by the US Air Force but by the air forces of Israel, Saudi Arabia and Japan, and, with over 30 years service, the F-15 is the world's leading operational air superiority and intercept warplane.
Steve Davies and Doug Dildy in F-15 Eagle Engaged draw on a vast array of sources including combat records, technical documents, and unpublished first-hand accounts from the pilots themselves to tell the story of the plane, detailing such incredible feats as the Israeli F-15 which was successfully landed despite losing a wing.

Ret. USAF Squadron Commander Dildy has collaborated with aviation expert Davies to bring the plane to life in F-15 Eagle Engaged. According to Davies, what made the F-15 the dominant fighter jet from the time it was first put into service in 1976 was its incredibly simple radar interface. Using state-of-the-art computer technology, the radar designers at Hughes Aircraft designed a system that allowed the pilot to read the radar screen while flying the jet at the same time. This was a first-ever for an aircraft fighter. Says Davies, "The idea of a radar screen looking like a video game has become commonplace, but it didn't exist before the F-15." Dildy and Davies in F-15 Eagle Engaged provide details on every major F-15 engagement, including:

  • The Israeli Air Force's 1982 air-to-air combat with the Syrian Air Force.
  • The Saudi F-15 destruction of two Iranian F-4Es in 1984.
  • USAF deployment to the Saudi border during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 1990.
  • Extensive USAF combat missions during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
  • Enforcement of the Iraqi no-fly zone by the USAF following Desert Storm.
  • Deployment over US airspace immediately after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Since the adoption the F-22 Raptor in 2005, the Air Force has begun cutting back its Eagle squadron. Because of this, Dildy and Davies were able to obtain unequalled access to formerly classified technical specifications of the elite fighter. Says Davies, "It is our hope that by combining the first-hand accounts of those who flew her together with combat records and just about everything available on her technical specs, this will become the definitive resource for anyone interested in the Eagle."

F-15 Eagle Engaged superbly captures the ‘true personality’ of the F-15 by not only detailing the four decades of technologies that have given it unmatched combat performance, but also letting you meet the men and women who designed, flew, and maintained this magnificent jet, allowing it to be called ‘The World's Most Successful Jet Fighter.’ – Brigadier General (Ret.) Dick ‘Lips’ Banholzer, Director, Business Development, USAF Fighters and Weapons, The Boeing Company

A USAF Colonel and a leading aviation journalist combine in F-15 Eagle Engaged to pen the most comprehensive book ever published on the F-15 Eagle. Containing over 100 breathtaking color photographs, detailed technical information and fascinating combat stories, this definitive history and guide to the world's most successful jet fighter is a ‘must have’ for anyone interested in modern aviation.

Home & Garden / Antiques & Collectibles / Transportation

The Hemi in the Barn: More Great Stories of Automotive Archaeology by Tom Cotter, with an introduction by Jay Leno (Motorbooks)

Every car enthusiast dreams about finding an old car in a barn. I’ve been lucky to find a few cars that way, and two of those stories are in this book. Sometimes ‘barn finds’ are valuable; sometimes they’re not. But they’re usually great stories. Tom Cotter shared those stories in his first book, and he’s done it again with this one. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. – Jay Leno, host of The Tonight Show

It’s every car lover’s fantasy: the perfectly preserved classic automobile discovered under a blanket in some great-granny’s garage. And as Tom Cotter, who writes regularly for Road & Track, showed readers in The Cobra in the Barn, it’s a fantasy that can come true. Cotter’s adventures in automotive archaeology continue in The Hemi in the Barn, with forty new stories of car finds and automotive resurrections.
Avid collectors big and small recall the thrills of the hunt, the tips and hunches followed, clues pursued, the heart-stopping payoff. There’s the forgotten Duesenberg – the only unrestored one around – that Jay Leno found in a Burbank garage. There’s another 1931 model Dusenberg Leno found in a parking garage in New York City that was parked in 1933 and was never moved. There’s a Plymouth Superbird found buried in a hedge out of sight in Alabama.
There’s the rescue of the first 1955 Corvette ever built. There’s the find of legendary race builder Smokey Yunick’s Boss 302 Trans-Am car. And there’s the story of the original Cobra Daytona Coupe built by Peter Brock and sold to Phil Spectre – a story that somehow involves a chauffeur’s daughter setting herself and her rabbits on fire.

With stories of cars long lost and eventually found, The Hemi in the Barn continues the search for amazing barn finds, detailing every tip and hunch followed along the way.

Tom Cotter's sequel to last year's best-selling The Cobra in the Barn relays one great tale after another, with players unearthing rare cars to die for. The treasures include an armored Mercedes-Benz Aktion P command car discovered in pieces in Russia, a desirable Dodge Daytona Hemi virtually abandoned behind bushes in a guy's yard, a bushel of Bugattis in a barn, the ‘Divorcee Cobra,’ and a GTO owned by a mobster. These are great stories about great cars. – Edmonds.com

The book is highly entertaining, often exciting and should hold universal appeal for all car enthusiasts. – Hemmings Muscle Machines

Tom Cotter tells fascinating tales of dream cars discovered everywhere…. the stuff of every enthusiast’s fantasy. – Road & Track

As entertaining as the tales in The Hemi in the Barn are, they’re also full of tantalizing hints and suggestions for readers’ next adventure in automobile archaeology. Time to stop dreaming and start hunting.

Home & Garden / Crafts & Hobbies / Computers & Internet

Innovative Fabric Imagery for Quilts: Must-Have Guide to Transforming & Printing Your Favorite Images on Fabric by Cyndy Lyle Rymer, with Lynn Koolish (C&T Publishing)

Warning. Creating Images on Fabric Can Be Addictive.

Everyone has a favorite picture of children, pets, houses, dogs, cats, goldfish…. With Innovative Fabric Imagery for Quilts, crafters can turn those photos into quilts that will be cherished for generations to come. Skill-building projects with instructions show how to create these heirlooms. A gallery of work from some of today’s most innovative quilters for inspiration gives ideas for capturing old memories and making new ones.

A decade after the first inexpensive digital cameras appeared, and eight years after C&T Publishing brought out its first book on using computers and printers to put images on fabric, what are quilt artists creating today with digital technology? That was the question on their minds when C&T put out a call for entries for a new book and a special exhibit on Innovative Fabric Imagery. As a digital quilt artist herself, author Cyndy Lyle Rymer expected to be surprised. But she still was not prepared for the breadth and quality of the entries they received.

While the works of art shown in the book cover a wide variety of styles and subjects, they all share one common element: digital technology played a vital part in their creation. Innovative Fabric Imagery for Quilts contains 13 projects with step-by-step instructions and digital techniques, a getting-started chapter on equipment, supplies, and image-editing and software; and a gallery of more than 40 entries selected for the Innovative Fabric Imagery special exhibit at the International Quilt Market and Festival in Houston in 2007.

Rymer, longtime quilter and author of the popular Photo Fun books, invites readers to enjoy the work and to try out some of the techniques for themselves. If readers are new to printing on fabric, she has included projects with step-by-step instructions, as well as tips and techniques readers can use to create similar projects or to learn a specific technique.

Rymer says she frequently asks herself: To sew or play with images in Photoshop? If readers are just getting into printing photos and other images on fabric, she says, beware: it is addictive. Sometimes great ideas don't work out exactly as planned, and she gets frustrated because she has ‘wasted’ a precious sheet or two of pretreated fabric. It is all part of the learning curve, however, and any time or materials spent making art are always a good investment.

She says she is a true Photoshop Elements junkie and can spend hours playing on her computer with the color, size, and shape of a photo. Filters are fun to experiment with – in just seconds, a photo can be transformed into a still-life painting. Readers can then venture into the realm of layers and stack multiple images to make collages.

There are many ways to get photos or other images onto fabric. Although Innovative Fabric Imagery for Quilts focuses on using an all-in-one (inkjet printer/copier/ scanner), there are other methods if readers don't own an all-in-one. If readers own an all-in-one, a computer, a digital camera, basic photo‑editing software, and a sewing machine, they will find that there is never enough time to experiment with all that is possible. Rymer advises readers to try working small, as in the Chic Music series which explores lyrics by female musicians. Pick a theme and explore a variety of techniques. Think about doing a series based on favorite books, childhood memories, favorite places, the homes they have lived in. If they do own an all-in-one, but the idea of using a computer and photo-editing software gives them sweaty palms, keep in mind that they don't have to connect their all-in-one to a computer to get great images. They can use the machine's copy func­tion. They can convert a color photo to black and white simply by pushing the Black Copy button instead of the Color button. They can create an entire collage of images, text, and three-dimensional objects on the scanner bed.

Quilts that express a highly personal creative vision, quilts that make a political statement, quilts that will amuse, inspire, even astonish – readers will find all these in this collection. Innovative Fabric Imagery for Quilts offers a stunning and inspiring gallery of more than 40 innovative fabric imagery quilts. If they are quilters and need something to get them off their bums and buy a three-in-one printer or a digital camera (you know you need to), this may be just the ticket. And the getting-started chapter is perfect for beginners.

Home & Garden / Home Design / Remodeling & Renovation

New Rooms for Old Houses: Beautiful Additions for the Traditional Home (National Trust for Historic Preservation) by Frank Shirley (Taunton)

Who doesn't love an old house?

The most popular American house styles today are still the classics from yesterday – Capes, Bungalows, Victorians and Federals. The perennial struggle, however, is how to best live in them, because many of yesterday's homes lack enough space to accommodate the way we live today. The usual solution? An addition. The usual problem? Building it right.

Frank Shirley, respected old-house architect, shows how it should be done. Shirley understands that adding on is about creating a classic home that reflects contemporary lifestyles. He has had a hand in nearly two decades’ worth of old-house projects, so he knows the right and wrong way to expand any classic American home. According to Shirley, who owns an architectural firm in Cambridge and is co-chair of the Boston Society of Architects’ Residential Design Committee, in New Rooms for Old Houses, there were previously no books available for homeowners who were considering expanding a beloved old home.

Shirley loves old houses, and by that he means houses from what he considers the golden era of American residential architecture, 1740 to 1940. As he explains, "If I create an addition for your home and the result is a close marriage of the old and new spaces, the result will be a revitalized residence that remains perfectly composed and blended with its environment."

Walking readers through his design cornerstones, Shirley leads readers on a house tour through the golden age of American architecture. With over 300 photos, both before and after shots, and architectural drawings, the tips, techniques and materials presented in the book are the culmination of the author's vast experience. Insights are also drawn from the top architects and passionate homeowners included in New Rooms for Old Houses who have taken on the difficult but rewarding task of updating their homes for future generations.

Shirley has developed an approach using the guiding principle of ‘harmony’, that anything added must be in consonance with the whole house; he has made the process of building an addition into an art form. Harmony involves not only appearance, but also function. When Shirley designs an addition, he creates a floor plan for his clients to consider how the new house will be lived in – how people will move about the whole space and how the rooms are most likely to be used. Using the guiding principle of ‘harmony,’ Shirley walks readers through the four cornerstones of design: balance, public and private areas, the careful use of transitions, and the choice of appropriate materials.

  • Balance: Above all, the balance of design elements determines whether the addition will succeed or fail. Balance is achieved through the proper placement and sizing of the addition. The proportions of each design element must be correct for the whole design to look right and work well.
  • Public Versus Private Space: There was a clear distinction between the public and private areas in an American home built during the Golden era. Public areas such as the living room, dining room and foyer were formal and usually located on the first floor near the front of the house. Private areas such as kitchens and bedrooms were less formal and located at either the back of the house or upstairs.
  • Transitions: With all four sides of the house working in concert to present a balanced design, finding a place to expand can be difficult, which is why crafting the perfect transition between old and new is crucial. This is especially true when the functions of the rooms where the house and addition meet are incompatible, such as with a garage and a kitchen. An intervening space like a mudroom could be the answer.
  • Materials: Materials express the home's personality. A brick home feels different from a wooden home and a clapboard home feels different from a shingle home, no matter the design style. Materials also reinforce the distinction between the formal and informal areas of the house. Therefore, harmony is achieved when the materials for the addition are selected with an understanding of the original choice of materials.

Throughout New Rooms for Old Houses, Shirley applies these concepts to additions on houses of many design periods using examples from across the country. Home locations include Alexandria, VA; Bethesda, MD; Bronxville, NY; Cape Cod, MA; Chestnut Hill, MA; Hingham, MA; Irvington, NY; Lincoln, MA; Los Angeles, CA; Marblehead, MA; Marshalton, PA; New Canaan, CT; Newbury, MA; Oley, PA; San Francisco, CA; Sausalito, CA; and Washington, DC.

New Rooms for Old Houses is a comforting companion for anyone undertaking the delicate challenge of extending the life of an old house for modern living. – Russell Versaci, author of Creating the New Old House

Shirley carefully unpacks the mysteries of what makes for a `just right'
expansion of an old house. – Bruce Irving, renovation consultant and former executive producer of ‘This Old House’

New Rooms for Old Houses is a fascinating tour through the golden age of architecture. Through words and pictures, Shirley shows how to enlarge a historical home without sacrificing the charm and character of the original structure. With plentiful full-color photos, this beautiful design guide is an essential resource for anyone who loves classic American houses. Too bad: it appears he’s never worked in the South – we have some beautiful old houses down here too!

Literature & Fiction

Grub: A Novel by Elise Blackwell (The Toby Press)

A long overdue retelling of New Grub Street, George Gissing's classic satire of the Victorian literary marketplace, Grub, written by Elise Blackwell, English professor at the University of South Carolina, chronicles the triumphs and humiliations of a group of young novelists living in and around New York City.

Eddie Renfros, on the brink of failure after his critically acclaimed first book, wants only to publish another novel and hang on to his beautiful wife, ambitious Amanda, who has a talent for self-promotion, is tired of supporting Eddie and has a bit of a roving eye. Among their circle are writers of every stripe are the Machiavellian hustler Jackson Miller and the ‘experimental writer’ Henry Baffler, the poverty stricken ascetic, who lives in squalor while seeking the perfect sentence. Then there is sweet Margot Yarborough, a true talent, the daughter of an aging, cruel, once famous literary critic, painstakingly making her way through a novel about lepers in Louisiana.

Amid an assortment of scheming agents, editors, and hangers-on, in Grub each writer must negotiate the competing demands of success and integrity, while grappling with inner demons and the stabs of professional and personal jealousy. The question that nags at them is this: What is it to write a novel in the twenty-first century?

Three no-longer-so-young irony boys and their put-upon wives and girlfriends write, drink, pace the streets of contemporary New York City and occasionally manage to publish a novel or two in this biting remake of George Gissing's 1891 novel New Grub Street. … The milieu is familiar; the characters' grasping behaviors blur and strain credibility. Caricature, however, is the point here: Blackwell nails the contemporary forms taken by some very old ambitions. – Publishers Weekly
… Here she skewers the publishing world with an insider's perspective. … A cautionary tale for aspiring writers. – Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist
A fizzy contemporary-Manhattan retelling of New Grub Street.... A quick-paced, amusing novel. – Kirkus Reviews
Grub is a mordantly witty, thoroughly stimulating, absolutely wonderful, satire of the New York literary world and of the price of being a literary success in America. – The Islamorada Free Press
The pressures of and on 21st-century literary creativity ... are portrayed with biting and often gleefully hilarious truth. – Library Journal (starred review)
What does it take to become a celebrity novelist is the question Elise Blackwell answers in Grub. – Sydney Morning Herald
Elise Blackwell moves into the front rank of American satirists. ... an uproarious lampoon of the American drive for success. – San Francisco Chronicle

Grub strikes hard at writers, readers and publishers. Engaging, compassionate and pointedly funny, the book reveals what the publishing industry does to writers – and what writers do to themselves and each other – for the sake of art and in pursuit of celebrity.
Literature & Fiction

A Pigeon and a Boy: A Novel by Meir Shalev, translated from the Hebrew by Evan Fallenberg (Schocken Books)

Shalev creates a world that has the richness of invention and obsessiveness of dreams. He delivers both startling imagery and passionate, original characters whose destinies we follow through love, loss, laughter, and death. – The New York Times Book Review

From the internationally acclaimed Israeli writer Meir Shalev comes A Pigeon and a Boy, a novel of two love stories, separated by half a century but connected by one act of devotion.
During the 1948 War of Independence – a time when pigeons are still used to deliver battlefield messages – a gifted young pigeon handler is mortally wounded. In the moments before his death, he dispatches one last pigeon. The bird is carrying his extraordinary gift to the girl he has loved since adolescence. Intertwined with this story is the contemporary tale of Yair Mendelsohn, who has his own legacy from the 1948 war. Yair is a tour guide specializing in bird-watching trips who, in middle age, falls in love again with a childhood girlfriend. His growing passion for her, along with a gift from his mother on her deathbed, becomes the key to a life he thought no longer possible. 

Inside the pigeon's message holder lay the Baby's final love letter and, what Yair does not yet know or understand, the key to his own conception and birth. In uncovering this story, Yair begins a journey into his family's complicated legacies and his own uncertain future with the women he loves.
Meir Shalev (1948- ) was born on Nahalal, Israel’s first moshav, and is one of Israel’s most celebrated novelists. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages and have been best sellers in Israel, Holland, and Germany. In 1999 Shalev was awarded the Juliet Club Prize (Italy). He has also received the Prime Minister’s Prize (Israel), the Chiavari (Italy), the Entomological Prize (Israel), the WIZO Prize (France, Israel, and Italy), and for A Pigeon and a Boy, the Brenner Prize, Israel’s highest literary recognition. A columnist for the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, Shalev lives in Jerusalem and in northern Israel with his wife and children.
The translator of the work, Evan Fallenberg, who translates fiction by well-known and upcoming Israeli writers, teaches creative writing at Bar Ilan University in Israel.

In this stunning tale, Shalev masterfully interweaves two remarkable personal stories. … This gem of a story about the power of love, which won Israel's Brenner Prize, brims with luminous originality. – Publishers Weekly (starred review)
An excellent book [that] touches and breaks your heart and leaves you deep in thought about what was and what could have been. – Hatzofeh (Tel Aviv)

Magical realism works beautifully in this powerfully suffused novel of love, loss and the need for home. Highly recommended. – Library Journal

A captivating and moving story....Not only are [Shalev's] characters rich but his writing is powerful. Through his words he expands the reader's imagination and succeeds in disconnecting one from the present to enter a different reality altogether.  Jerusalem Post

A romantic lush story of Israel on the eve of Independence juxtaposed against the present. More than anything I have read, in the rhythm of the stories, the romantic longing, the intense love, this beautiful book reminds me of Love in the Time of Cholera. – Carla Cohen, Politics and Prose

A wonderfully told story. – Toby Cox, Three Lives

This is a war novel on the epic order of, say, Dr. Zhivago: the dust rises off the pages, and the pigeons that are so essential to the plot become true characters in their birdliness (which appears next to Godliness in this novel). Shalev's humor easily morphs into plangent memories, which always return to the novelist's natural state of necessary ebullience. – Steven Shapiro, Rainy Day Books

A haunting and magical story about the legacies of love, Shalev's A Pigeon and a Boy interweaves a powerful love story between two pigeon handlers during the 1948 Israeli War of Independence with a contemporary love story of a middle-aged tour guide and the woman he has loved since childhood. In a voice that is at once playful, wise, and beguiling, Shalev tells this story, as universal as war and as intimate as a winged declaration of love. The story is deeply moving, rich in its setting yet universal in its meaning. It is a tale of lovers then and now – of how deeply we love, of what home is, and why we, like pigeons trained to fly in one direction only, must eventually return to it. 

Literature & Fiction / Drama / Anthologies

Best Black Plays: The Theodore Ward Prize for African American Playwriting edited by Chuck Smith, with a foreword by Woodie King, Jr. (Northwestern University Press)

In 2007, when these award-winning plays reach publication – a time when the cost of everything from gas to housing to education is rising and a non-musical Broadway production hovers around $2 million, off-Broadway nearly $750,000, and regional theater upward of $150,000 – where does a black playwright go? Especially since in the aforementioned venues, cost does not always equal quality.

When we look forward into the first decade of the twenty-first century, we see the problems within the black community being solved by the peo­ple within that community, within the families of these communities. Of course the diverse voices that distinguish each playwright propose diverse solutions.

Ultimately, no matter how difficult, these playwrights are saying we must attempt to solve our own problems. And that is what Theodore Ward did sixty years ago; what black theater did forty years ago; and what Chuck Smith and Columbia College Chicago began with the Theodore Ward Prize for African American Playwriting twenty years ago. – from the Foreword by Woodie King Jr.

Over its twenty-year history, the Theodore Ward Prize for African American Playwriting has offered a rich reflection of the accomplish­ments of black playwrights and their importance in shaping contemporary theater. Best Black Plays showcases three recent winners of the Theodore Ward Prize: Leslie Lee's Sundown Names and Night-Gone Things tells of the sordid shenanigans of a Depression-era burial society; Mark Clayton Southers' Ma Noah recounts a mother's heartbreaking battle to save her children's souls; and Kim Euell's The Diva Daughters DuPree shares the poignant and achingly funny reunion of three sisters after their parents' deaths. Selected for Best Black Plays by the contest facilitator, Chuck Smith, these plays, in their unique quality and subject matter, fill a need for African American plays today.

Smith is a resident director at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, where his productions have included The Story, Proof, The Death of Bessie Smith, The Gift Horse, The Amen Cor­ner, A Raisin in the Sun, Blues for an Alabama Sky, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, A Christmas Carol, and The Meeting. Smith is also a faculty member in the theater department of Columbia College Chicago.

To get black plays to a wider audience, to expand boundaries, they must get productions or they must get published. The award-winning plays of the Theodore Ward Prize for African American Playwriting are now able to get both a production and published, thus these plays will find the exposure they need.

The compelling plays in Best Black Plays, in their distinctive quality and dynamic subject matter, answer an important demand for African American dra­matic work today. Best Black Plays is the second in a series that will be published every three years. Seven Black Plays was the first. Its target audiences are African American theater students and theater professionals across the nation.

Literature & Fiction / History & Criticism / Reference / Essays

Classics for Pleasure by Michael Dirda (Harcourt)

Classics for Pleasure? To some readers this may seem an oxymoron. Aren't classics supposed to be difficult, esoteric, and a little boring?

This is the common view, even if it is largely wrong. Classics are classics not because they are educational, but because people have found them worth reading, generation after generation, century after century. More than anything else, great books speak to us of our own all-too-real feelings, confusions, and daydreams.

But Classics for Pleasure is not your father's – or your mother's – list of classics. In these essays, Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Dirda, book critic for The Washington Post, introduces nearly ninety of the world's most entertaining books. Writing with affection as well as authority, and moving along at a good clip, Dirda covers masterpieces of fantasy and science fiction, horror and adventure, as well as biography and history, poetry and children's literature. Organized thematically, these are the works that have shaped imaginations and inspired dreams and adventures. Here are Sappho's yearnings and the Arthurian romances, the exploits of Sherlock Holmes and the ghost stories of M. R. James, classic fairy tales and the Regency romances of Georgette Heyer.

In Classics for Pleasure Dirda sums up the complete works of Christopher Marlowe in five eventful pages and makes Edward Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire sound so essential over the course of three pages that one forgets it would take the better part of a year to actually read. He arranges his selections into nontraditional categories, from ‘Playful Imagination’ to ‘Heroes of Their Time’. The collection covers, among others, Sappho, Anna Akhmatova, Lao-Tzu, Edward Gorey, Beowulf, Mary Shelley, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Bram Stoker, Daniel Defoe, Jules Verne, Isak Dinesen, Elizabeth Gaskell Willa Cather, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Zora Neale Hurston, Eudora Welty, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammett, Ezra Pound, and Philip K. Dick.

Dirda approaches each of his titles primarily as a passionate reader rather than as a critic or scholar. He points us to new authors, less familiar classics, and major genre titles too often excluded from the canon.

Each week, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Dirda answers readers' questions on all matters related to books in his online column for the Washington Post, ‘Dirda on Books.’ He enthusiastically guides readers on topics that include new novels, neglected classics, door stoppers of biographies, fantasy, science fiction, thrillers, poetry, the occasional children's book, and pretty much anything in the category of ‘arts and letters.’

In this casually brilliant collection of great book recommendations …Dirda is a charming and exceedingly well-read host, erudite without slipping into pretension. He is more generous and less canonical than Harold Bloom, to whose work Dirda owes a debt in style and substance. The book creates a pleasurable but somewhat maddening sensation in the committed reader, who will be tempted to read most of Dirda's selections based on his brief summations. … Dirda's greatest accomplishment, however, is rescuing many formerly illustrious masters from the dustbin of our culture's pitifully short memory: James Agee, G.K. Chesterton and Ernst Junger are just three who benefit from their inclusion in this indispensable volume. – Publishers Weekly (starred review)
… It is Dirda's conviction that "great books speak to us of our own very real feelings and failings, of our all-too-human daydreams and confusions," and to broadcast that sentiment widely, he supplies energetic, even exciting, 3-page essays on approximately 90 authors. … Provides true inspiration to shut off HBO and start reading. – Brad Hooper, Booklist
Michael Dirda's honest and careful perceptions have been crafted for people who read. He has the wonderful ability to make us feel as intelligent as he is. – Guy Davenport

This book is full of short, sharp loving shocks of appreciation, cunningly arranged in sequences we would have never dreamed up – I doubt George Meredith, C. P. Cavafy, Georgette Heyer, and Anna Akhmatova have ever been juxtaposed before – but which add up to a vision far greater than the sum of its parts. – John Clute

It's hard to think of another writer who loves books so passionately, who has such broad tastes and impeccably high standards - and who writes about literature with such intelligence, generosity and enthusiasm. Michael Dirda is a cultural treasure. – Francine Prose

A superb literary essayist. – Harold Bloom

Michael Dirda may be as close to the ideal critic as we are likely to get. Widely read, intelligent, imaginative, himself a good writerly hand at lucid prose, a champion of books. – Annie Proulx

Whether writing about Petronius or S. J. Perelman, H. P. Lovecraft or the Icelandic sagas, Dirda makes literature come alive. Full of surprises and wit, Classics for Pleasure is a perfect companion for any reading group or lover of books.

Mysteries & Thrillers

Blonde Faith by Walter Mosley (Little, Brown and Company)

Praise for prize-winning Walter Mosley’s work includes:

  • searing and unforgettable – Los Angeles Times
  • one of America's most exciting and incisive writers – George Pelecanos
    powerful – Time Out New York
  • brilliant – Philadelphia Inquirer
    a literary artist – New York Times Book Review
  • terrifically entertaining – People
  • fresh and poignant – USA Today

In Blonde Faith, Easy Rawlins, L.A.'s most reluctant detective, comes home one day to find finds more trouble on his doorstep in a day than most men encounter in a lifetime. First, Easter, the daughter of his friend Christmas Black, has been left on his doorstep. Easy knows that this could only mean that the ex-marine is probably dead, or will be soon. But Easter's appearance is only the beginning, as Easy is immersed in a sea of problems.

The love of his life Bonnie tells him she is marrying another man. His closest friend Mouse, has disappeared too – and Mouse's wife tells Easy that he is wanted for murder. Mouse has been a thorn in the police's side for so long that Easy is convinced that this time they will kill him as soon as they find him.

Easy knows he had better find Christmas before those who want to destroy him do. As he's searching for a clue to Christmas's whereabouts, two suspicious MPs hire him to find him on behalf of the U.S. Army. Easy's investigation brings him to Faith Laneer, a blonde woman with a dark past who might hold the key to more than one life. As Easy begins to put the pieces together, he realizes that Black's disappearance has its roots in Vietnam, and that Faith might be in a whole lot of danger.

In Blonde Faith Easy strikes out on his own to try to find one friend, save another, and save himself from the pain that is driving him out of his mind. On his path he meets drug dealers, corrupt officials, every manner of criminal and con.

Set in 1967, Mosley's brilliant 10th Easy Rawlins thriller finds the middle-aged Easy still fighting some of the same battles he fought in his first outing, Devil in a Blue Dress (1990), as an angry young WWII vet trying to make his home in postwar Los Angeles. His family has grown from none to many over the years, and now Easy is dealing with the loss of the love of his life, Bonnie, and his decision to make her leave him. Despite Easy's vulnerability and anguish, he's a staunch friend and a fierce protector of those he loves. …Mosley knows his territory as intimately as a lover knows his beloved, and Easy's tortuous progression from man-child to man may have reached its climax in this searing and moving novel. – Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Mosley, a smart and daring writer, has tried his hand at everything from political essays to erotica, but his most anticipated books are those featuring the sleuth that made him famous: Easy Rawlins. In the tenth series installment, it's 1967 and Easy is emotionally on edge after learning that his true love, Bonnie Shay, plans to marry an African prince. …Easy's need to reconcile his role in his relationship's end seems to trump even mayhem and murder. One of the remarkable traits of this series has been its portrayal of the sleuth not as a loner but as a man intricately connected with family and community. For Easy, who ages and changes with each book, the past is always present. …Here it's Vietnam, as Easy penetrates an army drug-smuggling ring unaccompanied by Mosley's usual penetrating insights. But if this extraordinary series is beginning to drift, there are indications that suggest Mosley may be thinking about wrapping it up. – Keir Graff, Booklist

In his tenth Easy Rawlins novel, Mosley, one of the finest writers in the genre, writes with a grace and insight that few writers ever achieve. Blonde Faith is another chance to be a while with Easy and to return to the 60s in the color of blue; which is to say, reading an Easy Rawlins novel is a little like listening to Billie Holiday sing a song… slightly different time period, but still….

Mysteries & Thrillers

Life Blood by Penny Rudolph (Poisoned Pen Press)

Children don't just disappear....

Downtown Los Angeles has a reputation for violence. But people don't usually vanish into thin air.

In Life Blood, Rachel Chavez, a recovering alcoholic, owns and lives in an apartment on the top floor of her parking garage business in downtown Los Angeles, the sole legacy of a family impoverished by her fathers’ incessant gambling. She leases parking space and the use of the rooftop helicopter pad to nearby businesses. Tough but vulnerable, she is struggling to stay sober and keep her business financially afloat.

Horrified when she discovers two unconscious young Mexican boys locked in an apparently abandoned van in the garage, she rushes them to the emergency room at the nearby hospital. Doctors declare one dead on arrival. The other, dehydrated but alive, is admitted to the hospital. But when Rachel checks back the next day, the Medical Center has no record of either child.

What could these boys possess worth killing for? And just who is trying to keep Rachel from discovering the truth?

Meanwhile a major client for parking spaces pulls out and the hospital steps in, asking also for use of the helipad on the roof. When someone plants oxycontin on her and the cops step in, Rachel gains a double stake in the game – but what game?

Wary of the police because of her own checkered past, Rachel's determination to find an explanation becomes an obsession that meshes with a search for her own Mexican roots. It also creates a problem in her relationship with her fiancé, Hank, a workaholic water quality engineer, who wants to marry her when his divorce finally comes through. Rachel, however, isn't certain marriage is for her.

In Life Blood, with the emotional support of her friends, an eclectic band of misfits and outsiders – the elderly Irene, a homeless fortuneteller (with cell phone), who baby-sits the garage; mouthy and muscular Goldie, the big-hearted leader of the late-night cleaning crew of mentally handicapped workers; and Rachel's dad Marty, a compulsive gambler – she searches for answers. Then things become very complicated. And dangerous....

[Rachel Chavez] is a refreshingly original addition to the ever growing list of female sleuths. – Booklist

Likable Rachel Chavez, a recovering alcoholic who lives above the parking garage she owns in downtown LA., displays curiosity, grit and stamina.... – Publishers Weekly

A quality follow-up to Rachel's first adventure (Thicker Than Blood, 2005). – Kirkus Reviews

… solidly drawn characters always ready with advice and more substantive assistance – Publishers Weekly
Things are looking up for recovering alcoholic Rachel Chavez. The pretty Angeleno has a steady boyfriend and a steady job managing a downtown parking garage. … her heroine … is a refreshingly original addition to the ever-growing list of female sleuths. – Allison Block, Booklist

Life Blood, written by Penny Rudolph, who has worked as a bartender, truck driver, chili picker, science writer, medical writer, and teacher of high school and college English, creative writing, and journalism, is the sequel to Thicker Than Blood, a novel The Chicago Tribune claims "gets it all right: the daily dirty work of running a small garage, the conflicting emotions of a woman trying to stay afloat and alive, the mixed motives of everyone from activists to bureaucrats." Rudolph won the 2003 EPPIE Award for Listen to the Mockingbird, a historical mystery/thriller set in New Mexico during the Civil War, and has also earned awards from the National Writers Association, Southwest Writers, Florida First Coast Writers, and Pan-handle Professional Writers.

Rachel is an original in the pantheon of female sleuths. And in Life Blood Rudolph has given Rachel two sidekicks (Irene and Goldie) readers will not be able to resist.

Mysteries & Thrillers / Thrillers

The Pandora Prescription by James Sheridan (Cambridge House Press)

What if conspiracy theory became conspiracy fact?

What if the biggest medical cover-up in history was still a secret?

What if that cover-up was linked to the most famous assassination conspiracy in the 20th century?

How do you expose the truth when everyone’s a conspirator?

Are YOU unknowingly part of the conspiracy?

FACT: In the late seventies, a splinter group of doctors secretly formed a resistance movement deep in the heart of the medical establishment. They called themselves The Second Opinion Underground. – from the book

According to James Sheridan in The Pandora Prescription, the pharmaceutical giants have a big skeleton in their closet and will fight tooth and nail to keep it there. In this novel, the fictional author is Dan Travis, notorious unsolved mystery specialist, and he is on another book tour when a cryptic message from a desperate stranger blows his life apart. He is sucked into a silent war which hinges on an incriminating data file. Finding it is Travis's only hope for surviving a deadly chase across America. But to find its location, Travis must discover the link between the biggest medical cover-up in history and the greatest assassination conspiracy of the twentieth century.

The key lies within the secret underground of doctors sworn to an ancient oath.

Author Sheridan is a former unofficial US government contract pilot who flew the secretive diplomatic mail flight between Miami and Havana, Cuba. He says that what he learned during those missions changed his life forever and was the influence for this book. According to Sheridan, the facts in The Pandora Prescription are numerous and pervasive, and some of them are details the pharmaceutical industry, and American industry in general, do not want readers to know, or look into: that a certain fruit extract known as laetrile might hold a clue to the cure for cancer, and that the assassination of JFK might have had something to do with the American citizenry being on the brink of finding that out.

According to Sheridan in an interview: “The ‘silent war’ my protagonist gets sucked into isn't that far removed from fact. You're not hearing about studies because they are illegal in the United States. Ronald Reagan briefly supported laetrile until lobbyists got to him. But research into the purified apricot kernel extract, or laetrile, is banned in the United States…. Now, why would you ban research? The head of the National Cancer Institute for over three decades, Dr. Dean Burke, was a lifelong supporter of the benefits of laetrile. But in this country, it's simply taboo to discuss it.… every year tens of thousands of Americans successfully cure themselves in clinics in Germany, Switzerland and Mexico where laetrile is legal. Steve McQueen died in Mexico undergoing laetrile treatment and most recently, Farrah Fawcett left the country to seek what ABC News called an ‘illegal cancer cure’ in Germany.”

Sheridan says he decided to write the story as fact-based fiction and the facts he discovered were so amazing it was a ready-made thriller. There are questions to be asked and during his research, in asking those questions, some very strange and facts popped up, both in terms of laetrile and the JFK assassination. The other reason he did the book: an academic paper on the subject was not going to interest Americans. A thriller that used facts as the basis for the plot seemed to be a more effective way of generating discussion, and it was, he says, more fun to write.

The facts behind the fiction create a rollercoaster, page-turning thriller. Highly recommended. – USA Booknews

I could not put it down. Behind this breakneck-speed story lies a sobering message for us all. – Jonathan Javitt, M.D., adjunct professor, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Just when I thought I was ahead of him, Sheridan expertly yanked another rug. Shocks, re-shocks and goosebumps! The Pandora Prescription is a big winner. – Thomas B. Sawyer, award winning screenwriter and bestselling author, The Sixteenth Man
To the best of our knowledge, we have never known of a petition signed by thousands of people to ensure a book would not be banned. – American Library Association

The book is unusual in that it is a fast paced thriller based on facts and a plausible conspiracy theory. The plot of The Pandora Prescription hinges on a key factual link between a laetrile cover-up and the JFK assassination, and the facts are certainly compelling. Readers will have to draw their own conclusions. And it is enthralling as a fictional story, though a little unsettling. Certainly makes one wonder.

Mysteries & Thrillers / Suspense

Stone Cold by David Baldacci (Grand Central Publishing)
The #1 bestselling author of The Collectors and Simple Genius returns with Stone Cold, a novel of revenge, conspiracy, and murder that brings a band of unlikely heroes face-to-face with their greatest threat. With his books published in more than 40 languages in more than 80 countries, and with nearly 55 million copies in print globally, David Baldacci, author of thirteen previous consecutive New York Times bestsellers, is one of the world's most popular novelists.

In Stone Cold Oliver Stone, the leader of the mysterious group that calls itself the Camel Club, is both feared and respected by those who have crossed his path. Keeping a vigilant watch over our leaders in Washington, D.C., the Camel Club has won over some allies, but it has also earned formidable enemies – including those in power who will do anything to prevent Stone and his friends from uncovering the hidden, secret work of the government. Annabelle Conroy, an honorary member of the Camel Club, is also the greatest con artist of her generation. She has swindled forty million dollars from casino king Jerry Bagger, the man who murdered her mother. Now he's hot on her trail with only one goal in mind: Annabelle's death. Stone and his colleagues Reuben, Milton, and Caleb marshal all their resources to protect Annabelle. But as the Camel Club circles the wagons to protect Annabelle, a new opponent, who makes Bagger's menace pale by comparison, suddenly arises. One by one, men from Stone's shadowy past are turning up dead. Behind this slaughter stands one man: Harry Finn. To almost all who know him, Finn is a doting father and loving husband who uses his skills behind the scenes to keep the country safe. But the other face of Finn is that of an unstoppable killer who inevitably sets his lethal bull's-eye on Stone. When this happens, Finn’s reason will be a shock for readers, making them reconsider their beliefs in good and evil. And with Finn, Stone may well have met his match. As Annabelle and the Camel Club fight for their lives in Stone Cold, the twists and turns whipsaw, leading to an explosive finale. And when buried secrets are at last violently resurrected, as bodies and institutions topple, the members of the Camel Club left standing will be changed forever.

The modern-day paladins of the Camel Club are back in their third exciting adventure (after 2006's The Collectors). Justice-seekers Milton, Caleb, Reuben and honorary member Alex Ford, a Secret Service agent, are led by feisty Oliver Stone, aka former CIA assassin John Carr. … Gripping, chilling and full of surprises, Baldacci's latest reveals the anarchy that lurks under the slick facade of corrupted governments. – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

With unrelenting pacing, stunning reversals, and two of the most compelling characters in modern fiction, Stone Cold is Baldacci writing at his best. As this dangerous adventure rockets toward a shattering finale, it will leave readers of this unforgettable tale changed forever.

Parenting & Families / Special Needs / Biographies & Memoirs / Social Sciences

Spelling Love with an X: A Mother, a Son, and the Gene That Binds Them by Clare Dunsford (Beacon Press)

Fragile X syndrome, the most common inherited cause of mental retardation, affects the lives of over a million people in the U.S., including those with the full mutation, their families, and treatment professionals. With symptoms ranging from learning disabilities to full mental retardation, fragile X syndrome is a genetic condition that affects 1 in 4000 males and 1 in 6000 females. Triggered by changes in the X chromosome, it is the most common known cause of inherited mental impairment and the most common known genetic cause of autism. About 1 in 259 women and 1 in 800 men carry fragile X and could pass it to their children.

Spelling Love with an X is a medical memoir and poetic meditation on raising a child with this genetic disorder. Clare Dunsford is the mother of a twenty-one-year-old son with Fragile X. When her son was first diagnosed, at age seven, Dunsford received the devastating news that she and three of her four siblings carry the Fragile X premutation and had therefore unknowingly passed on the full mutation to several of their children. An English professor by training, Dunsford draws on classic poetry to explore her new identity as a genetically ‘flawed’ individual and reflect on her life with her son, J.P., a colorful young man with great verbal dexterity and a lovably cheeky streak. "My instinct to find order and consolation in literature," she writes, "lends a distinct voice to the story of my family's DNA."

In Spelling Love with an X, Dunsford, associate dean at Boston College, chronicles her experience as a carrier of the fragile X premutation. Throughout her story, Dunsford chronicles the difficulties and joys of raising a child with fragile X, the impact the inherited condition has had on her siblings and other family members, and her eventual acceptance of a life predestined by genetics.

Dunsford examines not only the implications of fragile X, but also the countless struggles and obstacles faced by the parents of children with retardation. Her description of J.P.'s excessive energy and hyperactivity is not an embellishment; his sensitivity to everyday stimuli is disquieting. "In fragile X, there is too much," writes Dunsford, "too much of a stretch of DNA, too much sensitivity to the world, too much activity, too much fear, the body surging with too much adrenaline. It is a mutation of excess, leading to behaviors that go beyond what society finds acceptable." Yet, J.P. also exudes a disarming charisma and intelligence, and wields poetic language and a verbal dexterity not uncommon in those with fragile X. "Metaphor is J.P.'s forte," Dunsford observes. "The moon is a cinnamon cookie, J.P. declared one crisp autumn night at age eight. The summer he attended a special school for children more severely affected by their disabilities than he is, he struggled with his self-image and seemed anguished that his parents thought he belonged there. The other kids, he wailed, were ‘diaper-wipes’! Recently, when I asked why he had put mayonnaise on his peanut butter sandwich, he answered happily, `See, it looks like snow!'"

Ultimately, Dunsford paints a powerful portrait of a common but little understood genetic disorder, shot through with the realization that her son's hardships come from her own genetic defect. While acknowledging the power of scientific discovery to predict our medical futures, she reminds us that such discoveries can take us to unexpected places. The courage that she has found within herself, she notes, has come from observing the determined, spirited, and brave life of her son. "Nothing moves me more than J.P.'s everyday heroism," she writes. "Each day that goes by, he takes back a little more of the world that we take for granted, and though he will always face a greater challenge than most of his peers, he celebrates victory after victory."

Unlike autism or Down syndrome, fragile X does not strike like a bolt of lightning, leaving its mark on just one person; it spreads through-out a family like a tidal wave. When a child is diagnosed with fragile X, a mother faces the devastating fact that she carries the premutation and has unwittingly passed on the condition. When Dunsford first shared the news about J.P., three of her siblings soon found that they carried the premutation as well, so three of J.P.'s cousins also live with the cog­nitive and social challenges of fragile X. Such a family must, Dunsford writes in her gripping account, ‘reexamine its past and reassess its future.’

Part poetry, part scientific inquiry, this wonderful memoir is, above all, the story of being complexly human in a world filled with fragility and strength, shadow and light. Clare Dunsford navigates the X that has mapped her own and her son's paths with humor, honesty, and clear-sighted intelligence – and in prose that sings. – Elizabeth Graver, author of The Honey Thief and Awake
Clare Dunsford does much more than inform us concerning a disorder we know too little about. Through a prose both lucid and beautiful, she is able to communicate the strangeness, even the poetry, of fragile X. – Clara Claiborne Park, author of The Siege: A Family's Journey into the World of an Autistic Child and Exiting Nirvana: A Daughter's Life with Autism
Spelling Love with an X is a beautifully written journey of a woman toward understanding – of herself, her son, and the twists of fate and DNA that bind them and all of us. Clare Dunsford's powerful and moving memoir is rich with humor, poetry and, most of all, love. – Mitchell Zuckoff, author of Choosing Naia: A Family's Journey

Spelling Love with an X is the first personal memoir about living with fragile X and a reflection on the fragility of human identity in the age of the gene. Brimming with warmth and intelligence, the book shares the disarming insights of a compassionate scholar on motherhood, literature, and genetic inheritance. Eloquent and inti­mate, Spelling Love with an X tells the story of a boy who is proud to be ‘just who I am.’

Political Science / Americas / Criminology

The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 759 Detainees in America's Illegal Prison by Andy Worthington (Pluto Press)

But that I am forbid

To tell the secrets of my prison-house,

I could a tale unfold whose lightest word

Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood ... William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I, Scene 5

Who are the men imprisoned in Guantanamo and how did they come to be there? Held illegally without charge or trial, they remain for the most part entirely unknown to the outside world. Who can speak for them?

Based on the Pentagon's own documents, The Guantánamo Files brings the stories of Guantanamo’s prisoners to the world for the first time. As explained by Andy Worthington in the book, it would not have been possible without the efforts of those at the Associated Press, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights to force the US government to release the documents relating to the prisoners in Guantanamo that formed the basis of Worthington’s research. Worthington says it is a testament to the importance of the American legal system – and its beleaguered Constitution – that Freedom of Information legislation exists to compel an administration bent on unfettered executive power to release documents which, on close inspection, reveal the errors, ineptitude and cruelty underpinning the Guantanamo regime. He further asserts that it is a sign of the current US administration's dismissal of established legal principles that, after nearly six years of imprisonment, a book like this is required to tell their stories.

The Guantánamo Files tells how, on January 11, 2002, exactly four months after the events of 9/11, the first of 774 prisoners arrived at a hastily erected prison – Camp X-Ray – located on a US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A territorial anomaly, leased from Cuba since 1903, Guantanamo was specifically chosen as a prison for those captured in the ‘War on Terror,’ because it was presumed to be beyond the reach of the American courts.

Until recently says Worthington, it was impossible to tell the stories of these men. Held without charge, without trial, without access to their families, and, initially, without access to lawyers, they are part of a peculiarly lawless experiment conducted by the US administration, which has chosen to disregard both the Geneva Conventions and the established rules of war, holding the men not as criminals or as prisoners of war, but as ‘illegal enemy combatants,’ a category of prisoner recognized only by the White House and the Pentagon.

As the administration fashioned Guantanamo into what Lord Steyn, a British law lord, described as a ‘legal black hole,’ – those in overall charge of the prison – President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld – maintained such a strict veil of secrecy that for four years they refused even to reveal the names of the prisoners. Although some reporters – in particular, teams at the Washington Post and the British-based website CagePrisoners, run by Muslim volunteers – built up partial lists of the prisoners, and a number of shocking stories were told by some of the 260 prisoners who were released during this period, it was not possible to provide a comprehensive overview of the prisoners and their stories until spring 2006, when, in response to Freedom of Information legislation filed by the Associated Press, the Pentagon was forced to reveal the names and nationalities of all the prisoners held in Guantanamo, as well as 7,000 pages of transcripts of tribunals convened by the authorities to assess their status as ‘enemy combatants.’

The tribunal process was, according to Worthington, both illegal and deeply flawed. The prisoners were not allowed legal representation, and were prevented from seeing the classified evidence against them, which often consisted of allegations based on hearsay or torture, but they were at least allowed to tell their own stories, which were otherwise completely unknown. Through a study of the releases documents, as well as discussions with lawyers representing the prisoners, and an analysis of press reports, interviews with released prisoners and other reports compiled by human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, Worthington was able to put together a history of Guantanamo and its prisoners, resulting in The Guantánamo Files.

Beginning with the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, the chapters in the book explain in detail, the genesis of the prison, its counterparts in Afghanistan, its development from 2002 to the present, its role as a prison devoted to interrogation and torture, the legal challenges that have been launched against the administration, and the network of secret prisons that underpins Guantanamo's brutal illegality. More importantly, they also tell the stories of the prisoners themselves, allowing them to explain who they are and where and when they were captured. In contrast to the administration's claims that the Guantanamo prisoners are the ‘worst of the worst,’ what the stories reveal – filtered through the abuse to which they have been subjected – is that few of them had anything to do with 9/11 or al-Qaeda, and the vast majority were either Taliban foot soldiers, recruited to fight an inter-Muslim civil war in Afghanistan that began long before 9/11, or humanitarian aid workers, religious teachers and economic migrants, who were, for the most part, sold to the Americans by their allies in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Worthington says he hopes that the commitment of decent Americans to the rule of law will prevail over the forces that are in charge of their country's counter-terror policies. Bush and Cheney and their advisors were jubilant about David Hicks' ‘confession,’ but Hicks chose not to raise the issue of his treatment in US custody because he was informed that a guilty plea would enable him to return home. As a result, torture was never mentioned, and his lawyers proposed defense – that ‘material support for terrorism’ is not a war crime as defined by the Geneva Conventions – was never tested. But what will happen when the administration comes to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and tries desperately to keep quiet about what it did to him in the three and a half years that he was in their secret prisons? Can they really keep quiet about the waterboarding? "The policymakers hadn't thought what to do with them," he told Jane Mayer, adding that once a prisoner's rights were violated there was no way of reintegrating them into the court system. "All we've done is create a nightmare," he added. "Are we going to hold these people forever?" Remarkably, doubts have also surfaced within the administration itself. One of the first proposals made by Robert Gates, who replaced Donald Rumsfeld as defense secretary in November 2006, was to close Guantanamo and conduct trials on the US mainland. Gates declared that Guantanamo's reputation was so tainted that any verdicts would lack legitimacy in the eyes of the international community, but although his opinion was backed by Condoleezza Rice and the State Department, he was overruled by Dick Cheney and the Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Worthington concludes that those in charge of America's ‘War on Terror’ have been responsible for the failure of justice chronicled in The Guantánamo Files, which on every front – from Guantanamo, Afghanistan and Iraq to the Military Commissions and the still-unknown ‘ghost’ prisoners subjected to ‘extraordinary rendition’ – will haunt successive administrations for years to come.

Guantanamo Bay is a legal black hole. This book is the closest many of the prisoners will come to a fair trial. Andy Worthington [uses] the US government's own documents to prove that innocent people were swept up in the post-9/11 panic. This is important work, impressively written. – Clive Stafford Smith, Legal Director of Reprieve, and author of Bad Men: Guantanamo Bay and the Secret Prisons

Extraordinary rendition, false imprisonment, inhumane treatment – including torture and death in secretive detention sites – has forever destroyed the lives of hundreds of men, of whom I was one. This book is the first of its kind to collate accounts from the prisoners themselves. – Moazzam Begg, former Guantanamo detainee and spokesman for CagePrisoners

A meticulous [book] about torture at the beginning of the twenty-first century. [Written] with poignancy, compassion and outrage. – Marty Fisher, Co-Producer of the film Taxi to the Dark Side

Stunning ... [Worthington] undermines claims that the prison camp is filled with vicious killers and terrorists. – Marc Falkoff, lawyer for 17 Yemeni prisoners

[The Guantánamo Files is] an important tool for coming to grips with how we as a nation allowed indefinite detention without charge, extraordinary rendition and torture to become national policies. – Candace Gorman, lawyer for two Guantanamo prisoners

An important book. If you care about our government's complicity in these illegal acts then this book provides the evidence. Carefully researched, it reveals a story of appalling brutality. – Ken Loach

This passionate and brilliantly detailed book brings to light the atrocities of Guantanamo, more precisely, The Guantánamo Files is the first book to tell the story of every man in Guantanamo. The findings in the book are similar to the results of a statistical analysis by lawyers at the Seton Hall Law School, who published a ground-breaking report on the prisoners in 2006, but The Guantánamo Files brings to life the stories behind these statistics, and demonstrates the human cost of the administration's ‘War on Terror.’ It would be hard not to agree that the country has run amok after a full reading of the details carefully presented here, and good for our democracy if everyone would read this book.

Political Science / Politics / Americas

The Conscience of a Liberal by Paul Krugman (W.W. Norton)

My generation grew up in a nation of strong demo­cratic values and broadly shared prosperity. But both those values and that shared prosperity hare been slipping away. We can reverse that trend. Political and economic reform turned the oligarchic America of the Gilded Age, a place of vast inequality, bigotry, and corruption, into the imperfect but far better society of the postwar era. The challenge now is to do again what the New Deal did: to create institutions that will support and sustain a decent society. – Paul Krugman

In The Conscience of a Liberal, The New York Times columnist and best-selling author, Paul Krugman challenges America to reclaim the values that made it great.

Krugman, ‘the heir apparent to Galbraith’ (Alan Blinder) and, today's most widely read economist, studies the past eighty years of American history, from the reforms that tamed the harsh inequality of the Gilded Age to the unraveling of that achievement and the reemergence of immense economic and political inequality since the 1970s. Seeking to understand both what happened to middle-class America and what it will take to achieve a ‘new New Deal,’ Krugman creates a work that weaves together a nuanced account of three generations of history with sharp political, social, and economic analysis.

According to Krugman, America emerged from Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal with ‘strong democratic values and broadly shared prosperity’. But for the past thirty years American politics has been dominated by a conservative movement determined to undermine the New Deal's achieve­ments – a movement whose founding manifesto was Barry Goldwater's The Conscience of a Conservative. That movement has been highly successful in turning the clock back: both the inequality of today's America and the corruption of its political life hark back to the age of the rob­ber barons.

Now, the tide may be turning – and in The Conscience of a Liberal Krugman charts the way to reform. Krugman ranges over a century of history, from the political economy of the Gilded Age to the calamities of the Bush years, which he argues were inevitable once movement conservatives gained full control of the U.S. government. He shows that neither the middle-class America the baby boomers grew up in nor the increasingly oligarchic nation we have become over the past generation evolved naturally: both were created, to a large extent, by government policies guided by organized political movements. He explains how defenders of inequality have exploited cul­tural and racial divisions to their advantage, while reformers have found ways to bridge those divisions.

The Conscience of a Liberal also outlines a program for change, demonstrating universal health care can be the centerpiece of a new New Deal, just as Social Security was the core of the original. Krugman explains what can be done to narrow the wealth and income gap and shows how a new political coalition can both support and be supported by reform, making society not just more equal but more democratic.

Economist and New York Times columnist Krugman's stimulating manifesto aims to galvanize today's progressives the way Barry Goldwater's The Conscience of a Conservative did right-wingers in 1964. Krugman's great theme is economic equality and the liberal politics that support it. … By strengthening labor unions and taxing the rich to fund redistributive programs like Social Security and Medicare, the New Deal consensus narrowed the income gap, lifted the working class out of poverty and made the economy boom. Things went awry, Krugman contends, with the Republican Party's takeover by movement conservatism, practicing a politics of deception [and] distraction to advance the interests of the wealthy. Conservative initiatives to cut taxes for the rich, dismantle social programs and demolish unions, he argues, have led to sharply rising inequality, with the incomes of the wealthiest soaring while those of most workers stagnate. Krugman's accessible, stylishly presented argument deftly combines economic data with social and political analysis; his account of the racial politics driving conservative successes is especially sharp. The result is a compelling historical defense of liberalism and a clarion call for Americans to retake control of their economic destiny. – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

The Conscience of a Liberal by the best-selling author of The Great Unraveling challenges America to reclaim the values that made it great. This original work, written with Krugman's trademark ability to explain complex issues simply, may transform the debate about American social policy in much the same way as did John Kenneth Galbraith's deeply influential book, The Affluent Society, and to reshape public debate about American social pol­icy, possibly becoming the touchstone for a rising generation.

Politics / Violence / Transportation / Aviation / Engineering

Aviation Terrorism and Security edited by Paul Wilkinson & Brian M. Jenkins (Cass Series on Political Violence Series: Frank Cass)

The recent conviction of Ramzi Ahmed Yousef for plotting what prosecutors called ‘48 hours of terror in the sky’ by conspiring to bomb a dozen US airliners, the increasing number of man-portable SAM attacks on aircraft, and the recent crash of a hijacked Ethiopian airliner off the Comoro Islands causing 127 deaths show that aviation confronts a wide range of security threats.
The book is edited by Paul Wilkinson, Professor of International Relations and Chairman of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St Andrews, Scotland and joint editor of the journal Terrorism and Political Violence; and Brian M. Jenkins former head of RAIVD's terrorism research program before moving to Kroll Associates. The contributors examine threats and vulnerabilities in the light of recent developments in aviation security and consider the prospects for strengthening the response at national and international levels. The aims of Aviation Terrorism and Security are: first, to assess the changing terrorist threat to the security of civil aviation, including newly emerging threats; second, to review the effectiveness of some of the major policies and measures introduced at national and international levels to protect civil aviation; and third, to consider the merits of new or hitherto neglected approaches to preventing and combating aviation terrorism.

A key advantage shared by the contributors to Aviation Terrorism and Security is that in addition to their expertise in aviation terrorism and security they have a wide knowledge and understanding of the post-Cold War strategic environment and patterns of conflict. This provides the context for analyzing not only the ever-changing phenomena of international and domestic terrorism worldwide, but also for interpreting the significant developments in aviation terrorism that are in large part shaped by these factors.

Ariel Merari's opening essay provides an in-depth statistical analysis of aviation terrorism trends since the upsurge of modern international terrorism in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Merari’s analysis shows that the terrorist hijacker had an 85 percent chance of success in actually seizing control of an airliner. Still, in reality, airlines are an extremely safe means of transport. The industry has every reason to be apprehensive about the effects of any future major conflict in the Middle East, and the concomitant threat of increased terrorism. Despite the strong desire of both passengers and crew for effective security against terrorism, and despite the real improvements in aviation security made by certain states following the Lockerbie bombing, many major security weaknesses and vulnerable points remain. Merari's explanation for the situation is twofold: the security authorities have almost invariably failed to foresee the terrorist's adoption of fresh methods of attacking aviation, and there is a basic lack of expert knowledge and professionalism on the part of the airline companies' security systems.

The essays by Peter St John and Brian Jenkins provide evidence on the lack of foresight displayed by the security authorities when they were faced by the first wave of hijacks for political extortion and the first sabotage bombings of airliners respectively. It is true that aviation security systems did adapt rapidly to the threat from the wave of hijackings in the early 1970s, but they have been much slower in their response to the threat of sabotage bombing. Far too many airports still lack the enhanced x-ray machines capable of reliably detecting explosives, and many are still failing to operate an effective and comprehensive system of positive baggage reconciliation, the linchpin of good security against the sabotage bomb.

In his examination of the development of the hijacking tactic by terrorists, St John concentrates on the political motivation of perpetrators of aviation terrorism as his prime causal factor of hijackings, attacks on airports and sabotage of civil aircraft, while fully accepting that this was the politicization of an essentially criminal phenomenon. He argues that the ‘seminal causes’ of each new phase of hijacking have been unsolved political problems, which the contemporary great powers either ignored or failed to address properly. This analysis leads him to conclude that solving the root problems of the Palestinians and improving US relations with Iran may go some way towards eradicating the scourge of aviation terrorism.

In his review of aircraft sabotage, Jenkins reminds readers that the sabotage of passenger aircraft is one of the deadliest threats posed by contemporary terrorists. He records that since 1969 there have been more than 70 known attempts to plant bombs on board airliners, and these have caused 15 crashes in which 1,732 people have died. He points out that the terrorists' shift of emphasis from hijacking to sabotage bombing of airliners reflects a well-established terrorist trend ‘toward large-scale indiscriminate violence’, also mirrored, for example, in the tactic of using huge truck bombs in city centers.

Newer and emerging threats to aviation security are not overlooked in Aviation Terrorism and Security. Bruce Hoffman analyses the potential threat to air cargo integrators and concludes that while it cannot be entirely discounted, terrorists have not attacked air cargo integrators because they lack identification, are considerably less well-known than commercial air passenger carriers, do not carry passengers, and thus do not have the same and publicity value as established passenger carriers.

In his review of the missile threat to civil aircraft Marvin B. Schaffer provides a balanced assessment of the threat, drawing attention to the proliferation of man-portable missiles and the increasing probability of terrorist groups not only acquiring some of these weapons but most probably also using them against civilian aircraft. He therefore argues that it is now in the public interest to develop a program to develop equipment to negate the threat of man-portable missiles and to stockpile it without waiting for a new catastrophic event to occur.

In his essay, in addition to arguing the case for substantially strengthening the international civil aviation system against terrorism, Paul Wilkinson also considers some of the ominous possibilities of terrorists using chemical, biological or radiological weapons or cyber war against civil aviation. A key lesson that governments and the aviation security industry should have learned from Lockerbie is that we must never again allow our security to lag behind the tactics and weapons of the terrorists. His observation leads logically in the second part of Aviation Terrorism and Security, which is concerned primarily with problems of international and national responses to the challenges of aviation terrorism.

Rodney Wallis contributes a thought-provoking review of the role of the international organizations – ICAO, IATA, ECAC and ACI – in enhancing aviation security. Drawing upon his experience as director of security of IATA, he shows how all the major international aviation organizations ‘working in partnership’ have developed international conventions, standards, procedures and practices which all play a vital part in the strengthening of the global aviation security regime, despite the formidable obstacles inherent in the nature of modern international relations.

Brian Jenkins' second essay casts a critical though constructive eye over aviation security in the United States. As a member of the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security chaired by Vice President Gore, he provides insight into how the Commission carried out its work, and assesses its impact on US aviation security policy and measures. Omar Malik's parallel study of British aviation security against terrorism is equally critical and constructive, drawing on his professional experience as a Captain in British Airways, as convener of the British Airline Pilots' Association security committee, and as a member of the National Aviation Security Committee, in addition to his academic knowledge. He is highly critical of what he describes as “Government unwillingness to contribute to the industry's costs and its failure to develop a constructive partnership with industry”.

As the publication of Aviation Terrorism and Security of aviation terrorism and security has been timed to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the Lockerbie bombing, it is appropriate that the volume contains an article by Dr Jim Swire on behalf of UK Families Flight 103. Swire has been the tireless leader of the UK families group. Swire's article reflects the group's preoccupation with the effort to secure a trial of the two Libyan suspects indicted by the Scottish and American authorities in 1991 for their alleged role in the bombing. It must be emphasized, however, that it is not the aim of the Aviation Terrorism and Security to add to the mountain of theories and speculation about the criminal investigation into Lockerbie, though some of the major theories concerning the authorship of the crime are surveyed by Peter St. John. In his concluding essay on enhancing global aviation security, Paul Wilkinson stresses the importance of judicial co-operation to bring those guilty of crimes of aviation terrorism to justice. The editors share the view that everything must be done to secure a proper trial of the two Libyan suspects indicted for the Lockerbie bombing.

However, the major emphasis of the contributors to Aviation Terrorism and Security is on reassessing the terrorist threat to civil aviation and reviewing the implications for aviation security policy, measures and procedures. The challenge discussed in this volume is how to improve not only national airport and airline security systems, but how to ensure that all airline passengers and crew, regardless of their countries of origin and their destination, can enjoy the highest standards of international aviation security, matching the best practice in the major aviation countries.

The opening essay provides a fascinating statistical analysis of aviation terrorism trends. Other essays provide ample evidence of the lack of foresight of security authorities. Aviation Terrorism and Security is of relevance not only to security and academic specialists but also to the international civil aviation community and national policy-makers. The book, dedicated to those who lost their lives in the Lockerbie bombing, is both illuminating and thought-provoking. The battle to protect civil aviation passengers and crew can only be won if the law-abiding members of the international community combine their efforts to tackle international terrorism. Our freedom of the airways is ultimately dependent on our ability to preserve the freedom of society as a whole.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Theology / History

From the Margins: A Celebration of the Theological Work of Donald W. Dayton edited by Christian T. Collins Winn (Princeton Theological Monograph Series: Pickwick Publications

Donald Dayton's writings on the history of American evangelicalism combine impressive learning with a passion for the relevance of scholarship. His challenging interpretations have helped many others of us to rethink things from fresh perspectives. – George Marsden, author of many books including Fundamentalism and American Culture

Recognized as a leading interpreter of major movements in American Christianity such as Evangelicalism, Pentecostalism, and the Holiness movement, Donald W. Dayton has produced a body of work spanning four decades and diverse areas of inquiry. In From the Margins, friends and colleagues respond to major essays by Dayton, several published here for the first time, to celebrate and reflect on this diverse and rich body of work. The essays demonstrate the breadth of Dayton's contribution while also revealing a methodological core. The latter could be described as Dayton's deconstructive reading of standard scholarly narratives in order to short-circuit their domesticating effects on the more radical aspects of American Christianity. Dayton's work has challenged long-held assumptions about the ‘conservative’ nature of American Christianity by showing that both in their history and in their deeper theological substructures, traditions such as Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism are far more radical and productive of social change than was previously imagined.

From the Margins includes a number of previously unpublished materials:

  • A Neglected Tradition of Biblical Feminism.
  • Revisiting the ‘Baptism with the Holy Spirit’ Controversy: A Response to My Critics.
  • James Dean, Popular Culture and Popular Religion: With Implications for the Study of American Evangelicalism.
  • The Four-Fold Gospel: Key to Trans-Pacific Continuities.

The book also includes these previously published essays:

  • Piety and Radicalism: Ante-Bellum Social Evangelicalism in the U.S.
  • Law and Gospel in the Wesleyan Tradition.
  • ‘Good News to the Poor’: The Methodist Experience after Wesley.
  • Pneumatological Issues in the Holiness Movement.
  • The Pietist Theological Critique of Biblical Inerrancy.
  • ‘The Search for the Historical Evangelicalism’: George Marsden's History of Fuller Seminary as a Case Study.
  • Yet Another Layer of the Onion: Or, Opening up the Ecumenical Door to Let the Riffraff in.
  • Karl Barth and the Wider Ecumenism.

Edited by Christian T. Collins Winn, Assistant Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Bethel University in St. Paul, From the Margins contains contributions by Nancy A. Hardesty, S. Sue Horner, Douglas M. Strong, Jim Wallis, Howard Snyder, William J. Abraham, Melvin Easterday Dieter, David Bundy, Bill Faupel, Amos Yong, Frank D. Macchia, Scott Kisker, Woodrow W. Whidden II, William Kostlevy, Robert K. Johnston, Clark H. Pinnock, Brother Jeff Gross, FSC, Cecil M. Robeck Jr., Christian T. Collins Winn, James S. Nelson, Myung Soo Park, Dawk-Mahn Bae, and Joel Scandrett.

According to Winn in From the Margins, for well over thirty-five years now, Dayton's teaching, scholarship, and service have helped to reshape the discourse of multiple disciplines in the broad field of religious and theological studies. According to Winn, many are the students, colleagues and friends have been transformed through an encounter with Dayton. For those who have encountered him, Dayton’s mastery of the mainline traditions of Western Christianity is matched only by his vast knowledge of the lesser known, marginalized traditions and communities that have appeared throughout the history of the Christian churches, especially in the modern era. In fact, it is with these marginalized traditions that Dayton has often found himself allied. His work has provided scholars, pastors, and laypersons with alternative categories through which many have been able to make better sense of their experience and theology, while also being able to reconstruct their theological or ecclesial identity within the logic of their own tradi­tion.

Dayton (1942- ) was reared in the Wesleyan Methodist branch of the Wesleyan Church. His father, Wilber Dayton, claimed to be the first theological ThD in the Wesleyan church and had an important impact on Dayton. Dayton received his PhD from the Divinity School at the University of Chicago in 1983, having written on Pentecostalism under the guidance of James Gustafson and Martin E. Marty. He held teaching posts at Asbury Theological Seminary (1969–72), North Park Theological Seminary (1972–79), Northern Baptist Seminary (1979–97), Drew University (1997–2003) and Azusa Pacific University (2003–2005).

A number of key events in his life were decisive in shaping Dayton's academic career. Dayton has remarked that from early in his youth he had serious reservations about his own identification as a Christian. Dayton had concluded that the neo-evangelical articulation of inerrancy was not a tenable doctrine of biblical authority and therefore he could not be a Christian. Though he had come to this conviction, Dayton did not reveal his loss of faith to his family nor did he leave the church. But as he has noted on several occasions, while working his way through the works of Karl Barth and Søren Kierkegaard, he found himself inside rather than outside the circle of faith. However, he was never able to accept the version of the doctrine of inerrancy associated with the Princeton School and venerated by mid-century neo-evangelicals and was even denied ordination in the Wesleyan Church because of it. As told in From the Margins, the experience of being forced to relinquish his faith, only to find it again, was formative for Dayton. Through much struggle and with the help of Barth, Kierkegaard and the Pietists, Dayton was later able to find a way to ar­ticulate a non-inerrantist doctrine of biblical authority that he has often described as ‘Biblicist’ – a position that has often pushed him to the margins of contemporary evangelicalism.

Another lifelong interest of Dayton's was also set in motion while attending the pre-Woodrow Wilson Program held at Columbia University. Aimed primarily at African-American students, the program was designed to give promising but socially marginalized students an opportunity to prepare themselves for graduate school at Columbia University. Dayton was the only white student in the program. This experience, as well as the race riots in New York City which broke out two blocks from his apartment, was a crucible in which Dayton's commitment to the Civil Rights movement and other move­ments for social justice was initially formed.

Dayton's continuing commitment to the struggle for social justice has manifested itself in both his scholarly and service work. Anyone familiar with his body of scholarship knows that Discovering an Evangelical Heritage, in which Dayton recounts nineteenth century evangelical commitments to socially progressive movements, is no anomaly. Dayton has written widely on the socially progressive commitments of a wide range of figures and movements all in an attempt to call ‘evangelical Christianity’ back to its roots.

Dayton's time at Yale was also marked by another formative experi­ence. It was at Yale that he was first introduced to Pentecostalism. He matriculated not long after a famous Charismatic renewal had run its course on the campus, leaving in its wake many students who were burned out by the experience. During this time, Dayton became fascinated with the spiritual and theological dynamics that would produce such a phe­nomenon, a topic that he would later take up in his dissertation at the University of Chicago, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism.

Winn recounts these experiences in particular because they illustrate that many of the historical and theological questions that have come to occupy Dayton's attention over his long career are rooted in life experiences. Often his pieces are a mixture of historical and theological analysis, critique, and memoir, filled with penetrating analysis, creative proposals and biographical reflection. This lends to Dayton's writings a humanity that is also evident in personal interac­tions with him. Winn says that Dayton is one of the most genuinely empathetic scholars that many of the participants of From the Margins have known. This empathy, at least in part, stems from Dayton's own existentially gained insight that scholarly questions are often more than simply intel­lectual puzzles that need to be solved. They often reach into the lives of those who ask them, and the answers arrived at can have far-reaching consequences in lives of the inquirer.

According to Winn, mapping the key themes in Dayton's work is not easy. A major problem that confronts the interpreter of Dayton is trying to understand precisely what kind of a scholar he is. Theological, historical, and historical theological themes and commitments inform his thought throughout. It may be precisely Dayton's unwillingness to identify himself as either explicitly one or the other, which has given his thought such a creative edge. Winn proposes the following five key elements as axiomatic to his thought:

(1) Phenomenological Analysis: From his initial attempts to recover the progressive origins of nineteenth-century evangelicalism, to his later account of Pentecostalism, Dayton has been concerned to make sense of the ‘phenomenon itself.’ His goal is to unearth and recover the original theological dynamics that gave birth to specific movements so that through a recovery of those dynamics a clearer picture of their development can be ascertained.

To understand the later history means to discern and clarify the ways in which the history of a movement has either distorted the original theo-logic of the movement, or have further developed it, or both. How does a movement begin with certain theological assumptions and later come to hold others? To unravel that puzzle is the goal of much of Dayton's scholarship.

(2) A Theologically Informed Hermeneutic of Suspicion: Much of Dayton's historical and theological analysis begins with the important question: "who is telling the story and why are they telling it the way they are telling it?" He questions the way that phenomena are described because the ways in which we describe certain phenomena are often over-determined by other commitments, whether conscious or unconscious, and these influences tend to distort the reality that we are trying to describe.

Dayton's hermeneutic of suspicion is inspired less by the nineteenth-century masters of suspicion than by the theological conviction that the church is fallible. Built into this conviction however, is the belief that better theological and historical interpretations are both possible and demanded of the responsible scholar. One interrogates the received canons of interpretation of particular phenomena in the hopes of uncovering the suppressed, distorted, or forgotten aspects, in the hopes that by recovering the lost dimensions, the tradition or phenomenon in question will be liberated to be of service to the wider church by being able to be itself more fully.

(3) The ‘Embourgeoisement’ Thesis as Liberation Theology: The third key element according to Winn in From the Margins refers to the interconnection of the theological and the so­ciological that is embodied in Dayton's work. One of the more important contributions of Dayton has been to incorporate the insights of Liberation theology into the historical analysis of Methodism, Pentecostalism, and American evangelicalism. One of the key insights of Liberation theology that recurs in Dayton's analysis of these traditions is the basic assumption that social location often determines and distorts theological commit­ments. Thus, one of the key ways whereby Dayton is able to make sense of the developments within Methodism, for example, is to argue that as Methodism moved out of the lower strata of society it shed many of its key distinctives, not the least of which was Wesley's commitment to the poor. This sociological movement from the lower to the middle-class, then, helps to explain the historical and theological development within Methodism, as opposed to trying to explain the shifts exclusively through theological categories. Dayton describes this sociological movement as the process of ‘embourgeoisement.’ Dayton's historical work should also be seen as a Liberationist gesture meant to question the embourgeoisement of religious movements that originate out of the lower classes.

(4) The Constitutive Relation of Theology and Ethics: Theology and ethics are simultaneous and mutually constitutive for a proper and balanced knowledge of God. It is this conviction that unites many of the key sources that Dayton has drawn theological sustenance from. Put in more recent theological jargon: justification and justice cannot be sepa­rated. This conviction illumines Dayton's extraordinary sensitivity to the social and political relevance of many different theological and ecclesial traditions. Dayton is unwilling to grant faith the position of priority among the theological virtues. In fact, Dayton is fond of pointing out that for Wesley and others, it is love that stands out as the primary theological virtue. This com­mitment allows for and produces in Dayton a profound intellectual and spiritual empathy for movements whose theological convictions he may question or even reject.

(5) A Theologian of Hope? Winn raises the question of whether or not Dayton could be described as a ‘theologian of hope.’ Dayton's serious and penetrating questions and critiques of the accepted canons of interpretation are ultimately motivated by a sense of hope that by clarifying the real dynamics of particular theological traditions, those traditions will be freed to contribute to the life of the ‘whole household of God.’ It is his conviction that not only do marginalized religious movements have something to say to the wider Christian family, but that if given the chance what they have to say will be transformative for Christianity as a whole. It is this conviction that Winn believes gives some coherence to Dayton's broad body of work. It is the conviction that the church, though torn by disagreement, is called to struggle in hope for a more faithful, fuller witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Winn organizes the chapters in the book according to broad headings of areas of research that Dayton has made a major contribution to. Each of the chapters consists of a key article or essay that is illustrative of Dayton's work and two responses, with the exceptions of chapters 4 and 13. Winn was unable to secure respondents for the essay appearing as chapter 4, and chapter 13 is a concluding contribution by Joel Scandrett on Dayton's role as a teacher.

The essays in From the Margins highlight the breadth of Dayton's contribution while also revealing a methodological core. Readers will find that overlapping themes and questions appear in the work across different disciplines or areas of study, so that readers become aware of the inner-coherence of Dayton's work while simultaneously being exposed to the multiple areas where Dayton has brought his own revolutionary ways of thinking to bear. There are several seminal essays reprinted in the book in combination with important unpublished pieces, thus giving Dayton a fresh hearing among friends and colleagues as well as younger scholars who have yet to encounter Dayton's work. Readers will also find a nice mix of the Fest and Schrift scattered throughout From the Margins. In spite of the differences of format, readers will discern that in substance all of the respondents share a deep appreciation for the scholarly work and theological friendship they have found and a desire to celebrate the life and thought of a man whose work has come to shape many in deep ways.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Theology

The Laughter of the Oppressed: Ethical and Theological Resistance in Wiesel, Morrison, and Endo by Jacqueline A. Bussie (T & T Clark, International)
The Laughter of the Oppressed tackles the heretofore unanswered questions: What is the theological and ethical significance of the laughter of the oppressed? And what does it mean to laugh at the horrible – to laugh while one suffers? The majority of ethical philosophical theory and western theology (e.g. Augustine, St. John Chrysostom, Oecolampadius, and Reinhold Niebuhr) maintains that laughter is nihilistic and irresponsible, especially if occurring within tragic circumstance.

However, Jacqueline A. Bussie, Assistant Professor of Religion at Capital University, argues that the dominant social location of these theologians and theorists has led to a gap in inquiry, to a failure to consider laughter ‘from below.’ For Judeo-Christian theology, the laughter of the oppressed is uncharted terrain, terrain The Laughter of the Oppressed travels by broadening the theological lens to examine the multicultural modern historical fiction of Elie Wiesel, Toni Morrison, and Shusaku Endo as case studies. In these author's well-respected texts, Gates of the Forest, Beloved, and Silence, readers discover the laughter of the Jews during the Holocaust, the laughter of African Americans both slave and free, and the laughter of the persecuted religious minority of Japanese Christians. These texts, in dialogue with voices from within and beyond their traditions, help Bussie construct a theology of laughter.

The Laughter of the Oppressed concludes that laughter functions as invaluable ethical and theological mode of resistance in the face of radically negating oppression negativity that has ruptured both language and traditional belief. The laughter of the oppressed not only interrupts the banality of evil and the dualism of faith and doubt, but also deconstructs the dominant consciousness. Such laughter challenges theology to rearticulate the relationships between God and evil, theology and theodicy, theology and language, paradox and faith, tragedy and hope, and oppression and resistance.

A study of historically silenced voices of the oppressed cannot begin with history books, ecclesial the­ology, academic philosophy and theory, or other hegemonic resources that have tended to exclude the voices of the marginal­ized. Art, on the other hand, has often creatively functioned to capture the perspectives of the marginalized when the state or other systemic powers denied such persons mainstream political voice and expression. The voice of the disempowered and marginalized is, by definition, lost to the mainstream annals of history, drowned out as it is by the tran­script of ‘authoritative’ voices. Fortunately, however, some of the most acclaimed novelists of our time have recognized this scandal and undertaken the formidable task of ‘writing’ wrongs, telling untold stories, and giving voice to the voiceless in their own works of historical fiction. Ear to the ground, listening to such authors, Bussie has unearthed a ‘hidden transcript’ of laughter and resistance which has for centuries empowered ordinary persons of faith.

The Laughter of the Oppressed begins its exploration of the laughter of the oppressed through an analysis of works of literature, with the understanding that the fiction of some of the greatest authors of our day is much more than mere fantasy and fabrication. Such critical works of fiction make possible a theological rediscovery of the laughter of the disempowered by functioning as case studies and springboards for conversation with traditional history, theology, and philosophical theory. Bringing these pieces of everyday theology into dialogue with academic theology show us how academic theology and its understanding of laughter is enriched, ruptured, and reinterpreted by an engagement with everyday theology. The Laughter of the Oppressed creates a dialogue between theology and culture, and religion and literature, and reveals both to be rich dialectical engagements with surprising and revivifying ramifications.

Bussie, by focusing on the critically acclaimed and remarkably popular literary voices of Wiesel, Endo, and Morrison – all spokespersons for their respective traditions who write historical fiction exposing the depths of both oppressive experience and the life of faith, provides readers with much-needed case studies of the thought and theology(ies) of religious non-majority traditions in the face of their respective historical encounters with oppression and radical evil. All the novels are tragic in content and replete with historical verisimilitude; thus Bussie says she was shocked to discover that the characters' laughter resonates throughout the texts' pages. In short, reading Wiesel, Endo, and Morrison awakened her to a laughter to which she had always been deaf.

She notes it was not particularly reassuring to discover that she was not alone in her deafness. The virtual silence from contemporary religious and liter­ary critics concerning the laughter in these tragic tales is so strange as to be baffling. Such silence suggests that their visceral discomfort with the conjunction of laughter and suffering continues to blindside them into an unfortunate failure to see either laughter's significance for religious thought or the ‘whole picture’ of oppression. The mocking and deri­sive laughter and worldviews of Nazi torturers and white slave owners, for example, are well-known, but who has contemplated the significance of the laughter of the Holocaust victim or slave? Who even knew that they were laughing, prior to reading Wiesel and Morrison?

As told in The Laughter of the Oppressed, Wiesel's, Endo's, and Morrison's modern novels are akin in function to Jewish midrash – that is to say, they imaginatively fill in the gaps that the traditional texts leave empty, and in so doing, become an essential part of the original text and history. In other words, these new texts complete our otherwise incomplete interpretation of history, and without them, we hear only one side of the story. In the end, these midrashic-style narratives, in dialogue with theological and ethical voices from within their traditions as well as beyond, play an invaluable role in helping readers to construct a theology of laughter that is meaningful for twenty-first-century persons of faith.

Political jokes arise in dictatorships and their laughter is liberating oppressed and silenced people. The arrogance of power is ridiculous because God is God. I read this fascinating study with growing admiration. It is a masterpiece and a great contribution to every liberating theology. – Jürgen Moltmann, Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology, University of Tübingen
Jacqueline Bussie
reads familiar texts with a keen theological eye and provides fresh and innovative insights into these literary classics. With exquisite literary sensibility and bold theological imagination she helps her readers to understand how genuine laughter emerges from the depths of suffering. This is theological writing of the highest order – initelligent, faithful, and deeply moving. – Ronald F. Thiemann, Bussey Professor of Theology, Harvard Divinity School
This text is an important theological interpretation of the meaning of laughter for the oppressed. I strongly recommend it. – James H. Cone, Charles Augustus Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology Union Theological Seminary New York, N.Y.

This winner of the 2006 Trinity Prize explores with readers the liberation theology of laughter. Along the journey, readers may make the same discovery Bussie does in The Laughter of the Oppressed: listening to the laughter of the oppressed teaches us much about what it means to be human, to live and to die, to believe and to doubt, to love and to lose. Readers may also have the same important ‘aha’ experience: they may discover they have read these authors and failed to hear the laughter.

Science / Astronomy

Starfinder: The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Exploring the Night Sky by Carole Stott & DK Publishing (DK Publishing)

Each fresh pair of eyes looking at the night sky sees a confusion of stars. The myriad pinpoints of light all seem the same and together appear to form a starry sphere around Earth. This imaginary sphere is a key to finding your way around the sky. Soon, you'll discover that brighter stars make patterns, and these act as signposts. They guide us as our view of the universe changes, and they form a starry backdrop to the planets as they make their stately progress across the sky. Once recognized in this way, the universe will unfold before your eyes. – from the introduction

Whether readers are complete beginners or accomplished astronomers, Starfinder is an all-in-one guide to exploring the night sky.

Combining a guide to astronomy with a deck of cards, sky maps, and a flashlight, Starfinder explains how to navigate around the night sky, shows readers what they can expect to see, and provides the tools they need to see the constellations for themselves.

Produced in a specially designed, hard-wearing case, Starfinder is unlike rival astronomy packs, which are generally packaged in flimsy, easily damaged cardboard cases. This pack contains several tools for looking at the night sky that are designed to be used together. Here is what’s inside the case:

  1. A 72-page hardback book that explains the night sky and basic star watching techniques. It includes a visual guide to help readers get started and find out when and where to look for stars, planets and other celestial bodies.
  2. The 44 double-sided constellation cards, for use in the field, reveal how to identify each constellation, alone with the special features readers should look for in specific stars, containing charts and key facts about all 88 constellations.
  3. A red nightlight flashlight that can be used to view charts, cards and the book outdoors while keeping one’s eyes adapted to the dark.
  4. The cover-mounted, interactive planisphere shows readers how to navigate the entire sky, at any time of the night, throughout the year.

The planisphere is a circular map of the stars with a rotating window on top. By turning the window, it can be set to show the stars as they appear at a particular time on any chosen night of the year. As well as stars, the planisphere shows a selection of deep-sky objects, such as galaxies and nebulae. There is also a line on the planisphere to show the position of the ecliptic. The planets are always to be found close to this line – their exact positions are given in the Monthly Sky Guide in the book. The planisphere is based on local time.

Enhancing readers’ knowledge of the vast space that surrounds Earth, in Starfinder the book is packed with advice, providing a foundation for amateur astronomers of any level. Sections include:

  1. Find Your Way guides readers in understanding the basics of astronomy – how the sky changes from night to night, how to identify stars and planets, how to read star charts, and what equipment they need.
  2. The Solar System provides readers with a guided tour of the Solar System, our nearest neighbors in the cosmos, introducing every planet and significant celestial body.
  3. Month-By-Month is a monthly guide to the night sky explaining what to look out for and when for years to come.

The astronomer's dream companion, Starfinder is an informative and easy-to-follow guide to star watching. It is concise and yet complete. Practical, robust, and perfect for outdoor use, the kit contains everything readers need to observe, understand and enjoy the night sky. Used alongside the constellation cards and interactive planisphere, the book will ensure readers’ star watching is rewarding. The kit is appropriate for both adults and mature young people.

Social Sciences / Library & Information Science / Reference

Information Tomorrow: Reflections on Technology and the Future of Public and Academic Libraries edited by Rachel Singer Gordon, with a foreword by Stephen Abram (Information Today, Inc.)

It is rare for one book to cover so much of the horizon for an entire sector, but Information Tomorrow outlines so many of the major building blocks for our future. And it is written by some of the freshest and best library thinkers of our times. This is … the new breed of librarian – dare I say, Librarian 2.0?! Each chapter offers new approaches and new thinking for the exciting library world of the new Millennium.

… Creating a collection based on the theme of innovation risks two things: being too shallow or being too visionary. Either results in a nice read, but does little to point readers in the right direction with explicit advice and views you can use. You, however, are holding a book that is the culmination of a timely, brilliant concept and the hard-earned insights of its stable of contributors…. – Stephen Abram, from the foreword

In Information Tomorrow, editor Rachel Singer Gordon brings together 20 of today's top thinkers on the intersections between libraries and technology. They address various ways in which new technologies are impacting library services and share their ideas for using technology to meet patrons where they are.

Editor Gordon is Consulting Editor for Information Today, Inc., Book Publishing Division, and Webmaster for LlSjobs.com. The book's foreword and 16 chapters feature insights and opinions from these library leaders, bloggers, and futurists: Stephen Abram, Lori Bell, Steven J. Bell, John Blyberg, Robert Bocher, Daniel Chudnov, Jill Emery, Meredith G. Farkas, Megan K. Fox, Beth Gallaway, Joseph Janes, David Lee King, Jenny Levine, Tom Peters, Dorothea Salo, John D. Shank, Michael Stephens, Rhonda B. Truema, Jessamyn West, and Alane Wilson.

In the preface to Information Tomorrow, Gordon says that for the past few years she have been traveling to many countries, continents, libraries, and conferences. If there is any one theme, that she keeps hearing, it's about the struggle to discover the magic sauce that will launch the new generation of library success. Worldwide, all types of libraries and all sectors of librarianship are asking themselves the key questions: How do we best serve our users and learners? How do we stay relevant? How do we harness technol­ogy while remaining true to our traditions and values? We're all in this boat together, and all libraries will float higher as we learn from the successes in other libraries, in other sectors, by other professionals.

For the last two decades or more the profession has focused on building the technological framework and foundation for a new hybrid library – digital and print, human and objects, communities and learning. Librarians have explored new concepts and engaged in a discussion that sometimes seemed to extend to rethinking and reassessing the foundations and principles of librarianship as a field. Now the library world finds itself at another tipping point; we're moving forward beyond the techno­cratic focus of the past few decades to one that is primarily focused on people, end-users, and those users have changed!

Libraries find themselves in a new normal, where significant portions of user populations are moving beyond experimenting with new technologies as innovators and early adopters to integrate these into their daily lives of work, study, and play. The selection of chapters in Information Tomorrow speaks not just to the technology but also to policy and legislative shifts, as well as to the evolution that must happen in traditional institutional settings. Readers will find a guided tour through the top 16 issues facing libraries today. Recurring themes throughout the book hark to the call of Library 2.0 and its focus on user-centered change. The contributors to the book ask readers to:

  • Meet users where they are.
  • Base technological decisions on user needs and library mis­sions, rather than on the new and the cool.
  • Keep the principles and foundations of librarianship in mind when making technology decisions – as when making all decisions.
  • Re-envision librarian roles in an environment where we all can be content creators, as well as content consumers.
  • Remember the importance of collaboration and commu­nity, and extend partnerships beyond the traditional.
  • Remain open to new technologies and new possibilities, maintaining a sense of wonder and thirst for lifelong learning.

Part I of Information Tomorrow, "Formats and Functions," begins with Megan K. Fox's dis­cussion of librarians’ role in an increasingly mobile, always-on age. How do they shift services and mindsets to meet expectations of always available information, wherever and whenever users need help? Daniel Chudnov and John Blyberg extend the conversation with a respective look at open-source software and 21st-century OPACs. As each makes clear, not only do we face changing user expectations, but the approach to technology needs to draw on the foundations and prin­ciples of librarianship. When librarians treat technology as a creature separate and apart, they find themselves taken advantage of by outside forces and unable to best serve either institutions or users.

Open source can also apply to the approach to electronic publish­ing. As Jill Emery points out in her investigation into the issue: "We must accept that our future is driven by our users, not by our collections." Dorothea Salo next takes up the call, asking how and why libraries should shape the future of academic publishing within the larger context of the open-access movement.

Part II of Information Tomorrow, "Change and Challenges," revisits the themes of changing user expectations and meeting users where they are. Beth Gallaway kicks off this section by outlining why and how to use tech­nology to reach out to patrons, especially teens, by implementing gaming programs and friendliness to gaming. Joseph Janes tackles the Google elephant in the room, taking a reasoned approach to what Google can do, what it can't do, and where that leaves libraries.

Michael Stephens also calls for a user-centric focus, writing about the Read/Write Web (or Web 2.0) and the ways it has changed both the online environment and expectations. When traditional bar­riers to content creation crumble, how do librarians need to re-envision their role? Robert Bocher continues the discussion with a look at privacy issues from both a legal and a professional perspective; talking about ways to protect patrons' electronic information and to consider pri­vacy issues when implementing new technologies in institutions.

Beyond looking at patrons' online activities and ways to reach them via newer tools and technologies, David Lee King steps back to look at the bigger picture: doing (and redoing) Web sites with an eye to experience design and planning.

Part III of Information Tomorrow, "2.0 – and Beyond," extends the concepts in the earlier chapters, showing how librarians are beginning to blend new technological tools and a new mindset to envision the library of the future. Jenny Levine outlines the main themes of Library 2.0 and the necessity of putting the user at the heart of all services, whether physical or virtual. Rhonda B. Trueman, Tom Peters, and Lori Bell take this call to heart with their activities in Second Life Library 2.0, and discuss libraries' presence and activities in the vir­tual world Second Life – a proactive approach to meeting users wherever they are.

From the academic library perspective, John D. Shank and Steven J. Bell address ‘blended librarianship,’ or the intersections between academic librarianship, technology, and instructional design. Beyond a new approach to academic librarianship, blended librari­anship also emphasizes collaboration and community through "The Blended Librarian Online".

Education also comes into play in decisions on how best to educate current and future librarians, and library schools would do well to pay attention to Meredith G. Farkas' plea for the integration of technology throughout LIS education.

The last couple of chapters in Information Tomorrow step back and take a broader view, rec­ognizing that any discussion of technology and libraries boils down to a discussion of people and the way they learn, adapt, imple­ment, and react to it. Jessamyn West explores technostress, techno­phobia, and techno-realism, Alane Wilson shares ways to develop foresight in our technology planning, taking the people factor, and the ways they use technology into account.

These glimpses into technology and the future of libraries begin to paint a picture of directions and possibilities. What Information Tomorrow's contributors stress throughout is the need to plan for that future in terms of themes and trends, balancing our professional foundations and principles against new possibilities and user demands.

Although each tackles one piece of the technological future, when taken as a whole, the essays in Information Tomorrow bring to light the ways in which technological and societal change interact to demand changes in the way librarians operate their institutions.

While prediction in this field can prove less than fruitful, if not embarrassing, the essays speak to trends that affect libraries' directions and decisions more than to any specific technol­ogy. The threads of interactivity, openness, and collaboration – combined with changing user expectations and technological possibilities – intertwine throughout these chapters, as each addresses one piece of the emerging technological puzzle.

Information Tomorrow is intended for systems librarians, library IT workers, library managers and administrators, and anyone working with or interested in technology in libraries.

Social Sciences / Women’s Studies / African-American Studies

Crack Cocaine and the Experience of African American Women: A Statistical Study of Positive Treatment Outcomes by Janet Okagbue-Reaves (Edwin Mellen Press)

Crack Cocaine and the Experience of African American Women analyses treatment experiences and outcomes of African-American women in substance abuse treatment for crack cocaine. It identifies factors that contribute to their successful recovery as defined by completion of treatment and substance abstinence one-year post treatment.

The book focuses on an empirical study on the drug addictions and treatments for African American women. We now know that African Americans are products of a ‘hostile environment’ which stresses negative valuation. Taking these forces into mind, Janet Okagbue-Reaves utilizes multivariate statistical analysis to discern whether treatment programs are relevant for African American women. In the end her "analysis demonstrated that all of the different types of treatment programs were significant at the .05 level except ambulatory outpatient treatment." While drawing these conclusions Okagbue-Reaves also notes future directions to extend her research.

Okagbue-Reaves, Associate Professor of Social Work at Eastern Michigan University, focuses on the issue of drug addiction as an issue deeply affecting women and minorities. She notes that many approaches to substance abuse treatment are currently based on a narrow conceptualization of addictive behavior developed from male experiences of substance abuse and recovery. Their treatment models may not be appropriate for women and may even make women's experiences with addiction appear deviant and untreatable. Her research found that there are differences between men and women who seek treatment for drug abuse. Women in treatment programs are less likely than men to have graduated from high school, to be employed, and are more likely than men to have other health problems. They may also have sought previous drug treatment, attempted suicide, and suffered sexual abuse or other physical abuse. Specifically, women are affected to a greater degree than men, both socially and personally, by drug addiction and alcoholism. Treatment services are limited for women with few programs offering gender specific treatment. This gap in the provision of services has become an issue of critical importance to drug addicted women who may have specific co-occurring needs related to child custody, homelessness, employment, domestic abuse, mental health issues, and crime.

According to Crack Cocaine and the Experience of African American Women, these policies have disproportionately affected African-Americans, and nearly 70 percent of incarcerated women are single parents responsible for young children prior to incarceration. This research study took into account these factors focusing on African-American women who are crack cocaine users, because of the drug's prevalence within low-income urban populations, which are often disproportionately African-American. The study was based on data from the NTIES research study, which received public funding to target treatment centers in large urban areas, resulting in a large percentage of African-American women participating in the study. Although there has been previous research conducted on women crack cocaine users, this study's unique perspective took into consideration the demographics of the women participants, especially that of single mothers with their children.

Okagbue-Reaves found that with an increase in services, consistency in time spent in treatment, and greater availability of long-term residential treatment, society can help improve treatment outcomes for women addicted to crack.

Data from a sub sample of 768 female clients treated in outpatient and residential drug-free public sector programs, which were collected as part of the federally funded National Treatment Improvement Evaluation Study (NTIES), were utilized in this study. Positive treatment outcomes were identified by reports of substance abstinence during the yearlong follow up period. Treatment components examined included: length of stay in treatment, type of treatment program, and supportive services received while in treatment. Client level factors examined included age, employment status or sources of income, living arrangements, the raising of children, criminal activity, social supports, marital status, and level of education.

The goal of the research was to identify factors within the sub-sample of African-American women and within the treatment system that are associated with positive treatment outcomes. Using logistic regression analysis, the study found that there is a relationship between type of treatment program, length of stay in treatment, services received while in treatment, and the women's ability to remain drug free up to one year post treatment discharge.

Crack Cocaine and the Experience of African American Women, when given the context of substance abuse studies, is pioneering in its content. The book has wide implications for policy makers and treatment providers and can assist in focusing resources where interventions can provide a greater return in abstinence from drug use and increased productivity of members of society addicted to drugs. This study has even wider implications for providers of child welfare services who are working towards family reunification for parents with substance abuse related issues. With greater limitations on the amount of time allowed a parent to meet court requirements for reunification with children in foster care, this research enables providers to better predict outcomes when services, type of treatment program, and length of stay in treatment are snatched to client needs. This book may serve as a benchmark in the field, not only in terms of practice but also in terms of teaching.

Travel / Reference

Stern's Guide to the Cruise Vacation 2008 (Stern's Guide to the Cruise Vacation) by Steven Stern (Pelican Publishing Company)

Stern's Guide to the Cruise Vacation 2008 is a guide to the cruise vacation and all its aspects – the book lists the major ports of call, details on attractions, restaurants, shopping, sports and recreation, as well as guidelines on how to make the most of an eight-hour stay in port. The history of each vessel, vital statistics, physical details, evaluations, and price categories for over 280 ships are presented. Numerous photographs of ships, decks, and interiors are included, along with actual shipboard menus and daily activity programs.
Throughout his law career, luxury-travel expert Steven B. Stern spent three months per year researching cruise ships and resorts for his book, Stern's Guide to the Cruise Vacation, which is updated annually; the current volume is Stern's Guide to the Cruise Vacation 2008. Stern has traveled all over the world, visited almost every port of call, sailed on each major cruise ship (more than 750 ships to date), and reviewed resorts, hotels, and restaurants around the world.

Long-time leader in cruise-ship evaluation, Stern has retired from his position as president of the law firm Stern and Hellman, Ltd., in Chicago. He personally inspects nearly three hundred ships every year and rates them in all categories, including:

  • Vital statistics: the layout, physical details, and history of each vessel.
  • On-board attractions: restaurants, shopping, and recreation.
  • Travel necessities: concierges, technology, and medical facilities.
  • Ports of call: including how to make the most of an eight-hour visit.

Stern’s Star Awards help readers evaluate quality and value as they plan their cruise vacations. Stern evaluates every detail rating them in eleven specific categories. Two hundred and ten photographs of ships, decks, and interiors are included, along with actual shipboard menus and daily activity programs for each featured cruise line. This guide assists travelers in intelligently selecting the ship best suited to their taste, advises on how to prepare for the cruise, and explains what to expect once they are onboard.

It is well worth adding to your cruise book collection. [Stern] knows what he's talking about. – World of Cruising, UK

People who've never cruised before – or those who have, but find themselves faced with a confusing onslaught of new ships – need to know a great deal, and this book goes a long way in providing it. – Chicago Tribune

The most comprehensive of the general cruise vacation guides . . . this book compares favorably to similar works with more famous names. – American Reference Books Annual

Stern's Guide to the Cruise Vacation 2008 has been called ‘indispensable’ and the ‘bible for cruise vacationers.’ Whether travelers are sailing the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the South Seas, Alaska, Southeast Asia, or the waterways of Europe, this is the most comprehensive guide available, with details on all aspects of cruise-ship travel. The numerous photographs, actual shipboard menus, and daily activity programs combined with the annually updated text make this cruising guide very useful.

Travel / U.S. / History / Architecture

Washington from the Ground Up by James H. S. McGregor (From the Ground Up Series: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press)

At the confluence of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers, President Washington chose a diamond-shaped site for the city that would bear his name, along with the burdens and blessings of democracy. Situated midway between North and South, the capital was also a gateway to the West – a contested wilderness where rough frontiersmen were already carving a divided nation.

Pierre Charles L’Enfant laid out the streets and sited the monuments. With Indians on their borders and black slaves in their midst, the country's white founders struggled to embody, in bricks and stone, the paradoxical republic they had invented. Inspired by Greek and Roman models, city planners and designers scoured the Western world – from Hadrian's Pantheon to Palladio's Vicenza to the French Royal Academy – for an architectural language to capture the elusive principles of liberty, equality, and union.

Washington from the Ground Up tells the story of a nation whose Enlightenment ideals were tested in the fires of rebellion, removal, and resistance. It is also a tale of two cities: official Washington, whose stately neoclassical buildings expressed the government's power and global reach; and DC, whose minority communities, especially African Americans, lived in the shadows of poverty. Moving chronologically and geographically throughout the District, James McGregor, Professor and Co-Head of the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Georgia, reads this complex history from monuments and museums, libraries and churches, squares and neighborhoods that can still be seen today.

According to McGregor, two centuries after its founding, Washington remains at heart what it was intended to be, a city of monumental symbols driven by a desire to explain itself – to body forth democratic power and to show its contours and aspirations. The city's history illustrates the work­ings of the Rube Goldberg machine that is the democratic political process. William Thornton, who won the hastily scheduled contest to design the Capitol, lived to see his design altered and his creation – still incomplete – burned by British troops during the War of 1812. After the fire, the Capitol was restored by a man who vilified Thornton and canceled nearly every feature of his original plan. A favorite of Thomas Jefferson, that architect – Benjamin Latrobe – himself came to grief in James Monroe's administration. Jefferson's legacy lasted long after his own administration. The most important architects involved in the creation of federal buildings – the volatile Latrobe and the savvy Bulfinch – shared Jefferson's neoclassical ideals. Though the city has endured periods of reaction against neoclassicism – most notably in the aftermath of the Civil War and in the second half of the twentieth century – the neoclassical sensibility, which is now in its Post-modern phase, has exerted a strong and consistent power.

In the early 1800s, when the federal government was small and legis­lators tended to be itinerant – boarding in town while Congress was in session and then returning home for the bulk of the year – the city had little motive or ability to grow. The Civil War brought its first great surge in population. Army camps and hospitals for the wounded mushroomed at the edges of the thinly settled central area. The government expanded tremendously and did not shrink when the war was over. The spread of public transportation pushed population away from the center, along farm roads and into old piedmont estates, which quickly became housing developments. Massive increases in government jobs during and after the two world wars pushed the city's population to an all-time high in the 1950s.

According to Washington from the Ground Up, in a pattern that was repeated throughout America, Washingto­nians began to leave the heavily urbanized center for suburbs beyond its boundaries. Slowly but inexorably, the racial composition of the city shifted from majority white to majority black.

Situated on the frontier between North and South, the city had always been a mecca for African Americans, who first fled the subjection of slav­ery, then the rigors of Jim Crow, and finally the collapse of the South's cotton economy. The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 led to riots in Washington that destroyed the economy of black neighborhoods while leaving the rest of the city terri­fied but untouched. The crack cocaine epidemic that began in the late 1980s decimated neighborhoods already driven down by despair. Corrupt local politicians channeled resources meant to ease poverty and its effects into the pock­ets of depraved administrators. Since the mid-1990s, however, that rift has been healing, and the twin cities have found grounds of rapprochement in a local government that has won the respect and support of both communities.

Contemporary Washington presents itself as a city of small neighborhoods with distinctive characteristics which, together, host the national government at their center. This image is the creation of a newly self-conscious, largely black, though increasingly multiethnic city government. This relatively open, cosmopolitan, and comfortable city plays host to a deeply troubled guest. The World Trade Center and Pentagon bombings of September 11, 2001, have alarmed official Washington to an unprece­dented degree. Public access to public buildings has been severely restricted and in many cases eliminated. A subterranean Visitor Center on the east side of the Capitol, scheduled for completion in 2008, aims not only to organize tours of the Capitol (a requirement for entry) but to substitute didactic exhibits for the building itself. The same is true of the White House, where public tours are even more restricted.

According to McGregor, this concern for security is understandable, but it is also deeply dis­turbing. Democratic institutions do not thrive in the absence of the peo­ple. The insistent and unapologetic degradation of a citizen to a mere onlooker – a visitor – threatens the democratic process itself. A republic that is insu­lated from public view but not from the pressures and allurements of powerful interests assumes a risk much greater than any that terrorism can impose.

The first chapter of Washington from the Ground Up describes the regional and national forces that led George Washington to choose a site for the federal city on the Potomac River not far from his Mount Vernon home. It presents the layout of the federal district and the city within it. Chapters 2 and 3 are devoted to the two major stages in the design, building, and rebuilding of the national Capitol. The first section describes the building's history, growth, and repeated reconception from the end of the eighteenth century to the middle of the nineteenth. The following chapter describes the great expansion of the building in the Civil War era and its aftermath.

Chapter 4 looks more widely over Capitol Hill, taking in Union Station, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, and landmarks to the east and southeast. Chapter 5 recounts the history of the White House, and Chapter 6 traces the expansion and housing of a burgeoning bureaucracy, along with other noteworthy developments in Washington's historic downtown. Chapter 7 focuses on the National Mall, with its remarkable art galleries and museum collections, and on the memorials west and south of the Washington Monument.

These seven chapters range over the streets and avenues included in L'Enfant's plan. All are served by the clean, comfortable, and efficient trains of the Washington Metro system. Chapter 8 covers a broader field, ranging into the low hills that arc around the center city. The Metro cov­ers most of this area, too. Georgetown, which is off the Metro map, is well served by city buses. An urban landscape once blighted by crime, poverty, and racial ten­sion, twenty-first-century Washington DC has become a city of broad tree-shaded avenues and charming, diverse neighborhoods, all set within a natural topography that Pierre L'Enfant might still recognize, if he could visit the city today.

Washington from the Ground Up chronicles the development of Washington in a series of chapters that cohere historically and geographically. Both a unified narrative history and a guide, it can be read alone or used as a reference on a visit to the capital. McGregor’s lucid narrative, accompanied by detailed maps and copious illustrations, doubles as a visitor's guide to this uniquely American city. 

 

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