We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

May 2014, Issue #181

contents this page

Elsevier Video Collections: Orthopaedics: Hand and Wrist: Expert Consult – Online, 1st edition by Elsevier Inc. (Elsevier Saunders)

Photographing Families: Use Natural Light, Flash, Posing, and More to Create Professional Images by Tammy Warnock and Lou Jacobs Jr (Amherst Media)

Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir by Frances Mayes, unabridged audio, 8 CDs, running time 10 hours (Random House Audio)

Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir by Frances Mayes (Crown)

Basics Interactive Design: Interface Design: An introduction to visual communication in UI design by David Wood (Bloomsbury)

Skinny Meals: Everything You Need to Lose Weight-Fast! by Bob Harper (Ballantine Books)

Bohemian Baroque: Czech Musical Culture and Style. 1600-1750 by Robert G. Rawson (Boydell Press)

How to Write Anything: A Complete Guide by Laura Brown (W.W. Norton and Company)

Overpowered: The Dangers of Electromagnetic Radiation (EMF) and What You Can Do about It by Martin Blank PhD (Seven Stories)

The Civil War in Southern Appalachian Methodism by Durwood Dunn (The University of Tennessee Press)

I Love Those Earrings: A Popular History from Ancient to Modern by Jane Merrill and Chris Filstrup (Schiffer Publishing Ltd.)

Linked: Innovative Chain Mail Jewelry Designs by Karin Van Voorhees (Kalmbach Books)

Adjectives in Germanic and Romance edited by Petra Sleeman, Freek Van de Velde and Harry Perridon (Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today Series, Vol. 212: John Benjamins Publishing Company)

Buying and Selling Information: A Guide for Information Professionals and Salespeople to Build Mutual Success by Michael L. Gruenberg (Information Today, Inc.)

Compass American Guides: Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks (Full-color Travel Guide) by Fodor's (Fodor’s Travel)



Video / Professional & Technical / Medicine / Clinical / Internal / Surgery / Orthopaedics / Reference

Elsevier Video Collections: Orthopaedics: Hand and Wrist: Expert Consult – Online, 1st edition by Elsevier Inc. (Elsevier Saunders)

Built from a library of best-selling Elsevier Orthopaedics titles, Elsevier's Video Collections: Orthopaedics: Hand and Wrist provides step-by-step video guidance from a ‘who's who’ of Hand and Wrist experts on today's full range of Orthopaedic procedures. From essential to more complicated techniques, 160 surgical videos demonstrate how to proceed on new and old approaches as well as preferred techniques and outcomes for a broad range of procedures.

The video collection in Orthopaedics: Hand and Wrist:

  • Captures intraoperative details as they appear on the surgery table. These comprehensive, fully narrated surgical videos depict the technical aspects of each procedure to help clinicians perfect their techniques.
  • Features the practice-proven experience of internationally recognized experts in hand and wrist surgery, for guidance clinicians can trust.
  • Are anatomically and clinically categorized for quick access to the relevant video.
  • Comes from best-selling Elsevier Orthopaedics references such as Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics, Clinical Orthopaedic Rehabilitation, Fractures and Injuries of the Distal Radius and Carpus, Operative Techniques: Hand and Wrist Surgery, Principles and Practice of Wrist Surgery, Rehabilitation of the Hand.

Orthopaedics: Hand and Wrist by Elsevier is the ultimate surgical video collection. Optimally categorized and alphabetically ordered, this collection – accessed online through Expert Consult – allows clinicians to easily navigate and access the required video procedures and techniques without needing to read through heavy text.



Arts & Photography

Photographing Families: Use Natural Light, Flash, Posing, and More to Create Professional Images by Tammy Warnock and Lou Jacobs Jr (Amherst Media)

Family photographers must face all of the typical challenges that the average portrait photographer faces, but as the subject numbers increase, so do the number of issues the photographer must confront in order to produce a pleasing, saleable image. The methods used to produce 60 high-end images of actual family groups are shared in this book. Photographing Families addresses the entire range of obstacles portrait photographers must overcome. The volume includes what went in to the conceptualization process; the posing and grouping strategies; and how photographers can establish rapport with their subjects, especially with babies, children, and disinterested teens. Also featured are tips on modifying and manipulating studio and natural light, how to use physical elements as posing aids, and what tools are needed for off-site work. With lighting diagrams and alternate images, each section in Photographing Families illuminates the many aspects of family portrait photography, inspiring photographers to create quality, heirloom-worthy images.

Authors are Tammy Warnock, a portrait photographer working from her studio, True Blue Photography and Lou Jacobs Jr., a professional photographer and a regular contributor to Rangefinder magazine.

Photographing Families shows readers how to:

  • Design maternity, newborn, child, and family portraits.
  • Find great natural light wherever they are shooting.
  • Shoot in the studio, at family homes, or outdoors.
  • Pose individual and group portraits.
  • Coordinate the background and clothing for polished results.

Working with natural light eliminates the intimidation and strict posing of traditional portraiture, letting children and families be themselves in front of the camera. The results are more authentic, marketable images that capture their clients' personalities and relationships.

If you only buy one book this year, make sure it's Photographing Families. Those lucky enough to learn from Tammy Warnock will see their photographic abilities improve immeasurably. – Marcia Gold, Owner MANGOphoto Post Processing

An extremely useful tool for lighting and posing. I absolutely recommend this book for all skill levels. – Jillian Johnson, Pure Photography (Riverside, CA)

Tammy has earned profound respect in our industry by creating radiant portraiture – and here she shows how you can, too. – Jeff Caplan, founder of the Digital Wedding Forum

In Photographing Families readers learn to capture the beauty of natural light and design portraits that families will love. This comprehensive and illuminating volume teaches photographers simple approaches for producing client-pleasing family portraits in any location and with the use of minimal equipment. Warnock and Jacobs show readers how to finesse every aspect of the shoot – from background selection and lighting, to posing and expression.

Audio / Biographies & Memoirs

Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir by Frances Mayes, unabridged audio, 8 CDs, running time 10 hours (Random House Audio)

Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir by Frances Mayes (Crown)

An early memory of my father: He opens his buff hunting coat, and in all the small interior pockets, doves’ heads droop. He and his friends Bascom and Royce break out the bourbon. From my room in the back of the house, right off the kitchen, I see through the keyhole (keyholes are a large part of childhood) the doves he’s killed piled on the counter, and someone’s hand cleaning a shotgun barrel with a dishrag. The terrible plop-ploop sound of feathers being plucked makes me bury my face under the pillow. When his friends go, my father stays at the table with his tumbler of bourbon. – from the book

Under Magnolia is a lyrical and evocative memoir from Frances Mayes, the Bard of Tuscany, about coming of age in the Deep South and the region’s powerful influence on her life.
The author of three beloved books about her life in Italy, including Under the Tuscan Sun and Every Day in Tuscany, Mayes revisits the turning points that defined her early years in Fitzgerald, Georgia. With her signature style and grace, Mayes explores the power of landscape, the idea of home, and the lasting force of a chaotic and loving family.

From her years as a spirited, secretive child, through her university studies – a period of exquisite freedom that imbued her with a profound appreciation of friendship and a love of travel – to her escape to a new life in California, Mayes recreates the intense relationships of her past, recounting the bitter and sweet stories of her complicated family: her beautiful yet fragile mother, Frankye; her unpredictable father, Garbert; Daddy Jack, whose life Garbert saved; grandmother Mother Mayes; and the family maid, Frances’s confidant, Willie Bell.
Under Magnolia is a moving ode to family and place, and a thoughtful meditation on the ways they define us, or cause us to define ourselves. With acute sensory language, Mayes relishes the sweetness of the South, the smells and tastes at her family table, the fragrance of her hometown trees, and writes an unforgettable story of a girl whose perspicacity and dawning self-knowledge lead her out of the South and into the rest of the world, and then to a profound return home.

As gothic as anything Faulkner could have dreamed up, populated by characters straight out of a Flannery O’Connor story … a thorny memoir that strips away the polite Southern masks, sweet magnolias be damned. Unforgettable. – Atlanta Journal Constitution
One of those books you want to devour but realize it’s more satisfying to savor for as long as possible.
Kirkus Reviews, starred
A best-selling sensation worldwide, Mayes will galvanize readers with this vigorously promoted coming-of-age tale set on her home terrain. – Booklist
Under Magnolia is a gorgeous, dreamy remembrance of hot Southern afternoons, mothers in red lipstick and Shalimar, Elvis turned up loud to cover up the family troubles that ran deep. An unflinching love song to her simultaneously rich and troubled childhood, it is Mayes’ most generous work yet. – BookPage
Like the rest of America, I fell in love with Tuscany and Italy when I read Frances Mayes's wondrous memoir,
Under the Tuscan Sun. She followed her Tuscan books with a beautiful novel called Swan, which alerted me to her southern heritage. In her new southern memoir, Under Magnolia, Frances Mayes describes the birth of her extraordinary sensibility, the deep-pooled clarity of her writing, her giddy love of nature, and her sharp and satirical eye for those who brought her up to honorable womanhood in the tortured South of her girlhood. Her prose style is seamless to me and she writes in a royal style. – Pat Conroy, New York Times bestselling author of The Prince of Tides and The Death of Santini
No other writer today breathes life into place like Frances Mayes. In
Under Magnolia, she turns her prolific gift of language and description to the South and her childhood there. This memoir recalls bygone days filled with neighborhood characters, sultry weather, Sears Roebuck catalogues, smothered quail – all the trappings of a Southern childhood. Under Magnolia is a love song, a rich and beautiful book. – Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle and Comfort: A Journey Through Grief
Under Magnolia is much more than an entrancing memoir: it is a work of art that defies the distinction between prose and poetry or novels and autobiographies. It is also much more than a personal narrative: it is an unflinching meditation on the relation between self and culture, and, more specifically, on the gravitational pull of memory. This is a book to be savored, a feast for both mind and soul. – Carlos Eire, author of Waiting for Snow in Havana
Mayes has written a brash and delightful, cringe-worthy and uproariously funny memoir. As I read, I wished Mayes had been my teenage neighbor. Wit – as well as misery – loves company
. – Margaret Sartor, author of Miss American Pie
Under Magnolia is one of the most brilliant memoirs ever written, shedding new light on a certain mysterious South and offering a memorable portrait of the artist as a young girl. Frances Mayes, a petite, brainy beauty from what we used to call politely 'a troubled home' has written an unnervingly honest and refreshingly open account of how a child can be neglected even amid privilege and a large family.... Reader, artist, scholar, poet – Frances Mayes gradually became the aesthete and writer she is today, a passionate lover of the world and the word. – Lee Smith, author of Guests on Earth

Here is an exuberant ode to a childhood lived in the South told in an evocative voice. It takes guts to tell it like it was and Under Magnolia shows Mayes has them. The audio version is read by the author.

Computers & Technology / Arts & Photography / Graphic Design

Basics Interactive Design: Interface Design: An introduction to visual communication in UI design by David Wood (Bloomsbury)

An interface is the contact point between humans and machines. A user interface (UI) on a computer, smartphone, tablet or game console consists of a 'front-end' visually interactive face that communicates with a programmed delivery system `back end'. These 'front-end' interfaces are known as graphical user interfaces (GUIs).

The driver of a car doesn't want to read a hefty manual, or understand the complex mechanical engineering that sits behind the sleek bodywork, or be confused by an overcomplicated dashboard – they just want to turn the ignition key and drive. Similarly, anyone confronted with a new UI for the first time wants the outcome of their interaction to be quickly facilitated by good design. This means that the aesthetic and the functional features of the interface must combine to produce a fantastic user experience.

If readers want to design successful user interfaces then they need clear and effective visual communication skills. Interface Design helps them achieve this using a range of incisive case studies, interviews with professional designers and hands-on advice to help them produce user-focused, front-end designs for a range of digital media interfaces.
Interface Design introduces the major elements of graphic design for digital media – layout, color, iconography, imagery and typography, and shows how these visual communication basics can combine to produce positive interactive user experiences. The book provides practical advice on improving communication between designers and developers, and a tantalizing look at designing interactivity for all five senses.

Key topics include: Collaboration Between the Designer and the Developer, Design and the User, Graphical User Interfaces, Gridding Interactivity, Iconography and Metaphor, Images as Navigation, Information Architecture, Interactive Flow, Internationalization and Localization, Principles and Benefits of Designing for Modularity, QR Codes and Augmented Interaction, The Touch-screen World, UI Semiotics, Usability Testing, Visual Hierarchy, and Wireframes and Paper Prototypes.

Interface Design features interviews with Alan Bridge, web designer/developer; Greg Gibson, design student; Kate Ho, touch-screen UX designer; Kristin Kramer, UX designer; Steve Krug, usability expert; and Mike Kus, graphic/web designer.

Interface Design does three fresh things for interface design: First, it takes readers through the hows, the whys and the wherefores of designing user interfaces – from a graphic design perspective. Second, it is an express journey through the importance of user experience and how to design better interactions for humans, not machines.

Third, it explores design principles and stresses the importance of usability and aesthetics working together – and shows how this can be done. It is not a technical UI book; instead, it provides a visual communication grounding and champions graphic design as a valid standard in interface design. Most importantly, Interface Design demonstrates that designing for dynamic user experience means exciting opportunities for creative facilitation of user-control.

The chapters in the book include:

Chapter 1 focuses on establishing visual communication's key importance in interface design and the designer's responsibility to the user.

Chapter 2 delves into designing for interaction across a range of different graphical user interfaces, before examining information architecture.

Chapter 3 creates a useful framework of important key points on graphic design for digital media – layout, color, iconography, imagery and typography.

Chapter 4 builds upon this framework and applies these visual communication basics to effectively facilitate a successful interactive user experience.

Chapter 5 provides practical help for designers to improve their communication with the developer by exploring each other's needs.

Chapter 6 concludes Interface Design by looking at designing for interactivity within our senses and our environment.

Interface Design: An introduction to visual communication in UI design delivers real examples of the process of designing for UI and interactive projects. Seeing and learning from real examples of maps and diagramming while outlining critical components of the UI design process at various stages, makes this book an incredibly important resource for anyone wanting to learn about and implement a UI strategy – especially for graphic designers who were educated in the print world but want to make the transition to working on UI and interactive projects. Applying the information in this book can absolutely make any designer a more valuable and strategic contributor to current and prospective clients and employers. This book is easy to follow, provides a clear understanding of what to expect in each chapter, offers insight into key questions to be asked throughout the UI process and is loaded with relevant and applicable content and insight. This is not only a book, but also an incredibly useful learning tool that can be utilized on a daily basis. – Sean Brennan, Project Manager, Haneke Design, Tampa, Florida

Basics Interactive Design: Interface Design is an authoritative and refreshingly accessible guide to designing user-friendly, front-end interfaces for a range of digital media. Case studies and interviews delve deeper into the subject, and the design of effective visual communication for interfaces is clearly explained, arming readers with the tools needed to develop better interactions. With practical advice on improving communication between designers and developers, and a tantalizing look at designing interactivity for all five senses, this is a must-have introduction to developing interfaces that users will love.

Cooking, Food & Wine / Health & Fitness

Skinny Meals: Everything You Need to Lose Weight-Fast! by Bob Harper (Ballantine Books)

Have you ever read about some celebrity's dramatic weight loss and thought how much easier dropping pounds would be if you had the support of a personal chef like so many famous people do? Ever imagined the ease of having someone tell you exactly what to put in your mouth, and when (not to mention shopping and preparing all your food each day)? – from the book

In The Skinny Rules, super-motivator Bob Harper introduced the twenty nonnegotiable eating and lifestyle principles that pave the way to quick and permanent weight loss. Since then, thousands of fans asked for more guidance and inspiration.

Skinny Meals answers the call, delivering 100 new Skinny Rules – abiding recipes and a month’s worth of new menu plans to satisfy readers at every meal. From an Apple Pie Shake for breakfast to Zucchini Noodles with Avocado Cream Sauce for dinner, Harper has done all the tricky calorie, protein, carb, sodium, and fiber counting so readers can meet their goals without even thinking about them.

Harper is a world-renowned fitness trainer and the star of the NBC reality series The Biggest Loser, which went into its fourteenth season in January 2013. He has released several fitness DVDs and is the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers The Skinny Rules and Jumpstart to Skinny.

Unless readers hire themselves live-in chefs or buy a subscription to a frozen-meal delivery service, Skinny Meals is as close as they can get to that experience. Harper becomes the kitchen wizard and motivator, giving readers one hundred options for meals that are easy to cook and satisfying – and promote fast weight loss. He makes recommendations so readers can easily put meals together for a month's worth of menus, and he even provides week-by-week shopping lists.

Every Skinny Meals recipe adheres to the nonnegotia­ble rules for getting to thin. When readers eat exclusively from the recipes in this book (or combine them with recipes from The Skinny Rules for more options), they will be living by Harper’s rules for overall daily calories – no recipe in the book has more than 330 calories – protein, carbs, fiber, sodium, fruits, vegetables, and water.

Whether readers create their own daily menu combinations or follow the ones Harper has supplied, he makes grabbing breakfast on the fly, packing lunch for the office, snacking, and assembling dinner in a rush much easier. Automated, even. And automation is a friend when one is trying to get rid of bad eating habits and adopt better ones.

Automated, however, doesn't mean joyless. It doesn't mean denying oneself the flavors of the world. Harper’s Skinny Meals draw inspiration from Thailand to Louisiana, Hawaii to France, and the Mediterranean to Mexico. Some of the food in these pages is so scrumptious that readers could entertain guests in style without breaking their skinny stride.

With easy, prepare-ahead strategies, handy shopping lists, and cooking tips, Skinny Meals is an ultimate guide to slimming down and staying fit. With twenty breakfast options, thirty-five lunches, thirty-five dinners, and ten snack recipes, they can mix and match for months and never get bored.

Culture / Music History

Bohemian Baroque: Czech Musical Culture and Style. 1600-1750 by Robert G. Rawson (Boydell Press)

Traditional polemical histories of Bohemia and Moravia identify the period from the early seventeenth to the mid-eighteenth century as a ‘period of darkness’ – particularly in terms of Czech-language culture. Bohemian Baroque challenges that interpretation from the perspective of musical culture and demonstrates that this was actually a vibrant, productive and innovative period, both for music in the Czech language and instrumental music. By focusing on the distinctive nature of Czech-language education and devotional traditions (rehabilitated along Catholic lines after the Thirty Years War), the book reveals a new understanding of Czech musical practices and repertoires as a beguiling blend of the older, nonconformist, vernacular traditions with the new, theatrical, Italian styles and genres. Drawing on a broad range of genres including sonatas, concertos, oratorios, Passion music, masses, motets, litanies and operas, Bohemian Baroque by Robert G. Rawson, Reader in Musicology and Performance at Canterbury Christ Church University, reveals a fascinating culture and repertoire that have long been overlooked.

In the Czech lands, seventeenth-century courtly life emerged in a much different way from many other European countries. Bohemian Baroque underscores the prominent role of rural life in shaping musical culture more broadly in Bohemia and Moravia and consequently draws attention to the works and environments of composers whose careers were primarily in the Czech lands (in contrast to the traditional focus on more famous émigré composers). The book also considers the influence of Germanic traditions on Czech musical culture; several areas of overlap reveal newly identified examples of shared repertoires – in some cases, German and Czech even appear within a single work. Taken as a whole, Bohemian Baroque posits a new paradigm in which received notions of ‘Czechness’ in the musical culture of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries might be reconsidered.

In the context of Bohemia and Moravia, music history has inherited a strange legacy from literary history. Rawson uses the plural ‘narratives’ at the start of Bohemian Baroque to highlight the fact that there is no single national narrative, but rather several competing ones, written along linguistic, religious, confessional and, later, geographical lines. These are not stable concepts and the determining factors of ‘nation’, real and imagined, changed over time. So when eighteenth-century writers describe Bohemian patriotism, it would be anachronistic to apply this to the same idea of 'nation' understood among the Hussites, for example. Certainly, up to the second half of the eighteenth century, one common strand in the idea of the Czech nation is language. But even within this stream of historical narrative, there are diverting and competing rivulets. However, a `Czech' identity was clearly observed in the literature of the time – usually described in contrast to a German one. After the Thirty Years War these identities became even more complicated. It remains possible sometimes to clearly identify one from the other (and this certainly happened in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries), but in other cases the distinction is impossible and-or of little use to the historian. In the context of cities and at many courts, the two, the German and the Czech, were too close together for too long to be easily or usefully separated from one another – especially in Prague.

Bohemian Baroque dispels several myths that are continually repeated, mostly in survey literature, but throughout musicology and history as well. The myths are these: first, that the period after 1618 until the early phases of the national revival at the end of the eighteenth century is a `dark period' for Czech language literature and arts. Second, that use of the Czech language practically died during this period and was replaced with German. Third, that the notion of a specifically Czech identity was invented in the nineteenth century. For most readers these will hardly seem like myths that need debunking, but nevertheless they are still prevalent enough to warrant being flagged. These myths were created for particular reasons and often these reasons suited both sides of the national debates that emerged in a new way in the nineteenth century. The revivalist authors invented the idea of the `golden age' of Czech-language culture and positioned themselves as the architects of a new renaissance. This rebirth, ipso facto, required an intervening `dark age', and this became the default description of the entire baroque era (in fact, the word `baroque' itself became a pejorative term amongst revivalist writers). Most Anglophone music history books that mention Czech music at all have tended to accept this explanation and usually dismiss the entire era of Czech music in a sentence or two (and with it overlook a massive body of music and its culture).

Bohemian Baroque is not a survey book of music in Bohemia and Moravia and does not attempt to cover either the period or the geography of the region in its totality. The central focus, in terms of the inhabitants, is the Czech-language milieu. While this covers the vast majority of the population during this period, it does not cover all. Rawson does not avoid German language or cultural matters in Bohemia and Moravia, but he does avoid issues that are particular to German Bohemians and Moravians.

The tendency of modern musicology has been to focus on large cities (and the Czech lands had only one, Prague) and the dissemination of repertoire and practices from there. Reading numerous travel accounts from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, several comment on the fact that even Prague's musicians arrive there from villages in the countryside. While this pattern is itself not unique, what is unusual is that these young musicians arrived as more or less finished articles and were already fully abreast of Italian music and style (and had usually styled their names in the Italian way: `Giuseppe Svoboda' and the like). One area of musicological research that has remained popular (right through the Communist era) is the focus on Czech musical émigrés, especially Benda, Gluck and Zelenka. In a similar way that the `dark period' could be blamed on the political opponents of the revival authors (namely the Austrians), the same nation could also be blamed for the large number of Czech musical émigrés, who fled their native land in flight from Austrian persecution (or so we have been told). What has been revealed in ten years of research is much different from the polemic offered in `the bad old days' and much more culturally rewarding. Perhaps surprisingly, given that it was Czech historians who steered the ship of revivalist culture, Bohemian Baroque reveals Czech music and musical culture to be broader, more impressive and less insular than has generally been expressed in the past. In terms of music, Rawson says he found the opposite of what he had read he might find. Rather than the eradication of the Czech language, he found it in practically every musical genre and circumstance he examined. He also found that not only were villages musically active, they fostered and maintained surprisingly up-to-date Italianate repertoires in addition to teaching composers and performers. As a result, he found music composed for and by villagers to be of high quality and often very innovative – it is no wonder so many found work abroad.

In terms of musical culture, we are still dealing primarily with a culture of Gebrauchsmusik and, with such a large volume of Czech language works surviving, a closer look was then needed at the institutions and other cultural phenomena that required music in the Czech language, or, even more obscurely, in the `Bohemian style'. Finally, he does not keep his considerations of music or even musical culture within the Czech borders. Rawson has already rejected the isolationist standpoint, and several chapters demonstrate a strong relationship with Italian music, culture and institutions.

Bohemian Baroque is not a detailed study of institutions and courts, per se, but rather musical cultures and style. The raison d'ètre behind much of the book was to answer questions such as: why does this music sound the way that it does? Why does it do the (often unconventional) things that it does? Those questions cannot be answered though analysis of the music alone and so a great deal of attention is paid to those circumstances of performance and devotion where these less conventional and more often `Czech' characteristics are heard. While the title of the book suggests a chronological sweep from 1600 to 1750, it provides a rather broad framework within which other studies are placed.

Bohemian Baroque will be required reading for anyone interested in the music of the Habsburg Empire and Central Europe, cultural history, or baroque music more generally. Students and scholars of musical style and music and identity will equally find much of interest in the book.

Education & Reference / Writing Skills / Guides

How to Write Anything: A Complete Guide by Laura Brown (W.W. Norton and Company)

  • Need to know how to format your résumé for that job application?
  • How do you write a cover letter that will stand out?
  • How can you write a eulogy that will be an honor to the deceased and comfort to the living?
  • Wondering how to request a letter of recommendation for graduate school?
  • Trying to craft a get-well note that will really help?
  • Need tips to engage colleagues when you’re giving a presentation at work?
  • How informal is too informal when instant messaging in the office?
  • What do you write on the website for your small business?
  • What should you say in a wedding invitation? Or divorce announcement?
  • How do you write a birth announcement?

With more than two hundred how-to entries and easy-to-use models organized into three comprehensive sections on work, school, and personal life, How to Write Anything covers a wide range of topics that make it an essential guide for the whole family.

How to Write Anything is written by Laura Brown, who has more than twenty-five years’ experience providing training and coaching in business writing and has taught composition and literature at Columbia University.

The book provides the guidance readers need to write – at work, at school, in their personal lives. Grounded in a common-sense approach, the book is Internet-savvy, with advice throughout about choosing the most appropriate medium for the message: e-mail or pen and paper.

Laura Brown's ability as a writing coach is unparalleled, and How to Write Anything offers the best of her guidance on business writing. Laura has a gift for helping business writers focus, refine, and develop their ideas, and express those ideas in a compelling way. Whether you are a CEO or a first-time manager, How to Write Anything will help you craft your message for the highest possible impact. – Robert C. Daugherty, executive chairman, Knowledge Shares
Laura Brown has written the ultimate guide for anyone who needs to create clear, concise, and compelling written communications. Students, business people, and even seasoned professional writers should keep it handy, right between their dictionary and thesaurus.
– Michael Snell, literary agent, writing collaborator, and author of From Book Idea to Bestseller
An invaluable guide. If your job or your business depends on delivering clear messages with impact, you need this book. –
Bernd Schmitt, professor, Columbia Business School
How to Write Anything is the first book I've seen that addresses the very core of writing for today's digital communications channels. The lessons in this book are for everybody. – Mary Olson, digital business design and development pioneer
As a writing instructor of over thirty years, I know full well the demands upon young writers. Laura Brown answers the tough questions on how to get started, how to craft tone for a target readership, how to develop succinct content, and how to master argumentation. – Roger Marheine, assistant professor, Pasadena City College
To author a book called How to Write Anything: A Complete Guide, you have to be foolish, delusional, or be Laura Brown, who pulls it off with grace and wisdom. Brown provides readers with an overview of the writing process – the infrastructure on which all writing is built – and specific strategies for hundreds of situations. Of course, eventually writers have to face each task alone, but they will be well-equipped thanks to Laura Brown. – Alan Ziegler, author of The Writing Workshop Note Book

How to Write Anything is a practical guide to everything readers ever need to write – at work, at school, and in their personal lives. At once a how-to, a reference book, and a pioneering guide for writing in a changing world, this is the only writing resource readers will ever need.

Health & Fitness / Science & Math / Physics

Overpowered: The Dangers of Electromagnetic Radiation (EMF) and What You Can Do about It by Martin Blank PhD (Seven Stories)

At various gatherings, when I am inevitably asked what I do for a living, an interesting sequence often ensues. "I am working on the biological effects of cell phones, WiFi, and related devices," I reply. That is followed by a slightly anxious, "So, are they dangerous?" After I say that there is a considerable body of evidence showing significant risk, the conversation usually ends – often with a statement such as, "Well there's no way I am giving up my cell phone." – from the book

Keys, wallet, cell phone ... ready to go. Cell phones have become ubiquitous fixtures of 21st century life – suctioned to our ears and stuck in our pockets. Yet, we've all heard whispers that these essential little devices give people brain cancer. Could it be true? In 2011, the World Health Organization shocked the international community by confirming that the radiation from cell phones is a possible carcinogen to humans. Many of us are left wondering, as Maureen Dowd asked in the New York Times, are cells the new cigarettes?
An expert on the health-related effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF), author Martin Blank in Overpowered notes that while the presumption of innocence is invaluable to the system of justice, it does not make sense as a public health standard. Blank is a former Associate Professor at Columbia University, where he now acts as a special lecturer. He has served as chairman of the Organic and Biological Division of the Electrochemical Society, as president of the Bioelectrochemical Society, and as president of the Bioelectromagnetics Society.

Overpowered brings readers through the science, indicating biological effects resulting from low, non-thermal levels of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation (levels considered safe by regulatory agencies).

Radiation comes not only from cell phones, but many other devices people use in their homes and offices every day. It is generally accepted that there should be a limit on exposure of the public to EMF. However, industry pushes the envelope. Blank advises applying the precautionary principle when it comes to demonstrably hazardous EMF – and teaches readers how they can take steps in their daily lives to reduce exposures.

According to Blank there is a vast continuum of ways to address the problems – from abandonment to the unrestricted use that currently exists. Whenever arguments are raised about implementing limitations, the typical corporate-sponsored line is that ‘there is no solid evidence of danger.’ But there is a large body of solid science showing that the electromagnetic radiation (EMR) that is a by-product of our high-tech world has many and varied effects on our biology. It is time we replaced the common refrain of ‘no solid evidence of danger’ with ‘it's time we acknowledge the dangers and do something about it.’

According to Blank, the steps necessary for change are many. Two of the most important are:

  1. Establish the criteria that will make the technology safer for users and for all in the surrounding environment. Fortunately, those criteria are not difficult to put in place, and there are multiple ways in which the amount of exposure can be reduced. What is required is the recognition that the change is needed and doable.
  2. Create an informed citizenry. When people are informed, they are empowered. We have seen over and over again what the population can achieve when it is mobilized to act. Corporate and government policy can change dramatically.

These goals are central to the ideas in Overpowered.

This book is a must for anyone concerned with protecting their well-being, that of loved ones, and other species. From the personal, the political, and the planetary, you will never see things the same way again. – B. Blake Levitt, former New York Times contributor, author, Electromagnetic Fields, A Consumer’s Guide to the Issues and How to Protect Ourselves

The extremely well documented Overpowered reads like an environmental thriller! Dr. Blank does a superb job of explaining the biological effects of cellphones and all things wireless on cell physiology and how to protect ourselves and, most importantly, our children. The sections on electricity, wildlife, and the 'business' of science all demonstrate the dark side of technology – an inconvenient truth we must consider. – Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D.
Martin Blank deals with a difficult subject in a scientifically accurate but easily readable fashion. He covers everything from powerlines, to cell phones, to light bulbs, to conflicts of interest, with humor and passion. In this great scientist, we have an unlikely activist and truth teller. – David O. Carpenter, M.D., Director, Institute for Health and the Environment, University at Albany

In Overpowered, an incredibly timely book and one written in accessible language, Blank arms readers with the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe. With the facts, readers can make informed decisions about how they use technology, and they can also become part of the process required to reduce the potential harm posed by EMR.

History / American / South / Civil War / Religion & Spirituality

The Civil War in Southern Appalachian Methodism by Durwood Dunn (The University of Tennessee Press)

The Civil War in Southern Appalachian Methodism addresses a much-neglected topic in both Appalachian and Civil War history – the role of organized religion in the sectional strife and the war itself.
In many important respects, the actual Civil War that began in 1861 unveiled an internal civil war within the Holston Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South – comprising churches in southwestern Virginia, eastern Tennessee, western North Carolina, and a small portion of northern Georgia – that had been waged surreptitiously for the previous five decades. The Civil War in Southern Appalachian Methodism examines the split within the Methodist Church that occurred with mounting tensions over the slavery question and the rise of the Confederacy. Specifically, it looks at how the church was changing from its early roots as a reform movement grounded in a strong local pastoral ministry to a church with a more intellectual, professionalized clergy that often identified with Southern secessionists.
The author Durwood Dunn has mined a trove of primary sources, especially the extensive, yet often-overlooked minutes from frequent local and regional Methodist gatherings. He has also explored East Tennessee newspapers and other published works on the topic. His research into obscure church records and other resources results not only in a surprising interpretation of the division within the Methodist Church but also new insights into the roles of African Americans, women, and especially lay people and local clergy in the decades prior to the war and through its aftermath. Dunn in The Civil War in Southern Appalachian Methodism presents important information about what the inner Civil War was like in East Tennessee, an area deeply divided between Union and Confederate sympathizers. Dunn is professor and chair of the Department of History at Tennessee Wesleyan College in Athens.

In a recent essay in the Journal of American History analyzing the current historiography on the causes of the American Civil War, historian Michael E. Woods notes that a broad consensus about the centrality of slavery as the primary reason for disunion clearly reigned in the first decade of the twenty-first century. In terms of strategies to understand the Civil War, the ‘long view,’ or an attempt to transcend spatial and temporal boundaries of American sectionalism also prevails, as does a resurgent interest in the role of class and class conflict. Central to understanding both Confederate and Union nationalism has been the role of religion, whose relevance has been emphasized by commentators from Abraham Lincoln to modern historians such as George C. Rable. What is possibly a new direction for bringing all these elements to bear is the complex interaction of each of these important factors within and between subregions of the South such as East Tennessee. This is the topic of The Civil War in Southern Appalachian Methodism: the Holston Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, before and during the war.

This study of the civil war within the Holston Conference during the Civil War began in the early 1990s when an elderly friend, Robert L. Hilten, a retired Methodist itinerant serving with Dunn on the Holston Conference Commission on Archives and History, showed him a remarkable polemic published in 1868 by Jonathan L. Mann, attacking Holston ministers during the Civil War for their loyalty to the Confederacy. Since that time, he says his knowledge of early American Methodism has been transformed by the addition of a remarkable collection of new monographs by Dee E. Andrews, Christine Leigh Heyrman, Cynthia Lynn Lyerly, and John H. Wigger that have informed his understanding of both Methodism's structure, or polity, and its broader role in the early republic.

The struggle among Methodists in the Holston Conference was nevertheless deeply rooted in East Tennessee's long history as an alienated section protesting against its perceived discrimination by both the state of Tennessee and the larger South after the 1830s. East Tennessee exceptionalism, therefore, is both cause and effect of this struggle with the state of Tennessee and the larger region, but it also functions as an index into the internal civil war within the section, consisting of savage guerrilla attacks in almost every community that left a legacy of bitterness and distrust long after the Civil War formally ended. The regionalism of Holston remained a constant factor throughout the nineteenth century, and much of the Holston Conference's relations with the larger church and its neighboring conferences can be explained by this enduring sense of a separate identity. ‘Franklinites’ was the pejorative term the Nashville Christian Advocate used all too frequently to refer to the people of East Tennessee, based on the abortive ‘lost’ state of Franklin that East Tennesseans tried but failed to establish in the eighteenth century.

Another significant theme Dunn explores in The Civil War in Southern Appalachian Methodism is the importance of individual agency, especially in the form of ‘Parson’ William G. Brownlow, Holston's most famous ex-itinerant and newspaper editor. Undoubtedly Brownlow exerted tremendous influence over his native region, but in the final analysis, Brownlow followed public opinion carefully, anticipating rather than leading his former charges among the numerous circuits he rode while an itinerant.

The single most important part of The Civil War in Southern Appalachian Methodism is the meticulous examination of remaining quarterly conference minutes, which cover lengthy periods of activity and a rather wide geographic distribution, mainly in East Tennessee. In going through these extant records page by page, Dunn has reconstructed active participation by African Americans in class meetings and quarterly conference meetings, as well as their frequent status as exhorters and local preachers. Because many of these important records have been either lost or misplaced, this examination at the grassroots level offers an important new dimension to the understanding of how incorporated blacks were in the Methodist polity and economy before 1861.

Why this tacit functional equality of worship existed at the class meeting level even up to the Civil War in various parts of Holston is another critical question that had not been entirely answered in previous studies. One answer is the indigenous antislavery activity in East Tennessee during the first three decades of the nineteenth century. The other answer lies in the antislavery stance assumed by early Methodists in America, from Bishop Asbury down the hierarchal ladder.

This is a first-rate study of a much neglected topic in both Appalachian and Civil War history – the role of organized religion in the sectional conflict and war itself. I daresay it will be an equally significant contribution to the history of American Methodism as well. Dunn's achievement impresses at every level – it is deeply researched, well written, and full of fresh facts and insights that should make us consider both the region and the war with new eyes. – John C. Inscoe, author of Race, War, and Remembrance in the Appalachian South

The primary research is outstanding. The Methodists kept voluminous records of the frequent local and regional gatherings. Many of these reports have survived, and the author has read them all. This book will be of interest to Civil War historians, scholars of the Methodist Church and American religious history, and students of Appalachian Studies... – Gordon McKinney, author of Henry W. Blair's Campaign Reform America: From the Civil War to the U.S. Senate

Meticulously and exhaustively researched, well written, and full of fresh facts, The Civil War in Southern Appalachian Methodism brings an original perspective to the study of the conflict and the region. Students and scholars of religious history, southern history, and Appalachian studies will be enlightened by the volume and its bold new way of looking at the history of the Methodist Church and this part of the nation.

History / Crafts & Hobbies / Collectibles

I Love Those Earrings: A Popular History from Ancient to Modern by Jane Merrill and Chris Filstrup (Schiffer Publishing Ltd.)

In my Paris collecting, I kept a sketchbook of the earrings that caught my interest and, in more detail, the pairs of earrings I purchased, front and back. My ambition was to have one of each of the most distinctive styles of the nineteenth century. Later I collected more eclectically. I especially enjoy seeing how women dress up in earrings, even if the jewelry is lacking distinction as objects. A woman who is confident in her look often completes her person by adorning her ears. One day I was waiting with my daughter for a cappuccino at the bookstore and complimented the woman in front of us on her earrings. She looked stunning in a red-orange sundress and the lacy Spanish-style silver earrings studded with tiny rhinestones. "Here take them, they are a gift," she said. No, I protested, she mustn't, but she unhooked them from her ears and placed them right in my hand. When I said I didn't wear big earrings, she had me put them right on. I took her address and later sent her a pair of mine. – from the book

Earrings can talk – of mourning a dead king, supporting a revolution, or resisting an emperor. They have carried the message that a proper Victorian believed in Darwin, and that a woman invited a lover to her bed.

In I Love Those Earrings readers raid the jewelry boxes of the glamorous, legendary, and everyday chic women alike. They see what earrings they have worn, when, and why, in ways that speak to readers of their way of life and personality, and how jewelry carries family and cultural heritage with style. Looking at earrings as tiny sculptures, the volume provides details about gems, settings, and fixtures. Lavishly embellished with over 300 images of jewelry ranging from the Byzantine era to the contemporary artisan, the styles of design, relationships to dress, portraiture and symbolism, and other aspects of adornment are elaborated upon. With research-based anecdotes and her own life in earrings, Jane Merrill tells a story that will engage anyone interested in the barely recorded lives of women of the past, and, of course, anyone who loves beautiful jewelry.

Merrill has published articles in 50 national magazines and has written books on popular culture, beauty, lifestyle, and self-help. Co-author and husband Chris Filstrup is an academic librarian at Stony Brook University in NY, and teaches on New York City's special collections at Long Island University.

I Love Those Earrings follows earrings through many incarnations, mostly from Europe and America, and through the wearers and the wearing. The authors based the book on reading history, asking questions of experts, and engaging in dialog with women whose earrings are part of their identities. It tells the big story of these small bijoux.

According to I Love Those Earrings, fashion terms earrings as ‘extras,’ or accessories, but, for a woman, the type of earrings she wears is a signature of her attire, and many a woman feels naked without her earrings.

According to I Love Those Earrings, the story of earrings is revealing about people. Jane Stanford sold her personal jewelry to benefit Stanford University, yet we see her array of earrings in a big painting because she wanted the jewelry memorialized. Barbara Hutton wished to take care of her fabulous pearl set. When a visitor wanted to see it, she answered, "The goose has it." Hutton had been told that pearls swallowed by a goose gain luster.

From ancient times, earrings have been intertwined with many aspects of culture: clothing and hair styles, the availability and trade of precious metals and gems, views of luxury and sensuality, types of lighting, sumptuary laws, the position of women, and the frivolities of the ruling class. However, like other jewelry, earrings' precious metals have been recycled to fund wars while gems were traded for necessities and freedom from servitude.

Whereas the history of fashion was once viewed primarily in terms of outfitting actors for the theater, now museums preserve and exhibit costumes. These exhibitions are often among the best-attended. Meanwhile, the study of earrings is more like chasing a live quarry than something inanimate. Styles evolve and vanish, only to reemerge when skillfully done with new life, as well as a new twist.

In Western civilization, where individualism is valued, people like to be identified with the group, but shun something that becomes too prevalent. Moreover, fashion and personal style change; so does taste in earrings. I Love Those Earrings tells a story that will engage anyone interested in celebrities, monarchies, the barely recorded lives of women of the past, and anyone who loves beautiful jewelry.

Home & Garden / Crafts & Hobbies

Linked: Innovative Chain Mail Jewelry Designs by Karin Van Voorhees (Kalmbach Books)

Chain mail allows creative expression and results in fine, handmade jewelry. – Sue Ripsch

Centuries ago, chain mail (or maille) armor was created by the Celtic people for solely practical purposes. Tightly linked metal rings provided unprecedented protection on the battlefield – a distinct advantage to those who wore it.

Linked is a project-rich book for anyone who has an interest in modern chain mail as jewelry. With a variety of necklace, bracelet, and earring projects, jewelry makers can incorporate sterling silver, base metal, and colored aluminum jump rings, with crystals, gemstones, and leather. With 22 projects featuring the work of six leading designers, this book gets readers 'linked in' to chain mail jewelry.

Author Karin Van Voorhees is the author of The Absolute Beginners Guide: Stringing Beaded Jewelry and Mostly Metals: A Beginner’s Guide to Jewelry Design. A longtime jewelry designer and former associate editor for BeadStyle magazine, Van Voorhees now works as a senior editor for Kalmbach Books.

In Linked, modern jewelry artists interpret ancient chain mail weaves in new ways, bringing individual perspective and creative flair to traditional styles. The book includes:

  • Instruction from six artists provides varied approaches to learning how to make chain mail.
  • Patterns for necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and pendants.
  • Materials include gleaming sterling silver, colorful niobium rings, and aged copper accented with gemstones, crystal, leather, and metal.
  • Easy-to-understand directions paired with clear how-to photography.

According to Van Voorhees, chain mail weaves evolved from three distinct cultures: Japanese, known for using small rings in flat patterns such as the 12-in-2 or the Chrysanthemum; European, most commonly recognized for the 4-in-1 pattern and its variations; and Persian, distinguished by more decorative ornamentation.

Contemporary chain mail artists not only reproduce ancient weaves, but they also combine and blend patterns and materials into unique, modern jewelry art. Six such artists are featured in Linked: Sue Ripsch, Diane Miller, Anne Mitchell, John Fetvedt, Vanessa Walilko, and Laura Poplin. Each designer opens, links, and closes jump rings with the same motions, but the resulting jewelry couldn't be more different. Whether it's gleaming sterling silver chain that flows along the wrist, bold and colorful combinations of anodized niobium links, or patterned chain blended with organic leather or sparkling crystal, readers find projects in this collection that challenge their creativity and boost their understanding of this art.

Readers may want to review the Basics section. Included is a thorough explanation of tools used in chain mail, an overview of different metals and how they fare in jump ring and chain mail construction, and comprehensive directions for making their own jump rings. Additionally, basic instructions for soldering, finishing, and jewelry-making techniques are included. Finally, experts Walilko and Mitchell provide commentary on chain mail standards and practices, and on using aspect ratio to control the fit of a piece.

Designers and their projects include:

  • Sue Ripsch: 3-in-3 with a Twist chain, Celtic Line bracelet & earrings, Crazy Eight set, Monty Python bracelet.
  • Diane Miller: Celtic Visions pendant, Vortex pendant & earrings, Queen's Link bracelet, GSG Chain Mail bracelet.
  • Anne Mitchell: Double-Cross Link bracelet, Chain Mail Overlay bracelet, Beyond Chain necklace & bracelet, Ancient Links necklace.
  • John Fetvedt: Half-Byzantine hoop earrings, Mixed-Metal Double-Barrel bracelet, Double-Cross Chain set, Graceful Chain earrings.
  • Vanessa Walilko: Art Deco necklace, Reversible Chain Reaction bracelet.        
  • Laura Poplin: Akemi earrings, Lille bracelet, Joie de Vivre pendant, Clichy pendant & earrings.

Whether readers are already chain mail makers or just hoping to dive into the hobby, they can find the perfect project in this new collection, Linked. Included are stunning projects suited to beginners and avid chain mail makers alike.

Humanities / Education & Reference / Linguistics

Adjectives in Germanic and Romance edited by Petra Sleeman, Freek Van de Velde and Harry Perridon (Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today Series, Vol. 212: John Benjamins Publishing Company)

Although the Germanic and Romance languages are two branches of the same language family and although both have developed the adjective as a separate syntactic and morphological category, the syntax, morphology, and interpretation of adjectives is by no means the same in these two language groups, and there is even variation within each of the language groups. One of the main aims of Adjectives in Germanic and Romance is to map the differences and similarities in syntactic behavior, morphology, and meaning of the Germanic and Romance adjective and to find an answer to the question: Are the (dis)similarities the result of autonomous developments in each of the two branches of the Indo-European language family, or are they caused by language contact?

Adjectives in Germanic and Romance is part of the series Linguistik Aktuell/ Linguistics Today (LA). The series provides a platform for original monograph studies into synchronic and diachronic linguistics. Studies in LA confront empirical and theoretical problems as these are currently discussed in syntax, semantics, morphology, phonology, and systematic pragmatics with the aim to establish robust empirical generalizations within a universalistic perspective. General Editors are Werner Abraham, University of Vienna, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen and Elly van Gelderen, Arizona State University.

The volume is edited by Petra Sleeman, University of Amsterdam; Freek Van de Velde, University of Leuven; and Harry Perridon, University of Amsterdam. Most of the papers in Adjectives in Germanic and Romance were presented at the two-day conference Adjectives in Germanic and Romance: variation and change, which took place in March 2012 at the University of Amsterdam, and which was organized by Harry Perridon, Petra Sleeman, and Freek Van de Velde, in collaboration with the ACLC (Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication) research group DP/NP in the Germanic and Romance languages: structure, semantics, acquisition and change.

The introductory chapter of Adjectives in Germanic and Romance discusses the similarities and differences in the development and the current behavior of the adjective in Germanic and Romance, both within and between the language families. A deeper analysis suggests that what seem to be differences may in fact be similarities and vice versa. Topics that are discussed are the emergence of the adjective as a category, the distinction between attributive and predicative adjectives, the position of adjectives within the noun phrase, and adjectival inflection. This introduction forms the basis for the chapters, in which current visions on variation and change with respect to the adjective in Germanic and Romance are presented in more detail.

Chapters in Adjectives in Germanic and Romance and their authors include:

  • Introduction: The adjective in Germanic and Romance: Development, differences and similarities – Freek Van de Velde, Petra Sleeman & Harry Perridon

PART I. Change

  • The adjective-adverb interface in Romance and English – Martin Hummel
  • The position proper of the adjective in Middle English: A result of language contact – Carola Trips
  • Strong and weak adjectives in Old Swedish – Ulla Stroh-Wollin & Rico Simke
  • The resilient nature of adjectival inflection in Dutch – Freek Van de Velde & Fred Weerman

PART II. Variation

  • On the properties of attributive phrases in Germanic (and beyond) – Volker Struckmeier & Joost Kremers
  • From participle to adjective in Germanic and Romance – Petra Sleeman
  • The mixed categorical behavior of cel + participle in Romanian – Dana Niculescu
  • Inside and outside – Before and after: Weak and strong adjectives in Icelandic – Alexander Pfaff
  • Adjectives in German and Norwegian: Differences in weak and strong inflections – Dorian Roehrs & Marit Julien
  • Cross-linguistic variation in agreement on Germanic predicate adjectives – Erik Schoorlemmer

A fascinating presentation of a conference, Adjectives in Germanic and Romance begins to elucidate the differences and similarities in syntactic behavior between Germanic and Romance adjectives. Providing a complex answer to the question regarding the origins of the similarities and differences, it will certainly stimulate further study.

Social Sciences / Library & Information Science / Business & Investing / Sales

Buying and Selling Information: A Guide for Information Professionals and Salespeople to Build Mutual Success by Michael L. Gruenberg (Information Today, Inc.)

I greatly admire what my friend and colleague Michael Gruenberg has done with Buying and Selling Information. Thanks to Mike's book, we now have expert guidance about how to work with our vendors – and how they can work with us.… From my point of view, this book should be added to the graduate curriculum for any line of work to which information and knowledge profes­sionals aspire. – Guy St. Clair, from the foreword

Both sides of the negotiating table are represented in Buying and Selling Information, a practical and much needed guide by Michael L. Gruenberg, a veteran of the electronic information field. With more than 30 years experience selling information to a wide variety of libraries, Gruenberg's time-tested tips, techniques, and strategies will be welcomed by information professionals and sales professionals alike. Gruenberg is president of Gruenberg Consulting LLC, which he founded in 2012.

The author's personal stories are geared to helping librarians and salespeople understand what the ‘other guy’ is grappling with in order to achieve the best possible outcome for everyone with special attention paid to the needs and interests of the end-user public. The insights and knowledge presented in Buying and Selling Information shed light on the importance of relationships, some harsh realities of the business world, and the ‘music’ of the sales experience.

Contents of Buying and Selling Information include:

Part One: The Info Pro-Salesperson Relationship   

  1. People Do Business with People, Not with Companies – Reading the Room; Getting to Know Each Other; Communicating Effectively and Creating Bonds
  2. It Takes Two – Guidelines for the Salesperson and the Vendor; Guidelines for the Information Professional; Persistence      
  3. Making the Most of Trade Shows – The Importance of Trade Shows; Selling to or Becoming a Serious Buyer; Preparing for a Trade Show     
  4. The Importance of Your Words – What Not to Put in Writing; Communicating Honestly; The Words You Choose Make a Difference       

Part Two: The Sales Meeting

  1. Preparing for a Sales Meeting – A Well-Planned Sales Meeting; Preparing for a Sales Meeting; Different Meetings for Different Purposes; Leverage and Momentum; Negotiating Price; Using an Agenda; W.I.I.F.M. (What's In It For Me); Visualizing the Sales Meeting
  2. Sales = Showtime – Being Positive Usually Brings Success; Making a Good First Impression    
  3. Time Management – Mr. and Ms. Clock; Managing Time as a Salesperson; Managing Time as an Information Professional; Mr. & Ms. Clock            
  4. What a Typical Sales Meeting Looks Like – Before the Sales Meeting Begins; Structure of a Sales Meeting      
  5. The Importance of Value – It's About Value, Not Price; Features and Benefits; The 80/20 Rule            
  6. Breaking Down the Barriers – Perceived and Real Barriers; Technical Barriers

Part Three: Closing the Sale           

  1. Managing the Decision-Making – Process; Clarifying Expectations; Understanding Sales Requirements and Payment Plans; Once the Decision Is Made        
  2. Negotiating Skills – Elements of Negotiation for the Information Professional; Handling Objections in Negotiations; When Negotiations Don't Work           
  3. Terms and Conditions – Understanding How Costs Are Set; Product Use, Terms and Conditions; Payment Terms            
  4. Sales Satisfaction – Sales Satisfaction; Mileposts in Communication; The Post-Sales Relationship          

Conclusion: Coping With Change   

The combination of first-hand experience, invaluable tips and tricks of the trade, and a refreshingly readable style make Buying and Selling Information a must-read for anyone buying for, selling to, or just working in libraries. It should be part of every MLIS curriculum. – Tim Rogers, executive director, NC LIVE

Gruenberg distills the process to its essential elements: two people working together to reach a successful result.... A must-read for those ready to engage in productive business relationships beneficial to both sides. – Janice Lachance, CEO, Special Libraries Association

It is a rare book that can transform relationships and engage all play­ers in a sector, but Buying and Selling Information has that power. The Gruenberg roadmap will help librarians and sales professionals work together to successfully negotiate the future. – Stephen Abram, MLS, Lighthouse Consulting Inc., and past president, SLA, CIA, OLA

I recommend Buying and Selling Information as a primer for any new sales professional or developing talent and as a refresher for the more advanced professional. It's an incredibly useful reference. – Stephen Hawthorne, executive director of Sales, Marketing & Strategic Partnerships, Royal Society of Chemistry

Gruenberg lays out the foundation required for establishing a suc­cessful sales representative-information professional partnership in a detailed and entertaining fashion. Buying and Selling Information is valuable not only to sales and information professionals but to anyone involved in the sales process in any industry. – Michael Oakes, vice president, Sales & Relationship Management, Global Asset Management Solutions, Morningstar, Inc.

A practical and much needed guide, Buying and Selling Information will be welcomed by information professionals and sales professionals alike. With this book, Gruenberg has made an important contribution to the professional literature for those who manage the knowledge domain.

Travel / U.S. / Reference

Compass American Guides: Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks (Full-color Travel Guide) by Fodor's (Fodor’s Travel)

When I first explored Yosemite Valley more than a decade ago, I was enchanted by the waterfalls, the serenity, and the canopy of the Milky Way over my tent. Today, as both a writer and a nature-lover, I'm still electrified by Yosemite and its neighbors, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks. Since l live a few hours west of these parks, I escape there whenever I can – and this time, I'm taking you along. Teaming up with me are two acclaimed photographers and fellow Californians. Chris Falkenstein embodies the adventurous spirit of Yosemite; he's lived in the area since 1972 and is an avid rock climber and skier. Robert Holmes, meanwhile, came to Northern California at the invitation of photog­raphy legend Ansel Adams in the 1970s. – from the book

Visitor arrivals to Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks have grown steadily in the past five years, now reaching more than 4 million people annually. 2014 marks the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant, and associated celebratory events are set to make this a record year for park tourism.
The electrifying vistas of the Yosemite Valley and neighboring Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks continue to exert a magnetic attraction for America’s nature lovers. Giant sequoia groves, thundering cascades and epic climbs. Compass American Guide to Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks is the most inspirational Yosemite guide available – none of the competition is entirely full color with so many full-page photos. Dazzling full-color photographs illustrate the parks’ beauty and make the guide a memorable keepsake. Clear, easy-to-read maps show sights, topography, and trailheads. Topical, illustrated essays on Ansel Adams, Yosemite’s Indian Wars, bears and wildfires (among other topics), offer background on the rich cultural and natural history of the parks.
The authors give a personal, insider's tour of these national treasures. A special chapter on flora, fauna and geography is a reference tool, while a chart detailing all of Yosemite’s free shuttles makes getting around a cinch. A 14-page Spotlight on rock climbing spans the range from easier routes to big walls.
Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks is written and photographed by local experts. Author Sara Benson and photographers Chris Falkenstein and Robert Holmes know the parks inside out and bring readers:

  • The places they love to wander, through giant sequoia groves and past soaring waterfalls.
  • Recommendations on the best hikes, climbs, fishing, snowshoe treks, and other fun activities.
  • Reviews of local-favorite places to stay and eat.
  • Stunning full-color photography.
  • Detailed, easy-to-use maps.
  • Background on the area's rich cultural and natural history.
  • Special in-depth sections on rock climbing and the parks' ‘supersized’ sights.

Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks opens with Best Experiences, a photo-rich introduction to the most outstanding sights, activities, and places to stay in the three national parks. The contributors share their favorite experiences to inspire readers’ trip planning. Next is a short overview of the history of the region, starting with its early Native American inhabitants and leading up to the political and environmental issues that the parks face today.

Each of the main regional chapters is devoted to an individual national park. These three park chapters are each subdivided into Sights and Other Activities. The Sights sections follow the key driving routes around the parks. The Other Activities sections cover the most popular outdoor pursuits, listing them alphabetically. Star icons in these park chapters highlight the must-see attractions, which are especially useful to keep in mind if time is limited.

Following the regional chapters are the recommendations for where to stay and eat in and near the national parks. The authors star their top choices. The Geology, Flora, and Fauna chapter showcases the natural history of the region and includes a handy reference to the most noteworthy local plants and animals. Finally, the Practical Information chapter rounds up essential tips and contacts, plus a short list of recommended further reading.

Fodor’s Compass American Guides is a unique series that features an eye-catching and reader-friendly design. Beloved for their stunning photography, the Compass guides capture the best images of the national parks alongside the indispensable practical information that sets Fodor’s guides apart. Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks takes travelers right to the heart of the best trails, experiences, and places to stay. 


Contents this Issue:

Elsevier Video Collections: Orthopaedics: Hand and Wrist: Expert Consult – Online, 1st edition by Elsevier Inc. (Elsevier Saunders)

Photographing Families: Use Natural Light, Flash, Posing, and More to Create Professional Images by Tammy Warnock and Lou Jacobs Jr (Amherst Media)

Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir by Frances Mayes, unabridged audio, 8 CDs, running time 10 hours (Random House Audio)

Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir by Frances Mayes (Crown)

Basics Interactive Design: Interface Design: An introduction to visual communication in UI design by David Wood (Bloomsbury)

Skinny Meals: Everything You Need to Lose Weight-Fast! by Bob Harper (Ballantine Books)

Bohemian Baroque: Czech Musical Culture and Style. 1600-1750 by Robert G. Rawson (Boydell Press)

How to Write Anything: A Complete Guide by Laura Brown (W.W. Norton and Company)

Overpowered: The Dangers of Electromagnetic Radiation (EMF) and What You Can Do about It by Martin Blank PhD (Seven Stories)

The Civil War in Southern Appalachian Methodism by Durwood Dunn (The University of Tennessee Press)

I Love Those Earrings: A Popular History from Ancient to Modern by Jane Merrill and Chris Filstrup (Schiffer Publishing Ltd.)

Linked: Innovative Chain Mail Jewelry Designs by Karin Van Voorhees (Kalmbach Books)

Adjectives in Germanic and Romance edited by Petra Sleeman, Freek Van de Velde and Harry Perridon (Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today Series, Vol. 212: John Benjamins Publishing Company)

Buying and Selling Information: A Guide for Information Professionals and Salespeople to Build Mutual Success by Michael L. Gruenberg (Information Today, Inc.)