Chef Cora’s Memoir, Remarkable Birds, John Paul Stapp Bio, Plus Breast Cancer Advice | Science and Technology Reviews, May 15, 2015

Cora, Cat. Cooking as Fast as I Can: A Chef’s Story of Family, Food, and Forgiveness. Scribner. Sept. 2015. 256p. ISBN 9781476766140. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781476766164. COOKING

cookingfast52015Chef Cora, best known for her role on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America, here recounts her childhood in Jackson, MS, her family’s love of food, and its influence on her. But her youth was not without its difficulties. Sexual abuse by a family friend as well as struggles with her own sexuality left scars. After graduating from college, Cora was adrift, uncertain of what she wanted to do. When she decided she could parlay her love of food into a career, she enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America. Cora worked in a number of distinguished restaurants until she was asked to appear on a local television cooking show, which led to her discovery by the Food Network. But the long working hours and constant travel took a toll on her marriage, and Cora candidly describes her struggles, achieving a balance between descriptions of life in the kitchen and the difficulties of a female chef attempting to sustain a hectic career and family. VERDICT This is sure to please fans of chef memoirs such as Gabrielle Hamilton’s Blood, Bones, and Butter. [See Prepub Alert, 3/30/15.]—Melissa Stoeger, Deerfield P.L., IL

Couzens, Dominic. Tales of Remarkable Birds. Bloomsbury USA. May 2015. 224p. photos. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781408190234. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781408190258. NAT HIST

remarkablebirds52015In this worldwide survey of selected birds that exhibit unusual behavior, Couzens, a British author of more than 30 wildlife books, engagingly describes five or more birds from all seven continents plus some noncontinental islands. The gamut of behaviors includes bigamy, nest-robbing, physical intimidation, group-living, duetting, brood parasitism, communal foraging, and much more, but this dry listing does not do justice to the amazing variety of avian lifestyles the author explores. Backing up Couzens’s lively text are 120 color photographs of the predominantly dramatic species he has chosen to highlight, including ostriches, hummingbirds, albatrosses, penguins, crows, gulls, hawks, chickadees, wrens, and sparrows. Others are less familiar but equally enchanting. The photographs, augmented by substantial captions, are of high quality. The brief bibliography may be seen as fatuous because 13 of the 37 titles are multivolume handbooks and should have consisted of two citations. ­VERDICT Recommended for birders and those interested in natural history and animal behavior.—Henry T. Armistead, formerly with Free Lib. of Philadelphia

redstarRyan, Craig. Sonic Wind: The Story of John Paul Stapp and How a Renegade Doctor Became the Fastest Man on Earth. Liveright: Norton. Aug. 2015. 384p. photos. notes. ISBN 9780871406774. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781631490798. SCI

sonicwind52015Ryan’s (Magnificent Failure) protagonist, Col. John Paul Stapp (1910–99), an MD who also had a PhD in biophysics, was a career U.S. Air Force officer, flight surgeon, and pioneer in researching the impact of acceleration and deceleration on humans. By riding the rocket sled Sonic Wind on a trial run in December 1954, Stapp showed that a pilot could survive a 46.2G decelerative force seated in the forward position with an advanced harness. Equally significant, he also attained an accelerative speed of 639 mph, which set the land record and made him the fastest man on Earth at that time. The colonel next directed a program, Project Manhigh, testing human endurance at the edge of space, employing piloted high-altitude balloon flights, which helped prepare for America’s first manned space launch in 1961. Ryan notes that Stapp parlayed his considerable celebrity (he was portrayed on a cover of Time magazine and on the documentary TV series This Is Your Life) as a means to improve automobile safety, pushing for the installation of seat belts in American cars. He was in attendance as President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Highway Safety Act of 1966, requiring seat belts in all new cars sold domestically beginning in 1968. Stapp received numerous awards, including inductions into the International Space Hall of Fame and the National Aviation Hall of Fame for his contributions to aviation safety. VERDICT A fine, groundbreaking biography of one of aeromedical sciences’ more legendary figures. Recommended for scholars and devotees of aviation and space exploration, biophysicists, automotive safety specialists, and all public libraries.—John Carver Edwards, formerly with Univ. of Georgia Libs.

Hair-raising cancer advice

redstarHosford, Stephanie. Bald, Fat & Crazy: How I Beat Cancer While Pregnant with One Daughter and Adopting Another. Nothing but the Truth. Jun. 2015. 240p. photos. ISBN 9780990465270. pap. $17.95. HEALTH

baldfatcrazy52015In 2007, at 37, Southern ­Californian ­Hosford discovers a small lump in her breast that turns out to be triple-negative breast cancer. Already the mother of a five-year-old son and having suffered a miscarriage and several years of infertility, she has been on a waiting list to adopt a Chinese orphan. And the tenderness she feels in her breasts has nothing to do with her illness; she’s pregnant. The subtitle clearly sums up her story, but moving with Hosford and her husband, Grant, through diagnosis, rounds of tests, and the search for a surgeon and a hospital that will support her decision to keep the fetus during treatment, which will include chemotherapy, is well worth reading the additional 240-some pages. ­Hosford’s experience is rare among breast cancer patients, but her warmth, wit, and way with a wig will resonate across the spectrum of those diagnosed and will bolster and encourage many who might feel the loss of control that comes with disease. The book opens and closes with Hosford’s five-year follow-up appointment with her oncologist, and readers will cheer along with her. VERDICT Highly recommended. For all ­patient health collections.—Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal

Hutton, Andrea. Bald Is Better with Earrings: A Survivor’s Guide to Getting Through Breast Cancer. Harper Wave. Jul. 2015. 224p. ISBN 9780062375650. pap. $17.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062375674. HEALTH

baldearrings52015Interior designer Hutton was 41 in 2009 when she became a member of the CSC, Cancer Sucks Club. She went through a year’s worth of tests, diagnosis, surgery, and treatment and, in what began as a blog to keep friends and family updated, here lays it all out, in meticulous detail, for those enduring the same experience. Going for a humorous tone, the author describes her cancer journey and supplements it with list upon list of top tips to consider, plus sidebars on everything from fitting a bra to finding just the right scarf. Other titles have sought to personalize the cancer life for the newly diagnosed (e.g., Teresa J. Rhyne’s The Dog Lived (and So Will I) and Melanie Young’s Getting Things off My Chest), but Hutton digs down to the nittiest and the grittiest, for example, allergic reactions to chemo drugs and the minutiae of port maintenance. VERDICT Readers will be equally overwhelmed and overjoyed by Hutton’s prescriptions. This book could be a lifesaver for breast cancer club members.—Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal

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The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue.
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Agriculture

Mash, Holly. The Holistic Cat: A Complete Guide to Natural Health Care. Crowood. Jun. 2015. 160p. illus. index. ISBN 9781847977809. pap. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9781847977816. PETS

Health & Medicine

McMillen, Christian W. Discovering Tuberculosis: A Global History, 1900 to the Present. Yale Univ. Jun. 2015. 352p. notes. index. ISBN 9780300190298. $40. MED

Small, Gary & Gigi Vorgan. 2 Weeks to a Younger Brain. Humanix. 2015. 282p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781630060305. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781630060312. HEALTH

Home Economics

Bjergsø, Mikkel Borg & Pernille Pang. Mikkeller’s Book of Beer: Includes 25 Original Mikkeller Brewing Recipes. Jacqui Small: Quarto. 2015. 258p. illus. index. ISBN 9781909342880. $29.99. BEVERAGES

Fechtor, Jessica. Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals That Brought Me Home. Avery. Jun. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9781594631320. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698161290. COOKING

Mitenbuler, Reid. Bourbon Empire: The Past and Future of America’s Whiskey. Viking. May 2015. 320p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780670016839. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698145405. BEVERAGES

Sciences

Brown, Lester R. & others. The Great Transition: Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Solar and Wind Energy. Norton. 2015. 176p. notes. ISBN 9780393350555. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393351149. SCI

Cobb, Matthew. Life’s Greatest Secret: The Race To Crack the Genetic Code. Basic. Jul. 2015. 352p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780465062676. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780465062669. SCI

Harcourt, Alexander. Humankind: How Biology and Geography Shape Human Diversity. Pegasus. Jun. 2015. 368p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781605987842. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781605987859. SCI

Krimsky, Sheldon. Stem Cell Dialogues: A Philosophical and Scientific Inquiry into Medical Frontiers. Columbia Univ. Jun. 2015. 256p. notes. ISBN 9780231167482. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780231539401. SCI

Pollock, Mary Sanders. Storytelling Apes: Primatology Narratives Past and Future. Pennsylvania State Univ. (Animalibus). May 2015. 262p. illus. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9780271066301. $29.95. NAT HIST

Safina, Carl. Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel. Holt. Jul. 2015. 480p. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9780805098884. $32; ebk. ISBN 9780805098891. NAT HIST

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