Sharks, Baseball, Sweet Treats, and Speeches | Reference Reviews, June 15, 2015

Ebert, David A. & Sarah Fowler (text) & Marc Dando (illus.). A Pocket Guide to Sharks of the World. Princeton Univ. 2015. 256p. index. ISBN 9780691165998. pap. $19.95. REF

pocketguidetosharks62615In this condensed version of the authors’ Sharks of the World, every known shark species is described by key identification features and shown in a color illustration. The guide lists the regions in which the species lives, its habitat, and its status on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species. An exhaustive, step-by-step guide describes how to identify sharks based on a variety of characteristics and two sections cover ways to recognize the creatures using only their fins, which are heavily traded to make shark-fin soup, or by teeth, which are shed by the fish throughout their lives. Instructions for recording shark observations for field research purposes are also provided. The presentation closes with information about topography, a glossary, and a list of further reading. VERDICT This well-organized, well-written guide is ideal for scholars, professionals, and enthusiasts. Leonard Compagno et al’s Sharks, while slightly older, is an engaging introduction for beginners.—Laurie Neuerburg, Victoria Coll.-Univ. of Houston Lib.

Jessop, Vanessa (text) & Kanitta Meechubot (illus.). Atlas of the Human Body. Cicada. 2015. 32p. ISBN 9781908714176. $24.95. REF

This book takes the reader through the human body with the turn of each beautifully illustrated page. A die-cut torso illustration presents organs and muscle structures in layers to simulate the effect of a dissection. The color-pencil drawings have the feel of old lithographs and the typewriter-style font reinforces the feel of a classic medical text. The paper stock is heavy enough to support the images even with the more detailed cutouts. Anatomy is identified with brief text on each page. Following the simulated dissection is a clear explanation of the roles of blood, skin, bones, and the major organs. Overall, the book has a clean and straightforward appeal. The only negative aspect is the heavy, pressed cardboard cover, which is unfinished and will become grubby with the heavy use this volume will receive. A plastic cover is recommended. VERDICT A wonderful introduction to the human body for students fifth grade and up with illustrations adults will appreciate. An excellent resource for those interested in anatomy.—Susanne Caro, Univ. of Montana Lib., Missoula

Leventhal, Josh. A History of Baseball in 100 Objects: A Tour Through the Bats, Balls, Uniforms, Awards, Documents, and Other Artifacts that Tell the Story of the National Pastime. Black Dog & Leventhal. 2015. 424p. photos. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781579129910. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781603764018. REF

Sports fans love memorabilia. They flock to see it at museums, display it proudly in their living rooms, search for it endlessly in flea markets, and buy, sell, and trade it online. There is a certain magic in holding an object that has been touched by history, or at least autographed by a maker of that history. Leventhal (Take Me Out to the Ballpark) understands that sentiment and undertakes assembling a story—the story of baseball—with nothing more than 100 items. The trick, of course, is in the selection of those artifacts, and the author does a masterly job of choosing a mix of things from the obvious to the obscure to flesh out his narrative. Some of the choices—an early fielder’s glove, Ted Williams’s bat—are so self-evident as to be noncontroversial. Others aren’t immediately recognizable but make sense in their explanation. Then there are those items that might seem odd or frivolous but add necessary perspective about the game; Tommy John’s elbow and the Reggie Bar are prime examples. Each object is beautifully photographed, sometimes alongside other items from its era for perspective. The works are accompanied by intriguing essays detailing their significance and place in baseball history. These written pieces are thorough but brief enough for any reader to dip into while flipping through the pages. VERDICT Leventhal succeeds in relating an expansive account featuring well-chosen ephemera in a book with wide appeal for baseball fans.—Brett Rohlwing, Milwaukee P.L.

The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets. Oxford Univ. 2015. 920p. ed. by Darra Goldstein. index. ISBN 9780199313396. $65; ebk. ISBN 9780199313624. REF

Goldstein (Willcox and Harriet Adsit Professor of Russian, Williams Coll.; founding editor, Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture; The Georgian Feast) and a long list of contributors have created a comprehensive work on everything delectable. Well-planned entries, which go into great depth, address topics such as pie, children’s literature (Hansel and Gretel play their part), sour cream, Tate and Lyles golden syrup, and New Orleans and Twelfth Night cake, also known as king cake. ­VERDICT This reference will serve any kitchen, chef, patisserie, or person with a sweet tooth. Readers will delight in the history and details of the consumption of confections.—Dawn ­Lowe-Wincentsen, Oregon Inst. of Technology, Portland

The Penguin Book of Modern Speeches. Penguin. 2015. 624p. ed. by Brian MacArthur. ISBN 9780241953259. pap. $20. REF

While there are many speech anthologies, most are limited to contributions from one or two nations. This update by MacArthur (executive editor, The Times), previously published as The Penguin Book of Modern Speeches, takes an international approach, selecting speeches ranging from Theodore Roosevelt’s 1899 “Doctrine of the Strenuous Life” to President Barack Obama’s 2008 “Yes We Can” first inaugural speech. Speechmakers ranging from contemporary politicians (Lyndon B. Johnson, Robert Kennedy, Margaret Thatcher) to historical figures (Abraham Lincoln, Charles de Gaulle, Queen Elizabeth II) and from authors (Salman Rushdie, Elie ­Wiesel) to activists (Jesse Jackson, Nelson ­Mandela) demonstrate that great oration can change the world. Rounding out the collection are speeches by Patrick Pearse (1915), Mahatma Gandhi (1916), Adolf Hitler (1932), ­Jawaharlal Nehru (1948), ­Douglas ­MacArthur (1962), Bill Clinton (1998), Tony Blair (2003), and David Grossman (2006). A brief introductory paragraph places each speech in its historical context. Unfortunately, there is no index, and the chronological organization means that a reader looking for a specific entry must scan the entire table of contents or know the approximate year of the presentation. Twelve speeches (between 1998 and 2008) have been added to the 158 reprinted from previous editions for a total of 170 entries. ­VERDICT With only a handful of new entries covering the most recent ten years, this edition might not be a collection development priority despite being reasonably priced with an international scope and wisely chosen selections. It will be of interest to students in speech and debate classes. Purchase where needed.—Laurie Selwyn, formerly with Grayson Cty. Law Lib., Sherman, TX

Reference News

nglish62615Nglish, Merriam-Webster’s English-learning app for Spanish-language speakers, has won the Best Reference Prize at the 2015 Appy Awards. The free app offers a bilingual dictionary, example sentences, and audio pronunciation.
Other apps recognized included the Definitive American History App, produced by Big Spaceship along with Ken Burns, winner of Best of Show; Apalon’s Speak and Translate, winner of Best Language/Translation App; Blippar, by the company of the same name, voted Best in Search Tools; and Sharecare’s AskMD, recipient of the Best Medical App Award.
Cambridge University Press recently announced its new Open Monograph Publishing Service, which will allow authors to publish their books under the Gold Open Access (OA) model, an arrangement usually associated with journal articles in which material is made available for free immediately on the publisher’s website. The books are released under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC license permitting free reuse for academic purposes. Print and ebook versions of the monographs will also be for sale. Authors who choose the Gold OA option will pay £6,500 ($10,000) for a work of up to 120,000 words and £1,600 ($2,500) per additional 30,000 words. Illustrated works will incur a charge of £25 ($40) per figure.—Henrietta Verma

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