Science & Technology Reviews, February 1, 2012

starred review star Wolk, Art. Bulb Forcing for Beginners and the Seriously Smitten. AAB. 2012. 255p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780972973052. $32.95. GARDENING

With contagious enthusiasm, Wolk (Garden Lunacy: A Growing Concern), who has won a Quill & Trowel Award for his garden writing as well as numerous blue ribbons for his bulbs at the Philadelphia Flower Show, gives a preliminary introduction to the five types of bulbs. Then, most important, he divulges his personally tested bulb-forcing methods honed through 30 years of experience. Never intimidating or dull, the book’s clear steps for coaxing common and unusual bulbs into bloom are accompanied by compelling illustrations, including stunning two-page color photo spreads and cartoons, along with enough humorous anecdotes about mishaps to put beginners at ease. Few readers will go to the extreme of renting cooler space for bulbs, but gardeners will find other, easier tips for chilling bulbs so they will grow indoors, photographing them, and dealing with problems. Experienced gardeners will relish Wolk’s insider insights about flower shows and enjoy his behind-the-scenes look at a commercial bulb house. VERDICT This funny and well-illustrated work is the best recent source for amateur gardeners on bulb forcing. Highly recommended.‚ Bonnie Poquette, Milwaukee

starred review star Barrett, Deborah. Paintracking: Your Personal Guide to Living Well with Chronic Pain. Prometheus. Feb. 2012. c.375p. ISBN 9781616145132. pap. $20. HEALTH

Psychotherapist Barrett (social work, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) has learned to live with her own chronic pain over many years. Her professional expertise and personal experience perfectly prepare her to help others in the same situation. This book (along with a website, offers chronic pain sufferers a customizable daily table that helps plot how lifestyle affects pain levels. Consistently capturing daily data, including hours slept, types of exercise or activities undertaken, medications used, and pain levels at day’s beginning and end, can inform future day-to-day management: making better days more predictable and bad days more manageable. Barrett includes chapters with ideas about how to best manage a life with chronic pain and explains helpful pain-treating methods, including how to focus and calm your mind, pace yourself, and collaborate with your doctor/mental-health professional. VERDICT This wide-ranging, well-written book aims to empower readers and will be of interest to chronic pain sufferers, caregivers, and health-care professionals. An in-depth look at how individuals can help themselves, this book is a powerful motivator and can help support significant life changes. Highly recommended.‚ Elizabeth J. Eastwood, Los Alamos P.L. Syst., NM

starred review star Halloran, Andrew R. The Song of the Ape: Understanding the Languages of Chimpanzees. St. Martin’s. Mar. 2012. c.288p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780312563110. $25.99. NAT HIST

Scientists have been obsessed for decades with teaching apes how to communicate using sign language. Washoe and Nim Chimpsky, as well as the gorilla Koko, are some famous subjects of these grand experiments. Less effort has been devoted to the study of the natural vocalizations used within chimpanzee social groups. Halloran (primatologist, Maderas Rainforest Conservancy, Nicaragua) was a zookeeper at Florida’s Lion Country Safari when he recorded and analyzed the grunts, whimpers, and pant-hoots of a semicaptive group of chimps at the animal park and realized that these calls constitute a language with dialect, meaning, and syntax. As significant as these findings are, it’s the author’s detailed descriptions of the chimps themselves‚ their individual personalities, disputes, alliances, confrontations, and reconciliations‚ that make this book unique. Because of Halloran’s considerable skill at literary nonfiction, the chimps of his study are as fascinating as characters in a novel. VERDICT While some scientists may refuse to concede a language capacity to chimpanzees, it is clear that attempts to understand how chimps naturally communicate are as scientifically relevant as teaching them a human form of communication. Strongly recommended for general readers who enjoy Jane Goodall’s chimpanzee books. [See Prepub Alert, 9/22/11.]‚ Cynthia Knight, Hunterdon Cty. Lib., Flemington, NJ

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The following titles are reviewed in the January print issue. Visit our Reviews Center (Beta) for the full reviews.


Conrad, Hy & Jeff Johnson. Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You To Know: 11 Courageous Canines Tell You What Your Dog Won’t. Sourcebooks. Apr. 2012. c.256p. illus. ISBN 9781402263286. pap. $12.99. PETS

Hadden, Evelyn J. Beautiful No-Mow Yards: 50 Amazing Lawn Alternatives. Timber. Feb. 2012. c.252p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781604692389. pap. $24.95. GARDENING

Hyman, Mark, M.D. The Blood Sugar Solution: The UltraHealthy Program for Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Feeling Great Now! Little, Brown. Feb. 2012. c.336p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780316127370. $27.99. HEALTH

Jacobs, A.J. Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection.

S. & S. Apr. 2012. c.384p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781416599074. $26. HEALTH

Klitzman, Robert L., M.D. Am I My Genes?: Confronting Fate and Family Secrets in the Age of Genetic Testing. Oxford Univ. Mar. 2012. c.352p. ISBN 9780199837168. $29.95. MED

Mitchell, Deborah. The Women’s Pill Book: Your Complete Guide to Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications. Griffin: St. Martin’s. Mar. 2012. c.288p. index. ISBN 9780312603823. pap. $14.99. MED

Nestle, Marion & Malden Nesheim. Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics. Univ. of California. (Studies in Food & Culture). Apr. 2012. c.303p. illus. index. ISBN 9780520262881. $29.95. HEALTH

Roppé, Laura. Rocking the Pink: Finding Myself on the Other Side of Cancer. Seal: Perseus. Mar. 2012. c.300p. ISBN 9781580054171. pap. $17. HEALTH

Wolff, Jonathan. The Human Right to Health. Norton. (Amnesty International Global Ethics).Feb. 2012. c.144p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780393063356. $23.95. MED

Home Economics

Rule, Cheryl Sternman (text) & Paulette Phlipot (photogs.). Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables. Running Pr. Apr. 2012. c.272p. photogs. bibliog. ISBN 9780762440245. $25. COOKING

Virant, Paul with Kate Leahy. The Preservation Kitchen: The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves, and Aigre-doux. Ten Speed: Crown Pub. Group. Apr. 2012. c.304p. illus. index. ISBN 9781607741008. $29.99. COOKING


Asher, Robert J. Evolution and Belief: Confessions of a Religious Paleontologist. Cambridge Univ. Mar. 2012. c.298p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780521193832. $24.99. SCI

Brooks, Rob. Sex, Genes & Rock ‘n’ Roll: How Evolution Has Shaped the Modern World. Univ. of New Hampshire: Univ. Pr. of New England. Mar. 2012. c.320p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781611682366. $27.95. SCI

Lustgarten, Abrahm. Run to Failure: BP and the Making of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster. Norton. Mar. 2012. c.320p. index. ISBN 9780393081626. $27.95. SCI

Menino, Holly. Calls Beyond Our Hearing: Unlocking the Secrets of Animal Voices. St. Martin’s. Apr. 2012. c.288p. bibliog. ISBN 9780312587574. $25.99. NAT HIST

Tattersall, Ian. Masters of the Planet: The Search for Our Human Origins. Palgrave Macmillan. Mar. 2012. c.288p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780230108752. $26. SCI

Warburg, Philip. Harvest the Wind: America’s Journey to Jobs, Energy Independence, and Climate Stability. Beacon, dist. by Random. Apr. 2012. c.256p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780807001073. $27.95. SCI