Science & Technology Reviews, July 2012

starred review star Kiser, Joy M. America’s Other Audubon. Princeton Architectural, dist. by Chronicle. 2012. 192p. illus. ISBN 9781616890599. $45. NAT HIST

These are exceptional and heretofore almost unknown late 19th-century color paintings of birds’ nests and eggs by an obscure Ohio family. Begun by Genevieve Jones, who died young, it was eventually completed by her brother Howard, mother Virginia, and friend Eliza Schulze. This book is essentially by them, a reissue of an 1886 title of which only 90 copies were printed. Kiser, a former librarian resurrected this work and contributes a compelling introduction. The nest paintings, aside from their stunning accuracy, are works of art in their own right. The accompanying detailed notes and paintings of the eggs are more in the nature of a scientific contribution at a time when there were no guides to such. Combined with, as Yeats might say, their antique joy, these paintings charm and delight. Utilizing‚ in the clunky style of those days‚ lithography and its rather excruciating hand-coloring process and special hot-pressed paper, these authors created a labor-intensive labor of love, here reproduced at full size (11 x 17), with the nests and eggs depicted in life-size scale. VERDICT This will especially appeal to naturalists and art historians. Highly recommended.‚ Henry T. Armistead, formerly with Free Lib. of Philadelphia

Boese, Alex. Electrified Sheep: Grass-eating Scientists, Nuking the Moon, and Other Bizarre Experiments. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. 2012. c.352p. bibliog. ISBN 9781250007537. $25.99. SCI

Blogger and writer Boese (; Elephants on Acid: And Other Bizarre Experiments) delivers another wacky tour of some of science’s more bizarre stories. After noting that his name rhymes with nose, the author uses his sense of humor to make this collection of true stories a page-turner. Some accounts have the capacity to amaze or shock, such as University of Arkansas entomologist and naturalist William Baerg (1885‚ 1980) who studied the bite of the black widow spider‚ on himself. Or Evan O’Neill Kane (1861‚ 1932), the chief surgeon of Kane Summit Hospital, who decided at the beginning of an operation to remove his appendix that he’d rather do it himself (and succeeded). Most of those tales are not for the squeamish. Of particular interest is the chapter Deceptive Ways, which deals with how people perceive and remember events, particularly criminal events. Should readers crave more information, Boese provides an extensive list of selected references by chapter. VERDICT Eccentric people and strange events come to life here in episodes that blur the line between science and science fiction. Highly recommended for lovers of science and the bizarre.‚ Edell M. Schaefer, Brookfield P.L., WI

Larkcom, Joy. Just Vegetating: A Memoir. Frances Lincoln, dist. by PGW. Sept. 2012. 336p. illus. index. ISBN 9780711229358. $29.95. GARDENING

Part travelog, part gardening history, Vegetating is the culmination of British vegetable-gardening maven and horticultural journalist Larkcom’s (Oriental Vegetables; Grow Your Own Vegetables) life’s work. Mixing previously published, and often hard-to-find, articles spanning a 40-year career with longer autobiographical pieces, Larkcom shares her past and reminisces without being self-indulgent. Current commentary on older articles provides a fresh point of reference that proves some things old are new again (organic gardening and propagating heirlooms) and some should be left in the past (high-nitrogen fertilizer and peat). Covering travels in Europe, the United States, and Asia, this is certainly a memoir, as the title states, and not a textbook of gardening advice or instruction‚ and it should be enjoyed for what it is. VERDICT This entertaining and lively retrospective of Larkcom’s life and gardening adventures will certainly be enjoyed by serious gardeners and fans of her work. Those looking for gardening advice should consider the nature of the book, a memoir, and the geographic location, mostly England and Ireland.‚ Jenny Contakos, Art Inst. of Virginia Beach Lib.

The following titles are reviewed in the July print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.


Ward, Rosemary. Garden Problem Solver. Mitchell Beazley: Octopus, dist. by Hachette. 2012. 192p. illus. index. ISBN 9781845336769. $19.99. GARDENING

Health & Medicine

Delgado, Jane. The Buena Salud Guide to Arthritis and Your Life. Morrow. 2012. c.144p. index. ISBN 9780062195920. pap. $9.99. HEALTH

Freston, Kathy. The Lean: A Revolutionary (and Simple!) 30-Day Plan for Healthy, Lasting Weight Loss. Weinstein. 2012. c.336p. ISBN 9781602861732. $25. HEALTH

Le Billon, Karen. French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banished Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters. Morrow. 2012. c.304p. illus. index. ISBN 9780062103291. $24.99. HEALTH

Sales, Amy. Walking on Eggshells: Caring for a Critically Ill Loved One. New Horizon. 2012. c.240p. ISBN 9780882823805. pap. $14.95. HEALTH

Home Economics

Weber, Jenna. White Jacket Required: A Culinary Coming-of-Age Story. Sterling Epicure. Sept. 2012. c.224p. index. ISBN 9781402777776. $19.95. COOKING


Guterl, Fred. The Fate of the Species: Why the Human Race May Cause Its Own Extinction and How We Can Stop It. Bloomsbury, dist. by Macmillan. 2012. c.224p. index. ISBN 9781608192588. $25. SCI


LaCounte, Scott. Build Your Own App: For Fun and Profit. Huron St. Pr.: ALA. 2012. 104p. index. ISBN 9781937589042. pap. $15.95. TECH