Science & Technology Reviews, Sept. 1, 2012

Bass, Rick. A Thousand Deer: Four Generations of Hunting and the Hill Country. Univ. of Texas. (Ellen and Edward Randall). Sept. 2012. c.198p. ISBN 9780292737952. $24.95. NAT HIST

Prolific writer Bass (The Wild Marsh: Four Seasons at Home in Montana) makes clear that no one in his extended family suffers from nature-deficit disorder. These 12 essays, all previously published elsewhere, form a seamless celebration of family, tradition, and nature as seen through the scope of deer-hunting. Bass focuses his nonfiction on the wild and is at his best when telling stories: helping his cousin dig a truck out of a gumbo sidetrack in the driving rain or taking his teenage daughter on her first hunt, where he observed the snow-quiet world and “tracks that reminded me of the trident calligraphy of shorebirds on the beach.” Bass draws his portraits of family and the cedar-studded hill country of Texas with care and grace. His descriptions are matched by insights: at his family’s annual hunt they spend time shaping stories, “even as we knew also it was more the tellers than the stories themselves who were being shaped.” VERDICT This book is for anyone who appreciates evocative prose and close observation of nature.—Michal Strutin, Santa Clara Univ. Lib., CA

Emling, Shelley. Marie Curie and Her Daughters: The Private Lives of Science’s First Family. Palgrave Macmillan. 2012. c.272p. ISBN 9780230115712. $26. SCI

Freelance writer Emling (The Fossil Hunter: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World) tells the story of science icon Marie Sklodowska Curie, a name familiar to most readers from elementary school days. The only person to have received Nobel prizes in two different sciences, Curie remains a hero to many. Emling writes here of Curie’s later years and of her relationships with her daughters, topics not previously as well documented as the flashier (not to mention more radioactive) aspects of her life and scientific research. Curie’s trips to the United States and her relationship with magazine editor and socialite Missy Meloney, who started a fund to buy radium for Curie, are covered here in both personal and professional terms. Emling presents a Curie defined not only by her scientific activities but also by her personality and by her relationships with family and friends after she gained international recognition. VERDICT Recommended for readers interested in the history of Western science, scientific biographies, and women in science, as well as those who regard Marie Curie as a hero.—Eric D. Albright, Tufts Univ. Lib., MA

Weiss, Luisa. My Berlin Kitchen: A Love Story (with Recipes). Viking. Sept. 2012. c.299p. index. ISBN 9780670025381. $26.95. COOKING

Readers of Weiss’s popular cooking blog, know some of her personal history: a childhood split between her father in Boston and her mother in Berlin, her young adulthood working in publishing in New York City, the broken engagement and subsequent move to Berlin, followed by falling in love all over again with the city and the man who would eventually become her husband. This memoir fills in some of the blanks, exploring the loneliness and alienation of a child who never quite feels at home wherever she is, the postcollege time in Paris when she learned that “there was no shame in realizing that living in Paris was far less magical than visiting it,” and the debilitating heartbreak when an important relationship fails. But there is plenty of joy, too: summers at her grandparents’ Italian farmhouse, falling in love, and, always, the pleasures of the kitchen. Each chapter closes with a recipe for a dish referenced in the text, most of which represent one of the places Weiss has called home: German dishes like Pflaumenkuchen (yeasted plum cake) and Erbsensuppe (pea soup), Italian specialities like Peperoni al Forno Conditi (roasted pepper salad) and Bracioline di Antonietta (grilled beef skewers), French fare including Braised Endives and Poulet Sauté à la Paysanne Provençale (a rustic chicken dish), and a few American dishes, like her father’s recipe for something called Depression Stew. VERDICT This charming food memoir will prove enjoyable to anyone who loves Laurie Colwin or M.L.K. Fisher.—Stephanie Klose, Library Journal

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

Health & Medicine

Gernon, Rebecca Willman & Amy Willman. Amy Signs: A Mother, Her Deaf Daughter, and Their Stories. Gallaudet Univ. Sept. 2012. 248p. ISBN 9781563685378. pap. $29.95. HEALTH

Goldman, Judy. Losing My Sister. Blair. Oct. 2012. c.192p. ISBN 9780895875839. $21.95. HEALTH

Hoffman, Beatrix. Health Care for Some: Rights and Rationing in the United States Since 1930. Univ. of Chicago. Oct. 2012. c.360p. ISBN 9780226348032. $30. MED

Schwalbe, Will. The End of Your Life Book Club. Knopf. Oct. 2012. c.352p. ISBN 9780307594037. $25. HEALTH

Stettinius, Martha. Inside the Dementia Epidemic: A Daughter’s Memoir. Dundee-Lakemont. Sept. 2012. c.353p. illus. ISBN 9780984932627. $29.95; pap. ISBN 9780984932603. $17.95. HEALTH

Home Economics

Bertone, Kathy. The Art of the Visit: Being the Perfect Host, Becoming the Perfect Guest. Running Pr. 2012. 272p. ISBN 9780762443956. $16. home economics

Shulman, Robin. Eat the City: A Tale of the Fishers, Foragers, Butchers, Farmers, Poultry Minders, Sugar Refiners, Cane Cutters, Bee Keepers, Winemakers, and Brewers Who Built New York. Crown. 2012. c.352p. ISBN 9780307719058. $26. COOKING


Barash, David P. Homo Mysterious: Evolutionary Puzzles of Human Nature. Oxford Univ. 2012. c.336p. index. ISBN 9780199751945. pap. $27.95. SCI