Science & Technology Reviews | December 2012

Library Journal Reviews starred review Roach, Margaret. The Backyard Parables: A Meditation on Gardening. Grand Central. Jan. 2013. 288p. ISBN 9781455501984. $25.99. gardening

Roach ( And I Shall Have Some Peace There ), creator of the superb website, has penned a lyrical memoir sharing her love of gardening along with practical horticultural information. She looks back to her childhood but focuses on the years she has spent designing and maintaining her rural New York garden. Gardening with both her head and her heart, she weaves her spiritual connection to her garden into descriptions and cultural information for treasured plants while relating general gardening advice and ruminations on the trials (woodchucks, deer, the occasional snake) and rewards of country gardening. The book follows the seasons, from Roach struggling to break the ice in the pond to prevent resident frogs from dying to putting up produce, and it includes useful sidebars that expand on topics such as garden design, growing heirloom vegetables, and the politics of seed shopping. VERDICT An enjoyable journey through the year with a knowledgeable guide whose fascination with her garden and its inhabitants will delight readers. Strongly recommended to fellow gardeners. —Sue O’Brien, Downers Grove P.L., IL

Library Journal Reviews starred review Szczeklik, Andrzej. Kore: On Sickness, the Sick, and the Search for the Soul of Medicine. Counterpoint, dist. by PGW. 2012. ISBN 9781619020191. $26. MED

The late Polish cardiologist Szczeklik (Catharsis: On the Art of Medicine) was a polymath, deeply immersed in art, music, literature, and mythology. Here he writes with characteristic authority, wisdom, and lyricism. Even the title hints at the range of his knowledge: Kore is another name for Persephone, goddess both of the underworld and of the bounty of spring, a powerful and complex metaphor for medicine’s duality. It is also Greek for the pupil of the eye, thought by ancient scholars to be the window of the soul. Here Szczeklik writes of this search for the location of the soul, of shamanism, intuition, “love-sickness” and love potions, faith and evolution, as well as more traditional medical subjects such as allergies, genetics, viruses, death and dying, medical ethics, and the frontiers of modern medicine. VERDICT  This book will challenge, delight, and inform health-care professionals and serious readers. Combining a scientist’s mind with a humanist’s heart, Szczeklik offers his readers much to remember and ponder.—­Kathleen Arsenault, St. Petersburg, FL

Library Journal Reviews starred review Best Food Writing 2012. Perseus. Nov. 2012. 336p. ed. by Holly Hughes. ISBN 9780738216034. pap. $16.00. cookery

Foraging, hunting, gathering: how better to describe the act of assembling an eclectic mix of stories and essays from far and wide, from large publications and small, in print and online—all deliciously about food. Editor Hughes deserves thanks for this year’s carefully curated feast of food writing, 50 pieces presented in thematic groupings like “Home Cooking” or “Farm to Table” or even “Dude Food.” The volume comes boldly out of the gate with Hank Shaw’s “On Killing,” a thoughtful and resonant piece on being a hunter, and finishes with Anna Stoessinger’s moving New York Times op-ed on being diagnosed with stomach cancer. In between this collection hits many other notes, considering junk food (Maureen O’Hagan), what makes a proper Bolognese (Deb Perelman), turkey disasters (David Leite’s “Kitchen Confessional”), and family dynamics, as in Elissa Altman’s “Angry Breakfast Eggs.” ­ Verdict Not just for foodies! This will delight anyone who enjoys the pleasures of a good read and a good meal. Highly recommended. —­Courtney Greene, Indiana Univ. Lib., Bloomington

The following titles are reviewed in the December 1 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.


Keys, Andrew. Why Grow That When You Can Grow This?: 255 Extraordinary Alternatives to Everyday Problem Plants. Timber Pr. 2012. 340p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781604692860. pap. $24.95. gardening

Kobayashi, Kenji. Keshiki Bonsai: The Easy, Modern Way To Create Miniature Landscapes. Timber Pr. 2012. 176p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781604693591. pap. $19.95. gardening

McGrory, Brian. Buddy: How a Rooster Made Me a Family Man. Crown. 2012. 336p. bibliog. ISBN 9780307953063. $24. pets


Ali, Naheed. Understanding Alzheimer’s: An Introduction for Patients and Caregivers. Rowman & Littlefield.2012. 367p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781442217539. $35.00. health

Blank, Hanne. The Unapologetic Fat Girl’s Guide to Exercise: And Other Incendiary Acts. Ten Speed Pr. Dec. 2012. 208p. ISBN 9781607742869. pap. $14.99. health

Maizes, Victoria. Be Fruitful: The Essential Guide To Maximizing Fertility and Giving Birth to a Healthy Child.Scribner. Feb. 2013. 288p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781451645477. pap. $20. health

Library Journal Reviews starred review Snyder, Rich. What You Must Know About Dialysis: Ten Secrets To Surviving and Thriving on Dialysis. Square One. 2012. 198p. illus. index. ISBN 9780757003493. pap. $17.95. med

Taylor, Kathleen. The Brain Supremacy: Notes from the Frontiers of Neuroscience. Oxford. 2012. 256p. illus. index. bibliog. ISBN 9780199603374. $29.95. MED

Home Economics

Beaulieu, Denyse. The Perfume Lover: A Personal History of Scent. St. Martin’s. Mar. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9781250025012. $25.99. personal grooming

Cinotto, Simone. Soft Soil, Black Grapes:
The Birth of Italian Winemaking in California. 
New York Univ. 2012. c.288p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780814717387. $35. HOME ECON

Krampner, Jon. Creamy and Crunchy: An Informal History of Peanut Butter, the All-American Food. Columbia Univ. (Art and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History). 2012. 320p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780231162326. $27.95. cookery


Irmscher, Christoph. Louis Agassiz: Creator of American Science. Houghton Harcourt. Feb. 2013. c.448p. illus. ISBN 9780547577678. $36. SCI

Potter, Lawrence. Mathematics Minus Fear: How To Make Math Fun and Beneficial to Your Everyday Life. Pegasus. 2012. 304p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9781605983769. $24.95. MATH

Weis, Judith S.Walking Sideways: The Remarkable World of Crabs. Cornell Univ. 2012. 256p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780801450501. $29.95. Natural History