Reference: Short Takes | March 1, 2013

Guide to Congress. CQ Pr. 2012. 1668p. index. ISBN 9781604269536. REF

Packed into two volumes, nearly everything you wanted to know about Congress resides here, in sections entitled “Origins and Development of Congress,” “Powers of Congress,” “Congressional Procedures,” “Pressures on Congress,” “Housing and Support,” “Pay and Prerequisites,” “Congress and the Electorate,” and “Qualifications and Conduct.” Updates in this seventh version include the Congressional impact of President Obama’s health-care reform, the Tea Party movement, and super PACs, among other recent developments. Also provided is fascinating detail on the metamorphosis of the actual buildings that house Congress (check out the chapter on the Library of Congress!) Abundant offerings in the appendixes strengthen ready-reference value. VERDICT This is an excellent choice for public and academic libraries alike.

Library and Book Trade Almanac 2012 (Bowker Annual Library and Book Trade Almanac). Information Today, Inc. 2012. 850p. ISBN 9781573874397. $249. REF

Now in its 57th edition, LABTA still packs a punch, starting with “Part 1: Reports from the Field”; reading just this section alone is sure to give librarians in all settings lots to ponder. Predictably, the question of how libraries must evolve in order to survive the digital revolution is much discussed. For a less technical, more holistic take, check out Nancy Kranich’s article “Libraries and Civic Engagement.” “Legislation, Funding, and Grants,” “LIS Education, Placement and Salaries,” “Research Statistics,” “Reference Information,” and “Directory of Organizations” comprise the rest of the tome. A wealth of information, there is something of value here for everyone. VERDICT Pricey, but imperative for professional development, and particularly important for any collection supporting a library science program.

The University of Chicago Spanish-English Dictionary: 6th Ed. Univ. of Chicago. 2012. 606p. ed. by David A. Pharies. bibliog. ISBN 9780226666969. pap. $15. REF

Why invest in the latest edition of the University of Chicago’s Spanish-English Dictionary? In a word, mas! Reflecting increasing popularity of use and need in growing global industries, 6,000 words and their definitions have been added to the already impressive glossary, including 600 medical, 750 business, 500 digital technology, and 400 sport terms. Entries include pronunciation, grammatical category, regional usage, illustrative phrases, and more. A guide to each language’s grammatical irregularities and pronunciation serves as a handy introduction to the lexicon. Comprehensive in scope, but simple enough to use for even the most tongue-tied linguist. VERDICT This completely bilingual text is a smart update for any public or academic library.

The Hispanic Databook. Grey House. 2012. 2000p. ed. by David Garoogian. ISBN 9781619250048. pap. $165. REF

The third edition of this hefty tome explores the fastest growing segment of the American population; to wit, there are currently upwards of 50 million U.S. citizens of Hispanic heritage. Contents are divided into National Profile, State Profiles, and Rankings and Comparisons. Opening with Hispanic Political Leadership Facts and closing with poverty rate rankings, 23 ethnic groups are analyzed in 26 basic demographic categories, among them homeownership rates, and language spoken at home. If you can only purchase one resource on population statistics this year, this is a sound choice. VERDICT A monolithic but manageable store of statistical data on America’s largest ethnic population.

Complete Television, Radio & Cable Industry Dictionary: 2013. Grey House. Nov. 2012. 1595p. ed. by Laura Mars. index. ISBN 9781619251038. pap. $350. REF

Questions like “What is the average number of TVs in an American household?” and “What exactly are the FCC rules everyone’s always talking about?” can be answered using this colossal tome, as can thousands of others. The scope of the broad topic of the media industry can be ascertained by the table of contents headings: Broadcast Television, Radio, and Cable—U.S. and Canada; Programming, Equipment Manufacturers & Production Services; Professional Services; Associations; Events; Education & Awards; and Government. New to this edition are 5,000 more station contact names. VERDICT This paperback is invaluable.

Muir, John Kenneth. Horror Films of the 1980s: 1980-1984. McFarland & Company. 1. Oct. 2012. 843p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780786472987. pap. $49.95. REf

Arranged alphabetically by year, 300 films from the “Dead Teenager Decade” are summarized, quoted, and reviewed as acclaimed author Muir (Eaten Alive at a Chainsaw Massacre: The Films of Tobe Hooper; Wes Craven: The Art of Horror ) directs his gaze toward scary movies of all types. Providing plot synopses, “Critical Reception,” cast and crew credits, and his own critical commentary, Muir successfully brings the best and the worst of the ‘80s back from the dead. Black-and-white movie stills and colorful one-liners punch up entries. From the Halloween-esque slasher flicks to obscure cinematic campfests like 1985’s From Beyond, fans of the horror genre are sure to find something to scream about. VERDICT For academic collections supporting a film-studies curriculum.

Sioster, John T. & others. American Silent Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Feature Films: 1913-1929. McFarland & Co. 2012. 830p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780786435814. pap. $95. REf

Ever heard of The Bottle Imp? Me neither, but you might have heard of Charles Dickens’s last unfinished work The Mystery of Edwin Drood, or everyone’s favorite bipolar character, Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde. All are inclusions in this encyclopedia of silent movies that double as horror, sci fi, or fantasy picks. Entries are essentially compilations of summary, historical background and context, published reviews, and authors’ commentary. Written and cataloged by a veritable team of dedicated fans, this  is a winner for any film studies collection. VERDICT An exhaustive, humorously written resource for students and aficionados of early, offbeat silent films.   

Ye, Tan & Yun Zhu. Historical Dictionary of Chinese Cinema. Scarecrow. Oct. 2012. 322p. bibliog. glossary. ISBN 9780810867796. $110. REf

Like its siblings in the “Scarecrow Press HD” series, this economical tome presents a neat summary of major events and catalytic forces in shaping the title subject, here being Chinese movie-making. Via a chronology, cross-referenced entries, appendixes, and a sizable bibliography, films, actors, and directors are explained in the context of China’s political backdrop since the cinema industry’s inception in 1896. A helpful Chinese-English translation of film titles is provided. Anyone interested in cinema from this part of the world will find this a fascinating browse and creditable reference source. VERDICT Appropriate for academic libraries supporting liberal arts curricula, and public libraries serving a Chinese-American population. —Christina Connolly, Reference Librarian, Worcester Public Library, MA