Xpress Reviews: Nonfiction | First Look at New Books, May 17, 2013

Week ending May 17, 2013

Good Housekeeping Eds. 7 Years Younger: The Revolutionary 7-Week Anti-Aging Plan. 7YY: Hearst. 2013. 416p. illus. index. ISBN 9781936297634. $25.95. HEALTH
This seven-week anti-aging plan, developed by three directors of the Good Housekeeping Research Institute and two writers at Good Housekeeping magazine, consists of seven age erasers that will help readers overhaul their skin, makeup, and exercise routines, among other things. There is also a seven-day jump-start plan, with recipes (including a section of vegetarian-friendly dishes) and tips on how to continue the program beyond the initial seven weeks. The inclusion of the profiles of ten successful participants helps readers see the real-life benefits of the program. Readers can also take advantage of a very active Facebook page that features additional information based on the principles in the book, which is valuable for those who want further interaction and inspiration or for anyone who has questions that are not addressed in the book.
Verdict With easy-to-understand and -follow guidelines, an endorsement from Dr. Oz, and the knowledge of the staff of Good Housekeeping, this title should be a hit with anyone seeking to turn the clock back a few years or readers who want to look a little fresher and feel better about themselves.—Amber McKee, Cumberland Univ. Lib., Lebanon, TN

Kyle, Chris with William Doyle. American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms. Morrow. Jun. 2013. 320p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780062242716. $29.99. HIST
Following up on former U.S. Navy SEAL Kyle’s best-selling 2012 autobiography, American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, is this posthumously published work. Kyle, who was shot to death in February of this year, writes with Doyle (Inside the Oval Office) about ten of his favorite rifles and handguns, his aim: to “talk history with the bullets flying.” Kyle was a consummate rifleman, but his discussions go beyond his ten selections to include reviews of peer firearms and descriptions of battles, shootouts, and people who made a particular gun famous. Writing for a popular audience, Kyle succeeds in vividly describing why he prefers, for example, the blunt force trauma of a .45 ACP Model 1911 over that of modern 9 mm pistols that hold twice as many cartridges. He discusses his views on why American rifles gave us an edge (apart from the Spanish American War when the Spanish bold-action Mausers outclassed the U.S. rifles). By World War I, U.S. troops were ready with Springfield bolt-action rifles. Kyle does not take on politics or gun control other than implicitly through his underlying belief in citizen ownership of firearms.
Verdict Readers wishing a purely scholarly history should instead consult Alexander Rose’s American Rifle: A Biography, but Kyle’s book will be highly sought after because of his unquestioned expertise as a preeminent rifleman of our times and his willingness to share his personal perspectives.—Nathan Bender, Albany Cty. P.L., Laramie, WY

Maconie, Robin. Experiencing Stravinsky: A Listener’s Companion. Scarecrow. (Listener’s Companion). 2013. 192p. ISBN 9780810884304. $45; ebk. ISBN 9780810884311. $49.99. MUSIC
Many casual listeners think of Igor Stravinsky as serious, heavy, and hard-to-understand, but readers may be surprised at how much information is provided in this well-researched book on the composer (1882–1971) about such populist subjects as Hollywood and Walt Disney. Here musicologist and composer Maconie (Avant Garde: An American Odyssey from Gertrude Stein to Pierre Boulez) offers an in-depth, well-documented look at all of Stravinsky’s works. (The composer did work closely with Disney on Fantasia and spent years in Hollywood.) Maconie hopes readers will not just listen to but experience the “manufactured” music Stravinsky loved to produce. In fact, the composer relished working with Disney Studios, a film conglomerate that believed animation needed to be choreographed to fit the music, not the reverse. Maconie works hard to place the composer in relation to the world around him. The book includes many quotes from Stravinsky himself, as well as some imagined conversations that keep the text lively.
Verdict This accessible book for interested readers features copious footnotes and cited references that make it also a considerable resource for academic study.—Linda Beck, Indian Valley P.L., Telford, PA

starred review starPlummer, Henry. Cosmos of Light: The Sacred Architecture of Le Corbusier. Indiana Univ. 2013. 168p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780253007261. $35. ARCH
In this handsomely produced and generously illustrated volume, Plummer (architecture, Univ. of Illinois; Stillness and Light: The Silent Eloquence of Shaker Architecture) analyzes three religious buildings designed by the renowned modern architect Le Corbusier: the modest chapel at Ronchamp, the Dominican monastery of Sainte Marie de la Tourette, and the small parish church of St. Pierre in Firminy-Vert. These buildings, all in France, have different uses, but each has a symbiotic relationship with the light and setting in which it was built. Le Corbusier himself declared that he composes “with light,” and this book gives ample proof of his design genius. The introductory essay provides a wonderful background of these commissions for an architect who was an outspoken agnostic. The controversies surrounding these buildings and the vicissitudes of their history are fascinating stories in their own right, but the focus of this book is specifically on the ingenious use of light in the design and effect of each of these structures.
Verdict The superb, and indeed stunning, photographs and accompanying texts truly capture the sacred and spiritual nature of the buildings and their interiors. Students of architecture and design and Le Corbusier scholars will find this volume important. Highly recommended.—Herb Shapiro, Lifelong Learning Soc., Florida Atlantic Univ., Boca Raton

starred review starQuest, Penelope. The Basics of Reiki: A Step-by-Step Guide to Healing with Reiki. Tarcher, dist. by Penguin. 2012. 320p. bibliog. illus. index. ISBN 9780399162206. $17.95. HEALTH
Direct, succinct, and to the point, Quest (Self-Healing with Reiki: How To Create Wholeness, Harmony & Balance for Body, Mind & Spirit) delivers another well-done primer on the subject of Reiki, the gentle therapeutic touch healing technique. As with her other titles, which are devoid of anecdotes or overly personal revelations, her clear, articulate, and uncomplicated writing style prevails. The information unfolds logically, beginning at the beginning; she explains what Reiki is, how it works, how to use it for personal growth and healing, what learning the technique entails, and even how to create a Reiki healing practice. She does cover, though not too deeply, the philosophical and political nuances to the practice, such as potential religious conflicts (she asserts there are none), the myriad emergent Reiki subgroups (there are many and more every day), how these subgroups differentiate themselves (i.e., minor changes typically initiated by a charismatic teacher), and creative uses of Reiki for personal empowerment (e.g., energy focused on affirmations, etc.).
Verdict This title is clearly aimed at beginners to energy healing but has plenty for those that have already become attuned Reiki “channels.” At this point in time, Quest is truly the preeminent writer on the subject.—Janet Tapper, Univ. of Western States Lib., Portland, OR

Winch, Guy. Emotional First Aid: Practical Strategies for Treating Failure, Rejection, Guilt, and Other Everyday Psychological Injuries. Hudson Street, dist. by Penguin. Jul. 2013. 288p. bibliog. ISBN 9781594631207. $25.95. SELF-HELP
Author Winch (The Squeaky Wheel) proposes a set of treatments for emotional upsets much like medical remedies for headaches or upset stomachs. He explores common maladies such as rejection, guilt, and failure and provides short explanations of common maladaptive responses, as well as more effective coping mechanisms. For example, the author describes how rejection often leads to punched walls and feelings of insecurity and suggests exercises designed to revive self-worth and combat self-doubt. Readers can easily select relevant chapters that apply to themselves and try out new behaviors.
Verdict Helpful for the average reader encountering life’s speed bumps.—Deborah Bigelow, Leonia P.L., NJ

Bette-Lee Fox About Bette-Lee Fox

Bette-Lee Fox (blfox@mediasourceinc.com) is Managing Editor, Library Journal.

Now in her 46th year with Library Journal, Bette-Lee also edits LJ's Video Reviews column, six times a year Romance column, and e-original Romance reviews, which post weekly as LJ Xpress Reviews. She received the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Vivian Stephens Industry Award in 2013 for having "contributed to the genre or to RWA in a significant and/or continuing manner"