Reference: Short Takes | May 1, 2013

Hughes, William. Historical Dictionary of Gothic Literature. Scarecrow. (Historical Dictionaries of Literature and the Arts). 2012. 376p. bibliog. ISBN 9780810872288. $105. REF

“From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties” to “things that go bump in the night,” Hughes (gothic studies, Bath Spa Univ., UK) includes all things gothic here. More than 200 cross-referenced entries cover significant works, writers, and the popular conventions that have shaped this literary genre whose roots reach back to the 1700s. For example, you’ve heard of Anne Rice and H.P. Lovecraft, but do you know what graveyard poetry is? Both the chronology and introductory essay provide historical context for the gothic tradition, which continues to exert its influence on popular culture. The lengthy bibliography provides many avenues for further reading and research. VERDICT Don’t be afraid! Purchase for public and academic collections supporting a liberal arts curriculum.

Lolli, Tony. Fly Patterns by Fishing Guides: 200 Flies That Really Work. Barron’s. 2013. 288p. photogs. index.ISBN 9780764165634. $26.99. REF

Who knew flies were so photogenic? Divided into freshwater and saltwater directories, over 200 fly patterns are described and demystified by their creators in this glossy, beautifully assembled tome. Organizing the work in a user-friendly manner, freelance writer and fly fisherman Lolli provides many elements to supplement the entries, including a guide to basic tools, a “Useful Information” section that includes “Starting and Finishing Techniques,” a glossary, and a materials glossary. A section titled “Fly Tier Information” is particularly interesting as it includes the countries of origin and websites of the experts. ­ VERDICT Meticulously crafted, this guide is sure to be enjoyed by fly fisher folk at all levels. A colorful inclusion for large public library collections.

Paxton, Mark. Media Perspectives on Intelligent Design and Evolution. Greenwood. 2013. 198p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780313380648. $58; ebk. ISBN 9780313380655. REF

Along with the abortion, death penalty, and euthanasia debates, the public discussion over the origins of humankind continues with no end in sight. For those researching the media’s contribution to the discourse, turn to former Associate Press reporter Paxton’s (media, journalism, & film, Missouri State Univ.) retrospective text. Researchers will have ample material to mine in this well-referenced resource providing a balanced look at how the media has presented this issue to the public over the past two decades. Helpful appendixes include “Names in the News,” “Timeline of Major Court Cases,” and “Timeline of Media Moments in the Evolution-Intelligent Design Debate.” VERDICT A thoughtful reference addition for school, college, and public libraries.

Smith, Merril D. History of American Cooking. ABC-CLIO. 2013. 188p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780313387111. $37; ebk. ISBN 9780313387128. REF

This book will appeal to readers who eschew history as “his story,” as it illuminates what has typically occupied a large part of female daily life. Plus, the “melting pot” that is America is examined in terms of its multicultural influences on what we create and consume. Following a historical introduction covering five centuries, independent scholar Smith (Women’s Roles in Seventeenth-Century America) discusses chronology, cooking methods, techniques, popular ingredients, and recipes in ten chapters, each devoted to a particular type of cooking, e.g., braising, broiling, and grilling. A concluding chapter looks at emerging technology and what it means for future cooking and eating. ­ VERDICT A well-researched addition to school and academic libraries supporting humanities curricula.

Tracy, Sam. Bicycle!: A Repair & Maintenance Manifesto. 2d ed. PM Pr. 2013. 256p. ISBN 9781604866407. pap. $20; ebk. ISBN 9781604866551. REF

Tracy’s second edition boasts five years’ worth of additional hands-on experience since his first, gained during his bicycling pursuits around the globe. He writes in a humorous, unintimidating tone, e.g., saying of bike frame creaks, “they exist to mock us.” Maintenance, repair, and selecting the right type of bike are all covered, and, from headsets to wheels and brakes to drive trains, the mechanics are discussed. Additional helpful chapters include “Winter Riding,” “Boxing Bikes,” and “Scavenging, Rust, and Security.” From seasoned bike builders to novice bike riders, everyone will find something of value in this manifesto.VERDICT A smart buy for any library serving a bike culture.

Morgan, Kathleen O’Leary & Scott Morgan. City Crime Rankings 2013: Crime in Metropolitan America. Sage.(State Fact Finder). 2013. 417p. ISBN 9781452225203. pap. $95. REF

Does it seem like your neighborhood is going to the dogs? Here’s one resource that will help you confirm or allay your suspicions. In this volume of crime comparison data for all American cities (and their surrounding areas) boasting a population of 75,000 or more, Kathleen O’Leary Morgan, who has held several positions with the U.S. Department of Transportation, and attorney Scott Morgan display amounts, rates, and trends for total crime, violent crime, rape, murder, robbery, assault, property crime, burglary, larceny theft, and motor vehicle theft in both alphabetical and rank order. Appendixes include an explanation of metropolitan area coverage, national crime trends from 1992 to 2011, and a 2011 national, metropolitan, and city crime statistics summary. VERDICT A no-frills assemblage of crime tallies, city by city.

The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 2011. Rowman & Littlefield. 2012. 520p. ed. by Frank Newport. index. ISBN 9781442220331. $130; ebk. ISBN 9781442220348. REF

Look no further for public opinion poll results from the famed Gallup Organization. Results of over 500 polls conducted in 2011 are listed by date. The polls skew toward the political and economic, but social topics are addressed as well (e.g., “Americans Link Gun Laws, Mental Health to Mass Shootings”). Each entry includes pertinent background information about the poll, comments on the implications of the findings, and an explanation of survey methods used. Line graphs and tables abound. A chronology of major political and economic events and a comprehensive index enhance ready-reference value. VERDICT Appropriate for any library serving those with an interest in marketing or politics.

Starfish: Biology and Ecology of the Asteroidea. Johns Hopkins. 2013. 288p. ed. by John M. Lawrence. bibliog. illus. index. ISBN 9781421407876. $100; ebk. ISBN 9781421410456. $100. REF

Whether you call them sea stars, starfish, or asteroids, learn more about these fascinating five-armed marvels in this in-depth look at the lives of the stars. Johns Hopkins presents a scholarly mini-textbook exploring the biology and ecology of the starfish. There is much to understand about survival from studying these unique creatures, which are in possession of the ability to regenerate limbs and have stomachs that can be turned inside out. Leading scientists weigh in with chapters listed under two headings: “Comparative Biology” and “Ecology and Integrative Biology.” Color photographs and detailed black-and-white illustrations will aid the layperson looking for basic information, but the extensive references speak to this volume’s research value. VERDICT Purchase for academic libraries and large public libraries. —Christina Connolly, Worcester P.L., MA

Henrietta Verma About Henrietta Verma

Henrietta Verma is Senior Editorial Communications Specialist at NISO, the National Information Standards Organization, Baltimore, and was formerly the reviews editor at Library Journal.