Xpress Reviews: Nonfiction | First Look at New Books, July 12, 2013

Week ending July 12, 2013

Borba, Scott-Vincent. Cooking Your Way to Gorgeous: Skin-Friendly Superfoods, Age-Reversing Recipes, and Fabulous Homemade Facials. Health Communications. 2013. 240p. ISBN 9780757317187. pap. $14.95. COOKING
A cookbook filled with quick, easy, and delicious recipes guaranteed to beautify hair, skin, and nails may sound too good to be true, but this is exactly what celebrity aesthetician Borba promises and delivers. Most of the key ingredients can be readily purchased at a local grocery store and are referred to as hero foods, such as berries, seeds, nuts, sprouts, fish, greens, and whole grains. Best of all, there is no need for self-deprivation; the author recognizes that people occasionally give in to cravings. Borba explains how to incorporate nutrition-rich foods, as well as how to substitute healthier versions of favorite comfort foods. For cocktail fans, there is a generous selection of libations that sneak in a health benefit. Teetotalers have a choice of tasty and nutritious nonalcoholic mocktails or smoothies. The author also offers practical advice and simple but effective home-spa treatments that address a host of common beauty concerns.
Verdict If the budget only allows for one more cookbook, this is the one to add. It provides readers with a winning combination of cost-friendly recipes and treatments that will make them look and feel their best.—Ajoke Kokodoko, Oakland P.L.

Gaffigan, Jim. Dad Is Fat. Crown Archetype. 2013. 288p. ISBN 9780385349055. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780385349062. HUMOR
Stand-up comedian Gaffigan’s first book covers similar ground as his 2012 self-released Mr. Universe special (also a Grammy-nominated album), but his expanded reflections on fatherhood read more heartfelt than hilarious. He still makes the most of his experiences raising five kids in a two-bedroom, five-story Bowery walk-up, as well as the dichotomy of being driven crazy by his kids while hating to be away from them. In a series of vignettes, Gaffigan reflects on the similarity between bars and nursery school, evaluates children’s literature (including bonding with The Giving Tree), and explains the horrific reality of a Disney vacation, all the while sanctifying his wife and playing up his ineptitude.
Verdict Gaffigan joins the ranks of Bill Cosby and Paul Reiser with this comedic approach to parenthood. A quick read parents will appreciate. Recommended.—Terry Bosky, Madison, WI

Gladstone, B. James. The Man Who Seduced Hollywood: The Life and Loves of Greg Bautzer, Tinseltown’s Most Powerful Lawyer. Chicago Review. 2013. 332p. bibliog. index. notes. ISBN 9781613745793. $27.95. FILM
Gladstone (executive VP, business & legal affairs, Lionsgate Entertainment) examines the life of celebrity lawyer Greg Bautzer (1911–87) and his high-profile romances with a young Lana Turner and Joan Crawford, among many others. He represented Ingrid Bergman in the “divorce of the century,” after she left Petter Lindstrom for Roberto Rossellini and fought for custody of her daughter Pia. With charm and apparent chivalry, Bautzer escorted actresses around Hollywood amid photo ops and gossip items while also handling their divorces. Other powerful clients included Howard Hughes and William Randolph Hearst (on behalf of Hearst’s mistress, Marion Davies). Also covered are Bautzer’s wartime service and struggle with alcoholism. Gladstone clearly admires his subject as both lawyer and Don Juan, but readers may not be so enamored—Bautzer himself is not that intriguing. An appendix lists his romantic interests.
Verdict For those who enjoy the glitter of the Hollywood milieu or aspire to become a lawyer with a celebrity clientele.—Barbara Kundanis, Longmont P.L., CO

Gibson, John. In High Places with Henry David Thoreau: The New Hiker’s Guide to Thoreau’s Mountain Travels. Countryman, dist. by Norton. 2013. 208p. maps. ISBN 9781581571967. pap. $18.95. TRAV
Walk a mile (or many miles) in the shoes of philosopher and naturalist Henry David Thoreau as he explores the mountains of his native New England. Gibson (Maine’s Most Scenic Roads) combines passages from Thoreau’s journals with maps and advice for duplicating his hikes. Twelve treks are included, from Mount Washington to Grand Monadnock, covering western Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. It’s an engaging volume for the armchair traveler, gathering Thoreau’s observations on everything from advice on how to sustain oneself while on the road to descriptions of native plants and geologic formations. Thoreau lamented that local inhabitants often were not very knowledgeable about their own surroundings. More adventuresome readers will want to pull on their hiking boots and plant their feet on the same trails that Thoreau once rambled. Some paths have changed very little since Thoreau’s time. Adequate maps and instructions are included, though the author cautions that some places may warrant trail maps.
Verdict Literary tourists and regional collections alike will want this slim but impressive volume.—Susan Belsky, Oshkosh P.L., WI

Rainer, Peter. Rainer on Film: Thirty Years of Film Writing in a Turbulent and Transformative Era. Santa Monica. 2013. 576p. index. ISBN 9781595800770. pap. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781595808288. FILM
Rainer (film critic, Christian Science Monitor; president, National Society of Film Critics) has compiled 30 years of his movie reviews and essays into this book. The collection covers the mid-1980s through the first decade of the 21st century. Many film criticism anthologies are organized by date, but Rainer has chosen to group his writings by topic, providing more context to the reviews. There is a lengthy section on established directors, as well as essays about actors, film genres, and hot-button issues addressed in the movies. The original publication name and year accompany each review, though a full citation would be more helpful for the serious researcher. Fortunately, the index is very thorough, allowing the reader to cross-reference Rainer’s reviews and commentaries.
Verdict This is at once an archive, a reference, and a contemporary collection of late 20th-century film criticism. An excellent resource for film studies scholars, this will also appeal to movie fanatics and pop culture readers.—Shannon Marie Robinson, Denison Univ. Lib., Granville, OH

Wiederhorn, Jon & Katherine Turman. Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal. It: HarperCollins. 2013. 736p. notes. ISBN 9780061958281. $32.50; ebk. ISBN 9780062099044. MUSIC
Here rock journalist Wiederhorn (senior writer, Revolver) and music writer and radio producer Turman paint a broad but limited picture of metal and its cultural significance. Rather than regurgitating the same old stories about metal forefathers Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Metallica, Wiederhorn and Turman dedicate the bulk of their book’s considerable girth to an examination of the genre’s new heroes—Pantera, Lamb of God—along with subgenres—nu-metal, industrial metal—often ignored by metal’s old guard. While this considerable collection of commentary on the genre’s most famous characters has considerable merit as an exploration of the art form, it’s diluted by an overload of repetitive, salacious stories of chemical abuse, sexual deviancy, and self-destruction. It’s disappointing, because the book also dissects metal and all of its subgenres in a thoughtful, unbiased way not often found in cultural critiques of the music.
Verdict The definitive metal oral history? No. But for readers into backstage gossip about feuding musicians, heroin overdoses, and groupie tales that would make Larry Flynt blush, this is a damn good read.—Rob Morast, Norfolk, VA

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"