Xpress Reviews: Nonfiction | First Look at New Books, July 26, 2013

Week ending July 26, 2013

Bergin, Mary. Eat Smart in Germany: How To Decipher the Menu, Know the Market Foods & Embark on a Tasting Adventure. Gingko. (Eat Smart Culinary Travel Guides). 2013. 160p. index. photos. ISBN 9780977680146. pap. $14.95. TRAV
In this latest volume of Gingko’s “Eat Smart” series, Bergin (Hungry for Wisconsin), a journalist from Wisconsin, combines three perennial favorites: travel, restaurants, and recipes. Starting with a historical survey of German cuisine and a discussion of regional variations, Bergin sets the stage for her exploration of contemporary German food. She traveled extensively in Germany in preparation for writing this book and includes wonderful color photographs of the dishes she discusses and the chefs who created them. She provides a recipe section with easy-to-follow instructions for many standard dishes. Also included here are a small section on German food suppliers and a list of the restaurants Bergin visited as well as a list of helpful German phrases (with a pronunciation key). Last but not least, Bergin offers detailed menu guides that explain many common ingredients and names of various dishes.
Verdict Bergin’s guide will appeal to travelers and lovers of all things German, especially those who want to be informed before they go. It will be especially helpful to those experiencing German cuisine for the first time. Highly recommended.—Holly Hebert, Brentwood P.L., TN

Blom, Philipp & Veronica Buckley. Twilight of the Romanovs: A Photographic Odyssey Across Imperial Russia, 1855–1918. Thames & Hudson, dist. by Norton. 2013. 248p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9780500516683. $60. HIST
Historian Blom (The Vertigo Years) and his wife, Buckley (Christina, Queen of Sweden), have published what is effectively a visual and textual archive of the enormous Russian empire in the prerevolutionary years from the mid-19th century to 1918. Included are over 100 rare and startling examples of early color photographs taken by Russian photographer Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky, who received funding from Tsar Nicholas II to photograph his extensive empire. The book’s title and cover photo are misleading: this is not a book about the Romanovs in their last years. There is a brief outline of the history of the tsars. Then the book proceeds geographically, rather than chronologically, with images of each section of the vast empire, including selections of earlier black-and-white photographs as well, each captioned for place, date, and details, and with textual quotations selected by Blom and Buckley to capture the cultural specifics in prose, poetry, and lyrics, from region to region. The vast gap between Russia’s struggling poor and its Central Asian populations and the wealthy is palpable.
Verdict Readers interested in visual documentation of the full prerevolutionary Russian empire may enjoy this book, as long as they understand that it is not another coffee-table book on the Romanovs. Many of Prokudin-Gorsky’s photographs may be accessed through the Library of Congress’s online exhibit “The Empire That Was Russia,” as well as in the 1980 volume Photographs for the Tsar, edited by Robert H. Allshouse.—Brenna Smeall, Bellevue, NE

Buckley, Claire & others. Start To Stitch. Search. 2013. 176p. illus. index. ISBN 9781844489077. pap. $19.95. FIBER CRAFTS
This omnibus edition by textile teacher and designer Buckley, quilter Miriam Edwards, and art teacher Nancy Nicholson incorporates material adapted from the authors’ earlier books on appliqué, embroidery, patchwork, and quilting and provides an introduction to each of the four crafts. Designed to appeal to tweens and teens, the projects feature bright colors, whimsical themes, and sparkly embellishment. Most of the directions include step-by-step color photographs, ensuring that novice sewists will know how each phase of the project should look. The embroidery section is the standout; the close-up, color photos of basic stitches will be useful to any beginning embroiderer, regardless of age.
Verdict Though the book is oriented toward tweens and teens, the overviews of each topic are extremely useful, and parents may enjoy making the lively, colorful designs with older children.—Nanette Donohue, Champaign, P.L., IL

Cameli, Christina. First Steps to Free-Motion Quilting: 24 Projects for Fearless Stitching. Stash. Aug. 2013. 144p. illus. ISBN 9781607056720. pap. $24.95. FIBER CRAFTS
Quilter and blogger Cameli (afewscraps.blogspot.com) introduces novices to the basics of free-motion quilting on a home sewing machine. The book combines the best aspects of most free-motion quilting books into a beginner-friendly package that includes a narrative introduction to the fundamentals, sample free-motion quilting designs, and simple projects that help stretch sewists’ skills. Cameli doesn’t delve too deeply into advanced techniques, but her quilting philosophy—“done is better than perfect”—will resonate with many.
Verdict Beginners who are interested in straightforward information on how to use a home sewing machine for free-motion quilting will appreciate this concise introduction, while more advanced free-motion quilters may prefer recent books by Angela Walters, such as Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters or In the Studio with Angela Walters.—Nanette Donohue, Champaign, P.L., IL

starred review starCaputo, Philip. The Longest Road: Overland in Search of America, from Key West to the Arctic Ocean. Holt. Jul. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9780805094466. $28. TRAV
Novelist and Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Caputo (Crossers) is a guy you could meet in any American campground: retired and driving an elderly Airstream trailer hitched to an equally elderly pickup truck. Yet over the course of over 11,000 miles from Key West, FL, to the Arctic Ocean, Caputo shows readers he’s not quite an average guy as he tolerates unexpected tantrums from his vehicles, his two confined hunting dogs, and, on rare occasions, his long-suffering wife. What is his intent here? Caputo set out in 2011 to learn what holds our far-flung and diverse country together. Unexpected encounters lead to many gratifying and insightful conversations on a Florida beach, in a Nebraska campground, and in the wilds of Alaska. Some travel days on the open road are far from remarkable, while others are filled with overwhelming beauty and fascinating people. Along the way, Caputo’s never flags in his intense curiosity and quest to understand our country better.
Verdict This is a very satisfying read except for one glaring omission: there is not a single map to help the reader follow the route. An essential travelog.—Olga Wise, Austin, TX

starred review starChandler, James. An Archaeology of Sympathy: The Sentimental Mode in Literature and Cinema. Univ. of Chicago. 2013. 392p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780226034959. $45; ebk. ISBN 9780226035000. FILM
This comprehensive work studies the far-reaching literary and cinematic connections to the sentimental mode—a style that emerged in 18th-century arts and culture. After providing helpful introductory material on the subject, Chandler (cinema & media studies, Univ. of Chicago; England in 1819: The Politics of Literary Culture and the Case of Romantic Historicism) begins with an analysis of the films of Frank Capra—including It’s a Wonderful Life and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town—delving into themes, character, plot, and cinematic techniques and discussing how these reveal elements of the sentimental mode in American life. He then turns back the clock to Dickens and other authors, drawing examples of sentimental, humanistic qualities in their work, astutely revealing how their approaches influenced Capra as well as additional filmmakers and writers up to the modern day. Chandler offers much original insight and is not afraid to challenge previous views on various aspects of the subject, backing up his position with detailed research, specific examples, and logical conclusions. The book is illustrated with well-chosen movie stills and contains valuable, in-depth source notes.
Verdict This is an outstanding piece of research and original thought with lasting significance for a wide scholarly audience. A definite asset for academic readers.—Carol J. Binkowski, Bloomfield, NJ

starred review starChedd, Naomi & Karen Levine. Treatment Planning for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: An Individualized, Problem-Solving Approach. Wiley. 2012. 254p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780470882238. pap. $40; ebk. ISBN 9781118259443. PSYCH
Coauthors Chedd (education consultant & licensed mental health counselor) and Levine (psychology, Harvard Medical Sch.) provide caretakers and therapists with a comprehensive, evidence-based evaluative tool to identify, assess, implement, and revisit the effectiveness of therapy practice for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). They outline a seven-step system that may be implemented regardless of which type of therapy (applied behavior analysis [ABA], PlayTime, etc.) is currently being used and in situations in which multiple treatments are taking place. They also address a method for determining the specific aspects of treatment protocols affecting change in behavior. Different from texts such as Lesson Plan à La Carte: Integrated Planning for Students with Special Needs by Valerie Paradiz and others, this work is not specific to an educational setting and may be implemented at home and school and in other environments. In addition to explaining the methodology behind the practice, Chedd and Levine support their practicum with examples of implementation and case studies.
Verdict An essential book for treatment providers of all therapeutic backgrounds, laid out in an extremely digestible manner and supported with practical examples. Highly recommended for all libraries.—Victoria Frerichs, Prescot, UK

starred review starGhaemi, Nassir. On Depression: Drugs, Diagnosis, and Despair in the Modern World. Johns Hopkins. Jul. 2013. 160p. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9781421409337. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781421409344. PSYCH
Ghaemi (director, Mood Disorders Program, Tufts Univ. Sch. of Medicine; A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness) emphasizes the relationship between therapist and patient. His vigorous critique of psychoanalysis, prescription drugs (“Pharmageddon”), and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) stands out among recent books on the decline of psychiatry, a profession that now occupies “the same place scientifically as medicine did at the end of the nineteenth century.” Ghaemi puts to good use his knowledge of the pioneers of medical history, e.g., Hippocrates, Galen, Philippe Pinel, and William Osler. His appreciation of 20th-century therapists Viktor Frankl, Rollo May, and Elvin Semrad, philosopher Karl Jaspers, and his own mentors, psychiatrist Leston Havens and historian Paul Roazen, is heartfelt as well as intellectually rich. In his penultimate chapter, “The Banality of Mental Health,” Ghaemi examines norm, normal, and ideal. Normal is often mediocre, while among the outstanding and creative are many who suffer from mania and depression. “Who can say which is better?”
Verdict An informed, challenging, and readable approach to a vital subject. Despair is in the title, but readers will rejoice in the reading.—E. James Lieberman, George Washington Univ. Sch. of Medicine, Washington, DC

Hirst, Catherine & Erssie Major. Knitted Letters: Make Personalized Gifts and Accents with Creative Typography-Based Projects. Chronicle. 2013. 144p. illus. index. ISBN 9781452115726. $22.95. FIBER CRAFTS
Typography and hand-knitting collide in this collection of knitting patterns featuring a variety of fonts, from clean, Helvetica-style sans serif to romantic script. The projects include a variety of home decor and accessory items, along with a few garments for adults and children. The type is worked into the knitted item using stranded knitting, intarsia, or duplicate stitch, and instructions are provided for each technique. In addition to the projects (all of which are customizable), the authors offer charts for each of the typefaces included in the book so that knitters can personalize their knits or design something entirely their own.
Verdict This clever title presents a unique array of projects, and fans of colorwork or typography will be drawn to these fun, quirky designs.—Nanette Donohue, Champaign, P.L., IL

Hubert, Margaret. Lacework for Adventurous Crocheters: Master Traditional, Irish, Freeform, and Bruges Lace Crochet Through Easy Step-by-Step Instructions and Fun Projects. Creative Pub. 2013. 144p. illus. index. ISBN 9781589237346. spiralbound $24.99. FIBER CRAFTS
Prolific fiber crafts author Hubert (Plus Size Crochet) presents a wide variety of crocheted lace motifs in this collection, which consists of a stitch dictionary, projects, and a guide to the specialized techniques of Bruges lace and Irish and freeform crochet. The projects focus on garments and accessories and include the standard shawls, shells, and hats often found in crochet books. All of the patterns feature both written and charted directions, and a guide to crochet chart symbols is also provided. Basic knowledge of crochet techniques and stitches is assumed.
Verdict The stitch dictionary isn’t comprehensive, but crocheters who are interested in exploring lacework or designing their own lacework patterns will appreciate the focus, and the sections on Irish crochet and Bruges lace may introduce these techniques to a wider audience.—Nanette Donohue, Champaign, P.L., IL

starred review starIngram, Jay. Fatal Flaws: How a Misfolded Protein Baffled Scientists and Changed the Way We Look at the Brain. Yale Univ. 2013. 296p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780300189896. $30. SCI
Science writer Ingram (The Barmaid’s Brain) ranges across far-flung locations and scientific debates as he relates the fascinating details of the title’s misfolded proteins, called prions, which have been found to be responsible for numerous degenerative diseases. Ingram begins with the discovery of the disease called kuru in New Guinea in the early 1950s and explores the emerging science around that disease as well as scrapie (spongiform encephalopaths in sheep and goats), mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy), Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, and the mysterious misshapen and misfolded proteins (prions) that appear to cause them. He describes how scientists uncovered connections, often owing to nothing but serendipity, among these diseases, thus contributing to the emergence of prion science in spite of rivalries and feuds in recent decades. Just how normal proteins turn into prions is still not entirely clear. The relationship between animal and human prion diseases is complex. The cause of prion diseases in humans can be genetic, sporadic, an infectious agent, or some combination thereof. Identifying outbreaks and their causes has been challenging. Ingram goes on to show how prion science is now being applied to other diseases including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Controversy remains about whether prions are the true infectious agents of any of these conditions.
Verdict With exceptionally clear scientific explanations and academically sound and readable, often humorous prose, Ingram incorporates the tension and excitement of a gripping thriller while illuminating the human imperfections of science. Highly recommended, this title is essential for neuroscience and infectious disease buffs; almost essential for everyone else, too.—Candice Kail, Columbia Univ. Libs., New York

Mesch, Rachel. Having It All in the Belle Époque: How French Women’s Magazines Invented the Modern Woman. Stanford Univ. Jul. 2013. 256p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780804784245. $39.95. PUBLISHING/LIT
Mesch (French, Columbia Univ.) presents a detailed textual and photographic study of two French women’s magazines, Femina and La Vie Heureuse, to argue that La Belle Époque (1870–1914), or “the Beautiful Era,” represented a time of transition in the lives of French women. Both published in the period 1901–14, the magazines challenged the negative stereotype of the feminist activist and “New Woman” to offer readers a contrasting and more attractive vision of new possibilities for their lives. The author relies on a painstakingly close analysis of the images, advertisements, textual content, and marketing ploys of both publications to demonstrate that these years saw a construction of a new model for French womanhood, both progressive and conservative. Although both Femina and La Vie Heureuse consciously disavowed political feminism, each dared women to think about a new lifestyle in which they could “have it all”—family, husband, home, and an outlet for larger interests. Mesch conveys a strikingly modern message and expertly analyzes the techniques used by these publications to strike a balance between feminist achievement and feminine domesticity. Richly illustrated, this book combines insights about French women, literature, mass culture, and media.
Verdict While the research methodology behind this study is innovative and creative, the story may be of more interest to specialists than a general audience. Recommended for scholars and deep enthusiasts of French culture, literature, and history.—Marie M. Mullaney, Caldwell Coll., NJ

Rice, Amy. Playing with Stencils: Exploring Repetition, Pattern, and Personal Designs. Quarry: Quayside. 2013. 144p. illus. index. ISBN 9781592538294. pap. $24.99. CRAFTS
Multimedia artist Rice explores the possibilities of stenciling in this collection of basic to intermediate-level projects. Rice shows crafters how to cut or burn custom stencils from their own artwork or photographs, then presents a variety of projects that showcase stenciling on materials ranging from fabric and wood to paper products and cake. Each project includes step-by-step illustrations with photographs, allowing novices to follow along with little difficulty.
Verdict This is a solid overview to the essentials of stencil-making and stenciling, and the variety of projects will appeal to crafters.—Nanette Donohue, Champaign, P.L., IL

Ryckman, Pamela. Stiletto Network: Inside the Women’s Power Circles That Are Changing the Face of Business. AMACOM: American Management Assn. 2013. 258p. index. ISBN 9780814432532. $22.95; ebk. ISBN 9780814432549. BUS
Journalist Ryckman’s debut showcases the world of informal women’s business support groups termed “Stiletto Networks.” The groups cross a variety of industries such as finance, technology, media, and politics. However, common threads do emerge. No matter the industry or age, women establish these groups for the purposes of professional networking, support, friendship, and mentoring. Ryckman’s descriptive profiles of the various networks make for an enjoyable read, as each chapter highlights a different group e.g., ChIPs (Chiefs in IP) and 4C2B (Force To Be). Some networks keep their membership lists anonymous, some are for older women, while others cater to younger women; copious quotes give readers the feeling they are in the room with these women. The author further explores what differentiates these networks from more traditional business networking groups and notes the variety of learning styles in women and their more collaborative nature (than men). She concludes with tips for women to start their own groups.
Verdict A book for women working in any industry looking to build a professional support network, also for men curious about this latest phenomena.—Leigh Mihlrad, FDIC Lib., Washington, DC

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"