Science & Technology Reviews | August 15, 2013

Library Journal Reviews starred reviewBowen, James. A Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. 2013. 288p. ISBN 9781250029461. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250029478. PETS

When recovering heroin addict and London street musician Bowen discovered an orange tomcat shivering in a dark hallway, he did what any animal lover would do. He took in the injured cat, nursed him back to health, and gave him a name—Bob. But what started as a kind gesture and a temporary arrangement became the seed of an unbreakable bond between human and feline. With stark honesty, Bowen tells the story of how Bob became his family, allowing the struggling busker to open his heart in ways he hadn’t before. Bowen never expected to find his best friend—and, as it turns out, his salvation—in a street cat. VERDICT A heartwarming, insightful read about two lost souls who find each other, this book, a No. 1 London Times best seller, is not to be missed for fans of Lisa J. Edwards’s A Dog Named Boo and Gwen Cooper’s Homer’s Odyssey . An inspiring story of healing, redemption, and, perhaps most important, the transformative powers of friendship. [See Prepub Alert, 1/25/13.] —Melissa Culbertson, Homewood, IL

Mah, Ann. Mastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris. Pamela Dorman: Viking. Oct. 2013. 288p. ISBN 9780670025992. $25.95. HOME ECON

When writer and lifelong Francophile Mah (Kitchen Chinese: A Novel About Food, Family, and Finding Yourself) learned her diplomat husband had been assigned to Paris, she envisioned three years of bliss in the City of Love—until her spouse was sent to Iraq for a year on an unaccompanied posting, leaving her in France alone. Here, she chronicles her year of solitude, framing her personal journey through her experiences with French food and culture. Each of the ten chapters focuses on the signature dish of a particular city or region—steak frites for Paris, for example, and choucroute (sauerkraut) for Alsace—and concludes with a recipe. The author’s investigations into the importance of each dish to the people she meets are beautifully woven together with her reflections on culture, identity, love, and marriage, resulting in an enjoyable and thoughtful read that sparkles with humor. VERDICT This honest, funny, and eloquent memoir is sure to delight lovers of France, food, or travel. [See Prepub Alert, 4/1/13.] —Courtney Greene, Indiana Univ. Libs., Bloomington

Library Journal Reviews starred reviewHempel, Sandra. The Inheritor’s Powder: A Tale of Arsenic, Murder, and the New Forensic Science. Norton. Oct. 2013. 352p. illus. index. ISBN 9780393239713. $26.95. SCI

Medical journalist Hempel (The Strange Case of the Broad Street Pump) offers this carefully researched account of a scientifically groundbreaking murder investigation in early 19th-century England. In 1833, George Bodle, a wealthy landowner, died under mysterious circumstances. Authorities suspected arsenic poisoning. Death by arsenic had become increasingly common, as the substance was essentially undetectable at the time, with physicians mistaking the symptoms of arsenic poisoning for those of cholera, malaria, and dysentery. Investigators assigned the Bodle case to James Marsh—an obscure chemist and assistant to Michael Faraday at the Royal Military Academy—who designed a test to detect the presence of arsenic in deceased persons. Though Marsh’s test was sometimes problematic, it also attracted widespread interest and, therefore, inspired new efforts in forensic science. Hempel recounts the Bodle investigation in detail, bringing to life the various servants, policemen, coroners, and chemists involved in the case. VERDICT This book will appeal to readers interested in the origins of forensic science as well as to readers of popular histories of science. Though nonfiction, it will likely appeal to mystery readers as well, with its vivid details, cast of potential poisoners, and curious twists in plot. —Talea Anderson, College Place, WA

The following titles are reviewed in the August 15, 2013 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.


Elton, Sarah. Consumed: Food for a Finite Planet. Univ. of Chicago. Oct. 2013. 272p. notes. index. ISBN 9780226093628. $25. AGRI


Koerber, Amy. Breast or Bottle? Contemporary Controversies in Infant-Feeding Policy and Practice. Univ. of South Carolina. (Studies in Rhetoric/Communication). 2013. 192p. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9781611172416. pap. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781611172461. MED

Library Journal Reviews starred reviewMasé, Guido. The Wild Medicine Solution: Healing with Aromatic, Bitter, and Tonic Plants. Healing Arts. 2013. 328p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781620550847. pap. $18.95. HEALTH

Wayne, Peter M. & Mark L. Fuerst. The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi: 12 Weeks to a Healthy Body, Strong Heart, and Sharp Mind. Shambhala, dist. by Random. 2013. 336p. photos. bibliog. notes. index. ISBN 9781590309421. pap. $16.95. HEALTH


Furstenau, Nina Mukerjee. Biting Through the Skin: An Indian Kitchen in America’s Heartland. Univ. of Iowa. Sept. 2013. 192p. ISBN 9781609381851. pap. $19. ebk. ISBN 9781609381851. HOME ECON

Goldstein, Joyce & Dore Brown. Inside the California Food Revolution: Thirty Years That Changed Our Culinary Consciousness. Univ. of California. (Studies in Food & Culture). Sept. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9780520268197. $34.95. ebk. ISBN 9780520956704. HOME ECON

Hirsch, J.M. Beating the Lunch Box Blues: Fresh Ideas for Lunches on the Go! Rachael Ray: Atria. (Rachael Ray Books). Sept. 2013. 208p. ISBN 9781476726724. pap. $18; ebk. ISBN 9781476726731. COOKING

Smith, Clark. Postmodern Winemaking: Rethinking the Modern Science of an Ancient Craft. Univ. of California. Aug. 2013. 346p. ISBN 9780520275195. $34.95; ebk. ISBN 9780520955264. BEVERAGES


Bailey, Kevin M. Billion-Dollar Fish: The Untold Story of Alaska Pollock. Univ. of Chicago. 2013. 280p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780226022345. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780226022482. NAT HIST

Courage, Katherine Harmon. Octopus! The Most Mysterious Creature in the Sea. Current: Penguin. Oct. 2013. 272p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9781591845270. $27.95. NAT HIST

Kimmerer, Robin Wall. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants. Milkweed. Oct. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9781571313355. $24; ebk. ISBN 9781571318718. NAT HIST

Impey, Chris & Holly Henry. Dreams of Other Worlds: The Amazing Story of Unmanned Space Exploration. Princeton Univ. Oct. 2013. 432p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780691147536. $35. SCI