Inspiration for Entrepreneurs, North Korea Memoir, plus Le Guin and Karr on Writing, Pro Media, & More | Social Sciences Reviews, July 2015

redstarBayrasli, Elmira. From the Other Side of the World: Extraordinary Entrepreneurs, Unlikely Places. PublicAffairs. Sept. 2015. 304p. notes. index. ISBN 9781610393034. $27.99. BUS

fromotherside7815Entrepreneurs worldwide, including individuals in relatively remote and poor areas, have used the Internet and social media to launch successful businesses and to help their respective countries progress. Some of these companies, such as Alibaba, have become powerful players in global marketplaces. Bayrasli (cofounder, Foreign Policy Interrupted) tells of seven innovators from across the globe in countries such as Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, and Turkey, and examines how they handled the risks associated with doing business in these nations. Dangers include lack of capital, infrastructure, and business networks. Corruption and red tape are also significant factors. Despite the challenges, many of these entrepreneurs used the collaborative and community-building features of social media to construct and expand their customer bases and scale their corporations. VERDICT Potential entrepreneurs will find the stories inspirational and will be encouraged to follow their dreams regardless of the circumstances.—Caroline Geck, Camden Street Sch. Lib., Newark, NJ

redstarJang, Lucia & Susan McClelland. Stars Between the Sun and Moon: One Woman’s Life in North Korea and Escape to Freedom. Norton. Oct. 2015. 288p. ISBN 9780393249224. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393249231. MEMOIR

starsbetweensun7815In this collaboration, refugee Jang and journalist McClelland (coauthor, The Bite of the Mango) tell the fascinating story of Jang’s life in North Korea. In childhood, Jang faced social and sexual discrimination. Her first marriage ended because her husband was abusive. Compounding her misery, Jang’s mother and ex-husband sold her infant son, whom she never saw again. Soon thereafter, former North Korean leader Kim Il-sung died and the famine of the 1990s began; in the process Jang became obsessed with the constant search for food. During these years she twice moved to China to secure provisions for her family and was twice caught and imprisoned. Pregnant and incarcerated for the second time, Jang was temporarily released and told she would be rei­mprisoned and her child killed after she gave birth. In learning this, her parents arranged to have her and her infant son smuggled out of North Korea permanently. VERDICT An emotional and engrossing work that sheds light on daily life in this opaque country. Highly recommended for readers interested in North Korea as well as those who enjoy inspirational stories. Fans of Barbara Demick’s Nothing To Envy will especially appreciate this work.—Joshua Wallace, Ranger Coll., TX

redstarUrschel, Joe. The Year of Fear: Machine Gun Kelly and the Manhunt That Changed the Nation. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Sept. 2015. 304p. photos. bibliog. ISBN 9781250020796. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250020802. CRIME

yearoffear7815Urschel (executive director, National Law Enforcement Museum) describes how J. Edgar Hoover built what later became the FBI. In 1933, Hoover was desperate to find a case that would propel his agency into the limelight, but the only authority it had jurisdiction over was kidnapping. On the morning of July 22, 1933, he received a call from Berenice Urschel (no relation to the author) saying that her husband, Charles, had been abducted. Hoover took control of this investigation and had his agents working on it 24/7. Charles Urschel, a wealthy oil man, was able to pay attention to his surroundings despite being blindfolded and later provided Hoover with information. It turned out that George “Machine Gun” Kelly and his wife, Kathryn, were the leaders of ordeal. In three months, Hoover’s agents traveled 20,000 miles through 16 states and captured and convicted the perpetrators, with six of nine defendants given life sentences. Hoover was also instrumental in the construction of Alcatraz, which was where Kelly was imprisoned for 18 years. VERDICT For those interested in the early years of the FBI and gangsters, this is the book to read. Just as this crime held the interest of the people on a daily basis in 1933 through the newspapers and radios, today’s readers will be completely absorbed.—Michael Sawyer, Pine Bluff, AR

professional media

Arndt, Theresa S. Getting Started with Demand-Driven Acquisitions for E-books: A LITA Guide. ALA Editions. 2015. 120p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780838913147. pap. $65; ebk. ISBN 9780838913239. PRO MEDIA

demanddrivenacquisitionDemand-driven acquisitions (DDA), also known as patron-driven acquisitions (PDA), turn the entire process of book selection and purchasing on its head by putting library users in charge. And it’s not only this upside-down selection method that needs examination but also the new workflow processes that are involved. Book vendors and publishers haven’t made things any easier for librarians and readers by providing/requiring technological and legal roadblocks to the process. For those librarians who have not jumped on the demand-driven access bandwagon, and even for those who have, this work by Arndt (associate director, library resources & administration, Dickinson Coll.) organizes the considerations that should be addressed. Deliberating relevant questions and backing up the answers with research, this title provides a framework for thinking through the concept and workflow of DDA. While comparable to David Swords’ Patron-Driven Acquisitions and Judith M. Nixon’s Patron-Driven Acquisitions, this work stands alone as a recent review of the thought and literature. VERDICT Essential reading for academic and public librarians.—Margaret Sylvia, St. Mary’s Univ. Lib., San Antonio

Getting the Word Out: Academic Libraries as Scholarly Publishers. ACRL. 2015. 288p. ed. by Maria Bonn & Mike Furlough. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780838986974. pap. $50; ebk. ISBN 9780838986998. PRO MEDIA

Bonn (library & information science, Univ. of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) and Furlough (HathiTrust) offer 11 chapters contributed by both practitioners and experts that reveal the diverse voices in discussion over the future of library publishing efforts. Topics range from faculty biases against librarian involvement in the scholarly publication process to the role of libraries in supporting student scholarship and scientific data access (part of the book’s third section, on “what” libraries publish). The heart of the book, however, is its second section, in which authors address the vital question of “how” libraries publish, or the unique ways that different academic libraries are engaging in publishing projects. The result is a work that successfully convinces readers of the importance of publishing to academic libraries yet leaves exposed a number of glaring uncertainties about its ultimate direction and design. VERDICT An enlightening collection of perspectives on academic libraries as scholarly publishers. Recommended for academic librarians as well as others interested in scholarly communication.—Robin Chin ­Roemer, Univ. of Washington Lib., Seattle

Technology Disaster Response and Recovery Planning: A LITA Guide. ALA Editions. 2015. 120p. ed. by Mary Mallery. index. ISBN 9780838913154. pap. $59; ebk. ISBN 9780838913406. PRO MEDIA

Emergency preparedness is an evolving concept for information technology. Reconnecting patrons to vital library services and digital collections quickly after an incident depends on the preparation done ahead of time. This LITA (Library Information and Technology Assn.) guide edited by Mallery (associate dean, library svcs. for technical svcs., Montclair State Univ.) provides library administrators and IT professionals with resources for drafting a technology disaster plan. The case studies included detail how plans have been applied and relevant lessons learned. With the trends in cloud-based services and centralized data centers, it is tempting to think that technology needs are taken care of should the worst happen—but the case studies point out the difficulties faced by libraries with the Iowa flood of 2008 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012. These situations highlighted the way technology is managed by humans, and important aspects of technology planning involve identifying how communication among stakeholders occurs. VERDICT This guide makes a compelling argument for the value of technology disaster planning and supplies guidance on how to get started.—Kendra Auberry, Indian River State Coll. Lib., Port St. Lucie, FL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

living and laughing large

Gibbons, Brittany. Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin…Every Inch of It. Dey St: HarperCollins. 2015. 240p. photos. ISBN 9780062343031. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062343055. MEMOIR

fatgirlwalking7815Blogger Gibbons (brittanyherself.com) has struggled with her weight and body image her whole life. She’s been teased, picked on, and judged for her size. Not liking any of her career options, she started a blog in which she writes about size, body image, and her role as a mother and wife. As the blog’s popularity grew, she pitched an idea for a press tour that involved standing in New York’s Times Square wearing only her bathing suit. Because of her willingness to be a curvy girl who takes off her clothes in public, she has started to change the conversation about body image from fat-shaming to body acceptance and has begun to overcome personal adversity. Through her role as Internet spokesmodel for women everywhere, Gibbons has learned to love her body and be comfortable in her own skin. ­VERDICT This memoir provides an honest look into one woman’s struggle with her weight and body image. More than that, it shows women of all shapes and sizes how to accept themselves and others for who they are. Laugh-out-loud funny and brutally honest, Gibbons’s account is sure to please fans of Jen Lancaster and Laurie Notaro.—Kristen Calvert Nelson, Marion Cty. P.L. Syst., Ocala, FL

Scottoline, Lisa & Francesca Serritella. Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat? St. Martin’s. Jul. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9781250059949. $21.99; pap. ISBN 9781466865242. MEMOIR

Scottoline and daughter Serritella bring to the table a new helping of humorous, insightful, and touching vignettes from their lives. The two detail everything from bicycle riding to reentering the dating scene to Scottoline’s love of Bradley Cooper. This volume in the collection of mother-daughter memoirs takes a melancholy tone though as it is dedicated to and discusses the passing of Mother Mary, the family matriarch. Through the sadness are messages of familial love and strength. Readers of the previous installments will not be disappointed with the pair’s wit and quirkiness. ­Scottoline’s segments about being a middle-aged writer offer a pleasant generational contrast to that of her twentysomething daughter’s self-discovery in New York City. It’s one of the most satisfying things about the work—it leaps over generational gaps and ultimately mothers and daughters will nod in recognition of feminist values, the oddities of life, and the bonds of family. The brevity of each essay makes this a quick read, perfect for the beach as the title would suggest, yet some pieces end too quickly, leaving readers to feel as though thoughts went unfinished. VERDICT A strong choice for fans of the Scottolines and the series (Have a Nice Guilt Trip; Meet Me at the Emotional Baggage Claim). [See Prepub Alert, 1/12/15.]—Kaitlin Connors, Virginia Beach P.L.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writing guides

redstarKarr, Mary. The Art of Memoir. Harper. Sept. 2015. 256p. ISBN 9780062223067. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062223081. COMM

artofmemoir7815Drawing on her knowledge as a memoirist and writing instructor, Karr (The Liars’ Club; Lit) presents an enlightening review of the memoir as a medium for communicating “carnal,” lived experiences. Fresh and heartfelt, Karr’s analysis of the form illustrates its variety and depth, the significance of voice, and the perception of “truth.” Examining her own work, and that of some of the most influential memoirists to date, Karr delivers a thorough look at the writing process and the challenges inherent in telling one’s story and accepting the subjective nature of memory. Drawing on the work of writers as varied as Harry Crews, Vladimir Nabokov, and Hilary Mantel, the author delves into the range of narrative styles found in memoir, while inspiring the next generation of writers. VERDICT As a writing guide, this book is a success. Never is Karr dull or didactic (not a single lesson or method is touted as “the one”); rather, the author instructs and inspires through example and a love for the art of memoir. The detailed list of suggested readings also makes for an excellent challenge for readers and writers alike. [See Prepub Alert, 3/16/15.]—Gricel Dominguez, Florida International Univ. Lib.

redstarLe Guin, Ursula K. Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story. Mariner: Houghton Harcourt. Sept. 2015. 160p. ISBN 9780544611610. pap. $14.95; ebk. ISBN 9780544612341. COMM

With this book, notable author Le Guin (A Wizard of Earthsea; The Left Hand of Darkness) updates her guide of the same title published in 1998. In the second sentence, she reminds us that this is “not a book for beginners” and remains true to that statement throughout. The first chapter will delight those familiar with her lyrical prose; “The Sound of Your Writing” focuses on the “forward movement, pace, and rhythm” of sentences and includes an exercise called “Being Gorgeous.” This opening sets the tone for the rest of the slim volume. Le Guin explains points of craft with incredible lucidity and proceeds to use those examples or exercises (or both) to further embolden her points. The strengths, in addition to the initial section, include “Verbs: Person and Tense” and “Point of View and Voice,” but identifying standouts is a challenge because Le Guin is so consistent. Her examples come most often from literature—Virginia Woolf, Rudyard Kipling, Mark Twain, Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston—and occasionally from sf and fantasy, e.g., Molly Gloss, J.R.R. Tolkien. All are on point. VERDICT A must-read for intermediate and advanced writers of fiction and memoir. [See ­Prepub Alert, 3/16/15.]—Paul Stenis, Pepperdine Univ. Lib., Malibu, CA

For all the latest reviews in this subject area and more, check out our new Book Verdict site! Book Verdict is fully accessible to all users, though certain content and functionality are only available to subscribers.

To log in to your account, click here. To view the new subscription options, Get Started With Book Verdict Pro Today.

Don't know if you have an account with us? It's easy to check and verify your email, or create a new account.
The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue.
Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.

Biography

Lemmon, Gayle Tzemach. Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield. Harper. 2015. 320p. photos. bibliog. ISBN 9780062333810. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062333834. BIOG

Pick, Alison. Between Gods. Harper Perennial. Oct. 2015. 400p. ISBN 9780062362469. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062362483. MEMOIR

Communications

Norris, John. Mary McGrory: The First Queen of Journalism. Viking. Sept. 2015. 352p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780525429715. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698407824. COMM

Economics

Downs, Paul. Boss Life: Surviving My Own Small Business. Blue Rider: Penguin. Aug. 2015. 368p. illus. ISBN 9780399172335. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698179004. BUS

Piketty, Thomas. The Economics of Inequality. Belknap: Harvard Univ. Aug. 2015. 160p. tr. from French by Arthur Goldhammer. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780674504806. $22.95. ECON

Rogers, Jim with Stephen P. Williams. Lighting the World: Transforming Our Energy Future by Bringing Electricity to Everyone. Palgrave Macmillan. Aug. 2015. 256p. notes. index. ISBN 9781137279859. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781466879362. ECON

Education

One Teacher in Ten in the New Millennium: LGBT Educators Speak Out About What’s Gotten Better…and What Hasn’t. Beacon. (One Teacher in Ten). Aug. 2015. 192p. ed. by Kevin Jennings. ISBN 9780807055861. pap. $17; ebk. ISBN 9780807055878. ED

Russakoff, Dale. The Prize: Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools? Houghton Harcourt. Sept. 2015. 256p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780547840055. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780547840512. ED

redstarWagner, Tony & Ted Dintersmith. Most Likely To Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era. Scribner. Aug. 2015. 288p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9781501104312. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781501104336. ED

HISTORY

Brown, Nancy Marie. Ivory Vikings: The Mystery of the Most Famous Chessmen in the World and the Woman Who Made Them. Palgrave Macmillan. Sept. 2015. 288p. illus. maps. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781137279378. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781466879133. HIST

Cohen, Andrew Wender. Contraband: Smuggling and the Birth of the American Century. Norton. Aug. 2015. 384p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780393065336. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393241983. HIST

redstarFaderman, Lillian. The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle. S. & S. Sept. 2015. 816p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781451694116. $35; ebk. ISBN 9781451694130. HIST

Jacobsen, Annie. The Pentagon’s Brain: An Uncensored History of Darpa, America’s Top-Secret Military Research Agency. Little, Brown. Sept. 2015. 560. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780316371766. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780316371650. HIST

Kaiser, Charles. The Cost of Courage. Other. 2015. 288p. photos. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781590516140. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781590516157. HIST

Lieven, Dominic. The End of Tsarist Russia: The March to World War I and Revolution. Viking. Aug. 2015. 448p. photos. notes. index. ISBN 9780670025589. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780698195561. HIST

Maraniss, David. Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story. S. & S. Sept. 2015. 448p. photos. maps. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781476748382. $32.50; ebk. ISBN 9781476748405. HIST

redstarNadasen, Premilla. Household Workers Unite: The Untold Story of African American Women Who Built a Movement. Beacon. Aug. 2015. 248p. photos. biblio. index. ISBN 9780807014509. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780807014516. HIST

Naylor, Sean. Relentless Strike: The Secret History of Joint Special Operations Command. St. Martin’s. Sept. 2015. 560p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781250014542. $29.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466876224. HIST

Snyder, Timothy. Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning. Tim Duggan: Crown. Sept. 2015. 480p. maps. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781101903452. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781101903469. HIST

Yenne, Bill. Hit the Target: Eight Men Who Led The Eighth Air Force to Victory Over the Luftwaffe. NAL: Penguin. Jul. 2015. 384p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780425274170. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698155015. HIST

Law & Crime

Galvin, Anthony. Old Sparky: The Electric Chair and the History of the Death Penalty. Carrel: Skyhorse. 2015. 280p. photos. ISBN 9781631440267. $34.99; ebk. ISBN 9781631440298. CRIME

Grimaldi, Judith D. & others. 5@55: The 5 Essential Legal Documents You Need by Age 55. Quill Driver. 2015. 120p. ISBN 9781610352581. pap. $12.95. LAW

Saviano, Roberto. ZeroZeroZero. Penguin Pr. Jul. 2015. 416p. tr. from Italian by Virginia Jewiss. index. ISBN 9781594205507. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101614839. CRIME

Political Science

redstarBerman, Ari. Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America. Farrar. Aug. 2015. 384p. notes. index. ISBN 9780374158279. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780374711498. POL SCI

Erelle, Anna. In the Skin of a Jihadist: A Young Journalist Enters the ISIS Recruitment Network. Harper Perennial. 2015. 240p. tr. from French by Erin Potter. notes. ISBN 9780062417077. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062417091. POL SCI

Glass, Charles. Syria Burning: ISIS and the Death of the Arab Spring. OR Bks. Jul. 2015. 150p. ISBN 9781939293886. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781939293893. POL SCI

redstarHam, Mary Katharine & Guy Benson. End of Discussion: How the Left’s Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun). Crown Forum. 2015. 304p. notes. index. ISBN 9780553447750. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780553447767. POL SCI

Psychology

Donaghue, Chris. Sex Outside the Lines: Authentic Sexuality in a Sexually Dysfunctional Culture. BenBella. Jul. 2015. 304p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781940363783. $24.95. PSYCH

Rendon, Jim. Upside: The New Science of Post-Traumatic Growth. Touchstone. Aug. 2015. 288p. notes. ISBN 9781476761633. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781476761640. PSYCH

Schwartz, Casey. In the Mind Fields: Exploring the New Science of Neuropsychoanalysis. Pantheon.

Aug. 2015. 240p. ISBN 9780307911520. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780307911537. PSYCH

Williams, Katrina & Jacqueline Roberts. Understanding Autism: The Essential Guide for Parents. Exisle. Sept. 2015. 240p. notes. index. ISBN 9781921966729. pap. $24.95. PSYCH

Social Science

Berg, Ryan. No House To Call My Home: Love, Family, and Other Transgressions. Nation: Perseus. Aug. 2015. 320p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781568585093. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781568585109. SOC SCI

Birger, Jon. Date-onomics: How Dating Became a Lopsided Numbers Game. Workman. Aug. 2015. 224p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780761182085. pap. $14.95; ebk. ISBN 9780761187103. SOC SCI

Faruqi, Sonia. Project Animal Farm: An Accidental Journey Into the Secret World of Farming and the Truth About Our Food. Pegasus. Jul. 2015. 336p. photos. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9781605987989. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781605987996. SOC SCI

MacAskill, William. Doing Good Better: Effective Altruism and How You Can Make

a Difference. Gotham. Aug. 2015. 272p. notes. index. ISBN 9781592409105. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698191105. SOC SCI

Mutter, John C. The Disaster Profiteers: How Natural Disasters Make the Rich Richer and the Poor Even Poorer. Palgrave Macmillan. Aug. 2015. 288p. notes. index. ISBN 9781137278982. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781466879416. SOC SCI

Crispin, Jessa. The Dead Ladies Project: Exiles, Expats, and Ex-Countries. Univ. of Chicago. Oct. 2015. 256p. ISBN 9780226278452. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9780226278599. TRAV

McCarron, Leon. The Road Headed West: A 6,000–Mile Cycling Odyssey Through North America. Skyhorse. Jul. 2015. 352p. ISBN 9781632206442. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781632208125. TRAV

This article was published in Library Journal. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Share