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The Bookwatch

Volume 15, Number 11 November 2020 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Architecture Shelf Computer Shelf
Music Shelf Beer/Wine/Spirits Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Art Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

Poppy in the Wild
Teresa J. Rhyne
Pegasus Books
9781643135427, $25.95

Poppy was a small beagle author Teresa J. Rhyne rescued from the China dog meat trade. While most such rescues hold happy endings, Poppy and Teresa were challenged when a storm led Poppy to break free and become lost in a rugged wilderness park. The story revolves around Teresa's quest to find this dog and follows her work with psychics, volunteers, helpful and unhelpful strangers, and all who lived nearby. Poppy herself encounters many new challenges as she struggles to survive. This first-person, warm story of an impossible-sounding quest will tug at the heartstrings of any dog lover who enjoys reading books about animal rescue and happy endings. It's an in-depth survey that includes a centerfold of Poppy photos and reinforces the efforts made to save a special dog.

The Architecture Shelf

A Living Islamic City
Titus Burckhardt
World Wisdom Press
9781936597666, $22.95

A Living Islamic City: Fez and its Preservation is highly recommended reading for those interested in Middle Eastern history and architecture, and surveys the Moroccan city's evolution and artistic heritage. Chapters explore how various forces of preservation and growth influenced its heritage and adaptations, with a wealth of photos and sketches made by Burckhardt during his lifetime capturing how the city evolved and was saved. From old town presentations, exoduses, and threats to decoration and adornment choices made in keeping with Islamic culture, art, and tradition, this survey goes far beyond documenting specific structures, contrasting different approaches and craft trades that influenced Fez's architectural heritage over the centuries. The result is a uniquely powerful assessment that is a foundation acquisition for any architecture and arts holding strong in Islamic history and heritage.

The Computer Shelf

Data Analysis for Business Decisions: A Laboratory Manual, second edition
Andres Fortino
Mercury Learning
9781683925927, $49.95

The second updated edition of Data Analysis for Business Decisions: A Laboratory Manual is recommended reading not just for computer users, but business analysts who would use this to understand the link between data and decision-making processes. The book consists of real-world case study examples using Excel, and survey statistics, calculations, and various tools that take data sets and translate them to business information. A companion disc of files that include spreadsheet examples and videos accompanies a treatise that requires only rudimentary knowledge of Excel and statistical analysis to prove accessible. Business leaders and computer users alike will find this coverage not only outlines examples, but provides exercises encouraging users to develop their own analytical prowess.

The Music Shelf

Bruce Springsteen: All The Songs
Philippe Margotin & Jean-Michel Guesdon
c/o Octopus Books
9781784726492, $60.00

Readers should ideally be prior Bruce Springsteen fans to thoroughly appreciate the 672 pages of information packed into Bruce Springsteen: All The Songs, which reveals the story behind every song Springsteen has recorded. Arranged chronologically by album, the authors explore each song's origins, lyrics, background story, and production. Accompanying lively details are a wealth of black and white and color images which capture not just Springsteen but groups and individuals who have played his songs. Pair music industry stories and savvy with insider revelations and keys to understanding the recording process for a music exploration that will delight Springsteen fans as well as readers with an interest in recording modern hits. From song genesis to evolution and band makeup and changes to Springsteen's hits, this is a wonderful keepsake for anyone with more than a cursory interest in Springsteen's music and the pop rock genre as a whole, and is very highly recommended reading for its comprehensive insights on both.

The Beer/Wine/Spirits Shelf

Gin: How to Drink It
Dave Broom
Mitchell Beazley
c/o Octopus Books
9781784726638, $19.99

Gin: How to Drink It is not another recipe collection of gin-based drinks, but a history and discussion about various gins from around the world and how they may be enjoyed and differentiated. The discussion revolves around these different gin styles and tastes, what sets them apart, and how to best enjoy them. While mixed drinks (some 472 combinations!) are surveyed, this personal discussion of recommended gins and their use will especially appeal to gin drinkers who may not have known about the variety and properties of botanicals and tastes. Each gin feature (some 125 of them) includes a color photo of the bottle, a history of its production, and discussions of pairings and flavors. No gin aficionado should be without this in-depth survey!

The Cocktail Dictionary
Henry Jeffreys
Mitchell Beazley
c/o Octopus Books
9781784726294, $20.00

The Cocktail Dictionary provides an alphabetical collection of cocktail recipes designed to explore all facets of the drink, and profiles some 100 cocktails both traditional and modern. Fun full-page color illustrations by George Wylesol accompany histories of drink inventions, discussions of cocktail properties, and key techniques for making the perfect drink. Cocktail enthusiasts looking for an all-in-one collection of recipes for all styles will find this a lively, definitive guide.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Upon This Rock
David Eugene Perry
Pace Press
c/o Linden Publishing
9780941936064, $18.95

Upon This Rock is an engrossing thriller that contains just about everything one could desire in a suspense novel. An American couple in Italy is investigating the suicide of a cleric, only to find themselves embroiled in a conspiracy threat that threatens the Church. David Eugene Perry takes the time to build both Italian atmosphere and historical, political, and religious background into a story that is fast-paced and hard to put down. As cardinals, careers, and plots to destroy sacred Church property coalesce, readers receive a powerful story of intrigue that reflects both a fine knowledge and history of Church affairs and a deep-rooted attention to action-packed detail that will keep readers thoroughly engrossed to the end.

The Art Shelf

Maud Lewis: Paintings for Sale
Written by Sarah Milroy
Paintings by M. Lewis
Goose Lane
9781773101460, $35.00

Paintings for Sale gathers the works of a Nova Scotia artist who has produced paintings that capture the local charm of her area, producing works in keeping with her customers' interests, but adding a twist of innovation that makes each piece iconic and different. This was a challenge, considering that so many of these commissioned works were for the same kind of local color, from covered bridges to boats in the harbor. These beautiful works receive good-sized, full-page displays in a fitting tribute to the artist, with portrait titles and dates included, where available. From birds and cats to deer and working farm animals, especially notable are the contrasting pages which depict her different approaches to the same subject. The result is a gorgeous celebration of a folk artist's works that is a fitting tribute to her whimsy, skills, and approach to creating art.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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