Friday, May 27, 2016

Healing Berries by Kirsten Hartvig

book cover
Healing Berries
by Kirsten Hartvig


ISBN-13: 9781848991552
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Watkins Publishing
Released: April 19, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Berries are among the healthiest foods on the planet. Every month, new research is published describing the health-giving properties of a well-known or recently discovered berry. Most berries are easy to store and use out of season: they can be dried, preserved with alcohol or sugar, or frozen, and most of us can now find a wide selection of berries in supermarkets and specialist healthfood stores.

This book is a celebration of the health-giving properties of berries, as well as a treasure-trove of fabulous ways to use them in your cooking. The book includes 50 profiles of the healthiest and most popular species - including a├žai, cranberry, blueberry and redcurrant. Renowned nutritionist and naturopath Kirsten Hartvig also offers more than 100 recipes, from breakfasts and preserves to juices and liqueurs.


My Review:
Healing Berries is a guide to buying, storing, and using berries. In the first half of the book, the author provided profiles for 50 berries from all over the world. These include a few that you don't think of as berries. She provided historical and general information about each type of berry, where to find it, how it's commonly used, how to store it, a brief nutrition profile, and health benefits.

In the second half of the book, the author provided 100 recipes from around the world. They sound fairly simple to do, and many contained berries you can buy locally. They're intended to be healthy recipes, so the author suggests using organic, whole foods as ingredients. She included recipe variations for vegans. The recipes were for snacks, salads, soups, baked goods, deserts, preserves, juices, smoothies, liqueurs, breakfasts, and main dishes. Most of the recipes take between 10 to 40 minutes to make and serve 4 people.

The berries covered were: acai berry, aronia/chokeberry/barberry, bearberry, bilberry, blackberry, black currant, blueberry, boysenberry, caperberry, cherry, cloudberry, cranberry, crowberry, damson, dewberry, elderberry, goji berry, golden berry, gooseberry, grape, honeyberry, huckleberry, Indian gooseberry/amla, jujube/Chinese date, juniper, Kiwi fruit/Chinese gooseberry, lingonberry, loganberry, mulberry, Oregon grape, persimmon, raspberry, redcurrant, rose hip, rowan, salmonberry, sea-buckthorn, seagrape, serviceberry, sloe, strawberry, strawberry tree, sumac, thimbleberry, tomato, ugniberry, whitecurrant, whortleberry, wineberry.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Fashion In The Time Of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) by Melinda Camber Porter

book cover
Fashion In The Time Of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603)
by Melinda Camber Porter


ISBN-13: 9781942231103
ebook: 82 pages
Publisher: Blake Press
Released: May 16, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Fashion in the Time of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) was a hand written thirty-four page document on eight inch by twelve inch lined British school tablet paper with thirty-one separate drawings on white paper. Melinda Camber Porter wrote and illustrated this book as a school report in Second Grade (Class 2), where she attended The City of London School for Girls. Melinda's reference material appears to originate from the great British fashion writer and illustrator of the 1930s, Dion Clayton Calthrop, who wrote and illustrate many books on English fashion from 1050 A.D. to 1750 A.D.

The text of this book is typed from the original hand written text and includes reproductions of Melinda Camber Porter's original drawings. The book also serves as a piece of history for The City of London School for Girls, and includes photos and awards of Melinda Camber Porter in the appendices.


My Review:
Fashion In The Time Of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) is about both Melinda Camber Porter and her report on English fashion in 1558-1603. The actual report described the clothing of English noblemen and noblewomen in some detail--from head to toe--and included changes in fashion and the names and uses of the different clothing items. In less detail, she described town and country clothing worn by men and women from the middle and lower classes and children's clothing. She drew nice illustrations for some of the clothing (see an example below), and I was impressed by the overall quality of her report. Though brief, it's very informative and even included some quotes from Elizabethan times describing clothing.

This book also included some information about the The City of London School for Girls and a short biography of Melinda Camber Porter. The appendix included a list of Melinda Camber Porter's writings and art exhibits, photos of the awards she won, quoted praise for her work, and a list of newspapers that ran her obituary.

I'd recommend this book to people interested in Melinda Camber Porter who would like to read her report on Elizabethan fashion.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Monday, May 23, 2016

The Acrylic Painter by James Van Patten

book cover
The Acrylic Painter
by James Van Patten


ISBN-13: 9780385346115
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Watson-Guptill
Released: June 2, 2015

Source: Review copy from the publisher through Blogging for Books.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Noted artist and School of Visual Arts instructor James Van Patten offers guidance on materials, processes, balance, and composition, and focuses on effectively using color in painting. He shows how acrylics can provide all painters with a vast range of possibilities for producing highly expressive art.

Readers will learn how to use acrylics to create a wide variety of effects--from watercolor-like transparency and the flatness of tempera and gouache, to the buttery quality of oil and collage adhesive and varnish--in everything from non-representational works to painterly realism to photorealism. Includes detailed step-by-step technical demonstrations and inspiring works by the author, his students, and other artists.


My Review:
The Acrylic Painter is a practical guidebook for those interested in painting with acrylics. You'll get the most benefit from his advice if you read this book before buying your supplies. I would have saved money and frustration if I'd had this advice. When I saw this book, I figured if the author could create huge, hyper-realistic landscape paintings using acrylic, he must know what I need to know! Indeed, he does, and he understands the types of things that a beginner with acrylics actually needs to know to enjoy the experience.

He discussed the pros and cons of different brands and types of acrylic paints. He also talked about what colors you need--he suggests starting with just five colors--and described the other supplies you'll need or may want in the future. He explained basic painting information like color theory, looking at the world in a way that helps you to paint what's actually there, and possible styles (abstract to hyper-realistic) and subjects (still life, portraits, landscapes). He also covered painting techniques like underpainting, using photographs and grids, tricks for painting hard edges, blending, glazing, and impasto painting. He ended by describing how to finish the painting's surface with protective layers and briefly described matting and framing your work.

There were some suggested exercises and demonstrations. They're practical things like how to blend large areas or create an underpainting. He used his and other people's paintings as illustrations to demonstrate various points from the text. While I'm getting fairly confident at painting in oil and watercolor, this book has definitely helped me understand how to successfully use acrylics.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Long Weekend by Adrian Tinniswood

book cover
The Long Weekend
by Adrian Tinniswood


ISBN-13: 9780465048984
Hardcover: 334 pages
Publisher: Basic Books
Released: May 3, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
As WWI drew to a close, change reverberated through the halls of England’s country homes. Historian Adrian Tinniswood introduces us to the tumultuous, scandalous and glamourous history of English country houses during the years between World Wars.

The upper crust struggled to fend off rising taxes and underbred outsiders, property speculators and poultry farmers. As estate taxes and other challenges forced many of these venerable houses onto the market, new sectors of British and American society were seduced by the dream of owning a home in the English countryside. Drawing on thousands of memoirs, letters, and diaries, we learn of legendary families such as the Astors, the Churchills and the Devonshires.


My Review:
The Long Weekend is a look at English country houses during the 1918-1939 period. The focus seemed to be the fate of the country house: who was selling, buying, renovating, redecorating, or building them. The author gave specific details about changes made to certain houses (including royal country houses) and the careers of certain architects or interior decorators. He included some general information about why it was difficult to sell old country houses, why people were selling them, various building or decorating trends, alternative uses found for country houses, and such.

A few chapters covered what a country house party was generally like, the various jobs of the servants, the role that some country houses played in politics, notable fancy dress balls, and various sports done at country houses (with some details about bird hunting). He also talked about Americans who bought English country houses.

I think I would have enjoyed the details about the decorations and changes if there had been more pictures of what the houses looked like before and afterward. As it was, I felt like I had details without the context to make it interesting. I'd also expected this to be more about the activities done at these houses, especially on the weekends. Instead, the book felt like a patchwork of information about country houses. The book was interesting, but I think it'd appeal most to those interested in architecture, interior decoration, and the people who owned these houses.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Morgue by Vincent DiMaio, Ron Franscell

book cover
Morgue
by Vincent DiMaio
& Ron Franscell


ISBN-13: 9781250067142
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Released: May 17, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Dr. Vincent Di Maio and veteran crime writer Ron Franscell guide us behind the morgue doors to tell a fascinating life story through the cases that have made Di Maio famous-from the exhumation of assassin Lee Harvey Oswald to the complex issues in the shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

Beginning with his street-smart Italian origins in Brooklyn, the book described cased from among his 40 years of work and more than 9,000 autopsies. Suspenseful stories, revealing anecdotes, and macabre insider details from one of the country's most methodical criminal pathologists.


My Review:
Morgue is a collection of true crime stories. This book mainly covered eleven cases that occurred between 1969 and 2012 in Dr. Vincent Di Maio's career. In each case, Dr. Di Maio performed the autopsy or was called in as a consultant, but it's not just about what happens in the morgue. Yet we are talking autopsies, so some details were gory, though clinically described.

The cases were described with vivid details, starting with the lives of the people involved and the events leading up to the murder. We're told how murder was suspected or what was known about the murder, the detective work that solved the crime, and details about the court cases. In some of the cases, the facts were distorted by conspiracy theories or the media due to racial controversy. I appreciated having "just the facts." He didn't claim to know the motives, just what the evidence indicated.

He covered cases that showed different aspects of the autopsy (identifying the person and what killed them) and of his job. The stories were well-written and very interesting. While his frustrations with the system do occasionally leak through, he seemed more interested in the truth (is there reasonable doubt?) than in making people think he can solve every crime. I'd recommend this book to people interested in true crime stories.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Impossible to Ignore by Carmen Simon

book cover
Impossible to Ignore
by Carmen Simon


ISBN-13: 9781259584138
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education
Released: April 22, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
A groundbreaking approach to creating memorable messages that are easy to process, hard to forget, and impossible to ignore―using the latest in brain science. Audiences forget up to 90% of what you communicate. How can your employees and customers decide to act on your message if they only remember a tenth of it? How do you know which tenth they’ll remember? How will you stay on their minds long enough to spark the action you need?

Drawing on the latest research in neuroscience and cognitive psychology, Carmen Simon, PhD, reveals how to avoid the hazards of random recall and deliver just the right amount of content. This practical guide is filled with case studies and examples. Whether you’re giving a presentation, conducting a meeting, delivering training, making a sales pitch, or creating a marketing campaign, these field-tested techniques will help you develop content that speaks to people’s hearts, stays in their heads, and influences their decisions.


My Review:
Impossible to Ignore is about how to improve the likelihood that people will take away the message that you're trying to impart, remember it, and act upon it. It's mainly aimed at business situations like meetings, sales interactions, ad campaigns, or seminars, but the basic principles can be applied to other situations. The author provided helpful real life and theoretical examples on how to apply the basic principles.

The author explained discoveries about how we form memories or are motivated to take new actions and then explained how to use this information to affect other people's memories and actions. She talked about what we remember and what we forget, expectations, anticipation, surprise, and novelty. She discussed the differences between getting people to remember the gist of what you said versus what's needed for people to remember exact information. She talked about the amount of information to include and how to inspire others to talk about you.

There's a checklist list at the end so you can make sure you're using these principles and engaging the audience's imagination and senses. Overall, I felt like this book contained useful information.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Mindspan Diet by Preston Estep

book cover
The Mindspan Diet
by Preston Estep


ISBN-13: 9781101886120
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Released: May 3, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
The Mindspan Diet reveals a simple plan to slow cognitive decline based on studies of the diets of the “Mindspan Elite”—those populations that live longest with low levels of dementia. Startling in its revelations about healthy eating for those over the age of forty, it challenges us to rethink our approach to many common staples, including:

• Iron: While iron-fortified foods sound healthy, high iron intake can be toxic, especially for people over forty, and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's disease.

• Whole grains: Processed grains such as white rice, pasta, and flour are actually staples in the diets of cultures with the best cognitive health.

• Protein: Though it's considered by some to be a miracle macronutrient, high levels of protein are actually hard on the kidneys, promote cancer, and may accelerate the progression of dementia.

Includes more than seventy delicious recipes.


My Review:
The Mindspan Diet is based on the diets of people who live in regions with low dementia rates. The author came up with a personal diet based on these "Mindspan Elite." He doesn't work professionally with dementia or nutrition, but we're basically asked to trust that the diet he came up with includes the foods that are actually responsible for low dementia rates.

His diet requires you to cook or make a lot of your own food. His main point was that most Americans get too much iron in their diet due to iron-fortified foods and from supplements, but the mindspan elite tend to be borderline anemic. His argument was fairly convincing, but not enough that I'd follow his advice to donate blood on a regular basis to keep my iron levels low.

The rest of his advice sometimes didn't flow logically, didn't align with with experts, or left me feeling muddled. For example, he advised lactose-intolerate people to drink milk but lactose digestors to avoid milk. Apparently many people in "Mindspan Elite" areas are lactose intolerant, but I need a study showing that those lactose intolerant people consume milk and this is directly responsible for their lack of dementia. It could simply be something they manage to get away with, like his story of the 100+ year old who smoked.

Also, I was concerned by some of his recommendations. He recommended using olive oil or canola oil. He didn't explain how to avoid food fraud with olive oil, which is a problem with this oil. Canola oil and soy products may be fine in "Mindspan Elite" areas, but almost all canola and soy in the USA are GMOs. There are serious health concerns surrounding GMOs (including cancer), yet his recipes frequently included these foods.

Basically, I needed more proof and a clearer explanation before I'll go against long-standing nutritional advice.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Modern Poisons by Alan Kolok

book cover
Modern Poisons
by Alan Kolok


ISBN-13: 9781610913812
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Island Press
Released: May 5, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Written by a longtime professor of toxicology, this accessible book explains basic principles of toxicology in plain language while illuminating the most important issues in contemporary toxicology. Kolok begins by exploring age-old precepts such as the dose-response relationship and that a chemical’s particular action depends on its inherent chemical nature. He goes on to show exactly how chemicals enter the body and elicit their toxic effect, as well as the body’s methods of defense.

With the fundamentals established, Kolok digs into advances in toxicology, tracing the field’s development from World War II to the present day. The book examines both technical discoveries and their impacts on public policy. Highlights include studies of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in toiletries and prescriptions, the emerging science on prions, and our growing understanding of epigenetics. Readers learn not only how toxic exposure affects people and wildlife, but about the long-term social and environmental consequences of our chemicals.


My Review:
Modern Poisons explains the basic principles of toxicology for the average person. The tone was generally formal, and the beginning chapters were technical enough that it's helpful if you've taken at least a high school chemistry or biology class. He clearly explained any technical language, and I don't think most people would find the text confusing though you do need to pay attention. I would highly recommend this book to everyone as it's an important topic to understand.

The author began with information on how our body deals with toxins, how things are tested for toxicity, and how things have changed in testing as concerns have grown from determining lethal doses to include adverse affects at lower doses and toxins that aren't broken down. He discussed both natural toxins (like harmful metals and snake venom) and synthetic chemicals. I really liked the information on how our body absorbs chemicals through our skin, lungs, and digestive tract and how our body protects us from toxins. I feel like I can better sort out popular health claims now.

The author also talked about toxins in the air, water, land, and animals and how toxins are broken down (through biotransformation) or aren't (and so accumulate in animals higher up the food chain). He discussed drugs, pesticides, cosmetics, and food additives. He talked about historical issues (like DDT), newer concerns (like prions, persistent organic pollutants, multi-generational impacts, and antibacterial and pesticide resistance), and the social impact and regulation resulting from these concerns.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Visual Intelligence by Amy E. Herman

book cover
Visual Intelligence
by Amy E. Herman


ISBN-13: 9780544381056
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Released: May 3, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
In her celebrated seminar, the Art of Perception, art historian Amy Herman has trained experts from many fields how to perceive and communicate better. By showing people how to look closely at images, she helps them hone their “visual intelligence,” a set of skills we all possess but few of us know how to use properly.

She has spent more than a decade teaching doctors to observe patients instead of their charts, helping police officers separate facts from opinions when investigating a crime, and training professionals from the FBI, the State Department, Fortune 500 companies, and the military to recognize the most pertinent and useful information. This book will show you how to see what matters most to you more clearly than ever before.


My Review:
Visual Intelligence is a course on improving your ability to see important details and clearly communicate your observations to others. The book contains full-color art that you study closely as part of the exercises. These exercises help you see what's really there (versus what you expect), see details that you might normally overlook, and recognize what details are most important depending on your goal. After gathering the information and analyzing it, you learn how to effectively communicate this information to others.

The author teaches a class using this material, so she also described how these skills have worked out in the field for her students (police detectives, doctors, social workers, etc.). I found it easy to understand the author and follow her points. I improved at the skills while reading the book, and you can also practice these skills while doing everyday things. I'd highly recommend this book, especially to those with a job where good observational and communication skills are critical.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Monday, May 2, 2016

Neither Snow nor Rain by Devin Leonard

book cover
Neither Snow nor Rain
by Devin Leonard


ISBN-13: 9780802124586
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Grove Press
Released: May 3,2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
The United States Postal Service is far more efficient than any other mail service—more than twice as efficient as the Japanese and easily outpacing the Germans and British. Journalist Devin Leonard tackles the fascinating, centuries-long history of the USPS.

Founded by Benjamin Franklin, it was the information network that bound far-flung Americans together, fostered a common culture, and helped American business to prosper. Under Andrew Jackson, the post office was molded into a vast patronage machine, and by the 1870s, over seventy percent of federal employees were postal workers.

As the country boomed, USPS aggressively developed new technology, from mobile post offices on railroads and air mail service to mechanical sorting machines and optical character readers. A first class stamp remains one of the greatest bargains of all time, and yet, the USPS is slowly vanishing.


My Review:
Neither Snow nor Rain is the history of the U.S. Postal Service as seen through the frustrations and controversies faced by the postmaster generals. The book started around 1737 with Ben Franklin and the colonial system of mail delivery. We're given a short biography for each new postmaster general and descriptions of the frustrations they faced. We learned about how the postal service worked (in terms of sorting, transport, etc.) only if it related to a postmaster general's attempt to update the system or if it sparked a controversy.

So we learn about early delivery competitors and the USPS's attempts to shut them down, about censorship, about the patronage system and the rising influence of the unions. We're told about modernization efforts that were rejected by congress or fought against by the union. We also learned about mail trains and air mail, home delivery, zip codes, and stamp collecting.

Since the author focused on controversy, he often focused on what the minority were saying. I sometimes felt like we didn't get a balanced view of what people at the time felt about certain topics. However, this book was interesting.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Women in Blue by Cheryl Mullenbach

book cover
Women in Blue
by Cheryl Mullenbach


ISBN-13: 9781613734223
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Released: May 1, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
They were called sleuths in skirts, guardian mothers, copettes, and police in petticoats. It would be a long time—well over 150 years—before women in law enforcement were known simply as police officers.

Balancing the stories of trailblazers from the past with those of today’s dedicated officers, chiefs, FBI agents, and forensics experts, this collection of riveting biographies traces the evolution of women in policing. Women in Blue inspires readers to value those who broke through barriers—often enduring ridicule and discrimination as they fought for equality—while original interviews shed light on the daily challenges, rewards, and life on the job of various women currently in the trenches of law enforcement. The chronological progression puts hot-button issues like police brutality, race relations, and the treatment of suspects and prisoners into historic context and shows how many women in law enforcement are working to challenge and improve their field.

This rich, authoritative history is packed with colorful anecdotes, excerpts from primary sources, and sidebars on related topics and includes photos, a bibliography, source notes, and a list of organizations interested teens can explore to learn more about the world of law enforcement, making it an indispensable resource for aspiring sleuths, officers, agents, crime scene investigators, and more.


My Review:
Women in Blue is about the various jobs women have held in policing in the past to the present. It's aimed at young adults and provided resources for those interested in a career in law enforcement. I'd recommend this book to teens and adults interested in this topic.

The story of women in policing was told mainly through the biographies of sixteen women. We're told what life on the job was like for the early jail matrons and those who were among the first to patrol, be a detective, or police chief. We also learned about women in various forensic careers--like forensic artist and crime scene investigation--and in federal organizations like the FBI, US Secret Service, and customs inspections. We learned about the daily challenges these women faced, what jobs they did, and about some of their cases.

The author did a good job of showing the women in their historical context. She showed how national events like wars or the Great Depression affected their jobs and the types of cases they dealt with. She also explained how women won equal opportunities for promotion, jobs, and pay. There were photos of the women, including some that show them during training or shooting competitions.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.