Culture & Criticism Since 2003
From the Editor: Even though the following selections (divided by discipline and or genre) have not seen full-length features on the pages of The Electric Review, they are still among the strongest selections we have seen. Accordingly, we would recommend these books to libraries considering new acquisitions (for the reasons specified). In the case of reference material or textbooks, recommendations are made to help guide academic librarians who serve the student and professional reader.
Synopsis: This continues the series that strives to personalize the teachings of the bible and present them to a new –and younger– audience. In this volume, some of the most powerful prayers in the Bible are examined in relation to modern times (in relation to actual human experience). Rather than viewing these passages in poetic terms, 101 Most Powerful Prayers looks at what the words mean today, exploring how they might better guide us through these dark and troubled times.
Recommended because: This book shows a true understanding of how prayer can relate to modern times and to the changing perceptions of a technology-based culture. Important and meaningful in the same way that Mel Gibson’s film “The Passion Of The Christ” is profound and meaningful.
Recommended for public sector libraries as a religion/spirituality reference and also appropriate as supplemental reading for Bible study courses.
Synopsis: The 22nd edition of this reference manual (which first appeared in 1927) examines the phenomenon of disease in relation to each of the body’s organ systems (by Doctor Lee Goldman of the University of California, San Francisco and Doctor Dennis Ausiello of Massachusetts General Hospital). In addition to its detailed analysis of the biological basis of disease, treatment options are also analyzed; this new edition includes a chapter on pharmacology and its role in the practice of modern medicine. Recommended because: It is a time-honored reference manual that contains detailed analysis of the nature of disease and its affects on the human body. If libraries are limited on funds and can only buy one new general medical reference this year, then this would be a sound choice: it is well written and meticulously organized so that the physician or student can quickly retrieve information. Also first-rate illustrations useful in both teaching and diagnostic scenarios.
Recommended because: It is a time-honored reference manual that contains detailed analysis of the nature of disease and its affects on the human body. If libraries are limited on funds and can only buy one new general medical reference this year, then this would be a sound choice: it is well written and meticulously organized so that the physician or student can quickly retrieve information. Also first-rate illustrations useful in both teaching and diagnostic scenarios.
Recommended for all health science libraries as a general reference.
Synopsis: The fourth edition of this text published by Wadsworth examines the concept of the American criminal justice system from all its perspectives, beginning with an analysis of crime and the courts and moving through the myriad functions of police and the departments of corrections. A well-conceived chapter on constitutional law is included. This material is of vital importance during a time when new Federal acts (like the Patriot Act) have set out to suspend some important elements of the Constitution (in turn reducing due process protections for the citizenry). This edition includes an interactive CD-ROM which allows the student to move through the topics of the text on-line — a feature that allows the reader maximum flexibility and attempts to make the learning experience fun.Recommended because: The text offers a new look at old material: rather than weigh the student down with a dry discourse on the courts in America, Cole and Smith have updated their presentation to make these topics relevant to the world in which we live. Consequently, students in urban areas will find meaning in the book beyond the classroom, as it speaks to the places where they’re living and working and studying.
Recommended because: The text offers a new look at old material: rather than weigh the student down with a dry discourse on the courts in America, Cole and Smith have updated their presentation to make these topics relevant to the world in which we live. Consequently, students in urban areas will find meaning in the book beyond the classroom, as it speaks to the places where they’re living and working and studying.
The ground Cole and Smith are able to cover, and the depth in which they attack the data, make Criminal Justice appropriate as a text for use in a variety of courses (from Administration of Justice to Criminology); also recommended for inclusion in all college level libraries as a general reference text detailing the idea of a criminal justice system in a democratic society.
Synopsis: New study by Andrea Rock analyzing the twists and turns the human mind takes in dreams. Rock’s treatise takes the topics that so consumed Freud and Jung and brings them into a modern context — note the gripping material about New York residents and their dreams in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy. Also very informative material on how dreams influence creativity.
Recommended because: The Mind strives to break new ground and explore an area of life so many people take for granted. Dreams embody our subconscious lives. They are an invisible component to our identities and can reveal answers to questions we have yet to form. Rock does a brilliant job at providing a road map so that we may begin our journey. This book will be of relevance to stone masons and fry cooks as much as it will be to poets and painters — for each of us pursues the chance to communicate with the spiritual self. And the door to this world finds itself only in dreams. Accordingly, Andrea Rock has written a wonderfully evocative study that allows an understanding of where we might go in our travels.
Appropriate for both public sector and college-level libraries.
CALIFORNIA SONGS. Vol. 1: 190th Century. Keith and Rusty McNeil. Wem Records. (Songbooks available separately).
Synopsis: The McNeils run Wem Records in Riverside, California, a company dedicated to the preservation of the music of history. These records (part of a series that includes Cowboy Songs, Western Railroad Songs, Colonial and Revolution Songs and Working Union Songs) trace the history of California through its songbook — a hearty collection of pieces that begins with Indian and Mexican-flavored music, and then moves deftly through the Gold Rush, the railroad boom, dust bowl immigration and the aftermath of World War Two. These performances are truly inspired (“Joe Bowers” and “Hayseed Like Me” standout), with authentic instrumentation that features mandolin, gaita, banjo and harmonica. Performed by the McNeils in the spirit of Woody Guthrie and Lead Belly (chronicling the history of our lives, reconnecting us with the spirits of our ancestors via this timeless folk music symphony).
Recommended because: This music absolutely belongs in a library. For all practical purposes, no library in either the public sector or at the college level should be without access to these CDs and the songbooks that serve as their trusty companions. For space considerations, we have only high-lighted the California Songs, but the other selections previously mentioned are just as significant. Aside from their educational value, these recordings also should be considered by theater instructors as stage music, since they would provide effectual background for any dramatic work that tells a story of the migration West and the many obstacles people had to overcome to settle this land (alluded to so beautifully in “Subsidy”). This is multidimensional and deep work, broad in scope, collecting the myriad influences of our music — each composition stripped down and stark, blooming in layers across time. As I said, this music absolutely belongs in a library: In an era when hip-hop and rap rule the charts, Wem Records has dedicated itself to yesterday: making accessible so many obscure songs to a new generation of students.
Synopsis: Textbook by University Of Colorado instructor Rick Gardner examines introductory concepts of psychology from the basics of behavior through learning, sensory perception, memory, reason, social interaction and the treatments for psychological disorders. Provides a sound foundation for fledgling psychology students to gain a preliminary familiarity with this material so that they can move on to more advanced study in the field. Includes well-thought out chapter summaries and an invaluable glossary of key terms which speak specifically to how a student learns: by reading the text and then studying these chapter “briefings” young readers can go right to the core of the material.
Recommended because: Gardner’s text is well developed and expertly written. He writes in a fluid manner meant to allow the reader to digest information in “small” bites — there’s a lot to learn here, and it is easy to overwhelm undergraduate students and drive them away. However, Gardner has taken pains to write in a way that will interest most students and stimulate natural curiosity. Also, the chapters on problem solving, motivation and social interaction mark extremely important topics for all college age individuals and should help students better understand themselves. In the end, Gardner has presented a text that encourages its application in everyday scenarios, in turn motivating readers to analyze how they perceive themselves and their environments.
Recommended for all college-level libraries as a general reference text. Would be a sound choice as a text for Psychology 1A level courses.
Synopsis: This manual is for any college student who is taking a psychology course (or a course in another social science field that requires writing in the APA style). Text provides background on writing a paper in the APA format, including how to cite sources and lay-out material. Designed with workbook exercises that allow the student to immediately apply the principles that have been taught.
Recommended because: Most college students are lacking in the fundamentals of how to properly write a research paper and cite their sources. This book presents nuts and bolts information in a readily accessible way, taking the student step-by-step through the process of how to present material so that they know just what instructors expect when they say “APA style required.” Moreover, the workbook practice exercises force students to immediately master skills which they will need to reference throughout their college careers.
Recommended for all college-level libraries as a general reference text. Should be further considered as a required text by psychology instructors to help better prepare students for college level writing assignments.