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We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

Current Issue: December 2016, Issue #212

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Guide to Contents this Page 

The Permaculture Promise: What Permaculture Is and How It Can Help Us Reverse Climate Change, Build a More Resilient Future on Earth, and Revitalize Our Communities by Jono Neiger, with a foreword by Toby Hemenway (Storey Publishing, LLC)

Archaeology of the Bible: The Greatest Discoveries from Genesis to the Roman Era by Jean-Pierre Isbouts (National Geographic)

Wild Spaces, Open Seasons: Hunting and Fishing in American Art edited by Kevin Sharp, with an introduction by Stephen J. Bodio (The Charles M. Russell Center Series on Art and Photography of the American West, Vol 27: University of Oklahoma Press)

Carceral Fantasies: Cinema and Prison in Early Twentieth-Century America by Alison Griffiths (Film and Culture Series: Columbia University Press)

Signs of Our Times: From Calligraphy to Calligraffiti by Rose Issa, Juliet Cestar, & Venetia Porter, with a foreword by Hans-Ulrich Obrist (Merrell Publishers)

Painting the Impressionistic Landscape: Exploring Light and Color in Watercolor and Acrylic – Flexibound by Dustan Knight (Rockport Publishers)

The Guns of the South – Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged, 2 MP3-CDs, running time 25 hours by Harry Turtledove, narrated by Paul Costanzo (Tantor Media, Inc.)

The Guns of the South: A Novel of the Civil War – Hardcover – by Harry Turtledove (Ballantine Books)

Heart Work: Nine Ways to Transform Your Greatest Challenges into a Life of Love and Joy – Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged, 6 CDs, running time 6 hours, 45 minutes by Roger Teel (Sounds True)

Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice by Clayton M. Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, & David S. Duncan (Harper Business)

Mediterranean Foods: Composition and Processing edited by Rui M. S. Cruz & Margarida C. Vieira (CRC Press)

Taffin by James Taffin de Givenchy, with photography by Philippe de Givenchy, Charlotte de Givenchy & Max Snow (Rizzoli International Publications Inc.)

Tree Houses Reimagined: Luxurious Retreats for Tranquility and Play, 1st edition by Blue Forest & E. Ashley Rooney (Schiffer Publishing Ltd.)

St Paul's Cathedral: Archaeology and History, 1st edition by John Schofield (Oxbow Books)

The Papers of George Washington: 1 Oct. 1795–31 March 1796 by George Washington (Presidential Series, Vol 19: University of Virginia Press)

Unquiet Land by Sharon Shinn (An Elemental Blessings Novel: Ace)

Skin and Bone: A Mystery by Robin Blake (Cragg & Fidelis Mysteries: Minotaur Books)

The Golden Number: Pythagorean Rites and Rhythms in the Development of Western Civilization by Matila C. Ghyka, translated by Jon E. Graham, with an introduction by Paul Valéry (Inner Traditions)

Early Christianity in Pompeian Light: People, Texts, Situations edited by Bruce W. Longenecker (Fortress Press)

Leadership Mosaic: 5 Leadership Principles for Ministry and Everyday Life by Daniel Montgomery, with Jared Kennedy, with a foreword by Russell Moore (Crossway)

Composing Science: A Facilitator's Guide to Writing in the Science Classroom by Leslie Atkins Elliott, Kim Jaxon & Irene Salter, with a foreword by Tom Fox (Teachers College Press)

 

school books  

Reviews

Agriculture / Crafts & Hobbies / Gardening / Outdoors & Nature

The Permaculture Promise: What Permaculture Is and How It Can Help Us Reverse Climate Change, Build a More Resilient Future on Earth, and Revitalize Our Communities by Jono Neiger, with a foreword by Toby Hemenway (Storey Publishing, LLC)

The Permaculture Promise… is chock-full of examples of permaculture used in landscape design, water conservation, waste treatment, carbon sequestering, community, and economics. The book also gives us clear, well-articulated definitions, concepts, and methods for applying the principles of permaculture, amply illustrated with dozens of captivating images. And best of all, it glows with an optimistic, can-do vision for our future. We are, as Jono writes, in an ecological and social mess, but we have powerful tools for fixing it. Many of them are covered in the pages that follow.

But this book is far more than an instruction manual. The Permaculture Promise is exactly that: a declaration, filled with living proof, of permaculture's present successes and barely tapped potential for building a resilient, abundance-filled culture that is a joy to live in. – Toby Hemenway, author of Gala's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale, Permaculture and The Permaculture City

Permaculture is a sustainability buzzword, but many people wonder what it actually means and why it is relevant. Originally coined by combining the words permanent and agriculture, permaculture has evolved into an optimistic approach connecting all the systems of human life: gardening, housing, transportation, energy, and how we structure our communities. 
The Permaculture Promise explains in simple terms why permaculture may be the key to unlocking a livable future on our planet. Author Jono Neiger asserts that humans can thrive while simultaneously making Earth healthier and not destroying it. Neiger is a conservation biologist, a permaculture educator, and a designer. He is a principal at the permaculture design and consultation firm Regenerative Design Group, and he is on the faculty of the Conway School of Landscape Planning and Design.
Permaculture is a design system that offers practical ideas for how humans can simultaneously provide for ourselves and regenerate the natural world. The book shows 22 ways that permaculture can create a better future for all living things. Profiles of people and communities – including an urban dweller who tore up her driveway to create a vegetable garden and a California housing development that dedicates a third of its land to parks, orchards, and gardens – inspire readers to incorporate permaculture principles into their lives today. 

Permaculture landscapes can be found in more than 150 countries. North America abounds with dozens of mature, beautiful, and ecologically resilient examples of permaculture, and thousands of younger sites and permaculture-related businesses, schools, and nonprofits are popping up everywhere. Neiger has explored many of them, designs them, and has built and lived in several of them, including his home, Hickory Gardens, in Massachusetts.

The Permaculture Promise is a bountiful harvest of the techniques, ideas, strategies, lessons, and wisdom embodied in the best of permaculture design as practiced today. And although its main focus, like that of permaculture, is on working in ecologically sound ways with the landscape, in this book readers also learn how permaculture can help meet every human and ecological need: food, water, shelter, energy, community, financial resources, health, and all the rest. Permaculture has burst out of the garden and into the community; The Permaculture Promise shows how that has been done and how readers can apply permaculture almost everywhere, too.

The rise of the permaculture movement is one of the brightest signs of hope on our distressed planet, and this book helps anyone understand why! – Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy
Jono Neiger shows us that permaculture is for far more than gardening by providing a to-do list for building community resilience in the face of climate change and other challenges.
The Permaculture Promise offers hope for the garden, home, neighborhood, city, and beyond. – Eric Toensmeier, award-winning author of Paradise Lot
Practical, personal, and powerful!
The Permaculture Promise offers a rich and engaging introduction guaranteed to inspire novices and remind experienced permaculture practitioners of why they began their journey into the ecological and ethical re-design of our lives and landscapes. – John M. Gerber, professor of sustainable food and farming, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Jono Neiger gives us hope for restoring health to ourselves, our communities, and the planet through straightforward lessons with steps anyone can follow. – Claudia Joseph, Executive Director, New York Permaculture Exchange

This masterful work describes the potential benefits of embracing permaculture elements within urban, rural, and community settings. A must-read for inspiration and practical knowledge to initiate change in our challenging times. – Jude Hobbs, co-founder of the Permaculture Institute of North America

The Permaculture Promise provides a perspective for navigating the future with grace and a long-term view, including some practical ideas for re-skilling, reconnecting, reengaging, and ultimately creating a more livable world for all. This groundbreaking approach moves beyond sustainability, connecting all the systems of human life. This book fills an important niche in the permaculture canon.

Archaeology / Geography / Religion & Spirituality

Archaeology of the Bible: The Greatest Discoveries from Genesis to the Roman Era by Jean-Pierre Isbouts (National Geographic)

The purpose of archaeology is not to ‘prove’ the Bible … [but] to shed light on the history that is important to biblical studies. – Robert I. Bradshaw, Archaeology and the Patriarchs

From ancient holy sites, to buried relics and treasures, Archaeology of the Bible uncovers the history and the archaeological discoveries from Scripture and the biblical world. Richly illustrated and written from an objective and nondenominational perspective, this book by Jean-Pierre Isbouts, uses the latest scientific and archaeological discoveries to place biblical stories in the framework of human history.

Isbouts is a humanities scholar and graduate professor in the doctoral programs at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California.

Chapters, beginning with the dawn of human civilization and ending with present day and the future of archaeology, chronicle hundreds of sites and artifacts found in Sumer, Babylon, the Second Temple, along the route of the Exodus, and in many other regions across the Middle East. Timelines bridge hundreds of years and several empires, maps give readers a visual sense of location, while hundreds of photos and illustrations of rare artifacts and ancient places add to the visual splendor. Archaeology of the Bible concludes with details of what remains to be found and the evolving dynamic of biblical faith in an increasingly scientific world in which archaeologists make daily breakthroughs.

A source of discovery for anyone interested in the history and archaeology of the lands of the Bible, regardless of their faith tradition, Archaeology of the Bible offers:

  • An authoritative window into all major discoveries, explaining the rise
    and fall of nations and empires of the time.
  • More than 375 illustrations reconstructing the history and lands of the Bible.
  • Continuous timelines tracing the movement of people and ideas across the Near East.
  • 38 detailed maps contextualizing the places and events of the Bible.
  • Illustrated sidebars and period artifacts highlighting daily life in the ancient Near East.

Of course the stories of the Bible did not originate in a vacuum. They were shaped by the most powerful civilizations of their time: Mesopotamia, Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, Greece, and the world of Imperial Rome. By traveling through the world of the Bible, readers follow the full arc of ancient civilization. Furthermore, the past decade or so has witnessed a number of dramatic discoveries, partly by chance and partly by virtue of new technologies such as drone photograph and seismic imaging. These finds include:

  • The 2007 excavation of the Davidic palace of Khirbet Qeiyafa near the Israeli city of Beit Shemesh, where a sherd with what some say is the oldest Hebrew text was found – possibly corroborating the reign of King David.
  • The discovery in 2000 of fully functional boats in Abydos, Egypt, predating the Old Kingdom, which may shed light on the description of Noah's ark in Genesis.
  • The excavation in 2007 of a synagogue in the ancient city of Magdala, the birthplace of Mary Magdalene, which may date to the period of Jesus' ministry.
  • The sensational excavation in 2008 of King Herod's tomb on the Herodium, which corroborates the account in the works of the Jewish first-century historian Josephus.
  • Possible evidence of a meteoric burst or perhaps a meteor impact near the Dead Sea, first published in 2013, which was of such intense heat that it melted pottery and even fused sand into glass, and could be correlated to the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
  • In 2015, confirmation that Herod's Jerusalem palace was located underneath today's Tower of David Museum. For Christians, this is particularly exciting for Herod's palace is one of two possible places where Jesus was imprisoned awaiting his trial.
  • And finally, the excavation, also in 2015, of a first-century courtyard house in Nazareth, very close to the current Annunciation Church, which may be the childhood home of Jesus.

These and many other finds inspired the development of Archaeology of the Bible. It aims to provide, for both casual readers and serious students of Israel's history, a comprehensive overview of the most important archaeological discoveries related to stories in the Bible. Based on several years of research at Near Eastern sites, as well as museums in Israel, Turkey, Russia, Italy, Germany, Britain, France, and the United States, this book offers an overview of forensic testimony that may illustrate the events of Hebrew Scripture and the New Testament.

Archaeology of the Bible is organized in six chapters, inspired by the division of the Tanakh or Hebrew Scripture (‘the Old Testament’ in Christian parlance) as well as the New Testament, each consonant with a major period of the Ancient Near East:

  1. The Archaeology of the Patriarchs.
  2. The Archaeology of the Exodus.
  3. The Archaeology of the Kingdoms of Israel.
  4. The Archaeology of the Second Temple Period.
  5. The Archaeology of the Life of Jesus.
  6. The Archaeology of Early Christianity.

With Archaeology of the Bible readers discover the greatest archaeological finds of recent times. Rooted in modern scholarship, this richly illustrated book provides a sweeping overview of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the past few decades, revolutionizing understanding of ancient Israel, Egypt, and Roman Judea in the time of Jesus. Using the principal Bible stories as his framework, best-selling author Isbouts reimagines life in biblical times while prompting new ideas about the human history of the ancient Near East.
Art & Photography / Crafts & Hobbies / Hunting

Wild Spaces, Open Seasons: Hunting and Fishing in American Art edited by Kevin Sharp, with an introduction by Stephen J. Bodio (The Charles M. Russell Center Series on Art and Photography of the American West, Vol 27: University of Oklahoma Press)

Wild Spaces, Open Seasons, edited by Kevin Sharp, traces the theme of hunting and fishing in American art from the early nineteenth century through World War II. Sharp is the Linda W. and S. Herbert Rhea Director of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis, Tennessee. Wild Spaces, Open Seasons is Volume 27 in the series The Charles M. Russell Center Series on Art and Photography of the American West.

Describing a remarkable group of American paintings and sculpture, the contributors reveal the pervasiveness of the subjects and the fascinating contexts from which they emerged. In one example after another, the authors demonstrate that representations of hunting and fishing did more than illustrate subsistence activities or diverting pastimes; the portrayal of American hunters and fishers also spoke to American ambitions and priorities.
In his introduction to Wild Spaces, Open Seasons, noted outdoorsman and author Stephen J. Bodio surveys the book’s major artists, who range from society painters to naturalists and modernists. Margaret C. Adler then explores how hunting and fishing imagery in American art reflects traditional myths, some rooted in classicism, others in the American appetite for tall tales. Kory W. Rogers, in his discussion of works that valorize the dangers hunters faced pursuing their prey, shows how American artists constructed new rituals at a time when the United States was rapidly transforming from a frontier society into a modern urban nation. Shirley Reece-Hughes looks at depictions of families, pairs, and parties of hunters and fishers and how social bonding reinvigorated American society at a time of social, political, and cultural change. Finally, Adam M. Thomas considers themes of exploration and hunting as integral to conveying the individualism that was a staple of westward expansion.

Adler is Assistant Curator at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth. Rogers is Curator at Shelburne Museum, Shelburne, Vermont. Reece-Hughes is Associate Curator at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth. Thomas is Curator of American Art at the Palmer Museum of Art, Pennsylvania State University, University Park.

According to the contributors in the foreword of Wild Spaces, Open Seasons, in many respects, the history of American painting and sculpture is an area of study still in the exuberance of youth. It darts and veers through the wild and open country of the American imagination, seeking the wisdom that so many pictures and statues might share, and what they meant to the men and women who made them, sold them, saw them, and owned them.

Throughout the relatively brief history of American painting and sculpture, some of the most brilliant and original artists the country has produced became intrigued at one time or another with subsistence hunters and sportsmen as expressive subject matter. Hunters and fishermen, the hunt and the catch, appear again and again in the work of American painters and sculptors. There seems to be something in the pursuit that speaks specifically to American priorities, and to our embrace of challenge and invention.

Wild Spaces, Open Seasons brings together an impressive group of paintings and sculptures that eloquently convey what the sporting hunter and the provider in the wild have meant to American artists and to the broader American ethos. To arrive at a deeper understanding of the thematic touchstones, Sharp called on a group of four curators and scholars to tease new insights from otherwise well-vetted works of American art. Adler, Rogers, Reece-Hughes, and Thomas brought works by such significant artists as Thomas Cole, William Sidney Mount, Martin Johnson Heade, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, John Singer Sargent, Charles M. Russell, Marsden Hartley, George Bellows, Paul Manship, and many others into sharper relief. The results of their research are as nuanced as they are impressive.

With a timeline stretching from the early nineteenth century to World War II, the artists range from nineteenth-century portraitists to religious thinkers, from genre painters to naturalists. Their motives vary from innocent celebrations of the hunt and serene depictions of high society men and women fishing to political satire and imitations of aristocrats at play, in the style of earlier English or French painting. Throw in Hudson River school painters, sportsmen, Rooseveltians, and modernists, all with different ideas, passions, and, perhaps, agendas; add straightforward depictions of the West by Charles M. Russell as well as superficially similar romanticized narratives by Frederic Remington, and readers can see why enjoying each of them is at once an act of celebration and one of criticism.

Wild Spaces, Open Seasons celebrates all the modes of sport including the more politically incorrect products of a less self-conscious age. Within the Wild Spaces, Open Seasons exhibition, six major themes overlap, refer to each other, and sometimes even argue among themselves. The first, "Leisurely Pursuits," comprises serene portraits of upper class recreations, one of the earliest themes to appear in sporting art; aristocrats had the wherewithal to commission art. (Paleolithic hunter-gatherers, who also had leisure time, made great hunting art.) "Livelihoods" depicts humbler, realistic pursuits: hunting and gathering of food; hunting as work, however pleasurable (for a full belly is not an ignoble goal), more than as leisure, including the work of hunter-gatherers. "Communing in Nature" explores hunting and fishing as communal actions. "Perils," an ancient, productive lode of hunting images, shows the dangers (and thrills) inherent in any interaction with the untamed wild, be they dangers from quarry or dangers from a threatening environment. "Myth and Metaphor" includes examples of field sport's mythological heritage, from the classical to the romantic and even the spiritual. Finally, "Trophies" is composed of works that depict the products of hunting and fishing, realistically (e.g., trompe 1'oeil painting and explicit depictions of food) as well as ironically, including slightly satirical depictions of taxidermy and other constructions.

Through the examination of major works of art, Wild Spaces, Open Seasons brings to light an often-overlooked theme in American painting and sculpture. Wild Spaces, Open Seasons should guide even experienced art observers to new ways of seeing long-familiar paintings and sculpture. Everyone who is interested in nature, from a passionate sportsman or woman to a skeptical professor of art history, should enjoy this unique collection.

Art & Photography / Culture / Film

Carceral Fantasies: Cinema and Prison in Early Twentieth-Century America by Alison Griffiths (Film and Culture Series: Columbia University Press)

Carceral Fantasies tells the little-known story of how cinema found a home in the U.S. penitentiary system and how the prison emerged as a setting and narrative trope in modern cinema. Focusing on films shown in prisons before 1935, Alison Griffiths explores the unique experience of viewing cinema while incarcerated and the complex cultural roots of cinematic renderings of prison life.

Griffiths is professor of film and media studies at Baruch College and the City University of New York Graduate Center.

Griffiths in Carceral Fantasies considers a diverse mix of cinematic genres, from early actualities and reenactments of notorious executions to reformist exposés of the 1920s. She connects an early fascination with cinematic images of punishment and execution, especially electrocutions, to the attractions of the nineteenth-century carnival electrical wonder show and Phantasmagoria (a ghost show using magic lantern projections and special effects). Griffiths draws upon convict writing, prison annual reports, and the popular press obsession with prison-house cinema to document the integration of film into existing reformist and educational activities and film's psychic extension of flights of fancy undertaken by inmates in their cells. Combining penal history with visual and film studies and theories surrounding media's sensual effects, Carceral Fantasies illuminates how filmic representations of the penal system enacted ideas about modernity, gender, the body, and the public, shaping both the social experience of cinema and the public's understanding of the modern prison.

Carceral Fantasies is about how motion pictures and the penitentiary in the United States came into contact, both figuratively and literally, in the first two decades of the twentieth century. Expansive in scope, the book examines the earliest cinematic representations of prison and punishment (mostly pre-1915) and, more intriguingly, how motion pictures were shown to both male and female prisoners and gained a foothold in American prisons between 1909 and 1922.

Exploring the penitentiary not merely as a cinematic subject but as an exhibition venue, Carceral Fantasies makes the case that any study of film reception in prison has first to acknowledge where our ideas about this institution and its inhabitants come from. Carceral Fantasies is methodologically ambidextrous, not through choice but through necessity, using textual analysis, cultural and penal history, and the effect of incarceration on the senses to sift through archival material. If we are to even come close to understanding the rich, fascinating, yet all too elusive relationship between cinema and prison, we must acknowledge the fact that no single method can do all this work.

The challenge of reconstructing the historical experience of cinema, never an easy undertaking, is in some ways surprisingly less daunting in the case of prison (at least during its first decades), since we have detailed records of screenings from prisoner newspapers, identifying when, where, and with whom inmates watched motion pictures. Rather than view cinema as an unprecedented new media form in the prison, Griffiths argues that one evocation of the cinematic experience – the sensation of staring at the rectangle of light on a blank cell wall, which becomes a proxy screen – helped lay the ground for the arrival of motion pictures behind bars. Somewhat paradoxically, one could argue that prisoners were sensorially primed for cinema long before it made its (relatively) late appearance in U.S. penitentiaries between 1909 and 1914. And while cinema brought the outside world in, it also turned the prison inside out, as a result of the location shooting within prisons that took place with increased regularity.

Carceral Fantasies fills a gap in our understanding of cinema's usefulness in progressive penal reform and illuminates the little-known story of Hollywood's relationship to prisons, which included studios supplying films free of charge in exchange for location shooting. Not only did Vitagraph, Fox, Metro, and Paramount loan hundreds of films for Sing Sing screenings, but Warner Bros. conducted inmate test screenings throughout the 1920s and 1930s and, in 1933, Harry M. Warner personally financed the construction of the three-thousand-seat prison gymnasium in memory of Jack Warner's son Lewis, with the expressed hope that in addition to giving the inmates recreation, it would also ‘build their character.’ While New York City may be considered the center of the early American motion picture industry, thirty miles up the Hudson River, in the small town of Ossining, New York, a separate system of film exhibition culture was taking shape within the infamous Sing Sing Prison. The historical experience of prison filmgoing is less the tale of a unique medium than the story of a specific disjunct alignment between the civilian and captive experiences of cinema. In less than a year, a vibrant fan community would emerge within Sing Sing, with films regularly reviewed in the ‘On the Screen at Sing Sing’ column of the prisoner newspaper, The Star of Hope. Carceral Fantasies also connects the emergence of cinema in prisons to the larger project of nation building.

Rather than assume that the protocols of civilian film exhibition were completely absent in the penitentiary, Carceral Fantasies looks for points of convergence and divergence, suggesting that anthropologist Anne Laura Stoler's argument that the space of rupture in the ethnographic archive, located in the "disjuncture between prescription and practice, between state mandates and the maneuvers people made in response to them, between normative rules and how people actually lived their lives," can be applied to the penal context.

Carceral Fantasies is organized into three parts: "The Carceral Imaginary," "The Carceral Spectator," and "The Carceral Reformer." Chapter 1 explores the nature of the carceral imaginary within the context of early execution films, galvanism and the electrical wonder show, and the Phantasmagoria.

Chapter 2 examines how actuality, reconstruction, and fictional films representing prisons and prisoners made before cinema's transitional era constructed a carceral imaginary that was indebted to precinematic visions of imprisonment while at the same time established new rules about visualizing incarceration. Given that most people's perceptions of prison came from popular cinema, how do these films rise to the challenge of representing prison with any degree of accuracy, and are there any films that disrupt commonly held beliefs about life behind bars?

Part 2 of Carceral Fantasies, "The Carceral Spectator," begins with chapter 3, "Screens and the Senses in Prison," an analysis of how film exhibition in pris­ons across the United States and United Kingdom was covered in the popular press, trade publications, magazines, and prisoner-written books and articles, and how incarceration's recalibration of space and time affected the senses in curiously protocinematic ways.

Chapter 4 explores how cinema stood on the shoulders of a longer history of prison entertainments at Sing Sing, considering how the reform efforts and wardenships of Thomas Mott Osborne (1914–1915) and Lewis E. Lawes (1920–1941), along with the Mutual Welfare League (MWL), a self-governing prisoner organization, transformed the prison into a vibrant space of nightly filmgoing by the late 1910s. The chapter also turns to the role played by early radio broadcasting in the prison, since radio headsets installed in Sing Sing's cells in the late 1920s brought in the outside world and served as a strategic ally for Warden Lawes, whose fireside chat radio programs were piped directly into the cells on Sunday evenings.

Carceral Fantasies's final section, "The Carceral Reformer," examines penal reform and the growing number of purpose-built women's reformatories constructed in the United States in the context of a brief cycle of prison reform films made between 1917 and 1919. In light of Angela Davis's argument about the astonishing growth of women's prisons in the early 2000s in the United States, chapter 5 plumbs the history of women's incarceration and early twentieth-century media, not only to shed light on the uses of sanctioned entertainment in the women's prison but also to give voice to female inmates, to excavate what literary scholar Nancy Bentley calls the ‘sediments of gendered experience.’ This study redirects the conversation on women's experiences of cinema to an unlikely but important location: the women's prison. Chapter 5 examines two key questions: how women incarcerated in prisons and reformatories at the turn of the last century first encountered modern media such as magic lantern slides, phonographs, and motion pictures and why film exhibition began later in the women's prison than in male institutions.

Chapter 6 examines how penal reformers appropriated cinema for their cause, addressing not only the moral rehabilitation of individual prisoners but changes in institutional policy. Carceral Fantasies's conclusion fast-forwards to the contemporary period, with brief discussion of several prison museums and contemporary media use in Sing Sing Prison, an attempt less to construct an exhaustive history of media use in prisons than to offer a snapshot of some recent changes, including the introduction of in-cell television.

Alison Griffiths's examination of how movie exhibition came into prisons is truly groundbreaking. No one has studied the culture of movie-going behind bars in this fashion before. A unique and absolutely exciting work! – Dana Polan, author of Scenes of Instruction: The Beginnings of the U.S. Study of Film

Carceral Fantasies is a complex and highly original book that attends the intersections between various early cinema images of prisons and the real thing. Griffiths has a fascinating story to tell, in which she argues that we can view execution films as a kind of attraction – and in doing so are led to ponder: what constitutes an attraction? – Jon Lewis, author of American Film: A History

A groundbreaking contribution to the study of nontheatrical film exhibition, Carceral Fantasies fills a gap in our understanding of cinema's usefulness in progressive penal reform and illuminates the little-known story of Hollywood's relationship to prisons. Expansive in scope, it recognizes the powerful role of the imagination, encompassing both fantasies of escape and freedom enacted by inmates, and fantasies of punishment and despair conjured up by popular culture.

Art & Photography / Middle Eastern

Signs of Our Times: From Calligraphy to Calligraffiti by Rose Issa, Juliet Cestar, & Venetia Porter, with a foreword by Hans-Ulrich Obrist (Merrell Publishers)

Signs of Our Times demonstrates how this connection between the written word and the visual arts finds expression in the wider culture. … calligraphy was championed across the Islamic world because it offered believers the opportunity to engage directly with the writings of the Quran (the magnificent illuminated manuscripts contained in Western Europe's monasteries are testament to a similar impulse). Writing was seen as the most significant of the arts because it brought the individual closer to the Quran and therefore to the word of God. – from the foreword

Signs of Our Times examines six decades of art from the Arab world and Iran, focusing on artists who have creatively used Arabic, Persian or other script – whether readable or not – in their work. This unique book considers the work of key artists from different backgrounds and styles, ranging from those who pioneered a trend that contributed to new modernities in the early 1950s to those who occasionally use the written word today.

Starting in the early 1950s, the alternative and original approach to modernism began with artists who took inspiration from their own cultural sources and combined them with international aesthetics and concepts. Signs of Our Times considers the work of 50 key artists, ranging from important pioneers of the calligraphic movement to those who use the written word in their work today. The book begins with a contribution from Venetia Porter, curator of Islamic and contemporary Middle Eastern art at the British Museum, who provides a historical contextualization of the movement and its relationship to Lettrism in Europe. In a second essay, the writer and curator Rose Issa presents an overview of 60 years of the art movement in Arab countries and Iran, from the independences of the late 1940s and 1950s to the present day. A timeline by Juliet Cestar, an expert on contemporary Middle Eastern art, then sets out major cultural and historical events in the Middle East over the course of the last 60 years.
Issa is an independent curator, publisher and writer specializing in visual art and film from the Arab world and Iran. Cestar is a writer and specialist on Middle Eastern contemporary art. Venetia Porter is a curator responsible for the collections of Islamic and contemporary Middle Eastern art at the British Museum, London, who in 2006, curated the exhibition 'Word in Art' at the museum. The foreword is by Hans-Ulrich Obrist, an art curator, critic and historian, Co-Director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects at the Serpentine Gallery, London.

Signs of Our Times, in which artworks in a variety of media are interspersed with artists' statements about their work, is divided into three sections. A first generation of innovators developed a new aesthetic language: artists such as Siah Armajani, whose work, within a decade, moved from Lettrism to public art, and Maliheh Afnan, with her enigmatic, unreadable signs on paper. A second generation, who mostly live in exile and reference their own cultures and aesthetic concerns in their art, includes Fathi Hassan, whose creations often allude to his Nubian heritage, and Ghada Amer, who works with the consciousness that she is a woman. A new generation of artists, who reside internationally and occasionally use Arabic or Persian script in their pieces, includes Bahia Shehab, who studied design and calligraphy, and el Seed, who describes his work as `calligraffiti'. The entry for each artist includes a concise biography and a statement from the artist about their work. The artworks, in a variety of media, are also interspersed with poems and relevant literature, putting into personal and historical contexts the innovative use of words in art. The book concludes with a timeline that highlights major cultural and historical events in the Middle East during the past century.

Taken as a whole, Signs of Our Times offers an alternative and exceptionally personal perspective on artists, and by artists, from a region witnessing many changes.

These artists, from very different backgrounds and styles, take inspiration from their own cultures and combine those influences with international aesthetics and concepts. The result is the creation of an alternative and original approach to modernism and contemporary art.

Art & Photography / Painting

Painting the Impressionistic Landscape: Exploring Light and Color in Watercolor and Acrylic – Flexibound by Dustan Knight (Rockport Publishers)

... My paintings in watercolor and acrylic are inspired by the things I see and my impressions of them. When I paint I'm not attempting to replicate what's in front of me. I'm searching for subjects that I want to look at and experience deeply, for a long, focused time. I enjoy the process of translating them into my own vision of the world. I try to avoid the clichéd scene but I don't want to deprive myself of possibilities either, so I try to look deeper than the obvious. I try to experience a subject as closely and as intimately as possible.

Sometimes it's the atmospheric effects of mist through the trees that intrigues me as much as the trees themselves. Sometimes it's the riot of contrasting color in the garden more than the actual blooms that I love. Sometimes it's the sound of a wave booming under a seaweed covered ledge that makes me want to capture my impression of the sea on paper. – from the book

The Impressionist movement that began 130 years ago set artists free to experiment outdoors, capturing the fleeting effects and many moods of sunlight in their paintings by juxtaposing contrasting colors. Although those colors may not actually be apparent in nature, on canvas and paper they appear spontaneous and naturalistic. The skill is in knowing how to select and apply them.

Impressionistic painting has not remained static over the decades. Artist Dustan Knight in Painting the Impressionistic Landscape walks readers through the techniques to achieving brilliant effects in a contemporary style. Using easy-to-work-with watercolor and acrylic, she demonstrates through her own paintings, as well as others she has selected, the step-by-steps for dramatic atmospheric vistas and intimate garden landscapes.

Knight is a professional artist, educator, and art writer. She is a recipient of a New Hampshire State Fellowship for the arts, a MacDowell Colony residency, a Cummington Artist Colony residency, a contributing writer to Art New England, and she gives demonstrations and workshops in watercolor, art business, and art history.

According to Knight, one of the best things about being an artist is having an excuse to actually stop and look around. Knight thinks her way of working is a continuation of the way the Impressionists approached painting. She says she has always felt their influence, both for the beauty of their work and for their philosophy.

In Painting the Impressionistic Landscape Knight walks readers through her creative steps. She chooses three landscape themes – woods, garden flowers, and water – inspired by the natural features of the granite New Hampshire island where she lives. She shows readers several approaches and various ways to think about them. Each theme is considered separately with images and step-by-step demonstrations. The demonstrations detail the progress from concept to finished painting. She shares her way of seeing as well as the thought process and continual problem solving that develops as she paints.

Painters of all levels will find clear instruction in technique as well as thoughtful direction for developing a deeper personal vision. Monet would approve! – Jeanne Carbonetti, professional artist and author of The Tao of Watercolor

 ... a must-read for anyone interested in going deeper and finding their own mark and voice. [Dustan Knight's] thoughtful writing and clear and organized demonstrations will inspire. – Stephen Quiller, award-winning painter, author of Watermedia Painting with Stephen Quiller

It is refreshing to find a book that does not focus on outdated pedestrian rules that have never been employed by the artists we revere. Dustan Knight offers valuable information that is too often overlooked. – Barbara Nechis, author of Watercolor from the Heart, former director, National Watercolor Society

This book will be wonderful for a beginning painter. – Charles Reid, award-winning master watercolorist, author of Painting by Design

Readers learn to master the impressionist painting style with Painting the Impressionistic Landscape.

Audio / Literature & Fiction / Historical / Fantasy / Military

The Guns of the South – Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged, 2 MP3-CDs, running time 25 hours by Harry Turtledove, narrated by Paul Costanzo (Tantor Media, Inc.)

The Guns of the South: A Novel of the Civil War – Hardcover – by Harry Turtledove (Ballantine Books)

Selected by the Science Fiction Book Club
A Main Selection of the Military Book Club

In The Guns of the South, Harry Turtledove takes one of the most dramatic, bloody, and tumultuous episodes in our life as a nation, the Civil War, and imagines what might have been had the rebels prevailed. In the unusually cold winter of 1864, General Robert E. Lee finds himself and his Army of Northern Virginia huddled on the banks of the Rapidan, trying to fight a war despite meager rations and a lack of equipment – indeed, some of his men do not even have shoes.

Turtledove is an award-winning and bestselling author of science fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction. His alternate-history works include How Few Remain (winner of the Sidewise Award for Best Novel), The Man with the Iron Heart, the Worldwar saga, the Colonization books, and the Settling Accounts series.

In The Guns of the South it is January 1864: General Lee faces defeat. The Army of Northern Virginia is ragged and ill-equipped. Gettysburg has broken the back of the Confederacy and decimated its manpower.

Then, Andries Rhoodie, a strange man with an unplaceable accent, approaches Lee with an extraordinary offer. Rhoodie demonstrates an amazing rifle: its rate of fire is incredible, its lethal efficiency breathtaking – and Rhoodie guarantees unlimited quantities to the Confederates. The name of the weapon is the AK-47 ...

Suddenly, the tide turns and the rebels win a decisive victory at the Battle of Wilderness. Lee presses his advantage, marching on Washington. But if Lincoln surrenders, and the Confederacy can negotiate independence from the Union, there remain many obstacles to peace. The disputed states of Kentucky and Missouri must be accommodated. And the matter of slavery itself will threaten the newly independent Confederate States with fresh factional strife. Indeed, with victory come difficult choices for Lee. War has worn down his health. His invalid wife lives for the day the two of them can finally build a peaceful life together. His days of service should be drawing to a close. Yet set against Lee's personal desires is the prospect of watching his beloved land squander the freedom that he and his men fought so desperately to win.

Just as the Confederate cause seems doomed, deliverance arrives in the form of 20th-century weapons. History and science fiction merge in this latest from Turtledove (A Different Flesh, 1988; Agent of Byzantium, 1987) – something that the publisher calls ‘speculative fiction.'’ It's not bad. What if the South had been armed with modern repeating rifles? South African white supremacists with access to a time-travel machine conclude that their own loathsome policies would find sympathy in an independent Dixie and, accordingly, begin historic, large trans-shipments of the sturdy, reliable AK-47 rifle from 21st-century Johannesburg to 19th-century Virginia. Dazzled and delighted by the possibilities of the weapon, Robert E. Lee and his troops grab the guns and turn the war and American history around. Acting on uncanny tips from the Afrikaners, Lee reverses the Battle of the Wilderness and within months the rebels seize Washington, D.C. A new nation is born, just the way the Boers hoped it would be. Or is it? The Confederate States do indeed continue to allow slavery, but the realities of world opinion and economics quickly influence new national policy. General Lee succeeds Jefferson Davis as president and brings his sober ethos to southern government. The South Africans, who have dug into their own company town in North Carolina, are outraged by the perversion of what should have been an Eden of apartheid, and they bring new weapons to bear on their former darlings. But they have not reckoned on southern orneriness. It is a fatal miscalculation. Readers willing to wink at the time travel will find a well-researched and well-written account of a nation that didn't happen. Literate rebs will read it again and again and again. – Kirkus Reviews

Turtledove (Krispos Rising) might win over some Civil War buffs through his knowledge of historical figures and events, but stilted dialogue, slack pacing and thin characters diminish the book's appeal. – Publishers Weekly

An exceptionally riveting and innovative narrative that successfully straddles the gulf between fact and fantasy. – Booklist

It is absolutely unique – without question the most fascinating Civil War novel I have ever read. – Professor James M. McPherson, Pulitzer prize-winning Battle Cry of Freedom

The Guns of the South is a highly original and extraordinary vision of history as it both was and could have been. With the power and assurance of a master storyteller and the accuracy of a trained historian, Turtledove has created an immense, detailed, and plausible world in which history takes a most unexpected turn. Narrator Paul Costanzo brings the sensitivity and nuance of a classical music background to his twenty-five-plus years of voice acting to the audio version.

Audio / Psychology & Counseling / Self-Help

Heart Work: Nine Ways to Transform Your Greatest Challenges into a Life of Love and Joy – Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged, 6 CDs, running time 6 hours, 45 minutes by Roger Teel (Sounds True)

What does it mean to live in a heart-centered way?

How do listeners turn their biggest obstacles into openings for joy, connection, and possibility?

These are the questions listeners explore through Heart Work. As spiritual director of Denver’s Mile Hi Church for more than 30 years, Dr. Roger Teel has brought compassion and quiet illumination to those facing loss, health crises, and many other life challenges. “This program is about mastery of the heart,” teaches Dr. Teel, “Mastery is an empowering of our awareness of what life is, who we really are, and how we can create a skillful relationship with anything that might block our progress.” With Heart Work, the minister provides listeners with a guide for living a life of greater meaning and happiness.
Teel, DD, the senior minister and spiritual director of Denver’s Mile Hi Church, is a global spiritual leader known for his unique blend of storytelling, humor, and practical spirituality.

Teel in Heart Work offers listeners a clear pathway for life mastery through what he refers to as “the Nine Portals of Transformation,” life-empowering openings for understanding one’s greatest challenges – such as fear, disease, and change – from the limitless wellspring of the heart. Listeners work with key questioning, step-by-step processes, teaching stories, and guided meditations to help them meet difficulties while staying open and connected to life’s many gifts. In the words of Teel, “We can go from resistance to transcendence through the power of an awakened heart.”
A masterful guide and storyteller, Teel weaves together teachings of the world’s great wisdom traditions with moving real-world accounts of transformation to help listeners redefine and reframe their struggles in fresh and illuminating ways.
According to Teel: “In every person’s spiritual heart there is an opening into divine light, love, and universal joy. In moving through this opening we transcend resistances and obstructions and are welcomed into a paradise of answers, innovations, healing, reunion, and untold blessings.”
Highlights of Heart Work include:

  • Developing greater resilience, compassion, and understanding through heart-centered living.
  • Awakening the heart to allow listeners to see that within each problem lies a greater possibility yearning to come forth.
  • Turning toward challenges as the highest path.
  • Opening the heart when facing the end of a relationship, loss of a job, or serious illness. Understanding common struggles from new and illuminating perspectives.
  • Exploring nine specific challenges through the lens of an awakened heart.
  • Guided meditations for each of the Nine Portals, plus an extended heart chakra meditation.
  • Step-by-step instructions and specific practices for turning obstacles into openings for greater love, meaning, and joy.
  • Contemplative self-reflection questions to deepen one’s understanding of the spiritual roots of each challenge.
  • Insights from a wide variety of wisdom traditions.

Heart Work provides readers with an indispensable guide for living a heart-centered life. The book contains more than six hours of inspirational wisdom, teaching stories, action steps to awaken the heart with teachings, practices, and meditations. Through these insightful and practical teachings, Heart Work provides a wealth of guidance for anyone who wants a life of greater love and joy.

Business & Investing / Management & Leadership

Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice by Clayton M. Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, & David S. Duncan (Harper Business)

How do leaders know how to grow? How can they create products that they are sure customers want to buy? Can innovation be more than a game of chance? The foremost authority on innovation and growth, professor Clayton Christensen and his coauthors Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, and David S. Duncan have the answer. A generation ago, Christensen revolutionized business with his groundbreaking theory of disruption – a way to predict how competitors will respond to different types of innovation. In Competing Against Luck he examines the other side of the puzzle: what causes growth, and how to create it.

Christensen is the Kim B. Clark Professor at Harvard Business School, a five-time recipient of the McKinsey Award for Harvard Business Review's best article, and the cofounder of four companies, including the innovation consulting firm Innosight. Taddy Hall is a Principal with The Cambridge Group and Leader of Nielsen's Breakthrough Innovation Project. Karen Dillon is the former editor of the Harvard Business Review. David S. Duncan is a senior partner at Innosight.

As told in Competing Against Luck, after years of research, Christensen, Hall, Dillon, and Duncan have come to one critical conclusion: the long-held maxim – that the crux of innovation is knowing more and more about the customer – is wrong. Customers don’t simply buy products or services; they ‘hire’ them to do a job. Understanding customers does not drive innovation success, the authors argue. Understanding customer jobs does. The “Jobs to Be Done” approach can be seen in some of the world’s most respected companies and fast-growing startups, including Amazon, Intuit, Uber, and Airbnb to name just a few. But this book is not about celebrating these successes – it is about predicting new ones. Christensen and his coauthors contend that by understanding what causes customers to ‘hire’ a product or service, any manager can improve their innovation track record, creating products that customers not only want to hire, but that they’ll pay premium prices to bring into their lives. Jobs theory offers new hope for growth to companies frustrated by their hit-or-miss efforts.

Competing Against Luck carefully lays down the authors’ provocative framework, providing a comprehensive explanation of the theory, why it’s predictive, and how to use it to improve innovation in the real world. "For most companies, innovation is still hit or miss," the authors say. "They should be improving, but they are not. And worst of all, all this activity gives the illusion of progress, without actually causing it. Companies are spending exponentially more to achieve only modest incremental innovations while completely missing the mark on the breakthrough innovations critical to long-term, sustainable growth.

Step by step, Competing Against Luck explores how to transform a business model using Jobs Theory. It details how to discover what jobs customers are looking to fill, why they hire and fire products, and how to make sure one’s product is the one hired for the job. The book also explains how to structure an organization for success, how to keep from veering off course in the wake of success, and how to avoid the pitfalls that often weaken even the most successful companies.

Based on twenty years of hard evidence gathered by this renowned Harvard professor and his colleagues, Competing Against Luck shows the way to put time, energy, and resources into creating products and services that businesses can predict, in advance, customers will be eager to hire.

This game-changing book is filled with compelling real world examples, including from inside Intuit. Jobs Theory has had – and will continue to have – a profound influence on Intuit’s approach to innovation. It just might change yours, too. – Scott Cook, Co-founder & Chairman of Intuit
Clayton Christensen’s books on innovation are mandatory reading at Netflix. – Reed Hastings, Co-founder and CEO of Netflix
[Competing Against Luck] will likely become part of the thoughtful founder’s strategy arsenal. True to its unpretentious name, jobs theory is disarmingly simple… “What job is our customer trying to accomplish?” stands as one of those great business questions that companies deploy to stimulate creative juices at the start of meetings. But Competing Against Luck doesn’t just introduce a tool, it also lays out a program. – Inc. Magazine

The foremost authority on innovation and growth presents Competing Against Luck, a path-breaking book every company needs to transform innovation from a game of chance to one in which they develop products and services customers not only want to buy, but are willing to pay premium prices for. The book promises to change the way businesses develop and sell their products and services.

Cooking, Food & Wine / International / Food Production

Mediterranean Foods: Composition and Processing edited by Rui M. S. Cruz & Margarida C. Vieira (CRC Press)

The Mediterranean region is well known around the world for its rich culinary history. While most books tend to only focus on the nutritional, culinary, and/or health aspects of Mediterranean cuisine, Mediterranean Foods presents a more scientific approach and discusses the composition of specific foods from the Mediterranean basin as well as specific processing methodologies applied to produce food in this area of the world.

Editors are Rui M.S. Cruz & Margarida C. Vieira, both of the MeditBio and Department of Food Engineering, ISE, University of Algarve, Portugal. The book has 29 contributors.

Each of the eleven chapters presents and discusses the composition and characteristics of a specific food product from the Mediterranean basin along with the specific processing methodology applied to produce and preserve it in this part of the world.

Chapters in Mediterranean Foods and their authors include:

  1. Characteristics of Some Important Italian Cheeses: Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano, Mozzarella, Mascarpone and Ricotta – Germano Mucchetti, Alessandro Pugliese and Maria Paciulli
  2. Croatian Meat Products with Mediterranean Influence: Dry-cured Hams and Other Products – Helga Medic and Nives Marusic Radovcic
  3. Fish Products from South Portugal: Dried Litão, Tuna Muxama, and Canned Mackerel – Eduardo Esteves
  4. Egyptian Legumes and Cereal Foods: Traditional and New Methods for Processing – Mohammed Hefni and Cornelia M. Witthoft
  5. Slovenian Dairy Products – Andreja Canzek Majhenic and Petra Mohar Lorbeg
  6. Spanish Dry-cured Hams and Fermented Sausages – Jorge Ruiz, Maria J. Pagan, Purification Garcia-Segovia and Javier Martinez-Monza
  7. Slovenian Honey and Honey Based Products – Mojca Korosec, Rajko Vidrih and Jasna Bertoncelj
  8. Portuguese Sheep Cheeses – Gil Fraqueza
  9. Portuguese Galega Kale – Teresa R.S. Brandao, Fatima A. Miller, Elisabete M.C. Alexandre, Cristina L.M. Silva and Sara M. Oliveira
  10. Turkish Meat Products – Ismet Ozturk, Salih Karasu, Osman Sagdic and Hasan Yetim
  11. Greek Dairy Products – Ekaterini Moschopoulou and Golfo Moatsou

Combining the efforts of approximately thirty experts of varying nationalities and diverse backgrounds, Mediterranean Foods is an ideal reference source for government, industry, academia and professionals working in the areas of nutrition, food science and technology.

Design / Crafts & Hobbies / Jewelry

Taffin by James Taffin de Givenchy, with photography by Philippe de Givenchy, Charlotte de Givenchy & Max Snow (Rizzoli International Publications Inc.)

Beautiful things are often soothing because they remind you of a place you've been, a person you've met, or some lost but still vaguely familiar sensation. James's jewelry is different. Each piece is certainly stunning, but the joyous colors, the imaginative settings, and the strangely luminous combinations of materials are all oddly talismanic and they combine to create the feeling of a journey to an unseen side of the world…. Nothing can replace the real thing, but I'm certain that Taffin will bring James's gifts to a wider and equally captivated audience. – Hamilton South

This luxurious volume showcases more than three hundred pieces designed by the imaginative French jeweler James Taffin de Givenchy. This volume, Taffin, a large format, boxed edition, is his first book. "Jewelry is an emotional object that projects who you are. It takes artistry, intellect, and logic to make it," says Taffin.

Taffin is a French-born, New York-based jewelry designer and the founder of Taffin. Contributor Stephanie LaCava is a journalist and essayist based in New York. Tobias Meyer, who wrote one foreword, is a German art auctioneer. Hamilton South, who also wrote a foreword, is a founding partner of HL Group.

Since launching his jewelry business in 1996, Taffin has garnered a glowing reputation as a connoisseur of exotic gems and a designer who fuses Old World European glamour with pared-down modernity. His works are at once eclectic and whimsical, and embrace a symphony of colors, gems, and shapes. Taffin grants access to Taffin’s world as the designer, shares his inspirational references, intimate photographs of his studio, and hundreds of photographs of his lavish one-of-a-kind pieces that are sophisticated but lighthearted, extraordinary yet unpretentious. Taffin is recognized for both sculptural designs that augment the individuality of each gemstone and the unexpected and playful use of materials – from rubber to ceramic to the steel of recycled AK-47s.

Objects of desire are the calling card for the jeweler James Taffin de Givenchy, and his wonderfully imaginative designs – created using unexpected materials and color combinations like wood with turquoise and ceramic with sapphires – fill the pages of Taffin (Rizzoli), alongside the people, places, and things of beauty that inspire him. – W Magazine
As outlined in the new 400-page tome 
Taffin: The Jewelry of James de Givenchy, out tomorrow from Rizzoli, de Givenchy gravitated to jewelry rather than clothing, taking a job in Christie’s West Coast jewelry department after graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology. The new book showcases over 300 pieces created by de Givenchy over the years. – New York Magazine, The Cut
Taffin's book reveals the humor and artistry of James de Givenchy… The stunning monograph features over 300 jewels from the talented designer – TheAdventurine.com
Taffin is an important career milestone, but far from a retrospective. The artist’s highly original imagination and quiet work ethic can be counted on to conjure up many more masterful works of jewelry. – National Jeweler

Capturing the designs of a passionate colorist, Taffin brings to life the inventive and bold combinations of diamonds, peridots, sapphires, mandarin garnets, and coral creations in a volume that is a feast for the eyes. Lavishly illustrated, this book gives fashion and design lovers a unique look at Taffin’s vivid and creative works.

Design / Crafts & Hobbies / Architecture

Tree Houses Reimagined: Luxurious Retreats for Tranquility and Play, 1st edition by Blue Forest & E. Ashley Rooney (Schiffer Publishing Ltd.)

Few things are more enchanting than a child's tree house nestled in the treetops.

In Tree Houses Reimagined readers enter the world of fairy-tale towers, whimsical stairways, crow's nests, zip lines, and suspended rope bridges. They take pleasure in the details of hand-split oak shingles, thatched roofs, and cedar tongue-and-groove interiors. Made of sustainably sourced materials, Blue Forest's magical sanctuaries fit snugly between trees and branches often incorporating them into the building itself and sit lightly on the land. From a child's tree house inside a secret garden to party venues for teenagers and adults, Tree Houses Reimagined details 28 imaginative tree houses, some of them accompanied by site plans and drawings.

Blue Forest is an award-winning UK company that designs and builds tree houses, from imaginative play dens and private hideaways to luxurious spas and resorts. Boston-based E. Ashley Rooney is the author of dozens of books on art and architecture.

Blue Forest's story begins in Kenya where owner Andy Payne was born and raised with his brother Simon and his sister Clare. Their adventurous childhood was spent outside, exploring the wilderness, climbing trees, and building rope swings. In 1985, the Payne family swapped Kenya for life in the UK. They settled at Bensfield Farm in the Sussex countryside, and the brothers' love of the great outdoors grew.

After graduating with a degree in business and design, Andy developed timber framing and construction expertise working in the UK, Japan, and East Africa. In 2003, Andy and Simon spent time volunteering on a conservation project on the Kenya coast. ASSETS (The Arabuko-sokoke Schools and Eco-Tourism Scheme) had received a grant to build a magnificent, sustainable tree platform and suspended canopy walkway through the Mida Creek mangroves. Back home, while showing friends and family pictures of their work in Kenya, Andy realized the market potential for these treetop structures in the UK and decided to start a business.

Early Blue Forest tree houses were simple structures designed predominately for children. As the client list grew by word of mouth, Andy asked Simon to join him. Their office was a tree house, of course.

Readers let their imagination run wild as they explore the collection of Blue Forest tree houses in Tree Houses Reimagined and rediscover the magical childhood world of fantasy and adventure. These structures invite people of all ages to leave their cares on the ground and move closer to the treetops. Uniquely designed and expertly crafted, each Blue Forest tree house tells its own story.

Whether the dwellings on each page of Tree Houses Reimagined are simple or designed to house a spa or home theatre, this beautiful book will inspire readers to reconsider their own garden's possibilities for relaxation and play.

History / Building / Archaeology / Architecture

St Paul's Cathedral: Archaeology and History, 1st edition by John Schofield (Oxbow Books)

St Paul's Cathedral is the first volume concerned solely with the archaeology of a major late 17th century building in London, and the major changes it has undergone. St Paul’s Cathedral in the City of London was built in 1675-1711 to the designs of Sir Christopher Wren and has been described as an iconic building many times.

In this new account, John Schofield examines the cathedral from an archaeological perspective, reviewing its history from the early 18th to the early 21st century, as illustrated by recent archaeological recording, documentary research and engineering assessment.

Schofield is Cathedral Archaeologist for St Paul’s Cathedral. He worked at the Museum of London from 1974 until 2008, and is now a freelance archaeologist and architectural historian. The book includes contributions by Lyn Blackmore, Robert Bowles, Hazel Forsyth, Damian Goodburn and Azizul Karim, Jackie Keily, Adrian Miles, Jacqueline Pearce, Terence Smith, the late Bill White and Robin Wroe-Brown.

A detailed account of the construction of the cathedral is provided in St Paul's Cathedral based on a comparison of the fabric with voluminous building accounts which have survived and evidence from recent archaeological investigation. The construction of the Wren building and its embellishments are followed by the main works of later surveyors such as Robert Mylne and Francis Penrose.

The 20th century brought further changes and conservation projects, including restoration after the building was hit by two bombs in World War II, and all its windows blown out. The 1990s and first years of the present century have witnessed considerable refurbishment and cleaning involving archaeological and engineering works. Archaeological specialist reports and an engineering review of the stability and character of the building are provided.

After an introduction to the project and its many varied sources (Chapter 1) the first part of St Paul's Cathedral is a detailed account of the construction of the cathedral (Chapter 2). The construction of the cathedral, which started in 1675, was a consequence of the Great Fire of London in 1666. Separate parts of the building, that is the crypt and vaulting above the choir, nave and aisles, the roofs, ironwork and statues can be assigned to named masons, craftsmen and artists.

Though faced in Portland stone, the walls of St Paul's contain probably thousands of carved and occasionally painted pieces of stonework from the medieval cathedral and its monuments. Excavation for the Wren crypt or basement, under all four arms of the new church, required the removal of much of the pre-Fire cathedral, but small parts of the latter survive outside the Wren footprint, underground. Wren's foundations are described, largely from testpits of 1932. There was an emphasis on the east end, with carefully layered foundations, but they were quickly superseded by more practical foundations made largely of stones from the previous building. The construction of the Wren building and its embellishments are then described; this includes brief mention of the carved work above the main windows, recently cleaned, and the panels below the windows by Grinling Gibbons.

Wren's site office, housed in the refurbished octagonal medieval chapterhouse and the southern half of its surrounding square cloister on two floors, can now be reconstructed in outline from 1671 until its demise shortly after 1700. Here Wren's Clerk of Works for the majority of the project, Laurence Spencer, worked, and nearby in the crypt of the new south transept, first Spencer's wife and then Spencer himself and his son, also briefly Clerk of Works, were buried. Their graves were excavated and the gravestones moved in 2006.

The second part of St Paul's Cathedral describes the main works of Surveyors after Wren (Chapters 3-4). Eighteenth-century surveyors were concerned about the settlement of the building and the apparent outwards movement of the south wall of the transept; Robert Mylne inserted metal bracing there in the 1780s. He also made arrangements for the funeral of Admiral Nelson in 1806, which required a hole to be dug in the middle of the dome floor, through Wren's design, so that the coffin could be theatrically lowered into the crypt.

Francis Penrose, Surveyor from 1852 to 1897, brought change to the cathedral and its setting in many ways. His significant work is reviewed in St Paul's Cathedral. At the beginning of his surveyorship he oversaw the state funeral of the Duke of Wellington and designed the duke's tomb. He removed the choir screen and divided the organ; moved the choir stalls; cleaned the interior; inserted heating and lighting; radically changed the configuration of the Wren railings by lowering them and removing the section of railings round the west end, replacing them with the present row of bollards; landscaped all the churchyard around the building, by bringing many gravestones from the northeast churchyard into the crypt, afterwards installing a fountain in that part of the churchyard; inserted a new gate to Cheapside; and found and partly exposed fragments of the medieval cathedral and its cloister. Hardly any part of the cathedral or its immediate setting was left untouched by Penrose; only the roofspaces and the western part of the crypt remained in their 18th-century form.

The 20th century also brought changes and conservation projects. In the first three decades the cathedral was reinforced by several campaigns of metal braces and grouting of pillars, notably the restoration and repair of the crossing and dome under Mervyn Macartney in 1925-30. The building was hit by two bombs in World War II, and all its windows blown out. The Wren Chapter House was gutted, and the area around devastated in the Blitz of 1940-1. Plans for the area after the War would have radically changed the setting, but apart from the construction of Paternoster Square immediately to the north, little of the proposals took effect.

Conclusions are presented in Chapter 5 of St Paul's Cathedral. It is clear that Francis Penrose, in the second half of the 19th century, made the cathedral far more accessible than before, introduced light and heat, and created the public space in the northeast churchyard.

This is followed by archaeological specialist reports (Chapter 6) and a review of the stability and character of the building, by an engineer who knows St Paul's (Chapter 7). St Paul's Cathedral ends with a gazetteer of the sites in and around the cathedral (Chapter 8) which produced material of the Wren and later periods, and some sites of these centuries which are known only on documentary grounds. The observations and excavations recorded here date from 1831 to 2014.

Wren's St Paul's Cathedral still holds many clues about its own history and about the history of the previous cathedrals on this site in its standing fabric and in the strata of the Churchyard around it. It is the most important historic building in the City of London. St Paul's Cathedral details some of the major events in the cathedral's life over its first 300 years, and some of the exercises in support of its continued conservation.

The first ever account of the archaeology of Christopher Wren’s cathedral… A detailed account of the construction of the cathedral is provided based on a comparison of the fabric with voluminous building accounts which have survived and evidence from recent archaeological investigation. – SALON (The Society of Antiquaries Online) Newsletter, Issue 363/ May 2016

St Paul's Cathedral is a comprehensive account of the building history of St. Paul’s Cathedral as revealed by archaeological excavation and recording, documentary research and engineering works. It is a contribution to the history of construction, repair and conservation of the cathedral, so that knowledge of past work can inform decisions about maintenance and care of the building in the future. This is the first monograph concerned solely with the archaeology of a major late 17th-century building in London, and the major changes it has undergone. It should prompt studies of other similar and contemporary buildings. It also stands with the author's previous St Paul's Cathedral before Wren (2011), demonstrating how the cathedral and its surroundings form a chain of visible history from AD 604 to the present.

History / US / Presidents / Papers & Documents

The Papers of George Washington: 1 Oct. 1795–31 March 1796 by George Washington (Presidential Series, Vol 19: University of Virginia Press)

The Papers of George Washington, Volume 19 of the Presidential Series (October 1795 through March 1796), features the final stages of the controversy about the 1794 Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation with Great Britain (the Jay Treaty). In August, George Washington had ratified the treaty, with a condition attached by the Senate, and he now awaited news of British ratification. Newspaper critics continued to inveigh against the treaty, and the attached condition led some to believe that the entire treaty would have to be resubmitted to the Senate. Washington, however, decided otherwise. After receiving news of the exchange of ratifications in London, he proclaimed the treaty on 29 February 1796.

Critics now contended that the treaty could not take effect without the consent of the House of Representatives because its provisions encroached upon areas constitutionally delegated to Congress. Could the Senate and the executive use the treaty-making power to legislate by themselves? Pursuant to that theory, Edward Livingston introduced a resolution calling on Washington to supply documents relative to the treaty negotiations. After consulting with his cabinet and Alexander Hamilton, the president refused to supply any material. His explanatory message to the House disputed the opponents' view of the treaty-making power and, in an important precedent, claimed executive privilege.

Other treaty negotiations proved less controversial. Washington received news that treaties had been reached with Algiers and Spain, and the existing treaty with Morocco had been reaffirmed.

As demonstrated by the documents in The Papers of George Washington, Volume 19, despite a ceremonial exchange of flags, tensions grew between France and the United States, in large part because of the Jay Treaty. When a private letter from Washington to Gouverneur Morris was intercepted by a French ship and read by the French government, it, too, had ‘an ill effect.’

The Marquis de Lafayette's continued imprisonment in Austria and the arrival of his son in America forced the president to weigh his personal feelings against his responsibility as head of state. Washington immediately offered assistance to the young man but felt obliged for a time to keep him at a distance, lest he offend the French government. Nonetheless, by the end of March it was clear that he intended to take the young man into his household.

Another continuing issue dealt with in the papers in The Papers of George Washington, Volume 19, was Edmund Randolph's effort to vindicate his conduct as secretary of state. In the end, Washington's friends assured him that Randolph's published Vindication did more damage to himself than to the president.

Highlighted domestic issues include Indian relations and the Federal City. Washington opened his annual message to Congress by announcing the Treaty of Greenville with the Northwest Territory tribes and reports of the ‘wanton murders’ of Creeks by some Georgia citizens. To promote peace on the frontier, he asked Congress to find ‘means of rendering justice’ to the Indians and to act on his proposal for Indian trading houses.

When the Federal City commissioners reported that a shortage of money threatened to slow construction, Washington corresponded with them about their plans to obtain money from Europe and their applications for assistance from the Maryland legislature and from Congress.

Other documents in The Papers of George Washington, Volume 19 discuss land acquisition for a federal armory at Harpers Ferry, Va., and the president's efforts to fill two cabinet positions and two Supreme Court vacancies.

In his personal life, Washington continued to act as the head of his extended family, approving the marriage of Elizabeth Parke Custis and offering continued financial assistance to his niece Harriot Washington. He also maintained weekly correspondence with his farm manager about operations at Mount Vernon, and he received reports about the collection of rents from his lands in western Virginia and Pennsylvania. A final settlement of his long and complicated executorship of the Thomas Colvill estate seemed near. Much correspondence in February and March 1796 concerns Washington's advertisement offering for sale his western lands and for lease all but the Mansion House farm at Mount Vernon. As he anticipated retirement, the president sought to simplify his affairs.

The Papers of George Washington is Volume 19 in the Presidential Series. The correspondence volumes of The Papers of George Washington, 1748–99, published in five series, include not only Washington's own letters and other papers but also all letters written to him. The ten-volume Colonial Series (1748–75) focuses on Washington's military service during the French and Indian War and his political and business activities before the Revolution. The massive Revolutionary War Series (1775–83) presents in documents and annotations the myriad military and political matters with which Washington dealt during the long war. The papers for his years at Mount Vernon after leaving the army and before becoming president have been published in the six-volume Confederation Series (1784–88). The remaining years of Washington's life are covered in the Presidential Series (1788–97), which includes the papers of his two presidential administrations, and the four-volume Retirement Series (1797–99), which includes his correspondence after his final return to Mount Vernon.

The staff for The Papers of George Washington includes Edward G. Lengel, Director; David R. Hoth and Jennifer E. Stertzer, Senior Editors; William M. Ferraro, Associate Editor; Thomas E. Dulan, Carol S. Ebel, Adrina M. Garbooshian-Huggins, Benjamin L. Huggins, and Neal E. Millikan, Assistant Editors; and Mary K. Wigge Research Editor. David R. Hoth is the Editor of Presidential Series, including The Papers of George Washington, Volume 19.

Literature & Fiction / Science Fiction & Fantasy

Unquiet Land by Sharon Shinn (An Elemental Blessings Novel: Ace)

Sharon Shinn is the national bestselling author of the Elemental Blessings novels (Jeweled Fire, Royal Airs, and Troubled Waters), as well as the Shifting Circle novels (The Turning Season, Still Life with Shape-Shifter, and The Shape of Desire). She has won the William L. Crawford Award for Outstanding New Fantasy Writer, and was twice nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. She has also received an RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award and won the 2010 RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy category.

In the latest novel in Shinn’s Elemental Blessings series, a woman is confronted with the past she left behind – and an uncertain future...
Leah Frothen in Unquiet Land has returned home to rebuild the life she’s avoided for years. Leah finds she enjoys the challenges of opening a shop catering to foreign visitors, especially since it affords her the opportunity to get to know Mally, the child she abandoned five years ago. Leah is simultaneously thrilled, terrified, hopeful, moved, and almost undone as she slowly attempts to become part of her daughter’s life.

But she can scarcely catch her breath before she is summoned to meet with the regent, Darien Serlast, the man who made her a spy. When the regent asks her to spy on ambassadors from a visiting nation, she develops a dangerous friendship with a foreign woman and finds herself falling in love with a man from her past. Leah is reluctant to take on a new assignment, but Darien has dangled the perfect lure to draw her in...

Soon Leah learns that everyone – her regent, her lover, and even her daughter – have secrets that could save the nation, but might very well break her heart.

Praise for the novels of Sharon Shinn
[Shinn] is a true storyteller, writing imaginative, inventive stories. She creates wonderful, alternate worlds filled with rich details and multi-faceted characters. – Heroes and Heartbreakers
[Shinn] carries readers away into a vivid new fantasy world. – Publishers Weekly
Character-driven fiction with fantastical and romantic elements. Shinn has created a world that is completely believable and magical at the same time. – Fantasy Literature
Filled with vivid details of everyday life, a strong and admirable heroine, and a plot with as many twists and turns as the mighty river that threads through the story. – Library Journal
, starred review

Literature & Fiction / Mysteries / Historical

Skin and Bone: A Mystery by Robin Blake (Cragg & Fidelis Mysteries: Minotaur Books)

Author Robin Blake is back with the latest installment in the Cragg & Fidelis Mysteries series, Skin and Bone, that sends the two amateur sleuths down a treacherous path. The series includes A Dark Anatomy, Dark Waters, and The Hidden Man. Blake has written, produced and presented extensively for radio, is widely published as a critic.

In Skin and Bone it is 1743, and the tanners of Preston are a pariah community, plying their trade beside a stretch of riverside marsh where many Prestonians by ancient right graze their livestock.

Cragg is the local coroner, who also practices as an attorney, and his friend Fidelis is a young physician with advanced ideas. There is nothing Dr Fidelis loves more than a challenging puzzle, but Titus Cragg is passionate for justice. In a society without a police force, and far distant from the vast metropolis of London, the two men operate as a formidable team, investigating suspicious local deaths and often falling foul of the well-to-do merchant oligarchy that runs the town strictly in its own interests.

When the body of a newborn child is found in one of their tanning pits, Cragg's inquiry runs into of a cabal of merchants dead set on modernizing the town's economy and regarding the despised tanners – and Cragg's apparent championship of them – as obstacles to their plan. The murder of a baby is just the evidence they need to get rid of the tanners once and for all.

But the inquest into the baby's death is disrupted when the inn where it is being held mysteriously burns down, and Cragg himself faces a charge of lewdness, jeopardizing his future as a coroner. But in Skin and Bone the fates have not finished playing with him yet. The sudden and suspicious death of a very prominent person may just, with the help of Fidelis's forensic skills, bring about Cragg's redemption…

The Hidden Man is a cut above... smart, absorbing, funny, and beautifully researched. – USA Today

Blake brings Georgian England to vivid life.... This is both an engaging mystery and a revealing window into Georgian England. – Booklist, starred review, on The Hidden Man

Particularly clever... Even experienced mystery readers will be surprised and gratified. – Publishers Weekly, starred review, on Dark Waters

Impressive... [Blake] starts his story with a bang and keeps the reader engaged to the end. – MysteryTribune.com on A Dark Anatomy

With Skin and Bone, Blake continues the series Booklist calls ‘a solid winner’ in this darkly rich mystery rife with political intrigue.

Mathematics / Sacred Geometry / History / Philosophy / Art

The Golden Number: Pythagorean Rites and Rhythms in the Development of Western Civilization by Matila C. Ghyka, translated by Jon E. Graham, with an introduction by Paul Valéry (Inner Traditions)

First published in 1931, The Golden Number is the first English translation of Prince Matila Ghyka’s masterwork on sacred geometry. The book reveals how the Golden Number Phi underlies the spiritual nature of beauty and the hidden harmonies that connect the whole of creation. It also explains how the spiritual mysteries of the Golden Number were passed down in an unbroken line of transmission from the Pythagorean brotherhoods through the medieval builders’ guilds to the secret societies of 18th-century Europe.

Prince Matila Costiesco Ghyka (1881-1965) was a Romanian mathematician, historian, philosopher, and diplomat who served as the Plenipotentiary Minister in the United Kingdom during the late 1930s. He was also a visiting professor of aesthetics at the University of Southern California and at the Mary Washington College in Virginia. Though his prolific literary output includes fiction, poetry, and philosophy, the overarching concern of his work was a synthesis of higher mathematics and the arts.

The Golden Number, or Phi (Φ), is a geometric ratio found throughout nature, often underlying the dimensions of objects considered especially beautiful. Simplified as 1.618 and symbolized by the Fibonacci sequence, the Golden Number represents the unique relationship within an object where the ratio of a larger part to a smaller part is the same as the ratio of the whole to the larger part. It appears in the proportions of the human face and body as well as in the proportions of animals, plants, and celestial bodies.
Phi’s use in art and architecture goes back at least to the mystical mathematics of Pythagoras and his followers in the sixth century BCE. The perfect synthesis of spiritual and material, it can be found in the measurements of the sacred temples of Egypt, Ancient Greece, and Medieval and Renaissance Europe. The asymptotic series of integers that define Phi represent the macrocosm and microcosm as portrayed in Plato’s concept of the world soul.
Presenting classic treatise on the Golden Number for the first time in English, The Golden Number reveals the many ways this ratio can be found not only in the organic forms of nature – such as in the spirals of shells or the number of petals on a flower – but also in the most beautiful and highest creations of humanity. One of the most important concepts of sacred geometry, its mysteries were passed down in an unbroken line of transmission from the Pythagorean brotherhoods through the medieval builders’ guilds to the secret societies of 18th-century Europe. Ghyka shows how the secrets of this divine proportion were not sought merely for their value in architecture, painting, and music, but also as a portal to a deeper understanding of the spiritual nature of beauty and the hidden harmonies that connect the whole of creation.

The Golden Number is Ghyka's seminal work on the golden ratio and the hidden history of the Pythagorean tradition in the West. As Ghyka demonstrates, the golden number is the calling card of life, the irrational, governing number of living forms that grow and reproduce. It is no wonder that the Pythagoreans chose the pentagram – every segment of which is in a phi proportion to the other segments – as their secret symbol and ‘rallying sign.’

In part 1, "Rhythms," Ghyka focuses on number and proportion as they were understood by the ancients, for whom number had both a simply numerical as well as a metaphysical or philosophical aspect; and number seen in this philosophical way as immaterial idea and eternal essence of form was the ordering principle by which the world was created.

Part 2 of The Golden Number, "Rites," is an in-depth look at the historical legacy of Pythagoras and his followers. In particular, Ghyka shows how the rites and practices of the Pythagorean brotherhood – the original secret society, and one based on an understanding of number and geometry, fraternal kindness and shared property, personal discipline and right living, musical therapy, transmigration of the soul, and love for all living beings – infused early Christianity, contributed in no small measure to the flowering of Alexandrian Gnosticism and Hebrew Kabbalah, and made up the template for the Knights Templar, the Society of Jesus, and, more importantly, the masons' guilds that built and left their marks on the Gothic cathedrals of medieval Europe. The Pythagorean tradition also survives, though in a diminished form, in the pentacles of the Tarot deck and in the words of power and number mysticism found in modern ceremonial and practical magic.

In compelling chapters at the conclusion of part 2, Ghyka surveys esotericism and politics as well as modern physics, biology, and philosophy. In quantum mechanics, which sees the world reduced to number and probability, the author finds the fulfillment of the Master of Samos's dictum that ‘all is arranged according to number.’

Finally ... a complete translation of Matila Ghyka’s masterwork. This foundational book is essential reading for anyone interested in the golden section, harmony, proportion, and beauty in nature, art, and architecture. – David Fideler, author of Restoring the Soul of the World)
Matila Ghyka’s
The Golden Number is the most comprehensive and convincing demonstration that the golden ratio is indeed, as Pythagoras had posed it, the root number of the universe, expressed both in the living plants and animals and in matter forms at all scales – from galaxies, to crystals, to quantum waves – thus ever-present in mathematics, cosmology, architecture, music, and art at large. Jon Graham’s excellent translation couldn’t be more of a treasure trove at this time. – Chris H. Hardy, Ph.D., author of The Sacred Network

The Golden Number is a foundational text in what has become known as the field of sacred geometry, influencing numerous painters, poets, architects, photographers, theater directors, and philosophers. Even if one takes issue with some of the historical details of the presentation or interprets them differently – understandable given the eighty-plus years since it first appeared – its reach and breadth still have the power to inspire. The Golden Number remains a tour de force, a grand synthesis of the Pythagorean tradition and its vitalizing role in the development of Western civilization.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / History / Archaeology

Early Christianity in Pompeian Light: People, Texts, Situations edited by Bruce W. Longenecker (Fortress Press)

Scholars of early Christianity are awakening to the potential of Pompeii's treasures for casting light on the settings and situations that were commonplace and conventional for the first urban Christians. The uncovered world of Pompeii, destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 C.E., allows researchers and readers to peer back in time, capturing a heightened sense of what life was like on the ground in the first century – the very time when the early Jesus-movement was beginning to find its feet. In light of the Vesuvian material remains, historians are beginning to ask fresh questions of early Christian texts and perceive new contours, nuances, and subtleties within the situations those texts address.

The essays in Early Christianity in Pompeian Light explore different dimensions of Pompeii's potential to refine the lenses for interpreting the texts and situations of early Christianity. The contributors to this book demonstrate that it is an exciting time to explore the interface between the Vesuvian contexts and the early Jesus-movement.

Editor Bruce W. Longenecker is professor of religion and W. W. Melton Chair of Religion at Baylor University; he formerly taught at St. Andrews, Cambridge, and Durham Universities. The book has 6 contributors.

Early Christianity in Pompeian Light explores a fruitful point of interface between academic disciplines that are often divided by lines of separation. That point of interface is the Greco-Roman town of Pompeii, whose potential for interdisciplinary inquiry remains largely untapped with regard to the study of Christianity in its earliest urban settings. The essays in this book tap into some of that potential.

Urban centers were primary contexts for the generation and expansion of Jesus-groups throughout the Mediterranean basin, and Pompeii (together with Herculaneum down the road) provides some of the most promising archaeological resources for reconstructing what life was like in those first-century centers. Greco-Roman literary texts reveal much about their world, but the urban centers entombed by Vesuvius's eruption add further clarity and depth. It is as if a two-dimensional picture gives way to a three-dimensional one when the material remains of the Vesuvian urban centers are brought into the frame of reference provided by literary sources. This is because those Vesuvian urban centers illuminate the life of the common man and woman of the Greco-Roman world more than any other archaeological site of that bygone time.

Historians of the early Jesus-movement are awakening to the potential of Pompeii's treasures for casting light on the settings and situations that were commonplace and conventional for the first urban Christians. Enhanced interpretative sensitivities have been expanding and developing with time, and there is no reason to think that the end is anywhere in sight. With further novelty and intrigue lying ahead, it is an exciting time to explore the interface between the Vesuvian contexts and the early Jesus-movement.

Chapters or essays in Early Christianity in Pompeian Light and their authors include:

Part I. Envisioning Situations

  1. Growing Up Female in the Pauline Churches: What Did She Do All Day? – Carolyn Osiek
  2. Nine Types of Church in Nine Types of Space in the Insula of the Menander – Peter Oakes
  3. The Empress, the Goddess, and the Earthquake: Atmospheric Conditions Pertaining to Jesus-Devotion in Pompeii – Bruce W. Longenecker

Part II Enhancing Texts

  1. Powers and Protection in Pompeii and Paul: The Apotropaic Function of the Cross in the Letter to the Galatians – Natalie R. Webb
  2. Violence in Pompeian/Roman Domestic Art as a Visual Context for Pauline and Deutero-Pauline Letters – David L. Balch
  3. Spheres and Trajectories: The Angels of the Churches (Revelation 1-3) in Context – Jeremiah N. Bailey

The majority of the essays in Early Christianity in Pompeian Light were presented at a symposium in 2015 sponsored by financial initiatives from the Institute for Studies of Religion and the Department of Religion, both housed within Baylor University. After the symposium, the presenters participated in another level of engagement, writing ‘peer reviews’ of each other's essays and adjusting their own submissions in light of those reviews.

Each of the six essays in Early Christianity in Pompeian Light explores different dimensions of Pompeii's potential to refine the lenses for interpreting the texts and ‘situatedness’ of early Christianity. Apart from historical curiosity, the essays share no common template of inquiry. The issues raised by some of the essayists place Pompeian realia front and center; the issues raised by other essayists require those realia to be interwoven with other strands of evidence from the Greco-Roman world. But regardless of their foci and approach, each essay makes use of Pompeian evidence to accentuate aspects of the Greco-Roman world, thereby giving added impetus to particular approaches or angles of vision in the investigation of early Christianity.

These essays may stimulate further harvests beyond the covers of Early Christianity in Pompeian Light. The time is ripe for giving full consideration to the realia of the Vesuvian towns in order to enhance our understanding of early Christianity in its Greco-Roman context. Perhaps the study of the Greco-Roman world will be similarly enriched in the process.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Leadership

Leadership Mosaic: 5 Leadership Principles for Ministry and Everyday Life by Daniel Montgomery, with Jared Kennedy, with a foreword by Russell Moore (Crossway)

There is a leadership crisis in the church. Leadership models claim to have all the answers to the challenges of leadership. Each perspective emphasizes certain qualities, and people search desperately for answers in the absence of clear direction. But there’s no simple leadership formula that meets every need we have in life and ministry.

Challenging the conventional wisdom about what makes for a good leader, Daniel Montgomery in Leadership Mosaic calls readers to a countercultural perspective on leadership rooted in the Creator. He presents a new framework for leadership, not just a beckoning to further pragmatism, relentless productivity, or a reactionary cultural fad. He helps readers see leadership as a mosaic of five characteristics – conviction, creativity, courage, collaboration, and contemplation – reflective of the image of the triune God.

Montgomery is the founder and lead pastor of Sojourn Community Church and founder of Sojourn Network, and Jared Kennedy is the pastor of families at Sojourn Community Church Midtown.

Leadership Mosaic is a look at how the gospel and biblical theology provide readers with five reliable principles of leadership. These principles are founded on scriptural truth and are illuminated with insights from theologians, leadership experts, and social scientists. As readers progress through the book, they will see themselves and the challenges they face, along with practical wisdom about how to improve their leadership.

Each chapter comes with a set of exercises at the end, small tasks to help readers absorb and put into practice the content. This key feature of Leadership Mosaic is designed to build habits, starting small, in ways that can grow into a life of renewed leadership.

This book can benefit Christian leaders of all sorts. Some lead, as these authors do, in churches and networks; others lead in workplaces or in their homes or in community organizations or on mission fields. This book presents practical wisdom that can be applied in a variety of settings and contexts.

I’ve interviewed thousands of pastors over the years and know that Daniel Montgomery is a rare find. Leadership Mosaic reflects Daniel’s unique combination of artistic and intuitive talent with systematic thinking. Reading this book will expand your leadership and give you a system for constant growth. – William Vanderbloemen, CEO and President, The Vanderbloemen Search Group; author, Next: Pastoral Succession That Works

I’ve been in some form of leadership in the local church for almost twenty years, but I’ve often wondered if I was ‘doing it right.’ What makes a godly leader effective? Daniel Montgomery helps us answer that question with perceptiveness and nuance. Writing from a place of vulnerability and honesty, he offers hard-won leadership insights, gleaned from both wins and losses across a sustained season of ministry. And his answer makes room for leaders of all kinds to recognize and effectively deploy their unique gifts in service to the church. – Jen Wilkin, author, Women of the Word; Bible study teacher

Leadership Mosaic is a creative and challenging book about leadership and life. Author Daniel Montgomery connects leaders and their leadership to our great eternal God. Montgomery not only helps us understand leadership, but also shows us how to lead in this critical hour in the church and in America. If you want to grow in your life and as a leader, then read this book. It is worth sharing with your friends and colleagues! – Ronnie Floyd, Former President, The Southern Baptist Convention; Senior Pastor, Cross Church, Springdale, Arkansas

In Leadership Mosaic, Montgomery calls us to leadership that is simultaneously convictional, creative, courageous, collaborative, and contemplative. No small order to be sure. But unlike other paradigms that rely on our will, charisma, or natural giftedness, Montgomery calls us outside ourselves to a vision of leadership that reflects the nature of the triune God. If you’re looking for gimmicks or magic formulas, move along. This is nothing less than spiritual formation. Nothing less than being transformed into the image of Christ himself. – Hannah Anderson, author, Made for More and Humble Roots

Leadership Mosaic shines a light on key insights for leading in a manner that honors Christ above all. By making the practice of leadership a theological issue, this book makes the ‘how’ of leading an opportunity to spotlight the beauty of God as Trinity. I am confident that this book will not only improve the way we lead our churches, families, and organizations, but also shape our hearts for the glory of God. – Kevin Peck, Lead Pastor, The Austin Stone Community Church, Austin, Texas; coauthor, Designed to Lead

Using a fivefold leadership model grounded in the doctrine of the Trinity, Leadership Mosaic helps us connect theology and practice. I’m grateful for the ways this book has challenged my paradigm of leadership, and I’m confident it will do the same for you. – Bob Thune, Lead Pastor, Coram Deo Church, Omaha, Nebraska

Combining a theology of leadership with practical ways to understand more of yourself as a leader, Leadership Mosaic helps us identify the complex issues facing Christian leaders, orders them into helpful categories, and offers the resources and ideas necessary to learn how to implement different leadership styles in your ministry. This book will make you think deeply, and it will help you lead effectively. – Kyle Idleman, Pastor, Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, Kentucky; author, Not a Fan

Armed with the perspective in Leadership Mosaic, readers will be able to see, strive after, and celebrate the great and complex vision of leadership they have been called to – for the flourishing of their homes, churches, and workplaces.

Science / Writing / K-12 / Higher Education / Curriculum & Instruction / Guides

Composing Science: A Facilitator's Guide to Writing in the Science Classroom by Leslie Atkins Elliott, Kim Jaxon & Irene Salter, with a foreword by Tom Fox (Teachers College Press)

My feelings on writing about science have changed. I've always thought about writing for science as writing hypothes[e]s. I loved being able to write things in my own words and things that make sense to me. – Deanna

Science has a reputation for laws that predictably describe such phenomena as thermodynamics, motion, and gravity. Laws give science the appearance of certainty, of solidity, especially when compared with disciplines in the humanities or the social sciences. The authors of Composing Science acknowledge this reputation, but argue that science is motivated by, deeply engaged in, and captivated by uncertainty. Understanding already worked-out laws and principles does not represent the work of science, but of science in the rear-view mirror.

Composing Science examines scenes of students writing about uncertainty. Students wrestle not with memorizing the laws or facts, but with using writing to grapple with puzzling observations, incongruous theories, and competing explanations. What emerges from uncertainty is curiosity – an engaged sense of inquiry that motivates innovation and discovery – the real work of science-in-the-making. In engaging in this work, students are driven to use writing to find theories, explanations, and definitions that ameliorate their uncertainty.

Composing Science:

  • Provides models for integrating writing into science courses and lesson plans.
  • Focuses on the work that science writing does, both in the development and dissemination of ideas.
  • Addresses the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core ELA Standards.
  • Includes samples of student work, classroom transcripts, and photographs that capture the visual elements of science writing.

Authors are Leslie Atkins Elliott, an associate professor in Curriculum, Instruction and Foundational Studies at Boise State University; Kim Jaxon, an associate professor of English at California State University, Chico, who was awarded the 2014 Teacher of Excellence-College Award by the California Association of Teachers of English; and Irene Salter, who taught middle school science and math and is currently the principal of Chrysalis Charter School in California.

Writing is ubiquitous and broadly defined in Composing Science. Informal and predominantly individual notebooks lead to collaborative diagrams giving way to more formal revised definitions and final papers. Writing plays a central role in students' figuring out questions and puzzlements.

Composing Science is written for science faculty who are asked to teach ‘writing’ in their courses, but aren't sure why or how to do so. The authors begin with a discussion of why science faculty are being asked to teach writing, and why their English faculty colleagues alone are not able to meet that need. They then discuss what writing in science looks like, and how that might play out in science classrooms from elementary school through university.

The authors of Composing Science say they found that in order for their students to write scientifically, they needed a course that engaged them in doing science. ‘Doing science’ is used commonly in describing novel teaching methods, and it can be construed in many ways – in some contexts, it means treating students as peers and setting high standards for their content knowledge; in others, it means having students assist in actual research labs, where they come to understand how current scientific ideas are constructed as they are apprenticed into research; in still others, it means expecting students to master scientific skills, such as control of variables, reasoning from evidence, or following scientific protocols. For the purposes of teaching their undergraduate nonscience majors, they use ‘doing science’ to mean that students are engaged in a social activity in which they construct models of phenomena, test those models, and construct and defend arguments for the models they have developed. They spend significant amounts of class time with students engaged in writing – jotting down notations in lab notebooks, diagramming on whiteboards, reviewing one another's work, and crafting clear descriptions and definitions. However, this writing is embedded in doing science, rather than as a separate task. Chapters 1–8 of this book are devoted to the techniques they use to teach these embedded writing tasks.

The remainder of Composing Science is designed to be more pragmatic than theoreti­cal. It is meant to be useful, with vignettes from classes, suggestions for things to try, and ideas about how to give meaningful feedback. Each chapter focuses on one aspect of scientific writing – calling attention to the role that this aspect serves in the scientific community – and provides suggested assignments and activities that engage students in doing that work, with examples from our courses.

Composing Science is divided into three parts. Part I, "Writing to Learn: Informal Writing Strategies That Generate New Scientific Ideas," addresses writing strategies that primarily emphasize the development of scientific ideas (e.g., notebooks, diagrams, reading, and interpreting others' work). This is the time when students collect data (make observations of seeds grown in the dark versus in the light), ask questions (why did the seeds in the dark grow at all?), and try out different ideas (it could be that plants can get energy from the soil, that light leaks in, or that the seeds had energy stored up inside them). The chapters in Part I offer suggestions for varied approaches to ‘writing to learn,’ such as student notebooks (Chapter 1), whiteboards (Chapter 2), diagrams (Chapter 3), ways to critique and build on the raw ideas of others (Chapter 4), readings (Chapter 5), and homework assignments (Chapter 6).

Part II, "Writing to Communicate: Formal Writing Strategies That Share, Critique, and Defend Scientific Ideas," tackles writing strategies that primarily emphasize sharing and defending scientific ideas (e.g., more formal assignments, definitions, and papers). Here, students have arrived at an idea that makes sense to them and use writing to communicate and justify that idea to others. This writing is more formal. These assignments include concise definitions (Chapter 7) and final papers (Chapter 8). A whiteboard of tentative ideas may be revised and refined to argue a claim. Students often have ‘aha’ moments during exams, when ideas come together or a model is extended to a new phenomenon.

Finally, Part III, "Adaptations: Bringing Writing Strategies into Different Settings," examines how to use these ideas in other settings. The course where they teach writing in science is an open-inquiry, lab-based course in the sciences, taken primarily by nonmajors who are planning on teaching careers. As noted above, a central practice in their teaching is that students are the authors of their own ideas and these ideas are developed in a social context. The authors say they imagine that the ideas in Composing Science will be most easily implemented in courses like their own: small lab courses that allow for extended interactions among students, freedom to explore scientific questions through open-ended investigations, and the foregrounding of students' ideas. The authors anticipate that many college and university faculty have some freedom in designing nonmajors' courses and can imagine ways to use similar structures in their courses. In their final chapter they offer some suggestions specifically for K–12 teachers. The approaches to writing they address in Composing Science are consistent with standards in K–12 education: the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States, 2013) and the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2010).

Without question, teachers of science will find this book inspirational and useful, college teachers for sure, but also teachers up and down the curriculum. – Tom Fox, director, Site Development, National Writing Project

Through the lens of writing we see students doing science – and it is truly science – in surprising and delightful ways. – David Hammer, professor, Tufts University

I will use this book in my own faculty development program and will recommend it wholeheartedly to my science colleagues. – Elizabeth Wardle, professor, Miami University

Its primary strength is that it practices what it teaches with carefully scaffolded classroom activities to engage students in doing the work of science and scientific writing. – R. Mark Hall, director, University Writing Center, University of Central Florida

Staging scenes of uncertainty that result in genuine curiosity would be enough to make a great book on teaching science writing. But the pedagogy described in Composing Science doesn't only recapture the sense of the uncertainty of discovery, it also articulates and examines the social and collaborative writing practices that science uses to produce knowledge and reduce uncertainty.

Offering expertise in the teaching of writing and the teaching of science, Composing Science helps instructors create classrooms in which students use writing to learn and think scientifically. The authors provide concrete approaches for engaging students in practices that mirror the work that writing plays in the development and dissemination of scientific ideas, as opposed to replicating the polished academic writing of research scientists. Addressing a range of genres that can help students deepen their scientific reasoning and inquiry, this text includes activities, guidelines, resources, and assessment suggestions. Composing Science is a valuable resource for university-level science faculty, science methods course instructors in teacher preparation programs, and secondary science teachers who have been asked to address the Common Core ELA Standards.

 

 Contents to this Page 

The Permaculture Promise: What Permaculture Is and How It Can Help Us Reverse Climate Change, Build a More Resilient Future on Earth, and Revitalize Our Communities by Jono Neiger, with a foreword by Toby Hemenway (Storey Publishing, LLC)

Archaeology of the Bible: The Greatest Discoveries from Genesis to the Roman Era by Jean-Pierre Isbouts (National Geographic)

Wild Spaces, Open Seasons: Hunting and Fishing in American Art edited by Kevin Sharp, with an introduction by Stephen J. Bodio (The Charles M. Russell Center Series on Art and Photography of the American West, Vol 27: University of Oklahoma Press)

Carceral Fantasies: Cinema and Prison in Early Twentieth-Century America by Alison Griffiths (Film and Culture Series: Columbia University Press)

Signs of Our Times: From Calligraphy to Calligraffiti by Rose Issa, Juliet Cestar, & Venetia Porter, with a foreword by Hans-Ulrich Obrist (Merrell Publishers)

Painting the Impressionistic Landscape: Exploring Light and Color in Watercolor and Acrylic – Flexibound by Dustan Knight (Rockport Publishers)

The Guns of the South – Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged, 2 MP3-CDs, running time 25 hours by Harry Turtledove, narrated by Paul Costanzo (Tantor Media, Inc.)

The Guns of the South: A Novel of the Civil War – Hardcover – by Harry Turtledove (Ballantine Books)

Heart Work: Nine Ways to Transform Your Greatest Challenges into a Life of Love and Joy – Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged, 6 CDs, running time 6 hours, 45 minutes by Roger Teel (Sounds True)

Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice by Clayton M. Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, & David S. Duncan (Harper Business)

Mediterranean Foods: Composition and Processing edited by Rui M. S. Cruz & Margarida C. Vieira (CRC Press)

Taffin by James Taffin de Givenchy, with photography by Philippe de Givenchy, Charlotte de Givenchy & Max Snow (Rizzoli International Publications Inc.)

Tree Houses Reimagined: Luxurious Retreats for Tranquility and Play, 1st edition by Blue Forest & E. Ashley Rooney (Schiffer Publishing Ltd.)

St Paul's Cathedral: Archaeology and History, 1st edition by John Schofield (Oxbow Books)

The Papers of George Washington: 1 Oct. 1795–31 March 1796 by George Washington (Presidential Series, Vol 19: University of Virginia Press)

Unquiet Land by Sharon Shinn (An Elemental Blessings Novel: Ace)

Skin and Bone: A Mystery by Robin Blake (Cragg & Fidelis Mysteries: Minotaur Books)

The Golden Number: Pythagorean Rites and Rhythms in the Development of Western Civilization by Matila C. Ghyka, translated by Jon E. Graham, with an introduction by Paul Valéry (Inner Traditions)

Early Christianity in Pompeian Light: People, Texts, Situations edited by Bruce W. Longenecker (Fortress Press)

Leadership Mosaic: 5 Leadership Principles for Ministry and Everyday Life by Daniel Montgomery, with Jared Kennedy, with a foreword by Russell Moore (Crossway)

Composing Science: A Facilitator's Guide to Writing in the Science Classroom by Leslie Atkins Elliott, Kim Jaxon & Irene Salter, with a foreword by Tom Fox (Teachers College Press)