No. 33, November 2010
Prometheus Books Holiday Gift Guide
Best-bets for everyone on your list
Books make wonderful gifts. They are affordable and portable; they're easy to ship or pair with other items; and they offer an experience that can have lasting impact on the receiver. Here we've assembled some Prometheus Books and Pyr gift suggestions. Many of these titles are also available in e-book formats if you are giving or getting an e-reader this year. Whether one enjoys books that are thought-provoking or fun, educational or entertaining, exciting or relaxing, reading is a gift that will be treasured and appreciated.
For the Vampire or Werewolf Fan
From Pyr, our science fiction and fantasy imprint:
The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire, Book 1)
($16, ISBN 978-1-61614-247-6)
"Blending vampire fiction with steampunk and romance, this trilogy launch by the married authors [Clay and Susan Griffith] possesses a seductive charm and tells a rousing tale of adventure," says Library Journal. "A change of pace from standard vampire fiction, this should find a sizable readership among fans of fantasy romance as well as the vampire and steampunk genres." The All Things Urban Fantasy blog calls it "phenomenal ... from start to finish. Amazing vampire mythology, a chilling alternate history, and a poignant romance...[a] superb vampire steampunk novel....Near perfect. Buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend."
($17, ISBN 978-1-61614-241-4) "[Jasper] Kent's sprawling historical horror debut, the first of a quintet, brings blood-gushing brutality back to vampire fiction," says Publishers Weekly. "[Character] self-examination doesn't impede densely detailed, hard-driving action...and the vampires are genuinely scary villains, more vivid than most of the living characters. With no romantic yearning or teen angst in sight, this is just a bloody good tale." SFF World calls it "Doctor Zhivago meets Bram Stoker's Dracula in Napoleonic Russia. Bloodily fantastic." Death Ray deems it "a fantastic blend of historical novel and supernatural chiller."
($17, ISBN 978-1-61614-243-8) In a starred review, Publishers Weekly said "werewolves clash with legends in the harrowing and beautiful third novel detailing the epic travels of enchanter Morlock Ambrosius...[James] Enge's elegant prose perfectly captures Morlock's terse and morbid nature, which thrives in the vicious, honorable werewolf nation. Numerous intimate, complicated, and contentious relationships provide depth and gravity to the grim tale, which will enthrall fans of the dark and sinister." Lev Grossman, New York Times bestselling author of The Magicians, says "Enge's books are like a strange alloy of Raymond Chandler, Fritz Lieber, Larry Niven and some precious metal that is all Enge's own. They're thrilling, funny, and mysteriously moving. I see ten things on every page I wish I'd written. I could read him forever and never get bored."
For the Biography or Memoir Reader:
Judging Edward Teller: A Closer Look at One of the Most Influential Scientists of the Twentieth Century
($32, ISBN 978-1-61614-221-6)
This definitive and comprehensive biography by Hungarian scientist Istvan Hargittai is "a serious, well-researched attempt to interpret the enigmatic nature of a great scientist, one who had the courage to stand up for his beliefs," says G.A. Keyworth II, a former science advisor to President Reagan. "It's a must read for those whose interests range from how America rose in the 1930s, through immigration, to become the world's leading nation in science; to how the H-bomb was developed, a most counterintuitive invention; to how effective Soviet intelligence was in penetrating the Manhattan Project and its follow-on efforts; to just how close the US came to losing to the Soviet Union its post-war lead in nuclear weaponry."
All Out!: An Autobiography ($30.98, ISBN 978-1-59102-452-1) Albert Ellis-one of the most influential psychologists of the 20th and 21st centuries-created Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. Jon Carlson, distinguished professor, Governors State University, notes that when "one of the most memorable and influential psychologists provides the 'uncensored' story of his life and times, including the development of [a] revolutionary approach to psychotherapy," what you get is more than autobiography. "All Out! is the master guide to full and rational living."
Rachel Carson: A Biography ($18, ISBN 978-1-61614-187-5) Few people have had as great an impact on the modern environmental movement as has the great writer and scientist Rachel Carson. This readable and up-to-date biography by Arlene Quaratiello traces Carson's development as a writer from earliest childhood through the publication of her best-known work, Silent Spring (1962). This balanced portrait of a pioneering environmentalist will appeal to to anyone with an interest in ecology or nature writing.
Hemingway: So Far From Simple ($19, ISBN 978-1-59102-756-0) "One of the best critical works I have read in recent times, and I expect it will become a classic and a must read for anyone interested in better understanding Hemingway as the Father of Modern American Prose," says Linda Patterson Miller, head of the editorial review board for the Cambridge Edition of the Letters of Ernest Hemingway. Editor and author Robert W. Lewis adds, "In this well-written study encompassing much of Hemingway's writing...[literary critic] Donald Bouchard raises new questions and shows us new ways of understanding Hemingway the author-thinker whose 'simple' style and superficially transparent thought have misled if not deceived some critics."
For the Math Enthusiast:
The Pythagorean Theorem: The Story of Its Power and Beauty ($27, ISBN 978-1-61614-181-3) "A fine addition to any math history library," says Midwest Book Review's The Bookwatch. Veteran math educator Alfred S. Posamentier's work "is nothing short of comprehensive and remains the most standard work to represent Pythagorean thought in a modern era...A dynamic read for stimulating your brain." (Sacramento Book Review, San Francisco Book Review.)
The Babylonian Theorem: The Mathematical Journey to Pythagoras and Euclid ($26, ISBN 978-1-59102-773-7) "An intriguing and highly provocative account of ancient mathematics and the people who created it [by physicist Peter S. Rudman] should be required reading for anyone curious about the early origins
of science!" says Eli Maor, PhD.
For Those Interested in Economics:
Selling Out a Superpower: Where the US Economy Went Wrong and How We Can Turn It Around
($26, ISBN 978-1-61614-215-5)
In this roadmap for reclaiming American preeminence, economist Ronald R. Pollina "not only lays out a comprehensive diagnosis of how American economic might declined over multiple decades and produced the cataclysm of today, but also provides a thorough prescription to restore U.S. confidence at home and abroad. He pulls no punches...and calls upon economic developers, business executives, and other community leaders to reinvest in the fundamental building blocks that historically made America great....This book is both a compelling read and a challenging formula. It should not be ignored," says Ron Starner, general manager of Conway Data Inc. and Site Selection magazine.
Fubarnomics: A Lighthearted, Serious Look at America's Economic Ills ($26, ISBN 978-1-61614-191-2) "In the words of economist and professor Robert E. Wright, America today is a FUBAR economy," the Los Angeles Times notes. "Wright has the courage to offer solutions, and while few of the suggestions have any resonance in today's political climate, they are novel answers to familiar problems." Innovation Watch adds, "Wright proposes novel ways to clean up the economic mess that is plaguing our nation. By breaking with false dichotomies and tired modes of thought, Fubarnomics will help us return to the economic and political pragmatism that made our country great."
Conquest, Tribute, and Trade: The Quest for Precious Metals and the Birth of Globalization($28, ISBN 978-1-61614-211-7) Howard J. Erlichman has penned a "quite fascinating popular history of the role played by the overseas expansion of the Iberian nations in the sixteenth century," says Stanley Engerman, John H. Munro Professor of Economics and professor of history, University of Rochester. "Conquest, Tribute, and Trade is a well-researched and well-told saga of international rivalries between the Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and Ottoman empires, the international search for minerals, and the sometimes unexpected similarities between then and now."
For Steampunk Fans:
From Pyr, our science fiction and fantasy imprint:
The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack
($16, ISBN 978-1-61614-240-7) Author Michael Moorcock calls this "an exhilarating romp through a witty combination of nineteenth-century English fact and fiction. Mark Hodder definitely knows his stuff and has given us steam opera at its finest....A great, increasingly complex, plot, some fine characters, and invention that never flags!...This is the best debut novel I have read in ages." Reviewer Harriet Klausner adds, "This is a fascinating tongue in cheek alternate historical thriller that grips the reader throughout. The storyline pays homage to Dickens and Wells...readers will want to join Burton and Swinburne discovering the truth of Hodder's Victorian England."
The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire, Book 1) ($16, ISBN 978-1-61614-247-6) This trilogy launch by Clay and Susan Griffith is a "tremendous book. Go and buy it without reservations," recommends Shiny Book Review."Fans of steampunk will surely enjoy this, as it ranks up there with Cherie Priest's Boneshaker. Maybe even surpassing the Hugo-nominated novel..."
The Horns of Ruin ($16, ISBN 978-1-61614-246-9) In this Tim Akers novel, Eva Forge is the last paladin of a dead god. When a series of kidnappings and murders makes it clear that someone is trying to hasten the death of the Cult of Morgan, Eva must seek unexpected allies and unwelcome answers in the city of Ash. But will she be able to save the city from a supernatural conspiracy that reaches back to the murder of her god?
The Buntline Special: A Weird West Tale
($16, ISBN 978-1-61614-249-0) In December, five-time Hugo-award winner Mike Resnick takes on his first steampunk western-in a West like you've never seen before. An American government desperate to expand its territory sends Thomas Edison out west to discover a scientific means of counteracting magic, along with Wyatt Earp and his brothers as his protectors. As death threats emerge, can Doc Holliday and Bat Masterson save them?
Ghosts of Manhattan($16, ISBN 978-1-61614-194-3) George Mann introduces the world's first steampunk superhero. "Ghosts of Manhattan is a brilliant hybrid of superhero/vigilante tale, film noir, and 1920s decadence," says RobWillReview.com. "An exceedingly dark character study of damaged characters attempting to make the world a better place than it has been for them...it is a portrait of a world just one step removed from our reality, a New York that never was but could have been."
For the True Crime Junkie:
Head Shot: The Science Behind the JFK Assassination
($25, ISBN 978-1-61614-209-4) Physicist and ballistics expert G. Paul Chambers, Ph.D., "presents a unique and fascinating correlation of history and science with the government's investigation of the assassination of President Kennedy," says Cyril H. Wecht, MD, JD, past president, American Academy of Forensic Sciences. "Warren Commission critics may disagree with the specifics of Chambers's reconstruction of this tragic event, but everyone who rejects the 'sole assassin-single bullet theory' will better understand why JFK's murder was a conspiracy involving multiple shooters after reading this intellectually stimulating and highly erudite book."
I, Monster: Serial Killers in Their Own Chilling Words($19, ISBN 978-1-61614-163-9) "Serial killers are...the men we love to hate, whose deeds frighten and fascinate us in about equal measure, and whose stories we can't get enough of," says Michael H. Stone, MD, professor of clinical psychiatry, Columbia University and author of The Anatomy of Evil. "In some respects their words are more chilling than their murders...Tom Philbin's book may do one particularly great service: it may finally disenchant us with our fascination with serial killers. They are not heroes of any kind, they are the vilest of the vile, and they need our scorn, not our admiration. This is an important book. Read it! But not before bedtime." Coming in December.
Lust for Blood: Why We Are Fascinated by Death, Murder, Horror, and Violence ($25, ISBN 978-1-61614-228-5) Also coming in December, psychologist Jeffrey A. Kottler explains why average people-from homicide detectives and emergency room personnel to a heavyweight boxer and serial killer groupies-enjoy getting close to the most forbidden, perverse side of destruction and evil. Based on a series of interviews with perpetrators, victims, and "consumers" of violence, including several celebrities, the author of a best-selling book on serial killers explores what it is about violence, murder, horror, and crime that draws such a wide audience.
For Readers Who Like Sword & Sorcery:
From Pyr, our science fiction and fantasy imprint:
Tome of the Undergates
($17, ISBN 978-1-61614-242-1) "Imaginative characters, a well-paced narrative and enough maiming, decapitation and evisceration to make 300 look tame...a bloody good read," says Total Sci-Fi. "It's violent, witty, foul-mouthed, and unpleasant -- and depending on one's perception, it's either perfect or horribly wrong," notes Neth Space. "It's funny, it's snarky, it's sarcastic, and it's over the top. The only thing more over the top is probably the violence - typically described in visceral detail...Tome of the Undergates is something a 14 year-old boy would love. Or someone with a sick sense of humor. Or someone who wants to read an extended Dungeons & Dragons campaign. But it would be a mistake to dismiss this book simply because one of those doesn't apply to you."
Shadow's Son($16, ISBN 978-1-61614-201-8) If you're a "sucker for a great assassin story...[Jon Sprunk's] Shadow's Son delivers," says Speculative Book Review. Booklist adds, "The intrigue, action scenes, and ever-more-revealing character insights are masterfully woven together in a book the reader won't want to put down...a first-rate sword-and-sorcery tale, with intriguing characters, that moves at a fast pace."
The Cardinal's Blades ($16, ISBN 978-1-61614-245-2) The quick and dirty summation is The Three Musketeers with dragons. "[Pierre] Pevel...makes a stunning English-language debut with this breathless, swashbuckling tale of intrigue, spying, and swordfights," says Publishers Weekly in a starred review. "Pevel's adventure is...likely to charm Anglophone audiences who enjoy action-packed adventure with a true historical sensibility." Pornokitsch.com adds, "Were I ten again, I'd be running around the park with sticks, pretending to be the half-dragon Saint-Lucq...this is a book of swashbuckling excess and should be celebrated as such."
For the Armchair Traveler: Istanbul, Turkey
The Dervish House
($26, ISBN 978-1-61614-204-9)
"Having written novels set in a future Brazil and a future India, [Ian] McDonald now tackles Istanbul circa 2027 in this ambitious, harrowing, sometimes frustrating science fiction thriller," says the New York Times Book Review, "an audacious look at the shift in the power centers of the world and an intense vision of one possible future."Pat's Fantasy Hotlist calls it "as close to perfection as a book can get....If you only have money to buy a single scifi novel this year, this has to be it. Impossible to put down. The final verdict: 10/10." From Pyr, our science fiction and fantasy imprint.
The Topkapi Secret ($25, ISBN 978-1-61614-213-1) On display within the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul lies the Topkapi Codex-an ancient manuscript of the Koran involved in the murder that split Shiite from Sunni. What's the truth about the Topkapi Codex? Is there blood on it? Are its contents the same as the modern Koran's? No one knows because the Topkapi Codex is off limits. "Meticulously researched, this richly textured debut novel [from author Terry Kelhawk] will capture your imagination from the beginning, pull you into the intrigue and adventure and never let go. An extensive cast of characters complements the story's intricate details, including origins of the Koran," says RT Book Reviews, in a 4 1/2 star review. "Fantastic-[a] keeper."
For Law Aficianados:
Spinning the Law: Trying Cases in the Court of Public Opinion
($26, ISBN 978-1-61614-210-0) "Provides an unprecedented and comprehensive account of the unique role of today's lawyer litigating in the court of public opinion. [Attorney and media commentator Kendall] Coffey's examination of the highest profile cases in recent years teaches all of us-whether experienced lawyer or average citizen-sobering and fascinating lessons about the contemporary, multidimensional life of the law," says Columbia Law School professor Nathaniel Persily, coeditor of Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy. "This book is a rare (and perhaps the solitary) combination of autobiography, gripping journalism, legal analysis, and a how-to manual that will fascinate both those who live to litigate such cases, as well as the many who simply cannot look away when courtroom drama spills into popular consciousness."
But They Didn't Read Me My Rights!: Myths, Oddities, and Lies about Our Legal System($19, ISBN 978-1-61614-166-0) "This is the perfect book for anyone who got his or her legal education at Law & Order Law School or the Legal Institute of CSI," says the Buffalo News, "in other words, a book for 'students' whose understanding of the American legal system goes only as deep as the oversimplified glitz of popular TV shows." Publishers Weekly adds, "This entertaining look at common assumptions and misconceptions about the American justice system [by authors Michael D. Cicchini, JD, and Amy B. Kushner, PhD]...will intrigue the average reader."
For the Businesswoman on Your List:
Damned If She Does, Damned If She Doesn't: Rethinking the Rules of the Game That Keep Women from Succeeding in Business ($19, ISBN 978-1-61614-174-5) "This intelligent and substantive work [by authors Lynn Cronin and Howard Fine is a must-read for all businesspeople-and will make an excellent...gift for young women entering the workforce," says Publishers Weekly.
High-Octane Women: How Superachievers Can Avoid Burnout
($18, ISBN 978-1-61614-220-9)
"Dr. Sherrie Bourg Carter not only describes the causes and consequences of burnout in women overachievers, she provides practical and detailed strategies to combat their stress," says Laurie Shanks, clinical professor of law, Albany Law School. ForeWord Reviews calls this "a must-read for superachieving women who are looking to manage unique and individualized reasons for burnout," and notes that "employers...looking to reduce workplace stress will be eager to read Bourg Carter's prescriptions for change, which include innovative benefit programs that create low-stress infrastructures within which employees, and women in particular, might truly thrive."
Iron Butterflies: Women Transforming Themselves and the World ($19, ISBN 978-1-61614-169-1) "This intellectual and dynamic treatise on women in the modern workplace demonstrates convincingly how empathy, emotional strength and an embrace of vulnerability are changing traditional, male-dominated management models," says Publishers Weekly. Author Birute Regine "celebrates big picture thinkers as well as mindful feelers, a powerful message reinforced by the impressive professional biographies of each subject." The Huffington Post adds "Iron Butterflies is especially essential reading for young women who often fail to appreciate just how hard-won are the opportunities they enjoy today...in its depiction of the hardships that many of these women endured...this book inspires."
For the Health & Self-Help Reader:
Positive Results: Making the Best Decisions When You're at High Risk for Breast or Ovarian Cancer($20, ISBN 978-1-59102-776-8) Written by the patient-doctor team of Joi Morris and Dr. Ora Karp Gordon,"Positive Results, long overdue, demystifies the BRCA journey, and provides a road map to guide, teach, inspire and comfort. It is an inspiring, empowering, enlightening, amazing, and for many women, a life-saving resource. Women with breast or ovarian cancer, their doctors and caregivers, and each and every single one of their family and friends -- should all read this book," says San Francisco Book Review.
Finding the Zone: A Whole New Way to Maximize Mental Potential($19, ISBN 978-1-61614-161-5) "An essential read for any parent or educator who believes that curiosity, engagement, and critical thinking-not test scores-are the true keys to a purposeful life," says author and education consultant Jane Kise, EdD. "Beginning with a well-researched case for the uniqueness of each mind and ending with how our homes and schools could help each of us 'find the zone,' this book pulls essential knowledge from psychology, brain research, and educational theories and synthesizes it into an absorbable but undiluted account of how our minds work. [Author Gordon D.] Lawrence has given us a gift: A fascinating read that builds a foundation for helping each of us reach our full potential." Paul R. Lawrence, professor emeritus of organizational behavior, Harvard Business School adds that "this book deserves to be read by all managers and teachers. It provides a clear-cut path towards more effective performance, and explains why it works."
The Alzheimer's Solution: How Today's Care Is Failing Millions and How We Can Do Better
($19, ISBN 978-1-61614-208-7) "The outstanding neurologist and brain scientist, Kenneth S. Kosik, and the superb science writer, Ellen Clegg, provide a creative and farsighted discussion that confronts and analyzes the problems that face individuals, their families and the American health care system in dealing with dementia," says Eric Kandel, MD, professor at Columbia University, Fred Kavli Professor and director, Kavli Institute for Brain Science; senior investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute. "Their penetrating analysis of the causes, preventions and treatments for this disorder are distinctive in being biologically sound, humanly compassionate, and practically farsighted for our health care system. This inspiring comprehensive new approach to the most serious medical problem of our time is a must read."
For Readers Interested in Religion and Philosophy
The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails ($21, ISBN 978-1-61614-168-4) In this anthology of recent criticisms aimed at the reasonableness of Christian belief, former evangelical minister and apologist John W. Loftus, has assembled fifteen outstanding articles by leading skeptics, expanding on themes introduced in Loftus's Why I Became an Atheist. William Lobdell, author of Losing My Religion, says "The Christian Delusion is an incredibly powerful book that's a must-read for anyone who's ever had a doubt about God-believers and non-believers alike."
God and His Demons($25, ISBN 978-1-61614-177-6) Noted author and activist Michael Parenti "has crafted an indictment of the evils and abuses of religion that is biblically informed and anchored in historical record," says ForeWord Reviews. "Filled with sparkling insights, sly wit, and beautiful writing....[Parenti] strips away the virtuous pretenses of self-proclaimed religionists throughout the world," adds Julia Scheeres, author of Jesus Land. "A riveting read that I recommend to all."
Cruel Creeds, Virtuous Violence: Religious Violence across Culture and History
($28, ISBN 978-1-61614-218-6) Anthropologist Jack David Eller's "argument is highly nuanced and avoids any temptation to oversimplify the complexities of human violence and its relationship to religion," says Library Journal. This book is "ideal for those studying or teaching anthropology, sociology, and religion and looking for a scholarly and objective overview of a complicated subject."
Three Questions We Never Stop Asking ($28, ISBN 978-1-61614-186-8) If you ever questioned what you should do or believe and wondered whether the great philosophers could help, you should read this book," says Peter Pesic, author and professor, St. John's College, Santa Fe. "Michael Kellogg's engaging and astute new book provides a perfect introduction to Western philosophy," adds poet Dana Gioia, former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. "Focusing on six great thinkers from Plato to Heidegger, he examines three inexhaustible themes of knowledge, faith, and morality, often revealing how powerful ideas emerged from the lives and times of these philosophers. This lucid, concise, and informed volume will connect many new readers to the irreplaceable insights of philosophy."
For Science Buffs:
The Wonder of Genetics: The Creepy, the Curious, and the Commonplace
($25, ISBN 978-1-61614-214-8) "Covers a huge amount of ground, from the basics of heredity and sex determination to plant breeding and sideshow freaks," says New Scientist. The author "visits the big questions-nature versus nurture, free will-and makes forays into controversial territory including race, intelligence and creationism. What's more, [Richard V.] Kowles, a distinguished geneticist, is a knowledgeable guide."
The Art of Invention: The Creative Process of Discovery and Design
($20, ISBN 978-1-61614-223-0) "Teaches creative thinking in a way that inspires us to invent," says life-long inventor Ronald D. Fellman, PhD. Henry Petroski, author of The Essential Engineer, says "Steven Paley's Art of Invention tells it like it is. This is an excellent introduction to the psychology of the inventor and to the nature of the inventive process." David Thornburg, PhD, director of the Thornburg Center for Space Exploration, says, "This book goes far beyond cataloging the inventions of others, and explores the process by which you can unlock your own creativity for the solution of challenges facing us both as individuals, and in the broader context of the marketplace. Before long, you will have your own sketchpad out and be coming up with your own ideas!"
The Genesis of Science: The Story of Greek Imagination($27, ISBN 978-1-61614-217-9)
"Recommended for the general reader with a burgeoning interest in the origins of Western science," says Library Journal. "[Stephen] Bertman catalogues an impressive set of Greek scientific firsts....An unabashed admirer of the ancient Greeks...his depiction of their scientific accomplishments gives readers a reason to share his admiration," adds Publisher's Weekly.
A Professor, a President, and a Meteor: The Birth of American Science($26, ISBN 978-1-61614-224-7) Richard Z. Chesnoff of the Huffington Post says Cathryn J. Prince's story of Benjamin Silliman, a young chemistry professor and arguably America's first bonafide scientist, is "a captivating tale...told with such graceful prose and fascinating detail that at times you feel you are there." Booklist calls it a "tour-de-force look at early American science."