6 Booklist December 1, 2016 www.booklistreader.com
ing backgrounds and portrayed with their
identifying details obscured, they’ve left passionless, abusive, or faithless unions, or been
left themselves. The overall effect is a chorus
of relatable, emotional, and true-feeling stories about the many facets of divorce that will
have newly single advice-seekers feeling less
alone and more sure they’ll get through it,
too. —Annie Bostrom
Stand Your Ground: America’s Love
Affair with Lethal Self-Defense.
By Caroline E. Light.
Feb. 2017. 248p. Beacon, $25.95 (9780807064665).
Light, an academic at Harvard who grew
up in a gun-owning household, covers a lot
of surprising information in this historical
look at the development of America’s “Stand
Your Ground” laws and accompanying DIY
security culture. From the shocking details of
the 1859 Sickles/Key shooting, (where a man
killed his wife’s lover in the street and was acquitted based on the idea that the “sanctity
of the household” had been attacked by the
victim) up to the tragedy of Trayvon Martin’s
killing in Florida, Light dives deeply into
case law, detailing how the legal system has
determinedly protected the rights of male,
generally Caucasian, property owners above
others. She also offers sobering revelations
about the uneven application of laws involving female shooters, especially victims of
domestic violence, and thought-provoking
analysis of how the highly influential NRA,
with its heavily Caucasian membership, has
transformed the image of the gun owner
as the definitive American patriot. Light’s
readable account deserves strong notice by
those seeking understanding of the roots
of today’s polarizing debate over gun laws.
Today’s Economic Issues: Democrats and
By Nancy S. Lind and others.
2016. 387p. ABC-CLIO, $97 (9781440839368); e-book
What could the 2016 presidential campaign
have actually addressed? Academics and other
experts offer answers regarding public-policy
economic issues. Their thoughtfully written
analyses of 38 debate-worthy issues—such as
corporate taxation, energy policy, food stamps,
immigration, minimum wage, and Social
Security—venture into territory beyond the
realm of simple true-or-false fact-checking, a
constant in media reports on the campaign.
Each topical analysis explains the differences
in the positions, even if given scant attention
in 2016, that Democrats and Republicans
Each economic issue merits a brief summary, bullet lists of each party’s key arguments,
a deeper analysis, and additional exposition
of the parties’ respective positions. Those
analyses take into account nuances in positions among members of one party or the
other and substantiates them by quoting
policy papers or public statements of presidential candidates, most since vanquished,
and other politicians. Sidebars offer extended quotes from party leaders. When the
new Congress and a new president take up
their responsibilities, they as well as everyday citizens can turn to these to understand
where the interparty fault lines lie on issues
such as defense spending, free trade, income
inequality, student loans and debt, tax-code
reform, and others awaiting thoughtful resolution. —James Rettig
By Sheryl O’Loughlin.
Dec. 2016. 304p. HarperBusiness, $27.99
Business school prepares you for business,
not your personal life. This book prepares
readers to live a fulfilling life while creating a
business from the ground up. O’Loughlin, for-
mer CEO of Clif Bar and cofounder of Plum
Organics, uses personal insights to let read-
ers see first-hand why investing in yourself is
key to your success. Having worked through
a serious eating disorder and near bankruptcy
during her pursuits, she understands the per-
sonal and professional stresses of building a
business. Her advice tackles the soft side of a
start-up, such as preparing your significant oth-
er and your family for your
business venture, maintain-
ing supportive friendships,
knowing when to walk away.
Sprinkled throughout are
self-awareness tips, such as
recognizing your risk toler-
ance and the types of people
who will challenge or define
it. She also details the makeup of entrepre-
neurs (e.g., compulsive but with a strong
sense of completion, anxious, hypomanic) re-
vealed by scientific studies. In explaining this
background and the risks of tunnel vision,
O’Loughlin advises focusing on awareness and
emotional well-being rather than success and
money. Ultimately, you are your most valuable
resource, and her keen insights here culminate
in a blueprint for a self-preserving path to suc-
cess. —Jennifer Adams
Talking Back, Talking Black: Truths
about America’s Lingua Franca.
By John Mc Whorter.
Jan. 2017. 192p. Bellevue, paper, $19.99
In the late 1990s, racial politics drove controversial debates about Ebonics, or “black
English,” in schools. Linguist McWhorter
(Winning the Race, 1986) now offers a
broader historical context in which to consider how people of different cultures around
the world and across time have spoken in different dialects. The perception persists that
“black English” is standard English spoken
badly. Mc Whorter argues that it is far more
than that. Drawing on research, popular
culture, and his own expertise as a linguist
and black American, McWhorter conveys
the roots and richness of the dialect that has
come out of the experiences of black Americans. He examines particular differences in
verb conjugations that demonstrate a more
complex notion of when actions occur, defying the myth that black English is simplistic.
Mc Whorter debunks other notions, such as
the assumption that the “black accent” is
simply a southern accent. This is an engaging look at the English language as spoken
by many black Americans as well as the long
history of stereotyping that has prevented an
objective analysis of a rich language tradition. —Vanessa Bush
Word by Word: The Secret Life of
By Kory Stamper.
Mar. 2017. 320p. Pantheon, $26 (9781101870945).
Lexicography is not sexy, but in this
spirited book about the science and art of
making dictionaries, it is by turns amus-
Appearing below is a list of all the print reference titles reviewed in this issue. Reference
librarians should also remember that all Booklist reference reviews can be accessed by
Booklist subscribers on Booklist Online.
American Myths, Legends, and Tall Tales: An Encyclopedia of American Folklore. Ed. by
Christopher R. Fee and Jeffrey B. Webb. p. 4.
Gem: The Definitive Visual Guide. p. 16.
A History of Medicine in 50 Objects. By Gill Paul. p. 16.
The Infographic Guide to Science. By Tom Cabot. p. 16.
Salem Health: Cancer. 2d ed. By Michael A. Buratovich and others. p. 22.
The Stars: The Definitive Visual Guide to the Cosmos. p. 16.
Today’s Economic Issues: Democrats and Republicans. By Nancy S. Lind and others. p.6.