New Titles for the Week of October 15th, 2012

Joshua by Gordon H. Matties. Herald Press,(2012).
In an age of fear and insecurity, in which ethnic nationalism continues to give rise to conflict and war, we dare not avoid critical engagement with biblical texts that have been used to justify colonialism, conquest, occupation, and ethnic cleansing. Building on the idea of Scripture as dialogue partner, Matties advocates for the book of Joshua even as he engages in a difficult conversation with it.

1 & 2 Samuel by David G. Firth. InterVarsity,(2009).
The Apollos Old Testament Commentary aims to take with equal seriousness the divine and human aspects of Scripture. It expounds the books of the Old Testament in a scholarly manner accessible to nonexperts, and shows the relevance of the Old Testament to modern readers.

Smart but scattered: the revolutionary “executive skills” approach to helping kids reach their potential by Peg Dawson, Richard Guare. Guilford Press,(2009).
There’s nothing more frustrating than watching your bright, talented son or daughter struggle with everyday tasks like finishing homework, putting away toys, or following instructions at school. Your “smart but scattered” child might also have trouble coping with disappointment or managing anger. Drs. Peg Dawson and Richard Guare have great news: there’s a lot you can do to help. The latest research in child development shows that many kids who have the brain and heart to succeed lack or lag behind in crucial “executive skills”–the fundamental habits of mind required for getting organized, staying focused, and controlling impulses and emotions. Learn easy-to-follow steps to identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses, use activities and techniques proven to boost specific skills, and problem-solve daily routines. Small changes can add up to big improvements–this empowering book shows how.

The new codependency: help and guidance for today’s generation by Melody Beattie. Simon & Schuster, (2010).
Punctuated with Beattie’s renowned candor and intuitive wisdom, this is an owner’s manual to living and a toolkit to reclaim life by renouncing unhealthy practices. The author of “Codependent No More” is back to help a new generation find wellness.

Executive functions: what they are, how they work, and why they evolved by Russell A. Barkley. Guilford Press, (2012).
Barkley (psychiatry and pediatrics, Medical U. of South Carolina) offers clinical psychologists, neuro-psychologists, and other clinicians working with children, adolescents, and adults, a volume outlining a model of executive functioning. He critiques the limitations of current views, including the lack of consensus and operational definitions, problems with assessment, the lack of a coherent theory, and the question of why humans developed executive functioning, then draws on the concept of the extended phenotype to illustrate a conceptualization of executive functioning as an evolutionary adaptation. He outlines an extended phenotype model and its hierarchical levels (instrumental-self-directed, methodological-self-reliant, tactical-reciprocal, and strategic-cooperative) and how they affect behavior, daily functioning, social relations, and other areas. He examines each level and the related actions, including problem solving, self-restraint, self-motivation, reciprocity, and self-regulation, and how this theory aids in a better understanding of why deficits occur, how they can be measured, and implications for intervention. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

A short introduction to understanding and supporting children and young people who self-harm by Carol Fitzpatrick. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, (2012).
Self-harm and suicidal behaviors are increasingly common in young people, but are often hidden. A Short Introduction to Helping Children and Young People Who Self-Harm aims to show parents, caregivers and professionals how they can support young people through these difficult times, as well as how to find specialist professional help.The author uses an easy-to-read, jargon free and positive approach to tackle the stigma attached to self-harm and suicidal behavior. This book combines case studies with professional advice to help the reader take the first steps towards helping the young person in need. It advises on how to distinguish between normal adolescent behavior and the signs of mental health problems, while showing how an adult can sensitively communicate with a teenager about the difficult subject. The book also emphasizes the importance of parents and caregivers seeking support for themselves.This book will be an invaluable resource for parents, teachers, youth workers, and others who care for a young person showing signs of self-harm or suicidal behavior.

Stylish academic writing by Helen Sword. Harvard University Press, (2012).
Sword (University of Auckland, New Zealand) presents examples of both engaging and appalling academic prose, drawn from her own study of 1,000 peer-reviewed academic articles across the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, and argues that academic writers can use a wider range of stylistic choices than they now use. Emphasizing that stylish, readable writing is always appropriate for any setting, even academic journals, she gives practical writing advice on achieving clarity, engaging the reader’s attention, avoiding jargon, and writing with originality and even the use of humor, while still conveying a sense of intellectual commitment and passion. The techniques can also be applied to public speaking. Boxes offer excerpts of good writing by published academic authors, some well known, such as Oliver Sacks and Michel Foucault. The book is for advanced students up to PhD level, and scholars who want to write for audiences beyond academia. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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