2021 Outstanding Academic Titles: Reference

Five Choice Reviews 2021 Outstanding Academic Titles - Reference

Five selections from the Choice Reviews 2021 Outstanding Academic Titles list. This week we highlight Choice 2021 Outstanding Academic Titles, Reference.

1. MLA handbook 9th ed
MLA handbook 9th ed Outstanding Academic Title 2021

English teachers rejoice! This eagerly awaited edition’s first section dictates how to format a research project, including margins, running heads, and placement of the works cited list. Even better, it provides much-needed information on basic grammar. Readers actually see the words subject, verb, and object in print. “When a Comma Is Necessary” and “When a Comma Is Incorrect” alone are worth the price of admission. Very welcome is an entirely new section called “Principles of Inclusive Language,” which gently guides students away from language bias and toward more neutral or compassionate treatment of age, race, gender, culture, or disability.

What really lifts this edition off the page is the addition of pictures of a variety of sources with citation elements clearly labelled. Especially useful is the variety of web sources illustrated, which are not nicely formatted like a book’s title page. Previously complex and abstract text-based explanations are now made simpler and more real. More discussion and examples of containers, especially regarding websites, is a great improvement. An appendix gives numerous examples by source type. Though this version is significantly heftier (more than 400 pages—prepare for the groans), the additions were necessary to gear the work to the needs of today’s students and teachers. View on Amazon

2. A place for everything: the curious history of alphabetical order
Flanders, Judith. Basic Books, 2020
A place for everything: the curious history of alphabetical order, Outstanding Academic Title 2021

This splendid book is about much more than alphabetical order. Flanders (Univ. of Buckingham), a social historian and critic, takes readers back 3,000 years to the commercial origins of the alphabet and right up to present-day hypertext, a new, decidedly non-alphabetic form of information retrieval. Along the way, one learns not just about the familiar uses of A–Z order—in dictionaries, indexes, concordances, cross-referencing, catalogs, directories, letter grades, and the like—but also about the subtle ways in which the technology of the alphabet (and paper) affected the world. The new technologies changed the way that law was done and how time was recorded, made folding money possible, and eventually yielded bureaucracy and modern business. Flanders organized the work in ten chronological chapters, each with an alphabetic title (for example, “A is for Antiquity,” “I is for Index Cards”), showing how organization by letters supplanted earlier views of natural and divine order. Full of historical details and personalities and half-forgotten technology, A Place for Everything has a bit of everything, including more than 30 illustrations. A useful time line is included in the end matter, along with copious references. View on Amazon

3. Strauss’s handbook of business information: a guide for librarians, students, and researchers
Kirkwood, Hal. Libraries Unlimited, 2020
Strauss's Handbook of business information Outstanding Academic Title 2021

Strauss’s Handbook is a master class in US business information. Now in its fourth edition, it profiles more than 500 titles across many business and economics subjects, addressing print, internet, and electronic resources. “Strauss”answers the basic business reference question: “Where can I find general and specific business information resources?” The breadth of coverage is remarkable, and the table of contents provides detailed access. Chapters include “Basic Resources,” “Selected Electronic Sources,” “Company and Industry information,” “Government Sources,” “Statistics and Economics,” “Accounting and Taxation,” “Money, Credit, and Banking,” “Investments—Stocks, Bonds, Mutual Funds, Futures and Options,” and “Insurance and Real Estate.” Three new chapters are “Entrepreneurship,” “Competitive Intelligence,” and “Corporate Social Responsibility.” Subsections cover a variety of more recent topics: internet marketing, new legislation, index funds, hedge funds, robo-advisers, and many more. Eleven appendixes cover business acronyms and abbreviations, key economic indicators, popular business book reviews, finding case studies, and more. Each chapter begins with an informative essay that surveys the given field, providing essential context before discussing specific resources. Key concepts are explained, supporting basic understanding of the subject at hand. View on Amazon

4. Horror fiction in the 20th century: exploring literature’s most chilling genre
Nevins, Jess. Praeger, 2020
Horror Fiction in the 20th Century Outstanding Academic Title 2021

Nevins (librarian, Lone Star College, Tomball) has written numerous books on comics, Victoriana, and pulp literature, including The Evolution of the Costumed Avenger: The 4000-Year History of the Superhero (CH, Sep’17, 55-0038). In the present book Nevins provides an overview of horror fiction across the entire 20th century. The book comprises three chronological parts (each with 5–6 chapters), framed by an introduction and an epilogue. The first part spans the years 1901–39, what the author argues is the latter half of the genre’s Golden Age; part two covers 1940–70; and part three covers 1971–2000. The chapters look at major figures and developments by geographic region, niche market, theme, and so on. A true strength of the book is its scope: in a genre stereotypically defined by white, male authors, this book takes a broad, international approach to its subject. Each part includes a chapter that examines horror fiction “outside the Anglosphere,” looking at literature produced in numerous European, African, Asian, and South American countries. Though modest in size, the book does an excellent job of discussing many notable, often-overlooked authors as well as all the major writers of the genre. View on Amazon.

5. The complete book of 2010s Broadway musicals
Dietz, Dan. Rowman & Littlefield, 2020
Outstanding Academic Title 2021 The complete book of 2010s Broadway musicals

Dietz continues his excellent companions to Broadway shows with coverage of the 240 musicals that opened from January 1, 2010, through December 31, 2019. As with previous volumes (all reviewed in Choice), Dietz includes shows with new music, revues, magic shows, operas that received their New York premieres, imports, pre-Broadway closings, and special engagements. It is heartening to note that more shows with new music and scripts opened during the 2010s decade than during the previous one (covered in Complete Book of 2000s Broadway Musicals, CH, Dec’17, 55-1202). Technical information (gathered from Theatre World and IBDB.com) includes casts and crews, advertising tags, run dates, name of theater, musical numbers and performers, source material, awards and nominations, and other data, along with plot summaries and cast album information when available. The volume concludes with eight useful appendixes, including one of Black-themed and one of LGBTQ-themed shows. Although Dietz relies heavily on critical commentaries and newspaper reviews, the highly subjective and often amusing comments he adds provide thoughtful consideration not only of individual shows but also of the decade as a whole. View on Amazon.

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