Saturday, October 21, 2017

New Title


1) Ridpath, Ian and Wil Tirion. Stars and Planets: The Most Complete Guide to the Stars, Planets, Galaxies, and Solar System (Princeton Field Guides). 2017. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 400 pages. Price: $22.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: In this newly updated and expanded edition of their classic work, Ian Ridpath and Wil Tirion illuminate the night sky as never before, providing novice stargazers and professional astronomers alike with the most informative, user-friendly, comprehensive, and authoritative celestial field guide available. The product of a thirty-year collaboration between one of the world’s leading astronomy writers and the world’s foremost celestial mapmaker, Stars and Planets features superb color sky charts, diagrams, or photographs on almost every page; clear and engaging writing; a spacious and attractive design; and a compact size. This updated edition features the latest information on stars, a revised section on planets that incorporates recent research on exoplanets, and some revised charts and new photographs. Simply put, Stars and Planets is indispensable. Don’t leave home―at night―without it.
  • Detailed charts covering all 88 constellations in the Northern and Southern hemispheres
  • Data and notes on all bright stars and other objects of interest
  • Detailed Moon maps and descriptions of the main lunar features
  • Tips on choosing and using binoculars and telescopes, to suit any budget
  • The only guide to provide annual planetary data as a downloadable online resource
  • Updates include the latest data on stars and exoplanets and some revised charts and new photos
 RECOMMENDATION: For anyone with an interested in Astronomy.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

New Title


1) Crossley, Richard, Paul Baicich, and Jessie Barry. The Crossley ID Guide: Waterfowl. 2017. Crossley Books. Flexibound: 510 pages. Price: $40.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds, published in 2011, revolutionized birding and books by providing the first real-life approach to ID. The Crossley ID Guide: Waterfowl, the fourth of these user-friendly guides, is for both hunters and birders. Unlike other guides, which provide isolated individual photographs or paint illustrations, this book features large, lifelike scenes that are 'painted in pixels.' Nearly 300 pages of waterfowl scenes - showing waterfowl in a wide range of views - near and far, from different angles, in various plumages and behaviors, including flight, and in the habitat in which they live. These beautiful compositions show how a bird's appearance changes with distance, and give equal emphasis to characteristics experts use to identify birds: size, structure and shape, behavior, probability, and color. This is the first book to convey all of these features visually - in a single image - and to reinforce them with accurate text.       Each scene provides a wealth of detailed visual information that invites and rewards careful study. By making identification easier, more accurate, and more fun than ever before, The Crossley ID Guides redefine how readers look at nature. Essential for anyone interested in waterfowl, it also promises to make new birders of many people who have despaired of using traditional guides. This waterfowl guide also carries a strong underlying conservation message. If all the readers of this book come together as one, we can better protect the things we love.
RECOMMENDATION: The two features I like most about this book are the female/eclipse plumage plates (usually labeled Summer/Fall in the book) and the duck upperwing plates. If you have the other Crossley guides, you'll want this one!


Thursday, October 12, 2017

New Title


1) Gorman, Gerard. Woodpecker (Animal Series). 2017. Reaktion Books. Paperback: 180 pages. Price: $19.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Woodpeckers are among the most remarkable birds in the avian world, having evolved a unique anatomy that enables them to peck and bore into solid timber both to find food and to create nesting cavities. The birds are key indicators of forest health and perform an important ecological role, providing holes that many other animals use. Woodpeckers have been considered symbols of fertility, security, strength, power, prophecy, magic, rhythm, medicine, and carpentry, and have been esteemed across cultures as the guardians of woodlands, tree surgeons, fire-bringers, weather forecasters, and boat-builders.
     In this charming volume, avian expert Gerard Gorman delves into the natural and cultural history of woodpeckers, exploring their origins and habitats and the ways they have fascinated humankind throughout history. Gorman finds woodpeckers everywhere—from ancient Babylon, Greece, and Rome, to the jungles of Amazonia and Borneo, to our modern-day Woody Woodpecker cartoon. Richly illustrated with images from both nature and culture, Woodpecker will appeal to everyone who is interested in these extraordinary birds.
RECOMMENDATION: If you like the author's other woodpecker books, you should like this one! Other recent titles in the series include: Llama, Wild Boar, Lizard, and Hippopotamus.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

New Title


1) Everhart, Michael J.. Oceans of Kansas, Second Edition: A Natural History of the Western Interior Sea (Life of the Past). 2017. Indiana University Press. Hardbound: 427 pages. Price: $50.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Revised, updated, and expanded with the latest interpretations and fossil discoveries, the second edition of Oceans of Kansas adds new twists to the fascinating story of the vast inland sea that engulfed central North America during the Age of Dinosaurs. Giant sharks, marine reptiles called mosasaurs, pteranodons, and birds with teeth all flourished in and around these shallow waters. Their abundant and well-preserved remains were sources of great excitement in the scientific community when first discovered in the 1860s and continue to yield exciting discoveries 150 years later. Michael J. Everhart vividly captures the history of these startling finds over the decades and re-creates in unforgettable detail these animals from our distant past and the world in which they lived―above, within, and on the shores of America’s ancient inland sea.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a serious interest in Cretaceous paleontology.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

New Title


1) Berta, Annalisa and James L. Sumich. The Rise of Marine Mammals: 50 Million Years of Evolution. 2017. Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 198 pages. Price: $75.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Marine mammals have long captured the attention of humans. Ancient peoples etched seals and dolphins on the walls of Paleolithic caves; today, engineers develop microprocessors to track these denizens of the deep. This groundbreaking book from highly respected marine mammal paleontologist Annalisa Berta delves into the story of the extraordinary adaptations that gave the world these amazing animals. The Rise of Marine Mammals reveals remarkable fossil record discoveries that shed light on the origins, relationships, and diversification of marine mammals.
     Focusing on evolution and paleobiology, Berta provides an overview of marine mammal species diversity, enhanced with gorgeous life restorations by Carl Buell, Robert Boessenecker, William Stout, and Ray Troll and extensive line drawings by graphics editor James L. Sumich. The book also considers ongoing conservation challenges, demonstrating how the fossil record of adaptation in response to past environmental shifts may illuminate the way that marine mammals respond to global climate change. This invaluable evolutionary framework is essential for helping us understand how best to protect and conserve today’s polar bears, whales, dolphins, seals, and fellow warm-blooded ocean dwellers.
      The Rise of Marine Mammals also describes exciting breakthroughs that rely on new techniques of study, including 3-D imaging, and molecular, finite element, and morphometric analyses, which have enhanced scientists’ understanding of everything from the anatomy of fetal whales to the genes behind limb loss in cetaceans. Mammalogists, paleontologists, and marine scientists will find Berta’s insights absorbing, while developmental and molecular biologists, geneticists, and ecologists exploring integrative research approaches will benefit from her fresh perspective.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a serious interest in marine mammal evolution.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

New Title



1) Dunn, Jon L. and Jonathan Alderfer. National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 7th Edition. 2017. National Geographic. Paperback: 591 pages. Price: $29.99 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This fully revised edition of the best-selling North American bird field guide is the most up-to-date guide on the market. Perfect for beginning to advanced birders, it is the only book organized to match the latest American Ornithological Society taxonomy.
     With more than 2.75 million copies in print, this perennial bestseller is the most frequently updated of all North American bird field guides. Filled with hand-painted illustrations from top nature artists (including the ever-popular hummingbird), this latest edition is poised to become an instant must-have for every serious birder in the United States and Canada. The 7th edition includes 37 new species for a total of 1,023 species; 16 new pages allow for 250 fresh illustrations; 80 new maps; and 350 map revisions. With taxonomy revised to reflect the radical new American Ornithological Society taxonomy established in 2016, the addition of standardized banding codes, and text completely vetted by birding experts, this new edition will top of the list of birding field guides for years to come.
RECOMMENDATION: This edition was updated through December 2016. Of all the new artwork, the hummingbird plates are the most revised (all new except for Lucifer Hummingbird). If you own other editions of this book, you will want this one!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

New Title


1) Troelstra, A.S.. Bibliography of Natural History Travel Narratives. 2016. KNNV Publishing. Hardbound: 481 pages. Price: $259.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A.S.Troelstra's fine bibliography is an outstanding and ground-breaking work. He has provided the academic world with a long-needed bibliographical record of human endeavour in the field of the natural sciences. The travel narratives listed here encompass all aspects of the natural world in every part of the globe, but are especially concerned with its fauna, flora and fossil remains. Such eyewitness accounts have always fascinated their readers, but they were never written solely for entertainment: fragmentary though they often are, these narratives of travel and exploration are of immense importance for our scientific understanding of life on earth, providing us with a window on an ever changing, and often vanishing, natural world. Without such records of the past we could not track, document or understand the significance of changes that are so important for the study of zoogeography. With this book Troelstra gives us a superb overview of natural history travel narratives. The well over four thousand detailed entries, ranging over four centuries and all major western European languages, are drawn from a wide range of sources and include both printed books and periodical contributions. While no subject bibliography by a single author can attain absolute completeness, Troelstra's work is comprehensive to a truly remarkable degree. The entries are arranged alphabetically by author and chronologically, by the year of first publication, under the author's name. A brief biography, with the scope and range of their work, is given for each author; every title is set in context, the contents - including illustrations - are described and all known editions and translations are cited. In addition, there is a geographical index that cross refers between authors and the regions visited, and a full list of the bibliographical and biographical sources used in compiling the bibliography.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a serious interest in natural history travel literature.