Monday, June 29, 2015
1) Carson, Robert (editor). Many Waters: Natural History of the Walla Walla Valley and Vicinity. 2015. Keokee Books. Paperback: 192 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Many Waters is a testament to the beauty of an extraordinary place. From the Blue Mountains to the Columbia River, southeastern Washington and northeastern Oregon, in particular the Walla Walla Valley, is a remarkable region, one that American Indians called Wallah Wallah, or Many Waters. And for good reason. It's always been a bountiful place with its rich soils and streams teeming with fish.
Included are more than 40 paintings by noted Northwest landscape artist Leslie Cain to illustrate the Walla Walla River, Mill Creek and the Touchet River as they make their way from the Blue Mountains through fertile valleys to the mighty Columbia River. Katrina Roberts and Janice King contributed six poems about the hills, farms, forests, flowers, water and rocks of the area. Among the short essays are one on fishing by Scott Elliott and another by Kevin Pogue on wine terroir. Geography and geologic history are followed by chapters on past and present animals of southeastern Washington and adjacent Oregon. Images by Duane Scroggins and 15 more photographers illustrate the magnificent landscapes, beautiful flowers, and interesting birds and mammals of the Walla Walla Valley and vicinity.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone with an interest in the natural history of the region. The book is available here: http://keokeebooks.com/products-page/natural-and-human-history/many-waters/
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
1) Pratchett, Terry and Stephen Baxter. The Long Utopia: A Novel. 2015. Harper. Hardbound: 355 pages. Price: $26.99 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: It is the middle of the twenty-first century.
After the cataclysmic upheavals of Step Day and the Yellowstone eruption, humanity is spreading farther into the Long Earth. Society, on a battered Datum Earth and beyond, continues to evolve.
And new challenges emerge.
Now an elderly and cantankerous AI, Lobsang is living with Agnes in an exotic, far-distant world. He's determined to lead a normal life in New Springfield—they even adopt a child. But there are rumors, strange sightings in the sky. On this world, something isn't right. . . .
Millions of steps away—learning about a hidden family history and the father he never knew—Joshua receives an urgent summons from New Springfield.
Lobsang has come to understand that what has blighted his Earth is also a threat to all the worlds of the Long Earth. Countering this threat will require the combined efforts of humankind, machine, and the super-intelligent Next. And some must make the ultimate sacrifice. . . .
RECOMMENDATION: Fans of the Long Earth series should enjoy this book.
Monday, June 22, 2015
Friday, June 19, 2015
1) Stephenson, Neal. Seveneves: A Novel. 2015. William Morrow. Hardbound: 867 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Anathem, Reamde, and Cryptonomicon comes an exciting and thought-provoking science fiction epic—a grand story of annihilation and survival spanning five thousand years.
What would happen if the world were ending?
A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space.
But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain .. Five thousand years later, their progeny—seven distinct races now three billion strong—embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown . . . to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth.
A writer of dazzling genius and imaginative vision, Neal Stephenson combines science, philosophy, technology, psychology, and literature in a magnificent work of speculative fiction that offers a portrait of a future that is both extraordinary and eerily recognizable. As he did in Anathem, Cryptonomicon, the Baroque Cycle, and Reamde, Stephenson explores some of our biggest ideas and perplexing challenges in a breathtaking saga that is daring, engrossing, and altogether brilliant.
RECOMMENDATION: Fans of the author's other works should enjoy this book.
Monday, June 15, 2015
1) Howell, Steve N. G. & Brian L. Sullivan. Offshore Sea Life ID Guide: West Coast. 2015. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 56 pages. Price: $14.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Two-thirds of our planet lies out of sight of land, just offshore beyond the horizon. What wildlife might you find out there? And how might you identify what you see? This Offshore Sea Life ID Guide, designed for quick use on day trips off the West Coast, helps you put a name to what you see, from whales and dolphins to albatrosses, turtles, and even flyingfish. Carefully crafted color plates show species as they typically appear at sea, and expert text highlights identification features. This user-friendly field guide is essential for anyone going out on a whale-watching or birding trip, and provides a handy gateway to the wonders of the ocean.
RECOMMENDATION: A well illustrated introduction to the marine life found off the West Coast.
My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here: http://www.scilogs.com/maniraptora/birdbooker-report-376-7/
Saturday, June 13, 2015
1) Benton, Rachel C., Dennis O. Terry Jr., Emmett Evanoff, and H. Gregory McDonald. The White River Badlands: Geology and Paleontology. 2015. Indiana University Press. Hardbound: 222 pages. Price: $45.00 U.S.PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The forbidding Big Badlands in Western South Dakota contain the richest fossil beds in the world. Even today these rocks continue to yield new specimens brought to light by snowmelt and rain washing away soft rock deposited on a floodplain long ago. The quality and quantity of the fossils are superb: most of the species to be found there are known from hundreds of specimens. The fossils in the White River Group (and similar deposits in the American west) preserve the entire late Eocene through the middle Oligocene, roughly 35-30 million years ago and more than 30 million years after non-avian dinosaurs became extinct. The fossils provide a detailed record of a period of abrupt global cooling and what happened to creatures who lived through it. The book provides a comprehensive reference to the sediments and fossils of the Big Badlands and will complement, enhance, and in some ways replace the classic 1920 volume by Cleophas C. O'Harra. Because the book focuses on a national treasure, it touches on National Park Service management policies that help protect such significant fossils.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a serious interest in the geology/fossils of the region.
Thursday, June 11, 2015
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A mesmerizing memoir of extraordinary brilliance by an entomologist, The Fly Trap chronicles Fredrik Sjöberg’s life collecting hoverflies on a remote island in Sweden. Warm and humorous, self-deprecating and contemplative, and a major best seller in its native country, The Fly Trap is a meditation on the unexpected beauty of small things and an exploration of the history of entomology itself.
What drives the obsessive curiosity of collectors to catalog their finds? What is the importance of the hoverfly? As confounded by his unusual vocation as anyone, Sjöberg reflects on a range of ideas—the passage of time, art, lost loves—drawing on sources as disparate as D. H. Lawrence and the fascinating and nearly forgotten naturalist René Edmond Malaise. From the wilderness of Kamchatka to the loneliness of the Swedish isle he calls home, Sjöberg revels in the wonder of the natural world and leaves behind a trail of memorable images and stories.
RECOMMENDATION: This well received memoir is now available in the USA.
Monday, June 8, 2015
1) Darnell, Rezneat Milton. The American Sea: A Natural History of the Gulf of Mexico. 2015. Texas A&M University Press. Hardbound: 554 pages. Price: $75.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: For more than a decade, Rezneat Darnell worked on this major synthesis of what is known about the Gulf of Mexico. His goal: to bring a deeper understanding of “the American Sea” to students, scientists, managers, and educated citizens of the public at large. The American Sea builds on Darnell’s own research, the research of his graduate students, government agency research reports, data synthesis reports, and literature summaries to present a holistic view of the Gulf of Mexico.
Although he is recognized as a pioneer in the study of continental shelf ecology, Darnell largely resisted specialization, remaining throughout his career “the writer and bringer together of things.”
Here, he has written a book that embraces history, geology, geography, meteorology, chemistry, biology, ecology, and human relations in one comprehensive reference. Although it is thorough and meticulous in coverage, what comes through in these pages is the enormity, complexity, and mystery of the world that lies just beyond the Texas vacation beach, the Louisiana wetland, or the Mexico fishing village.
In addition to photographs of deep water and other organisms that are included in the book, a number of illustrations have been added to provide excellent visual material, including historical and ocean floor maps and many works of original art depicting marine species, sea turtles, fish, and crustaceans.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a serious interest in the natural history of the region.
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
1) Day, Leslie. Field Guide to the Neighborhood Birds of New York City. 2015. Johns Hopkins University Press. Paperback: 378 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Look around New York, and you’ll probably see birds: wood ducks swimming in Queens, a stalking black-crowned night-heron in Brooklyn, great horned owls perching in the Bronx, warblers feeding in Central Park, or Staten Island’s purple martins flying to and fro. You might spot hawks and falcons nesting on skyscrapers or robins belting out songs from trees along the street.
America’s largest metropolis teems with birdlife in part because it sits within the great Atlantic flyway where migratory birds travel seasonally between north and south. The Big Apple’s miles of coastline, magnificent parks, and millions of trees attract dozens of migrating species every year and are also home year-round to scores of resident birds.
There is no better way to identify and learn about New York’s birds than with this comprehensive field guide from New York City naturalist Leslie Day. Her book will quickly teach you what each species looks like, where they build their nests, what they eat, the sounds of their songs, what time of year they appear in the city, the shapes and colors of their eggs, and where in the five boroughs you can find them—which is often in the neighborhood you call home. The hundreds of stunning photographs by Beth Bergman and gorgeous illustrations by Trudy Smoke will help you identify the ninety avian species commonly seen in New York. Once you enter the world of the city’s birds, life in the great metropolis will never look the same.
RECOMMENDATION: A good introduction to the birds of the region.
Monday, June 1, 2015
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: These are the genesis stories of a region. In Ancient Places, Jack Nisbet uncovers touchstones across the Pacific Northwest that reveal the symbiotic relationship of people and place in this corner of the world. From rural Oregon, where a controversy brewed over the provenance and ownership of a meteor, to the great floods 15,000 years ago that shaped what is now Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, this is a compelling collection of stories about the natural and human history of our region.
Jack Nisbet is a historian, teacher, and author who focuses on the intersection of human history and natural history in the Pacific Northwest. He is the author of the highly regarded Sources of the River for which he was awarded the Murray Morgan Prize by the Washington State Historical Society.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in the history of the Pacific Northwest.
My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here: http://www.scilogs.com/maniraptora/birdbooker-report-375/