Wednesday, October 28, 2015

New Title




1) Spotila, James R. and Pilar Santidri├ín Tomillo (editors). The Leatherback Turtle: Biology and Conservation. 2015. Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 219 pages. Price: $70.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Weighing as much as 2,000 pounds and reaching lengths of over seven feet, leatherback turtles are the world’s largest reptile. These unusual sea turtles have a thick, pliable shell that helps them to withstand great depths—they can swim more than one thousand meters below the surface in search of food. And what food source sustains these goliaths? Their diet consists almost exclusively of jellyfish, a meal they crisscross the oceans to find.
     Leatherbacks have been declining in recent decades, and some predict they will be gone by the end of this century. Why? Because of two primary factors: human redevelopment of nesting beaches and commercial fishing. There are only twenty-nine index beaches in the world where these turtles nest, and there is immense pressure to develop most of them into homes or resorts. At the same time, longline and gill net fisheries continue to overwhelm waters frequented by leatherbacks.
     In The Leatherback Turtle, James R. Spotila and Pilar Santidri├ín Tomillo bring together the world’s leading experts to produce a volume that reveals the biology of the leatherback while putting a spotlight on the conservation problems and solutions related to the species. The book leaves us with options: embark on the conservation strategy laid out within its pages and save one of nature’s most splendid creations, or watch yet another magnificent species disappear.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with a serious interest in the species.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

New Titles




1) Kritsky, Gene. The Tears of Re: Beekeeping in Ancient Egypt. 2015. Oxford University Press. Hardbound: 133 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: According to Egyptian mythology, when the ancient Egyptian sun god Re cried, his tears turned into honey bees upon touching the ground. For this reason, the honey bee was sacrosanct in ancient Egyptian culture. From the art depicting bees on temple walls to the usage of beeswax as a healing ointment, the honey bee was a pervasive cultural motif in ancient Egypt because of its connection to the sun god Re. Gene Kritsky delivers the first book to examine the relationship between the honey bee and ancient Egyptian culture, through the lenses of linguistics, archeology, religion, health, and economics. Kritsky delves into ancient Egypt's multifaceted society, and traces the importance of the honey bee in everything from death rituals to trade. In doing so, Kritsky brings new evidence to light of how advanced and fascinating the ancient Egyptians were.
     This richly illustrated work appeals to a broad range of interests. For archaeology lovers, Kritsky delves into the archaeological evidence of Egyptian beekeeping and discusses newly discovered tombs, as well as evidence of man-made hives. Linguists will be fascinated by Kritsky's discussion of the first documented written evidence of the honeybee hieroglyph. And anyone interested in ancient Egypt or ancient cultures in general will be intrigued by Kritsky's treatment of the first documented beekeepers. This book provides a unique social commentary of a community so far removed from modern humans chronologically speaking, and yet so fascinating because of the stunning advances their society made. Beekeeping is the latest evidence of how ahead of their times the Egyptians were, and the ensuing narrative is as captivating as every other aspect of ancient Egyptian culture.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in the history of beekeeping.


2) Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt. The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. 2015. Princeton University Press. Hardbound: 331 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Matsutake is the most valuable mushroom in the world—and a weed that grows in human-disturbed forests across the northern hemisphere. Through its ability to nurture trees, matsutake helps forests to grow in daunting places. It is also an edible delicacy in Japan, where it sometimes commands astronomical prices. In all its contradictions, matsutake offers insights into areas far beyond just mushrooms and addresses a crucial question: what manages to live in the ruins we have made?
      A tale of diversity within our damaged landscapes, The Mushroom at the End of the World follows one of the strangest commodity chains of our times to explore the unexpected corners of capitalism. Here, we witness the varied and peculiar worlds of matsutake commerce: the worlds of Japanese gourmets, capitalist traders, Hmong jungle fighters, industrial forests, Yi Chinese goat herders, Finnish nature guides, and more. These companions also lead us into fungal ecologies and forest histories to better understand the promise of cohabitation in a time of massive human destruction.
     By investigating one of the world’s most sought-after fungi, The Mushroom at the End of the World presents an original examination into the relation between capitalist destruction and collaborative survival within multispecies landscapes, the prerequisite for continuing life on earth.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in fungal economics.

Monday, October 26, 2015

New Titles



1) Deeming,  D. Charles and S. James Reynolds (editors).  Nests, Eggs, and Incubation: New ideas about avian reproduction. 2015. Oxford University Press. Hardbound: 296 pages. Price: $110.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Nests, Eggs, and Incubation brings together a global team of leading authorities to provide a comprehensive overview of the fascinating and diverse field of avian incubation. Starting with a new assessment of the evolution of avian reproductive biology in light of recent research, the book goes on to cover four broad areas: the nest, the egg, incubation, and the study of avian reproduction. New research on nest structures, egg traits, and life history is incorporated, whilst contemporary methodologies such as self-contained temperature probes and citizen science are also discussed. Applied chapters describe how biological knowledge can be applied to challenges such as conservation and climate change. The book concludes by suggesting priorities for future research.
     This book builds upon the foundations laid down by Charles Deeming's 2001 work Avian Incubation (now freely available for download), much of which remains relevant today. Read in conjunction with this previous volume, it provides an up to date and thorough review of egg biology, nest function, and incubation behaviour, which will be an essential resource for students of avian biology as well as professional and field ornithologists.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in the subject.


2) Nicolson, Adam. Sea Room: An Island Life in the Hebrides. 2015. Picador. Paperback: 401 pages. Price: $20.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: In 1937, Adam Nicolson's father answered a newspaper ad for a small cluster of three islands-The Shiants (Gaelic meaning "holy" or "enchanted")-which lie east of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. Sheer black cliffs drop five hundred feet into the cold, dark, rip currents of the Minch, lounging seals crowd at their feet and thousands upon thousands of sea birds swarm overhead in the sky. Nicolson inherited the islands when he was twenty-one and in this spellbinding and luminous book, he recalls his keenly deep connection to the wild, windswept, and yet enchantingly beautiful property. Not merely a haven of solitude, the islands, with a centuries-old past haunted by restless ghosts and tales of ancient treasure, came to be for Nicolson his heartland and a "sea room"-a sailing term he uses to mean "the sense of enlargement that island life can give you."
      In passionate, prismatic prose, Sea Room celebrates this extraordinary landscape, exploring Nicolson's complicated relationship to the paradoxes of island life and the wonder of revelatory engagement with our natural world.
RECOMMENDATION: This edition has been updated with a new afterword.

Friday, October 23, 2015

New Title



1) Rogers, Kara. The Quiet Extinction: Stories of North America's Rare and Threatened Plants. 2015. The University of Arizona Press. Paperback: 239 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: In the United States and Canada, thousands of species of native plants are edging toward the brink of extinction, and they are doing so quietly. They are slipping away inconspicuously from settings as diverse as backyards and protected lands. The factors that have contributed to their disappearance are varied and complex, but the consequences of their loss are immeasurable.
      With extensive histories of a cast of familiar and rare North American plants, The Quiet Extinction explores the reasons why many of our native plants are disappearing. Curious minds will find a desperate struggle for existence waged by these plants and discover the great environmental impacts that could come if the struggle continues.
      Kara Rogers relates the stories of some of North America's most inspiring rare and threatened plants. She explores, as never before, their significance to the continent's natural heritage, capturing the excitement of their discovery, the tragedy that has come to define their existence, and the remarkable efforts underway to save them. Accompanied by illustrations created by the author and packed with absorbing detail, The Quiet Extinction offers a compelling and refreshing perspective of rare and threatened plants and their relationship with the land and its people.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in botany or conservation biology.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

New Titles



1) Alexievich, Svetlana.Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster. 2006 (2015). Picador. Paperback: 236 pages. Price: $16.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: On April 26, 1986, the worst nuclear reactor accident in history occurred in Chernobyl and contaminated as much as three quarters of Europe. Voices from Chernobyl is the first book to present personal accounts of the tragedy. Journalist Svetlana Alexievich interviewed hundreds of people affected by the meltdown---from innocent citizens to firefighters to those called in to clean up the disaster---and their stories reveal the fear, anger, and uncertainty with which they still live. Comprised of interviews in monologue form, Voices from Chernobyl is a crucially important work, unforgettable in its emotional power and honesty.
RECOMMENDATION: The author just won the Nobel Prize in Literature.


2) Toft, Catherine A. and Timothy F. Wright. Parrots of the Wild: A Natural History of the World’s Most Captivating Birds. 2015. University of California Press. Hardbound: 345 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Parrots of the Wild explores recent scientific discoveries and what they reveal about the lives of wild parrots, which are among the most intelligent and rarest of birds. Catherine A. Toft and Tim Wright discuss the evolutionary history of parrots and how this history affects perceptual and cognitive abilities, diet and foraging patterns, and mating and social behavior. The authors also discuss conservation status and the various ways different populations are adapting to a world that is rapidly changing. The book focuses on general patterns across the 350-odd species of parrots, as well as what can be learned from interesting exceptions to these generalities.
     A synthetic account of the diversity and ecology of wild parrots, this book distills knowledge from the authors’ own research and from their review of more than 2,400 published scientific studies. The book is enhanced by an array of illustrations, including nearly ninety color photos of wild parrots represented in their natural habitats. Parrots of the Wild melds scientific exploration with features directed at the parrot enthusiast to inform and delight a broad audience.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with a serious interest in parrots.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

New Title



1) Tuttle, Merlin. The Secret Lives of Bats: My Adventures with the World's Most Misunderstood Mammals. 2015. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Hardbound: 271 pages. Price: $26.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A lifetime of adventures with bats around the world reveals why these special and imperiled creatures should be protected rather than feared.
      From menacing moonshiners and armed bandits to charging elephants and man-eating tigers, Merlin Tuttle has stopped at nothing to find and protect bats on every continent they inhabit. Enamored of bats ever since discovering a colony in a cave as a boy, Tuttle saw how effective photography could be in persuading people not to fear bats, and he has spent his career traveling the world to document them.
     Few people realize how sophisticated and intelligent bats are. Tuttle shares research showing that frog-eating bats can identify frogs by their calls, that vampire bats have a social order similar to that of primates, and that bats have remarkable memories. Bats also provide enormous benefits by eating crop pests, pollinating plants, and carrying seeds needed for reforestation. They save farmers billions of dollars annually and are essential to a healthy planet.
   Sharing highlights from a lifetime of adventure and discovery, Tuttle takes us to the frontiers of bat research and conservation and forever changes the way we see these poorly understood yet fascinating creatures.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone with an interest in bats.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

New Title



1) Tkaczyk, Filip A.. Tracks & Sign of Reptiles & Amphibians: A Guide to North American Species. 2015. Stackpole Books. Paperback: 468 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Library Journal wrote that Mammal Tracks & Sign "will set the standard for years to come and is essential to anyone interested in tracking this continent's mammals." This new book in the Tracks & Sign series aims to set the same standard for reptile and amphibian tracking. It's an invaluable resource for both beginning and experienced trackers.

  • Features over 600 color photos, line drawings, and range maps to illustrate and describe the tracks and sign left by reptiles and amphibians
  • Covers frogs, snakes, lizards, turtles, salamanders, and more
  • Includes detailed information for quick identification of digs and burrows, nests and eggs, sheds, and scats  

  • RECOMMENDATION:Like the other books in this series, naturalists will want it in their library.

    New Title



    1) Weidensaul, Scott. Peterson Reference Guide to Owls of North America and the Caribbean. 2015. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Hardbound: 333 pages. Price: $40.00 U.S.
    PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This comprehensive work covering all the owls of North America, including Mexico and the Caribbean, is the newest addition to the trusted Peterson Reference Guide series.
         Owls are perhaps the most intriguing of all birds — instantly recognizable and endlessly fascinating. Whether viewed as symbols of wisdom or bad omens, these unusual birds have had a hold on human imagination for millennia. 
         Heard more often than seen, many owls are best identified by vocalizations; this is the only owl guide to include access to a collection of recordings. It is also the only North American owl book to include the Caribbean, covering 39 species of owls, including many little-known tropical species. 
         With detailed information about identification, calls, habitat, nesting, and behavior, this Reference Guide has the most up-to-date information about natural history, biology, ecology, migration, and conservation status. It is heavily illustrated with hundreds of color photos, and includes the most accurate color range maps ever presented, showing breeding, wintering, and migration routes. 
         This is a definitive work, useful for serious birders and ornithologists but accessible for the non-exempt.
    RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for anyone with an interest in the owls of the region.
    This comprehensive work covering all the owls of North America, including Mexico and the Caribbean, is the newest addition to the trusted Peterson Reference Guide series.

    Owls are perhaps the most intriguing of all birds — instantly recognizable and endlessly fascinating. Whether viewed as symbols of wisdom or bad omens, these unusual birds have had a hold on human imagination for millennia.

    Heard more often than seen, many owls are best identified by vocalizations; this is the only owl guide to include access to a collection of recordings. It is also the only North American owl book to include the Caribbean, covering 39 species of owls, including many little-known tropical species.

    With detailed information about identification, calls, habitat, nesting, and behavior, this Reference Guide has the most up-to-date information about natural history, biology, ecology, migration, and conservation status. It is heavily illustrated with hundreds of color photos, and includes the most accurate color range maps ever presented, showing breeding, wintering, and migration routes.

    This is a definitive work, useful for serious birders and ornithologists but accessible for the non-expert.
    - See more at: http://www.hmhco.com/shop/books/Peterson-Reference-Guide-to-Owls-of-North-America-and-the-Caribbean/9780547840031#sthash.rRdIOP91.dpuf
    Peterson Reference Guide to Owls of North America and the Caribbean - See more at: http://www.hmhco.com/shop/books/Peterson-Reference-Guide-to-Owls-of-North-America-and-the-Caribbean/9780547840031#sthash.rRdIOP91.dpuf
    Scott Weidensaul
    Scott Weidensaul
    Scott Weidensaul
    Scott Weidensaul
    Scott Weidensaul

    Saturday, October 3, 2015

    New Title



    1) Turner, Tom. David Brower: The Making of the Environmental Movement. 2015. University of California Press.  Hardbound: 308 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
    PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: In this first comprehensive authorized biography of David Brower, a dynamic leader in the environmental movement over the last half of the twentieth century, Tom Turner explores Brower's impact on the movement from its beginnings until his death in 2000.
         Frequently compared to John Muir, David Brower was the first executive director of the Sierra Club, founded Friends of the Earth, and helped secure passage of the Wilderness Act, among other key achievements. Tapping his passion for wilderness and for the mountains he scaled in his youth, he was a central figure in the creation of the Point Reyes National Seashore and of the North Cascades and Redwood national parks. In addition, Brower worked tirelessly in successful efforts to keep dams from being built in Dinosaur National Monument and the Grand Canyon.
         Tom Turner began working with David Brower in 1968 and remained close to him until Brower’s death. As an insider, Turner creates an intimate portrait of Brower the man and the decisive role he played in the development of the environmental movement. Culling material from Brower’s diaries, notebooks, articles, books, and published interviews, and conducting his own interviews with many of Brower’s admirers, opponents, and colleagues, Turner brings to life one of the movement's most controversial and complex figures.
    RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in the history of the environmental movement in North America.

    Thursday, October 1, 2015

    New Title



    1) Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Gerrit Vyn. The Living Bird: 100 Years of Listening to Nature. 2015. Mountaineers Books. Hardbound: 208 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
    PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: For 100 years, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has researched the lives of birds, educating the public and striving for protection of species and habitat. But the Lab does more than just study-it celebrates birds through song and image, and connects people to birds, opening thousands of eyes to the natural world around us.
         An intimate yet stunning exploration of North American species, The Living Bird shares our joyful and complex relationship with birds. Through imagery and thoughtful essays, award-winning photographer Gerrit Vyn, along with leading naturalists and bird enthusiasts, takes readers on a visual and experiential journey, revealing the essence of the century-long work done by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
         Barbara Kingsolver remembers herself as a reluctant birder until, years later, she exalts in a special birding trip with her father. From this evocative beginning, Scott Weidensaul then delves into the secret lives of birds: How do flocks of birds manage to migrate thousands of miles? What determines who mates with whom? And what is the purpose of all those pretty feathers and glorious melodies? In her essay, Lyanda Lynn Haupt finds inspiration in our everyday birds as they connect us to the natural world, and she describes how citizen science-sharing daily observations via ebird, for example-has enriched her own understanding of everything around us. Director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology John W. Fitzpatrick considers the threats birds face today, and some of the failures-and successes-of the past. While too many species have been driven to extinction, others have made remarkable recoveries thanks to human action. Jared Diamond underscores that it is in our hands to preserve the living birds around us.
         Throughout, Vyn's remarkable photographs of birds, both familiar and exotic, bring the exhilaration of migratory Whooping Cranes, the fragility of the endangered Spoon-Billed Sandpiper, and the wide-eyed beauty of Great Horned Owls alive on the page. From enjoying Black-capped Chickadees or Yellow Warblers in a backyard birdbath to spotting a Pileated Woodpecker in the woods to admiring the powerful soar of a Gyrfalcon, the appeal of watching and listening to birds leads us into a greater understanding of their environment-and of ours.
    RECOMMENDATION: A nicely illustrated coffee table book.