Saturday, January 7, 2017

New Titles



1) Johnson, Oscar and Susan Scott. Hawai‘i’s Kōlea: The Amazing Transpacific Life of the Pacific Golden-Plover. 2016. University of Hawaii Press. Paperback: 61 pages. Price: $16.99 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Oscar “Wally” Johnson, the undisputed world expert on Pacific Golden-Plovers, and Susan Scott, a popular-science writer, have combined their knowledge and enthusiasm to create a book for everyone who admires the exceptional birds called "Kōlea" in Hawaiian. With easy-to-understand yet scientifically accurate text and outstanding color photographs, Hawai`i's Kōlea: The Amazing Transpacific Life of the Pacific Golden-Plover is a handy, reliable source of information for both general readers and ornithology specialists.
     Although the Pacific Golden-Plover is a member of the shorebird group, Kōlea spend most of their time inland, favoring open space with short vegetation. This makes Hawai`i’s cemeteries, golf courses, and backyard lawns prime real estate for these migratory birds. Each year Kōlea fly thousands of miles nonstop from Alaska and return to the same spot in the Islands, whether a condominium courtyard, a busy beach park, or a strip of grass in downtown Honolulu. As a result, many Hawai`i residents get to know individual birds, calling them “my Kōlea.” In turn, urban plovers often grow tame around people, an endearing trait uncommon in other birds. Their human admirers see city Kōlea as charming, alert, and personable―qualities that, together with their grace and beauty, have made them arguably Hawai`i’s favorite bird.
     Observing the birds gives rise to countless questions: “When do the birds leave Hawai`i? When do they return? Do they have chicks in the Islands? How long does it take them to fly to Alaska?” To answer these and other questions, the authors have gathered together just about every detail researchers know about Pacific Golden-Plovers. If you marvel at the remarkable birds that prance through your park, strut in your street, and rest on your rooftop, this book will make you love Kōlea even more.
RECOMMENDATION: For anyone with an interest in this species!


2) Helen Czerski. Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life. 2017. W. W. Norton. Hardbound: 275 pages. Price: $26.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Take a look up at the stars on a clear night and you get a sense that the universe is vast and untouchable, full of mysteries beyond comprehension. But did you know that the key to unveiling the secrets of the cosmos is as close as the nearest toaster?
     Our home here on Earth is messy, mutable, and full of humdrum things that we touch and modify without much thought every day. But these familiar surroundings are just the place to look if you’re interested in what makes the universe tick. In Storm in a Teacup, Helen Czerski provides the tools to alter the way we see everything around us by linking ordinary objects and occurrences, like popcorn popping, coffee stains, and fridge magnets, to big ideas like climate change, the energy crisis, or innovative medical testing. She guides us through the principles of gases (“Explosions in the kitchen are generally considered a bad idea. But just occasionally a small one can produce something delicious”); gravity (drop some raisins in a bottle of carbonated lemonade and watch the whoosh of bubbles and the dancing raisins at the bottom bumping into each other); size (Czerski explains the action of the water molecules that cause the crime-scene stain left by a puddle of dried coffee); and time (why it takes so long for ketchup to come out of a bottle).
     Along the way, she provides answers to vexing questions: How does water travel from the roots of a redwood tree to its crown? How do ducks keep their feet warm when walking on ice? Why does milk, when added to tea, look like billowing storm clouds? In an engaging voice at once warm and witty, Czerski shares her stunning breadth of knowledge to lift the veil of familiarity from the ordinary. You may never look at your toaster the same way.
RECOMMENDATION: For anyone with an interest in physics.

No comments:

Post a Comment