Thursday, December 22, 2011

How-To Book List Addition: Photoshop Elements

Now that you've bought that new DSLR and taken some amazing shots, you need a simple guide for processing and enhancing those great images.

For photographers using Photoshop Elements (including the brand new Elements 10), this book by pro photographer Jeff Revell will help you conquer the fundamentals of downloading, editing, and enhancing their work to create stunning hang-on-the-wall images.

Revell starts with the basics–from importing images, handling Camera Raw files, making basic fixes and local edits, to creating special effects and fine-tuning. He covers the key software features that affect and improve your image, including: removing blemishes with the Spot Healing Brush, using masks to isolate effects, sharpening with High Pass, darkening blue skies and using gradients, creating black and white images, going wide with a Panorama, and removing people with Photomerge Scene Cleaner.

Photoshop Elements
From Snapshots to Great Shots
by Jeff Revell
Peachpit Press, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

How-To Book List Addition: The Google+ Guide

This approachable, four-color book will offer readers a thorough guide to using Google+, Google's answer to the challenge it faces from Facebook, Twitter, and all other ways people are being social on the web.

After covering the fundamentals of being social on the web, the book digs into how to set up and manage Circles, control the Stream, share photos and video, use Hangouts, get the most out of Sparks, and use games.

The Google+ Guide
Circles, Photos, and Hangouts
by Scott McNulty
Peachpit Press, 2011

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The Corral

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Baseball Book List Addition: Top of the Heap

Perhaps more has been written about the New York Yankees than about any other sports team. And the magic that has played out on the field over the years has been rivaled only by baseball scribes' prowess on the page. Excellence breeds excellence, and for 100 years some of the best writers in America have chronicled the New York Yankees, taking a single swing or game and somehow making it singular.

This anthology from the series editor of The Best American Sports Writing and author of Yankees Century collects the best writing about the Yankees over the course of their long history. Published to coincide with the team's centenary celebration, this is a must-have volume for fans the world over who claim the New York Yankees as their own.

A Yankees Collection
by Glenn Stout
Mariner Books, 2003
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How-To Book List Addition: Dollar Origami

Dollar Origami teaches you how to turn your currency into almost anything with just a few folds.

With simple instructions, full-color photos, and 100 sheets of paper to practice on before you use your own money, you'll be crafting beautiful butterflies, adorable penguins, and more in your own home in no time.

15 Origami Projects Including the Amazing Koi Fish
by Won Park
Thunder Bay Press, 2011

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The Corral

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Nature Book List Addition: Twelve Owls

Meet the saw-whet, the tiniest of Minnesota’s owls, a mere eight inches from the tip of its blunt tail to the top of its rounded head. The simplest way to find one is to listen for the scolding calls of a flock of agitated chickadees. Or, if you’re lucky, you might witness the male throwing all caution to the wind and “co-co-co-co-ing” for a mate, inching forward on every note like the bird in a cuckoo clock.

From this fetching little creature to the magnificent great gray, the owls of Minnesota have found the perfect spokeswoman in this book, which is as charming as it is informative.

by Laura Erickson
University of Minnesota Press, 2011

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Review: Canyon Crossing

A narrative about the author's exploration of the corridor trails of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, this book introduces the inner recesses of the national park with a mixture of storytelling, interviews and descriptive

The National Park Service defines "corridor trails" as those receiving regular maintenance and patrols by park rangers. At the Grand Canyon, there are three such trails. On the South Rim, there are the Bright Angel Trail, the River Trail and the South Kaibab Trail; on the North Rim, visitors hike the North Kaibab Trail.

"People travel from all over the country and the world for the chance to walk or run from one side of the canyon to the other - or from either rim to the very bottom on foot or mule," Seth Muller explains. "The journey etches itself into the memory of its travelers, to radiate for years. Grand Canyon guides speak of clients contacting them five, ten, and fifteen years after a trip to reconnect with their fond memories of the
grandest of chasms."

Continued in ... The Nature Pages

Experiencing Grand Canyon from Rim to Rim
by Seth Muller
Grand Canyon Association, 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Book List Addition: Governing the Wild

Take four emblematic American scenes: the Hall of Biodiversity at the American Museum of Natural History in New York; Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park in Orlando; an ecotour of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks; the film An Inconvenient Truth. Other than expressing a common interest in the environment, they seem quite dissimilar.

And yet, as Governing the Wild makes clear, these sites are all manifestations of green governmentality, each seeking to define and regulate our understanding, experience, and treatment of nature.

Ecotours of Power
by Stephanie Rutherford
University of Minnesota Press, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Good Old Books: Plain Enemies

The years 1830-1870 were years of expansion west as the U.S. Government encouraged patriots to civilize its great untamed wilderness.  But the West was already occupied - by native citizens.  The conflicts that ensued are legendary, but many stories are yet to be told. Veteran author Bob Scott brings many of these more obscure stories to light.

The flood of immigrants threatened the Indian way of life and they resisted. As the white invasion escalated, a struggle ensued, with both factions violently contending for land and lifestyle.

In Plain Enemies, Bob Scott compiles narratives of faith and fear, heroism and horror, strength and stupidity, love and hatred. Attempting to present both sides of the story, the author discloses evil walking in both boots and moccasins, with honorable humankind inhabiting forts, soddies -- and teepee villages.
Best True Stories of the Frontier West
by Robert J. "Bob" Scott
Caxton Press, 1995

Thursday, November 24, 2011

History Book List Addition: The Insect and the Image

Once considered marginal members of the animal world (at best) or vile and offensive creatures (at worst), insects saw a remarkable uptick in their status during the early Renaissance. This quickened interest was primarily manifested in visual images—in illuminated manuscripts, still life paintings, the decorative arts, embroidery, textile design, and cabinets of curiosity.

In The Insect and the Image, Janice Neri explores the ways in which such imagery defined the insect as a proper subject of study for Europeans of the early modern period.

Visualizing Nature in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1700
by Janice Neri
University Of Minnesota Press, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

History Book List Addition: Oratory in Native North America

In Euroamerican annals of contact with Native Americans, Indians have consistently been portrayed as master orators who demonstrate natural eloquence during treaty negotiations, councils, and religious ceremonies. Esteemed by early European commentators more than indigenous storytelling, oratory was in fact a way of establishing self-worth among Native Americans, and might even be viewed as their supreme literary achievement.

William Clements now explores the reasons for the acclaim given to Native oratory.
He examines in detail a wide range of source material representing cultures throughout North America, analyzing speeches made by Natives as recorded by whites, such as observations of treaty negotiations, accounts by travelers, missionaries' reports, captivity narratives, and soldiers' memoirs.

by William M. Clements
University of Arizona Press, 2002

History Book List Addition: Forging a Fur Empire

Alexander Ross, the pioneer recorder of the early fur trade in the far northern West, led a beaver trapping expedition in 1824 into the vast, unfamiliar territory east of trading posts in the Pacific Northwest. He and his men ventured deep into Snake River country in present-day Idaho and Montana.

In this narrative, based on the accounts left by Ross and others, historian and legal scholar John Phillip Reid describes the experiences of the earliest Hudson’s Bay Company fur-trapping expeditions—ventures usually overlooked by historians—and explores the interaction between the diverse cultures of the Pacific Northwest.

Expeditions in the Snake River Country, 1809-1824
by John Phillip Reid
The Arthur H. Clark Company, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

How-To Book List Addition: Caricatures in Motion

Whether running, jumping, or walking, subtle twists or turns of the body can ultimately give a carving a sense of motion. That concept is proven true in this book.

Caricature Carvers of America members offer up a variety of carvings of figures in motion. All of them are humorous and several carvings share a similar "theme."

by Caricature Carvers of America
Schiffer Publishing, 2011
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Friday, November 11, 2011

Book List Addition: Louisiana Haunted Forts

Although there are numerous books about Louisiana, little information about the forts are included and none combines the forts with ghost stories.

This book is filled with historical adventures and intriguing tales of supernatural happenings. The author relates eerie stories of soldiers who still patrol the ruins of fortifications they built, defended, and died for, and others whose lives ended tragically.

by Elaine Coleman
Taylor Trade Publishing, 2005

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Book List Addition: The Undying West

A moving chronicle of life, past and present, on western Montana's Camas Prairie.

This book reveals the common love of the land by both Native Americans and ranchers, the land influencing and outlasting both. Whether describing the glacial birth of Lake Missoula or land preservation issues, Cross's observations are those of one seasoned by this unique landscape and its peoples.

A Chronicle of Montana's Camas Prairie 
by Carlene Cross
Fulcrum Publishing, 1999

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Review: Kentucky's Natural Heritage

A confluence of both science and history, this book describes natural areas in Kentucky that have vanished and inventories a long list of threatened and endangered animals, plants and unique habitats in the state that need protection.

Once 90 percent forested, Kentucky is now made up of roughly 46 percent "Large Forest Tracts" and most of it is fragmented and less able to sustain complex communities of animals and plants. Consequently, more than 50 species of animals and plants that once made Kentucky their home can no longer be found. Of the species that remain, 25 percent of the fish, 26 percent of the reptiles and amphibians, 13 percent of the birds and 20 percent of the mammals are endangered, threatened or close to leaving for good.

More than just a chronicle of loss, this is a guide to places where the species and the habitats that remain can be visited and appreciated. These include federally protected areas (national parks, refuges and forests) and 59 state nature preserves.

Illustrated with numerous maps and remarkable photos of surviving species like the dazzling blue-and-orange flame crayfish or the bright magenta limestone flame flower, this book is an accessible reference for both professional biologists and armchair travelers.

An Illustrated Guide to Biodiversity
by Greg Abernathy, Deborah White, Ellis L. Laudermilk, and Marc Evans
The University Press of Kentucky, 2010

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cookbook List Addition: Backcountry Cooking

Goodbye to mundane, expensive, freeze-dried camping food and welcome to tasty, environmentally conscious, inexpensive dishes. Seasoned outdoor cook Sierra Adare spices her creative and easy-to-follow recipes with Western culinary history and first accounts that are informed by the traditions of the trail.

Inside the book are lists of grocery items you can buy beforehand at your local store, along with instructions to dehydrate your own food to avoid the high prices of outdoor markets.

The Ultimate Guide to Outdoor Cooking
by Sierra Adare
Skyhorse Publishing, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Book List Addition: Environmental Politics and the Creation of a Dream

The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is a breathtakingly beautiful archipelago of twenty-two islands in Lake Superior, just off the tip of northern Wisconsin. For years, the national park has been a favorite destination for tourists and locals alike, but the remarkable story behind its creation is little known.

In Environmental Politics and the Creation of a Dream, Harold Jordahl, one of the primary advocates for designating the islands as a national park, discloses the full story behind the effort to preserve their natural beauty for posterity.

Establishing the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
by Harold C. Jordahl Jr. and Annie L. Booth
University of Wisconsin Press, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Book List Addition: Darwin's Sacred Cause

Celebrated for his famous theory of evolution tracing all of life back to a common ancestor, Charles Darwin held an overlooked passion that fired his belief in life’s unity.

The thesis of this book is that Darwin's commitment to the abolition of slavery – his “sacred cause” – led him from a recognition of the shared racial roots of black and white people to the ‘common descent’ of all organisms. This belief in the brotherhood of races – whether animals, plants or people – was the seed that grew into his revolutionary theory.

Race, Slavery and the Quest for Human Origins
by Adrian Desmond
University Of Chicago Press, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Good Old Books: Adventures and Misadventures with Rod and Gun

"My name isn't well known, such as Winston Churchill, Dick Nixon, or many others. So the name is not of particular significance, but the era and the unusual and interesting happenings gleaned over a sixty-year span, when outdoor activity was unsurpassed, may be of interest.

"If we don't reduce events of the "good old days" to print they will soon be forgotten; and it must be that future generations will be more interested in this lifetime.

"It is with this in mind I write, not Dave Gardner's experience, but about a rich period in time for the outdoorsman that otherwise will be forgotten."

- from the Preface

by David L. Gardner
The Record-Courier, 1981

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Nature Book List Addition: Canyon Crossing

There’s the Grand Canyon as seen from one of the rims. Spectacular. Awe-inspiring. Dramatic. And there’s the Grand Canyon below the rims, a very different place steeped in wilderness, bus-sized boulders, tumbling streams, knee-shredding switchbacks, solitude, and the cataract-punctuated Colorado River. The trails in Grand Canyon National Park attract more than 80,000 permitted overnight backpackers annually, as well as an untold number of day hikers and mule riders.

Join author Seth Muller on a grand adventure, searching for the Grand Canyon’s soul along miles of canyon trails. Muller profiles rangers, artists, volunteers, hikers, ultra-marathoners, mule skinners, and others who regularly experience the inner canyon, presenting the Corridor Trails in intimate, creative prose that will carry the reader into the depths of the canyon and back out again.

Experiencing Grand Canyon from Rim to Rim by Seth Muller
Grand Canyon Association, 2011

Nature Book List Addition: Bird Watch

From the tufted puffin in the Pacific Northwest to the hook-billed hermit in the Brazilian rainforest, birds suffer from the effects of climate change in every corner of the globe. Scientists have found declines of up to 90 percent in some troubled bird populations and unprecedented reproductive failure in others. The most recent studies suggest dire prospects: 1,227 avian species are threatened with extinction and an additional 838 near-threatened species are urgent priorities for conservation action.

As much an indispensable guide as a timely call to action, Bird Watch is an illustrated tour of these endangered birds and their habitats.

Bird Watch
A Survey of Planet Earth's Changing Ecosystems
by Martin Walters
University Of Chicago Press, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Good Old Books: Ski Touring

This timely panoramic introduction to the joys of ski touring enhances the overall winter recreation prospect for downhill skiers and beckons to the fireside winter "sportsman" to leave the nest and join the flock. All the dos and don'ts that can make a saunter on  skis out into the winter wonderland an exhilarating and memorable experience are authoritatively and sometimes humorously set forth.

Chapter One sets the scene, and the ensuing chapters consecutively cover the essentials of the planning stage, paraphernalia, basic skiing techniques, safety and first aid, and the setting up of a winter camp if an overnight tour is planned.

An Introductory Guide
by William E. Osgood and Leslie J. Hurley
Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1969

Friday, October 14, 2011

Book List Addition: A Student's Guide to the Seashore

This unique, concise and beautifully illustrated guide allows students to identify over 650 of the common, widespread animals and seaweeds of the shore. User-friendly dichotomous keys are supported by details of diagnostic features and biology of each species.

Now enhanced with 32 pages of colour, this much acclaimed guide is invaluable to students of marine biology at any level.

by J. D. Fish and S. Fish
Cambridge University Press, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Good Old Books: Household Ecology

With industry and government reluctant - or even unwilling -  to help clean up pollution, the responsibility of saving the environment falls increasingly on the individual.

Household Ecology is the long-awaited and desperately needed comprehensive guide to ecologicallly "safe" living. Instead of the hackneyed "don'ts," here are hundreds of imaginative, positive suggestions that any consumer can put into practice immediately - and effectively.

Here are scores of natural, efficient, and biodegradable substitutes for laundry detergents, furniture polish, and other chemical household cleansers.

Non-toxic beauty aids, medicines, and tranquilizers that are guaranteed free of side effects, as nature intended them. (Use olive oil as a skin-softener and coffee as a laxative!)... Insect sprays and repellants that work against insects instead of people and all of whose ingrediewnts come from the country store.

Household Ecology
by Julia Percivall and Pixie Burger
Prentice-Hall, 1971

Book List Addition: Grasses of South Texas

The vast rangelands of south Texas—that portion of the state lying south of San Antonio and extending west and south to the Rio Grande and east to the Gulf of Mexico—are home to many species of grasses, some beneficial and some noxious. Careful identification is important for ranch and farm management, conservation, and scientific study.

This field guide catalogs 250 taxa, representing 9 subfamilies, 15 tribes, and 88 genera. Detailed descriptions, accompanied by color photographs, cover 175 native species and 75 that were introduced.

A Guide to Identification and Value 
by James H. Everitt, D. Lynn Drawe, Christopher R. Little and Robert I. Lonard
Texas Tech University Press, 2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Book List Addition: Planning Paradise

“Sprawl” is one of the ugliest words in the American political lexicon. Virtually no one wants America’s rural landscapes, farmland, and natural areas to be lost to bland, placeless malls, freeways, and subdivisions. Yet few of America’s fast-growing rural areas have effective rules to limit or contain sprawl.

Oregon is one of the nation’s most celebrated exceptions. In the early 1970s Oregon established the nation’s first and only comprehensive statewide system of land-use planning and largely succeeded in confining residential and commercial growth to urban areas while preserving the state’s rural farmland, forests, and natural areas.

This is the first book to tell the story of Oregon’s unique land-use planning system from its rise in the early 1970s to its near-death experience in the first decade of the 2000s.

Politics and Visioning of Land Use in Oregon 
by Peter A. Walker and Patrick T. Hurley
University of Arizona Press, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Book List Addition: After Custer

Between 1876 and 1877, the U.S. Army battled Lakota Sioux and Northern Cheyenne Indians in a series of vicious conflicts known today as the Great Sioux War. After the defeat of Custer at the Little Big Horn in June 1876, the army responded to its stunning loss by pouring fresh troops and resources into the war effort. In the end, the U.S. Army prevailed, but at a significant cost.

In After Custer, Paul L. Hedren examines the war’s effects on the culture, environment, and geography of the northern Great Plains, their Native inhabitants, and the Anglo-American invaders.

After Custer
Loss and Transformation in Sioux Country
by Paul L. Hedren
University of Oklahoma Press, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Good Old Books: The Practical Handbook of Patio and Outdoor Projects

"In recent years,the concept of outdoor living has been adopted by more and more families. Basically, all it means is that the family gets as much 
enjoyment from activities conducted outside as inside.

"To do this, the outdoor living environment - the patio and its environs - must be properly equipped; stocked, as it were, with all the things an individual family needs to get the maximum enjoyment with the least inconvenience.

"The thrust of this book is helping you, the handyman, equip it yourself. I've striven to include plans and ideas for the things anyone would need. Most basic, of course, is the patio itself -- your outdoor floor.

"I have included other projects as well, because homeowners have a crying need for more information on them. For example, there are instructions on how to build a driveway. Not just any driveway, but one that will last for years without cracking. Elsewhere, you'll find information on making simple edgings and retaining walls, an information on how to make a variety of carports."
-- from the Introduction, Tom Philbin

by Tom Philbin
Fawcett Publications, 1975

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Book List Addition: Eat Smart in Norway

The latest offering in the Eat Smart series of culinary guidebooks, Eat Smart in Norway offers an upbeat and fascinating look at the culinary history, culture, regional dishes, and recipes of Norway for vacation goers, business travelers, and backpackers alike.

Joan Peterson provides a treasury of culinary surprises and language tips for navigating menu and market, guiding the reader through unfamiliar Norwegian cuisine.

How to Decipher the Menu, Know the Market Foods & Embark on a Tasting Adventure
by Joan Peterson
Ginkgo Press, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Book List Addition: A Good Horse Is Never a Bad Color

Learn why your problem horse is not a lost cause with helpful tips from an internationally acclaimed trainer.

In A Good Horse Is Never a Bad Color, Mark Rashid continues to share his talent for training horses through communication rather than force.

Rashid uses humorous, feel-good stories to relate his techniques of teaching horses by examining their view of the world.

Tales of Training through Communication and Trust
Second Edition, Revised and Updated
by Mark Rashid
Skyhorse Publishing, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

Good Old Books: The U.S. Government Family Fitness Book

Here is a scientifically developed and tested program from the renowned President's Council on Physical Fitness. Here is a complete exercise program for everyone -- pre-teen boys and girls, teenagers of bothsexes, adult men and women, senior citizens.

Each plan contains detailed illustrations, instructions and progress records so that you will...

Know exactly how and where to begin - and what to do every step of the way.

Begin easily - without strain or up[set - no matter how long you've stayed away from physical activity.

Make steady progress troward a level of fitness that is most suitable for you - and that you will be easily able to maintain.

Award Books, 1969

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Book List Addition: When to Eat What

by Heidi Reichenberger McIndoo
Adams Media, 2011

Everyone knows what food keeps them healthy and slim, but this book takes it a step further and helps you figure out what to consume at specific times to take the guesswork out of eating well.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Book List Addition: Fields of Learning

The Student Farm Movement in North America
by Laura Sayre and Sean Clark
The University Press of Kentucky, 2011

From one-acre gardens to five-hundred-acre crop and livestock farms, student farms foster hands-on food-system literacy in a world where the shortcomings of input-intensive conventional agriculture have
become increasingly apparent. They provide a context in which disciplinary boundaries are bridged, intellectual and manual skills are cultivated together, and abstract ideas about sustainability are put to the test.

Editors Laura Sayre and Sean Clark have assembled a volume of essays written by pioneering educators directly involved in the founding and management of fifteen of the most influential student farms in North America.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Book List Addition: The Environmental Vision of Thomas Merton

by Monica Weis
The University Press of Kentucky, 2011

In The Environmental Vision of Thomas Merton, author Monica Weis suggests that Merton's interest in nature, which developed significantly during his years at the Abbey of Gethsemani, laid the foundation for his growing environmental consciousness.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Book List Addition: Hometown Heroines

by Betty Bolte
iUniverse, 2001

Did you know that girls and young women made a difference in Americas history? During the 1800s, many girls helped America grow bigger and better, yet are missing from many history books. Virginia Reed, at 12, survived the trek to California with the Donner Party. Joanna Troutman, at 17, created the first Texas flag. Belle Boyd risked her life to spy for the Rebels during the Civil War.

These are just a few of the 19 inspiring true stories of 19th century American girls who touched the hearts of their hometowns. You can remember them today by visiting their historical markers, monuments, exhibits, and parks, or by reading their poems, and singing their songs..

Friday, July 22, 2011

Book List Addition: Field Man

Life as a Desert Archaeologist
by Julian D. Hayden
University of Arizona Press, 2011

Field Man is the captivating memoir of renowned southwestern archaeologist Julian Dodge Hayden, a man who held no professional degree or faculty position but who camped and argued with a who’s who of the discipline, including Emil
Haury, Malcolm Rogers, Paul Ezell, and Norman Tindale.

This is the personal story of a blue-collar scholar who bucked the conventional thinking on the antiquity of man in the New World, who brought a formidable pragmatism and “hand sense” to the identification of stone tools, and who is remembered as the leading authority on the prehistory of the Sierra Pinacate in northwestern Mexico.

Field Man is the product of years of interviews with Hayden conducted by his colleagues and friends Bill Broyles and Diane Boyer. It is introduced by noted southwestern anthropologist J. Jefferson Reid, and contains an epilogue by Steve Hayden, one of Julian’s sons.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Review: Wide Awake

Authored by a fourth generation insomniac, this book is both a memoir and a journalistic report on the study of sleep, including recent findings, theories and therapies.

Much of the text is autobiographical, recounting Morrisroe's visits with therapists, psychics, hypnotists, mattress salespeople and others in her laborious pursuit of a good night's sleep.

"People have been searching for ways to induce what Shakespeare called the 'honey-heavy dew of slumber' for as long as they've been able to harvest medicinal plants," Morrisoe writes in a chapter on the effectiveness, risks and side effects of sleeping pills.

The other 11 chapters describe visits to a sleep lab, a trip to Las Vegas to attend a sleep disorders conference for medical professionals, a long night in Lapland's Icehotel inside the Arctic Circle, and a session with a hypnotherapist.

Insomnia, she discovers, is a poorly understood affliction with vague symptoms and few specialists. It affects a much smaller population than sleep apnea, which has become the focus of most sleep doctors since the invention of the CPAP machine in 1981.

When she tells her own sleep doctor in Manhattan about her plan to write a book about her experiences, he tells her it is a terrible idea.

"He wonders if the only reason I went to a sleep clinic was to gather information for my book. I explain that I went to his sleep clinic because I wanted to sleep, not because I wanted to write about sleep. The book came later. Things get tense. I don't blame the doctor for being upset. He has a reputation to protect and doesn't want me to dissuade people from going to a sleep clinic. I explain that I'm only writing about my experience. and each person is different, but the doctor suggests I might be really different."

After all her travels, Morrisroe's personal quest is finally resolved with Chinese breathing exercises and meditation at the 92nd Street Y just around the corner from her apartment in New York City.

Wide Awake
A Memoir of Insomnia
by Patricia Morrisroe
Spiegel & Grau, 2010

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Monday, April 18, 2011


Climbing a Wall of Worry

The Aztecs were growing and harvesting tomatoes in southern Mexico when the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés took down their empire in 1519-1521. Cortés conquered the Aztecs and tomatoes began their slow and steady infiltration into European cuisine. But first they had to endure a lot of bad press.

"The tomato's association with the eggplant and nightshade certainly did it no favors," Gentilcore points out. Pietro Antonio Michiel, a prominent 16th century Venetian botanist, noted that if eggplants are "harmful to the head, generating melancholic humors, cankers, leprosy, oppilations, long-lasting fevers and sickly color," then tomatoes must certainly be "dangerous and harmful" and their odor alone could bring about "eye diseases and headaches."

The nightshade family to which tomatoes belonged also included plants like "henbane, belladonna, and mandrake, all of which were though to have magical and hallucinatory powers."

A History of the Tomato in Italy
by David Gentilcore
Columbia University Press, 2010

The Spirit of Cinco de Mayo

What If?

"What if Mexico had not defended herself so tenaciously? What if her people had not stood their ground at Puebla both times? Would a French puppet regime in Mexico have been able to turn the tide of the American Civil War? Divided, would the United States have risen to the prominence it enjoys today? Would it be two separate countries? How would this have influenced events of the twentieth century? Would the rest of the Americas speak French?

"What if Napoleon III had not reneged on his deal to sell the ironclads to the Confederacy? Would the Union blockade that strangled the Confederacy have been broken?

"What if France had not lost their best troops in Mexico and had benefited from them in the fight against the North German Confederation? Would the German Empire have been created? Would there have been a First World War?"

The Spirit of Cinco de Mayo
by Nathan Muncaster
Trafford, 2009

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Money And Soul: The Psychology Of Money And The Transformation Of Capitalism

Time is Money

"People often say that time is money, but perhaps not in the way that the American politician of the 18th century, Benjamin Franklin, originally meant: that it was shameful to 'waste' time - i.e., time that is not used for productive work.

"Time is money in a much more profound way than that. When credit is created, the debt that comes along with it means that we now owe productive time to the financial system. The debt makes claims on our future work. And the interest rate determines how much of our future time is pledged. We could thus say that money is monetisation of the future, in the way that today's money comes about.

"We have borrowed away, mortgaged, our future to the financial system, with interest and compound interest. No wonder we're all busy running around."

Friday, April 15, 2011

Good Old Books: Landscaping Your Vacation Place

Landscaping Your Vacation Place
by Jack Kramer
Scribners, 1975

"In Landscaping Your Vacation Place I tell you just what plants will grow where, whether you are at the seaside, in the forest, in the desert or in a temperate all year climate.

"For each locale there are specific plans and plantings to make your vacation home appealing and to save you needless garden work.

"I include extensive lists of plants for each location and also lists of special time-saving plants, such as ground covers, vines, and bulbs and plants for container gardening -- over 550 plants in all.

"So whether you want to garden on weekends only, or just a day a week (and relax the rest of the time) you will find your guide to better vacation gardening in this book." -- Jack Kramer

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Good Old Books: Common Wild Animals and Their Young

Common Wild Animals and Their Young
by Rita Vandivert with photographs by William Vandivert
Dell, 1957

This beautiful picture book tells the life stories of sixteen common
American wild animals. In enchanting, original photographs you will

... the flight of a deer
... what happens inside a beaver house
... baby 'possum in the marsupial pouch,
... the difference between male and female skunks,
... tiny deermice in their nest,
... the sharp-quilled defense of the porcupine,
... mother mink feeding her young,
... black bear cubs in rollicking play,
... and many more intimate glimpses of animal life.

Common Wild Animals and Their Young
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Good Old Books: Human Heredity

Human Heredity
by Ashley Montagu
New American Library, 1960

What is bad blood?
What is an inherited disease?
Where does environment begin?
Ignorance, superstition, and prejudice have clouded these basic questions for centuries.

Dr. Ashley Montagu clears away much of the mystery concerning inherited traits in this comprehensive and fascinating study of the science of genetics.

This book includes some of the most recent, important discoveries in the field.

Human Heredity
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Science Writing

Monday, March 14, 2011

Good Old Books: The Compact Book of Upland Game Birds

The Compact Book of Upland Game Birds
edited by Ray Ovington
J. Lowell Pratt, 1965

Whether you are a shooting sportsman who thrills to the sudden flurry and rise of an upland game bird twisting through cover or a bird watcher, the study and practical knowledge of the various species of game birds is challenging.

The species covered in this book are the most popular of the game birds found in the 48 states and Canada.

This book is primarily a book of basic facts and identification for ready reference.

The Compact Book of Upland Game Birds
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Guidebooks and How-To Titles

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Good Old Books: 150 Science Experiments Step-By-Step

150 Science Experiments Step-By-Step
by Judith Viorst
Bantam Books, 1967

You don't have to be a scientific expert to perform valuable, exciting
scientific experiments. With the new, simple, step-by-step methods outlined in this book you can:

> Build your own laboratory.
> Make your own slide rules, wind vanes, barometers and dozens of other valuable pieces of scientifi apparatus.

Discover how flowers reproduce. Learn how your lungs and senses operate. Discover the basic elements of chemical change. Find out about computer mathematics and scores of other fascinating scientific wonders.

Complete with the Periodic Table of Elements, Laws of Matter, Weights and Measures, Centigrade to Fahrenheit Conversion Table, and Charts of the Animal and Plant Kingdoms.

150 Science Experiments Step-By-Step
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Science Writing

Monday, March 7, 2011

Book List Addition: Scarcity and Frontiers

Scarcity and Frontiers
How Economies Have Developed Through Natural Resource Exploitation
by Edward B. Barbier
Cambridge University Press, 2011

Throughout much of history, a critical driving force behind global economic development has been the response of society to the scarcity of key natural resources. Increasing scarcity raises the cost of exploiting existing natural resources and creates incentives in all economies to innovate and conserve more of these resources. However, economies have also responded to increasing scarcity by obtaining and developing more of these resources. Since the agricultural transition over 12,000 years ago, this exploitation of new 'frontiers' has often proved to be a pivotal human response to natural resource scarcity.

This book provides a fascinating account of the contribution that natural resource exploitation has made to economic development in key eras of world history. This not only fills an important gap in the literature on economic history but also shows how we can draw lessons from these past epochs for attaining sustainable economic development in the world today.

Scarcity and Frontiers
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Startup Game: Inside the Partnership between Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs

Unconventionally Good Ideas

"Entrepreneurs prove that conventional wisdom may be conventional but is not always wise. They demonstrate that good ideas - the ones that change the world - are often initially rejected by all, save for a select group of risk takers and innovative thinkers."

The Startup Game: Inside the Partnership between Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs
Review: The Startup Game
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Pecans: The Story in a Nutshell

Roadside Pecans

"Alongside the highways from the south central to the southeastern states, roadside stands open their shutters each November. Drivers bring their cars to a halt and climb out, assuming they will be remembered from the previous year; often they are."

Pecans: The Story in a Nutshell
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Book List Addition: Literature After Darwin

Literature After Darwin
Human Beasts in Western Fiction 1859-1939
by Virginia Richter
Palgrave Macmillan, 2011

What makes us human? Where is the limit between human and animal? These are questions that haunt post-Darwinian literature.

Covering fiction from Kipling to Kafka, this study offers a historically embedded analysis of anthropological anxiety in the period between the publication of the Origin of Species and the beginning of the Second World War.

Literature After Darwin
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Nature Writing and Natural Histories
Science Writing
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Out There
The Nature Pages

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Review: Sea Sick

Sea Sick
The Global Ocean in Crisis
by Alanna Mitchell
McClelland & Stewart, 2010

Reporting from nine different oceanic locations around the globe, environmental reporter Alanna Mitchell investigates the rapidly declining health of the most important biome on Earth, the Ocean.

"The issue is that all over the world, ocean scientists, in groups of specialists who rarely put their information together, are finding that global climate change and other human actions are beginning to have a measurable effect on the ocean. The vital signs of this critical medium of life are showing clear signs of distress," she explains.

Mitchell makes personal visits to some of the most ailing seas and shorelines on the globe, witnesses wide-ranging effects of human avarice and irresponsibility, and talks to dozens of concerned scientists about their diagnoses and possible remedies.

Continued at... Sea Sick