Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Long-Legged House

"Yesterday snow fell all day and covered the ground. This morning, though the sun came up clear, the thermometer read four above - a good morning to sit in the warmth of the stove and the brisk snow light from the big window over the table. It is a morning for books and notebooks and inviting blank pages of writing paper.
"For people who live in the country there is a charming freedom in such days. One is free of obligations to the ground. There is no outside work that one ought to do, simply because, with the ground frozen deep and covered with snow, no such work is possible.
"Growth has stopped. There is plenty of hay and grain in the barn; the present has abated its urgencies. And the mind may again turn freely to the past look back on the way it came.
"This morning has been bearing down out of the future toward this bit of riverbank forever. And for perhaps as long, in a sense, my life has been approaching from the opposite direction. The approach of a man's life out of the past is history and the approach of time out of the future is a mystery. Their meeting is the present, and it is consciousness, the only time life is alive. The endless wonder of this meeting is what causes the mind, in its inward liberty of a frozen morning, to turn back and question and remember. The world is full of places. Why is it that I am here?"

by Wendell Berry
Counterpoint, 2012
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Friday, December 28, 2012

Calamity Jane: Legendary Western Poverty

"Her career may offer the best case study of legend-making in the history of the American West simply because there was so little on which to build; she arrested no outlaws, robbed no banks, and killed no Indians. Instead, hers is a bleak story of poverty, alcoholism, and an unsteady domestic life. She worked as a dance-hall girl, prostitute, waitress, bartender, and cook; she lived with various men she called husbands and expressed affection for her children. Rather than displaying legendary ingredients, her life illustrates a part of western history not often told, the existence of the poor."

The Woman and the Legend
by James D. McLaird
University of Oklahoma Press, 2012
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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Review: Let the Meatballs Rest

This is a collection of 100 brief essays discussing specific foodstuffs, their histories and how they have helped shape the human societies that include them in their diets.

Potatoes, for instance, were introduced to Europe in the 16th century but their bland flavor and "subterranean nature" made them unappealing. Only when other crops had failed and starvation loomed did farmers turn to widescale production of the easy-to-grow spuds.

Garlic, likewise, was once considered fit only for peasants. Eating such strong and foul-smelling food was a damning mark of poverty in the 10th century.

And eggplant, first brought to Europe by Arabs, was long associated with "the lower class and Jews." Yet the peasant cuisine that emerged from their use would later be co-opted by the upper classes.

And Other Stories About Food and Culture
by Massimo Montanari
Columbia University Press, 2012
Cover Art: Let the Meatballs Rest
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Friday, December 14, 2012

Well Read Books: The Mind Benders

The Mind Benders explores the murky lower depths of the drug user, opening a strange world of sex and fantasy to the reader.

Can LSD change quiet afternoon teas into wild orgies?

Will marijuana turn frigid virgins into nymphs?

This book presents a sensationalized discussion of the aphrodisiac effects of speed, marijuana, opiates, heroin, LSD and other drugs.

by Jonathan Smith
Triumph News Co., 1967
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Curt Flood and Marvin Miller

Marvin Miller, the legendary leader of the Major League Baseball Player’s Association, passed away yesterday at the age of 95.

Curt Flood's challenge of the reserve clause and the subsequent creation of free agency will forever be part of his legacy.

In Curt Flood in the Media, the celebrated ballplayer reflects on his decision to sue the owners:

"It had been germinating in me for weeks. Sooner or later, someone would challenge baseball's right to treat human beings like used cars. 'I want to sue baseball on constitutional grouns,' I told [Marvin Miller]. His eyebrows rose. 'I want to give the courts a chance to outlaw the reserve system. I want to go out like a man instead of disappearing like a bottle cap.'"

Baseball, Race, and the Demise of the Activist Athlete
by Abraham Iqbal Khan
University Press of Mississippi, 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Reading the History: Kit Carson

History has portrayed Christopher "Kit" Carson in black and white. Best known as a nineteenth-century frontier hero, he has been represented more recently as an Indian killer responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Navajos. Biographer David Remley counters these polarized views, finding Carson to be less than a mythical hero, but more than a simpleminded rascal with a rifle.

This biography strikes a balance between prevailing notions about this quintessential western figure.

The Life of an American Border Man 
by David A. Remley
University of Oklahoma Press, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

Reading the History: Calamity Jane

Forget Doris Day singing on the stagecoach. Forget Robin Weigert’s gritty portrayal on HBO’s Deadwood. The real Calamity Jane was someone the likes of whom you have never encountered. That is, until now.

This book is a definitive biography of Martha Canary, the woman popularly known as Calamity Jane.

The Woman and the Legend
by James D. McLaird
University of Oklahoma Press, 2012

Farm and Garden Picks: Tractors of the World

Tractors come in all different shapes and sizes, and Tractors of the World covers the field from the early steam-driven monsters to the traditional "two large, two small" wheel configuration; the Row Crop models with two small front wheels placed close together and two large rear wheels; and finally to the ultimate modern, four-wheel-drive, multigeared, mega-beasts with GPS devices and onboard computers.

by Mirco de Cet
Arctrus Publishing, 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Review: Tales of a River Rat

The "Wild Mississippi" in this collection of essays is the backwaters of the Upper Mississippi River in Minnesota and Wisconsin, some six thousand acres of seasonally flooded hardwood swamps and heavily forested uplands. Though wild and undeveloped and largely unspoiled, this land is in constant earshot of one of North America's noisiest river channels.

This has been the domain of  nature writer, storyteller, river guide and environmental educator Kenny Salwey for more than three decades. He describes it in first person prose, as if dictating en plein air:

"Now I'm in the Big Woods, sitting in the shade of the old basswoods. How they whisper in the breeze! The water in the log pool is dark and foreboding. A fine scum rests against the upstream edge of the logs. How long have they lain in their watery grave? Two red-tail hawks soar on silent wings; around and around they go. Are they related to the hawk we watched on my first trip here more than forty years ago? I'd like to think so. A splash in the scum breaks the spell. I look down to see ripples where a trout took a fly."

The subject of a 2004 BBC documentary in its Natural World Collection, Salwey is often referred to as the "last of the river rats," a rare breed of people who pretty much live off the land in this harsh territory.

Salwey's essays  are predominantly autobiographical present tense stories of his life in the wild - running a trapline, training a hunting dog, studying wildlife, guiding birders, fishing for trout, encountering bears and muskrats, and getting lost in a blizzard. There's also a handful of his poems in the book and even a recipe for cowboy cookies.

Tales of a River Rat: Adventures Along the Wild Mississippi
by Kenny Salwey. 
Fulcrum, 2012.
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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Now exploring The Bark River Chronicles

The Bark River valley in southeastern Wisconsin is a microcosm of the state's - indeed, of the Great Lakes region's - natural and human history.

The Bark River Chronicles records one couple's journey by canoe from the river's headwaters to its confluence with the Rock River and several miles farther downstream to Lake Koshkonong.

Stories from a Wisconsin Watershed
by Milton J. Bates
Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2012
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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Finding Your Voice on Facebook

"The key to successfully marketing your business on Facebook is finding an authentic voice that connects with and engages your desired audience," suggests John Wayne Zimmerman in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Facebook Marketing.

Zimmerman devotes a chapter of his to "The Voice of Your Business" that suggests choosing a celebrity whose persona reflects the way you want your business to be perceived. Mimic the language and style of this "celebrity spokesperson" in your Facebook posts, he advises, and try to be consistent. If more than one person is posting, make sure they also use this  "brand."

As for the content of your posts, Zimmerman says it should always be what your target market wants. "If you own a landscape business, focus on offering tips on how to prepare the lawn for winter, how to get rid of grubs, and when to plant bulbs in your garden."

by John Wayne Zimmerman
ALPHA, 2012
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Monday, November 5, 2012

Animal Origami

You can create an entire zoo of origami creatures with the specially designed textured papers in this kit, which includes step by step photographic instructions for building 20 different animals.

Animal Origami
by Joost Langeveld
Thunder Bay Press, 2011

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artwork: Origami Crane

The Timber Press Encyclopedia of Flowering Shrubs

Now is the time to celebrate late flowering shrubs, an often overlooked group of plants which extend the year's interest in the garden.

The Hydrangea paniculata are especially hardy, carrying abundant flower heads through autumn and sometimes into winter. These include the H. paniculata Grandiflora, which has white flowers turning soft pink as they age. The flowers can be dried for winter decoration.
Hydrangea paniculata Grandiflora"A rounded, deciduous shrub with bluish green foliage and very dense tapered panicles of flower heads."
Flowers late summer to mid autumn. Sun to partial shade. Fertile soil.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: The Guide to Colorado Mammals

This guide offers identification and an overview of  128 species of mammals native to Colorado. Intended for casual hikers, outdoor recreationists, wildlife watchers and other non-professional readers, the book emphasizes unusual behaviors may be seen in the field.

The Gray Fox, for instance, is famous for its tree-climbing - grasping the trunk of a tree with its front legs and scrabbling up with its hind feet in pursuit of prey. Nicknamed the "tree fox," it will sometimes be spotted resting on a tree limb.

by Mary Taylor Young
Fulcrum, 2012
Continued in The Nature Pages

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Review: Hunter's Log

The essence of autumn on the northern plains of America, and North Dakota in particular, is bagged and brought home in this collection of hunting poetry.

In a preface to his work, the poet explains that hunting has taught him accuracy of observation and, as a writer, accuracy of expression. Both skills are effectively employed in poems like "Missouri Breaks":

A blooded dog quarters the feral rye,
and my body's long quarrel with my mind
is silenced by a landscape and a sky
legible as a Bible for the blind.

Inspired by Ortega y Gassett's "Meditations on Hunting," gifted to him by his father, Timothy Murphy feels "the killing of the game is a ritual preparation for our own mortality." In "The Blind," the poet describes an outing with an aging father:

By some ancestral code
fathers and sons don't break,
we each carry a load
of which we cannot speak.

Here we commit our dead
to the unyielding land
where broken windmills creak
and stricken ganders cry.

Father, the dog, and I
are learning how to die
with our feet stuck in the muck
and our eyes trained on the sky.

Continued in ... The Nature Pages

by Timothy Murphy
The Dakota Institute, 2011.
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Friday, October 19, 2012

The Natural Navigator

This book explains how to find your way without GPS or even compasses, but with shadows, stars, tides, plants, clouds, the moon, the sun and wild animals. Also known as ‘wayfinding,’ natural navigation techniques can be used on land, sea or in mid-air.

Here's a good example of "natural navigation" at work in the Florida Everglades.

The Natural Navigator
The Rediscovered Art of Letting Nature Be Your Guide
by Tristan Gooley
Linden Publishing, 2012

Friday, October 5, 2012

Reading the History: American Windmills

From the earliest days of European settlement, Americans have cherished the sight of a windmill—an instantly recognizable feature of the American landscape. Boasting nearly two hundred striking images, this book is the first devoted to photographs illustrating historic wind machines throughout North America.

T. Lindsay Baker, an expert historian on windmills, has written about wind-power history for twenty-five years. His album contains historic images captured by professional windmiller B. H. “Tex” Burdick and from corporate archives of windmill manufacturers. It depicts windmills in a wide range of settings and uses—not only on ranches and farms but also alongside railroads, in industry, and even in urban areas.

The photos chosen for this book illustrate windmill manufacture, distribution, and use in all regions of the United States, with an emphasis on the Great Plains.

An Album of Historic Photographs
by T. Lindsay Baker
University of Oklahoma Press, 2012
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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Farm and Garden Picks: Organic Gardener's Companion

Lifelong gardener Jane Shellenberger brings us this comprehensive, hands-on guide to growing organic produce in the Rocky Mountain and western region, including Colorado, parts of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and eastern Oregon.

The text covers soil cultivation, plant selection, water, microclimates, and other concerns specific to semiarid and high-altitude climates.

Growing Vegetables in the West
by Jane Shellenberger
Fulcrum, 2012
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Sunday, September 23, 2012

New Guides: The Guide to Colorado Mammals

A guidebook for a general audience, The Guide to Colorado Mammals describes 128 species of mammals native to Colorado.

Each mammal is described within a species account, including common and scientific name, physical description, size, habitat, distributions, field notes, legal status, and photographs.

This guidebook covers everything from marsupials, shrews, and moles to bats, rabbits, rodents, bears, and hoofed animals.

by Mary Taylor Young
Fulcrum, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Facebook Marketing

The author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Facebook Marketing, John Wayne Zimmermanis a self-taught specialist in the new field of social media marketing. Unlike most Facebook users, who use the social network to connect somewhat awkwardly with friends and family, his aim is to promote a business and make influential contacts through online engagement.

He promises to show his readers "how to attract a bigger audience, what to say to get your brand known, and why Facebook will soon be the most effective social media tool in your marketing arsenal."

by John Wayne Zimmerman
ALPHA, 2012

Now exploring Tales of a River Rat

Kenny Salwey is the last of a breed of men whose lifestyle has all but disappeared in this fast-paced, high-tech digital world. For thirty years, this weathered woodsman eked out a living on the Mississippi River, running a trapline, hiring out as a river guide, digging and selling roots and herbs, and eating the food he hunted and fished.

In Tales of a River Rat,  Salwey informs and entertains readers as he weaves his life story on the Mississippi River.

Adventures Along the Wild Mississippi
by Kenny Salwey
Fulcrum, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Time for a Mobile Marketing Strategy

Many analysts predict mobile browsing on the web is going to surpass desktop browsing by 2015, or soon thereafter. This is indicative of a fundamental shift in Internet users' browsing habits and choice of devices. E-marketers of all stripes are going to have to develop or incorporate a mobile marketing strategy into their business plans.

Practical Plans to Get Your Business Mobile in Just a Few Days for Just a Few Bucks
by Deltina Hay

Monday, September 17, 2012

New Guides: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Facebook Marketing

Millions of people use Facebook every day, and many of them could be your future customers. Facebook makes it easy for you to expand your customer base and nurture existing relationships with such tools as Marketplace, Places, and Deals. This book shows you how.

Covers all aspects including Facebook Marketplace, Facebook Places, and Facebook Deals.

by John Wayne Zimmerman
ALPHA, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

History Book Review: Remembering The Battle of the Crater

This examination of a single battle by Civil War historian and teacher Kevin M. Levin illuminates the roles of race and politics in shaping our collective history of the war.

The battle occurred during the Union Army's seige of Petersburg, Virginia at the end of July, 1964.  The "Crater" was created by a huge explosion set off by Union forces beneath the Confederate front line. A subsequent advance by Union troops into the gap ended disastrously.

This book focuses on the United States Colored Troops (USCTs) who were massacred during and after the battle and how the story of their demise has been shrouded from public memory.

"That is the subject of this book," Levin points out. "This process of preserving a certain kind of memory that moves to minimize or ignore the participation of USCTs in one ofthe bloodiest battles of the Civil War."

War as Murder
by Kevin M. Levin
The University Press of Kentucky, 2012

Now Cooking with Little Old Lady Recipes

Little Old Lady Recipes honors the extraordinary women who create pot luck dinners, church socials, wedding banquets, and the best desserts you've ever tasted. Every page features their simple, no-frills recipes for pot roast, meat loaf, dumplings, corn bread, fried chicken, bundt cake, and other mouth-watering favorites-along with gorgeous photography of the chefs at work and generous portions of their kitchen table wisdom ("Butter comes from a cow. Tell me where the heck margarine comes from, and then maybe I'll eat it!").

These Little Old Lady Recipes are simple, delicious, and ridiculously cheap and easy to make.

Comfort Food and Kitchen Table Wisdom
by Meg Favreau

Monday, September 10, 2012

Curt Flood and the Media

The media continues to define and interpret the history of Curt Flood.

ESPN ranks him as one of its "10 Most Influential African-Americans in Major League Baseball," pointing out that the Gold Glove center fielder unsuccessfully challenged MLB's reserve clause but paved the way for free agency.

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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Review: The Natural Navigator

British expeditionist Tristan Gooley has sailed across oceans, flown  between continents, and climbed many of the world's tallest mountains using the natural navigation skills described in this book.

While humans have been making their way from place to place for a millenia, there is no record of how the earliest travelers navigated, or how often they got lost. Accounts of navigation methods don't show up in anyone's literature until about a thousand years ago.

Gooley's obsession with the art of navigation began as an empowered 10-year-old sailing a dinghy. "I had garnered the skills to go wherever I wanted. Not where my teachers told me to go, not where my parents wanted me to go, but where I wanted to go."

This book explains how to find your way without GPS or even compasses, but with shadows, stars, tides, plants, clouds, the moon, the sun and wild animals. Also known as ‘wayfinding,’ natural navigation techniques can be used on land, sea or in mid-air.

Continued in ... The Nature Pages
The Rediscovered Art of Letting Nature Be Your Guide
by Tristan Gooley
Linden Publishing, 2012
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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Review: Curt Flood in the Media

"After twelve years in the major leagues, I do not feel that I am a piece of property to be bought and sold irrespective of my wishes," stated Curt Flood in a letter to Major League Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, challenging the "reserve clause," a rule that essentially made players slaves to their current teams by barring them from changing teams for more money or better working conditions. Flood's challenge, which ended with a 5-3 Supreme Court ruling against his claim, would ultimately lead to "free agency" for pro ballplayers after the expiration of their initial contracts and dramatically higher salaries.

This book is a scholarly examination of the public discourse that followed Curt Flood's case and what it meant to race relations at the time, and what it means today. It highlights how blacks were excluded from the discussion because of their blackness and how Flood's activism may have put an end to "athletic activism" for professional athletes in general.

Because he forged the path to free agency (which he never personally benefitted from), "Flood helped to manufacture the false dreams that reproduce inequity and despair, and Flood helped cultivate the financial climate that robs our athletes of their incentive to speak with courage," observes Abraham Iqbal Khan, an assistant professor of communication and Africana studies at the University of South Florida.

Baseball, Race, and the Demise of the Activist Athlete
by Abraham Iqbal Khan
University Press of Mississippi, 2012
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Monday, September 3, 2012

Reading the History: Remembering The Battle of the Crater

The battle of the Crater is known as one of the Civil War's bloodiest struggles -- a Union loss with combined casualties of 5,000, many of whom were members of the United States Colored Troops (USCT) under Union Brigadier General Edward Ferrero. The battle was a violent clash of forces as Confederate soldiers fought for the first time against African American soldiers. After the Union lost the battle, these black soldiers were captured and subject both to extensive abuse and the threat of being returned to slavery in the South. Yet, despite their heroism and sacrifice, these men are often overlooked in public memory of the war.

In Remembering The Battle of the Crater: War is Murder, Kevin M. Levin addresses the shared recollection of a battle that epitomizes the way Americans have chosen to remember, or in many cases forget, the presence of the USCT.

War as Murder 
by Kevin M. Levin
The University Press of Kentuckyi, 2012

Saturday, September 1, 2012

On The Roster: Curt Flood in the Media

Curt Flood in the Media examines the public discourse surrounding Curt Flood (1938-1997), the star center fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals throughout the sixties. In 1969, Flood was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. At the time, all Major League Baseball players were subject to the reserve clause, which essentially bound a player to work in perpetuity for his original team, unless traded for another player or sold for cash, in which case he worked under the same reserve conditions for the next team.

Flood refused the trade on a matter of principle, arguing that Major League Baseball had violated both U.S. antitrust laws and the 13th Amendment's prohibition of involuntary servitude. In a defiant letter to Commissioner Bowie Kuhn asking for his contractual release, Flood infamously wrote, "after twelve years in the major leagues, I do not feel that I am a piece of property to be bought and sold irrespective of my wishes."

Baseball, Race, and the Demise of the Activist Athlete
by Abraham Iqbal Khan
University Press of Mississippi, 2012

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Farm and Garden Picks: The Timber Press Encyclopedia of Flowering Shrubs

Rich attributes including vibrant color, fragrance, and sheer variety of form make flowering shrubs the most rewarding of garden plants, but this vast group with its scores of tempting plants — including abutilons, camellias, viburnums, and witch hazels — requires careful navigation.

Leading expert on woody plants Jim Gardiner has distilled several decades of knowledge and experience into The Timber Press Encyclopedia of Flowering Shrubs, an incomparable pictorial reference of hardy shrubs that excel in temperate-zone gardens.

by James M. Gardiner
Timber Press, 2012

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Nature Pages: The Nature Principle

In 2005, Richard Louv identified a widespread ailment in American children that he called "nature-deficit disorder." In this book, he describes the same deficiency in adults and suggests some cures.

"In recent years an emerging body of research has begun to describe the restorative power of time spent in the natural world," he explains. "Even in small doses, we are learning, exposure to nature can measurably improve our psychological and physical health."

Finding our way back to nature is the problem. Today, for the first time in history, more than half the world's population lives in towns and cities and traditional ways of experiencing nature through work and daily living are vanishing along with hundreds of animal species. Where do we find nature amidst the sea of circuitry in which we are immersed? Louv has some suggestions.

Begin by embracing with joy the sanguine mystery and beauty of life. Get outside. Experience the natural world and therein find hope in its restorative powers and imagine a better future. Paraphrasing Martin Luther
King, “Any cultural movement will fail if it can’t paint a picture of a world where people want to go to.”

Continued in ... The Nature Pages

Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age
by Richard Louv
Algonquin Books, 2012

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  • Wednesday, August 15, 2012

    Reading the History of The Settlers' War

    During the decades from 1820 to 1870, the American frontier expanded two thousand miles across the trans-Mississippi West. In Texas the frontier line expanded only about two hundred miles.

    The supposedly irresistible European force met nearly immovable Native American resistance, sparking a brutal struggle for possession of Texas’s hills and prairies that continued for decades.

    During the 1860s, however, the bloodiest decade in the western Indian wars, there were no large-scale battles in Texas between the army and the Indians. Instead, the targets of the Comanches, the Kiowas, and the Apaches were generally the homesteaders out on the Texas frontier, that is, precisely those who should have been on the sidelines. Ironically, it was these noncombatants who bore the brunt of the warfare, suffering far greater losses than the soldiers supposedly there to protect them. It is this story that The Settlers’ War tells for the first time.

    The Struggle for the Texas Frontier in the 1860s
    by Gregory Michno
    Caxton Press, 2011

    Friday, August 10, 2012

    Farm and Garden Picks: Cereals and Pulses

    Cereal and pulse crops are staple foods that provide essential nutrients to many populations of the world. Traditionally, whole grains were consumed but most current foods are derived from refined fractions of cereal and pulse crops. Consumption of processed or refined products may reduce the health benefits of food.

    This text provides a summary of current research findings related to phytochemical composition and properties of cereal and pulse crops.

    Nutraceutical Properties and Health Benefits 
    edited by Liangli L. Yu, et al.
    Wiley-Blackwell, 2012

    Sunday, August 5, 2012

    New Guides: Distilling Fruit Brandy

    This comprehensive, technical guide offers the curious home distiller pretty much everything there is to know about distilling fruit brandies. Raw materials, fermentation, mashing, alcohol determination, clarifying and filtering, and storage are all presented in great detail through text, diagrams, and photos.

    Each and every aspect of distilling is presented, including timing, yields, detecting distillation errors, and more.

    by Josef Pischl
    Schiffer Publishing, 2012

    Friday, July 27, 2012

    Now exploring Man Killed by Pheasant and Other Kinships

    John Price’s Man Killed by Pheasant is a loving ode to the prairies of the Midwest, to west central Iowa, and to family connections that stretch from his Swedish ancestors to his parents to his wife and children. 

    Throughout he embraces “the opportunity, as always, to settle, to remember, and be ready.” This quest sounds more portentous than it is once enriched with Price’s gentle humor and endearing empathy.

    by John Price
    University Of Iowa Press, 2012

    Sunday, July 22, 2012

    Now exploring Natural Selections

    Whether wandering the paths of the imagination, driving through sparsely populated countryside, or listening for the voices of animals, Joseph Campana’s poems attend to the ways we are indelibly marked by habitat. Shot full of accidental attachments and reluctant transience,  Natural Selections  produces from vibrant contradiction potent song.

    In poems both lyric and expansive, Natural Selections finds in the simplicity and strangeness of middle America a complex metaphysics of place and an uncanny perspective reminiscent of the landscapes of Grant Wood.

    by Joseph Campana
    University Of Iowa Press, 2012

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

    Now exploring In the Memory of the Map

    Throughout his life, maps have been a source of imagination and wonder for Christopher Norment. Mesmerized by them since the age of eight or nine, he found himself courted and seduced by maps, which served functional and allegorical roles in showing him worlds that he might come to know and helping him understand worlds that he had already explored.

    In the Memory of the Map explores the complex relationship among maps, memory, and experience—what might be called a “cartographical psychology” or “cartographical history.”

    A Cartographic Memoir
    by Christopher Norment
    University Of Iowa Press, 2012

    Thursday, July 12, 2012

    Review: Forks Over Knives

    This book is a companion to the documentary "Forks Over Knives," which makes the claim that the most serious diseases of our time - cancer, diabetes, angina - can be controlled or prevented by not eating animal-based and processed foods.

    Forks Over Knives, and the recipes in this book, promote a plant-based diet using whole foods. The diet is a life-long commitment to minimally processed fruits, vegetables, whole grains, tubers, and legumes. Animal-based foods such as meat (including poultry and fish), dairy, and eggs are excluded or minimized along with refined foods such as bleached flour, refined sugar, and most oils.

    The documentary and the diet are based on the research of two Drs. T. Colin Campbell and Caldwell B. Esselstyn, who believe a diet of plant-based food and grains can both prevent and reverse heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and various cancers. Both doctors contribute to this book along with a half dozen other medical professionals. The editor, Gene Stone, authored The Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick.

    The Plant-Based Way to Health
    by Gene Stone
    The Experiment, 2011
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    Wednesday, July 11, 2012

    New Guides: Llewellyn's 2013 Herbal Almanac

    Spice up your favorite dishes with French tarragon. Chase away stress with delicious soup. There are hundreds of ways to benefit from nature’s most versatile plants inside Llewellyn’s Herbal Almanac.

    This treasury of innovative herbal ideas spans five categories: gardening, cooking, crafts, health/ beauty, and myth/lore.

    Learn about endangered herbs, hyssop, and the apple in Nordic ritual. Discover how to whip up antioxidant-rich purple passion parfait, use herbs in energetic healing, relieve dry skin with a borage face pack, treat your feet to a wormwood bath, turn your garden into a wildlife paradise with minimal effort and cost, and much more.

    Herbs for Growing & Gathering, Cooking & Crafts, Health & Beauty, History, Myth & Lore
    by Llewellyn 
    Llewellyn Publications, 2012

    Monday, July 9, 2012

    New Guides: Llewellyn's 2013 Witches' Spell-A-Day Almanac

    Make every day magical with a spell from Llewellyn’s Witches’ Spell-A-Day Almanac. Spellcasters of all levels can enhance their daily life with these easy bewitchments, recipes, rituals, and meditations.

    Susan Pesznecker, Tess Whitehurst, and other experienced magic practitioners offer simple spells for every occasion that require minimal supplies.

    For convenience, the 365 spells are cross-referenced by purpose: love, health, money, protection, home and garden, travel, and communication.

    Holidays & Lore 
    by Llewellyn 
    Llewellyn Publications, 2012

    Saturday, July 7, 2012

    Reading the History: The Kentucky Derby

    Each year on the first Saturday in May, the world turns its attention to the twin spires of Churchill Downs for the high-stakes excitement of the "greatest two minutes in sports," the Kentucky Derby. No American sporting event can claim the history, tradition, or pageantry that the Kentucky Derby holds. For more than 130 years, spectators have been fascinated by the magnificent horses that run the Louisville track. Thoroughbreds such as Secretariat and Barbaro have earned instant international fame, along with jockeys such as Isaac Murphy, Ron Turcotte, and Calvin Borel.

    The Kentucky Derby: How the Run for the Roses Became America's Premier Sporting Event calls this great tradition to post and illuminates its history and culture.

    How the Run for the Roses Became America's Premier Sporting Event
    by James C. Nicholson
    The University Press of Kentucky, 2012

    Friday, July 6, 2012

    Reading the History: How Kentucky Became Southern

    The conflicts of the Civil War continued long after the conclusion of the war: jockeys and Thoroughbreds took up the fight on the racetrack. 

    A border state with a shifting identity, Kentucky was scorned for its violence and lawlessness and struggled to keep up with competition from horse breeders and businessmen from New York and New Jersey. As part of this struggle, from 1865 to 1910, the social and physical landscape of Kentucky underwent a remarkable metamorphosis, resulting in the gentile, beautiful, and quintessentially southern Bluegrass region of today.

    How Kentucky Became Southern offers an accessible inside look at the Thoroughbred industry and its place in Kentucky history.

    A Tale of Outlaws, Horse Thieves, Gamblers, and Breeders
    by Maryjean Wall
    The University Press of Kentucky, 2012

    Tuesday, July 3, 2012

    Nature Pages: The Mountain and the Fathers

    The Mountain and The Fathers explores the life of boys and men in the unforgiving, harsh world north of the Bull Mountains of eastern Montana in a drought afflicted area called the Big Dry, a land that chews up old and young alike. 

    Joe Wilkins was born into this world, raised by a young mother and elderly grandfather following the untimely death of his father. That early loss stretches out across the Big Dry, and Wilkins uses his own story and those of the young boys and men growing up around him to examine the violence, confusion, and rural poverty found in this distinctly American landscape.

    Growing Up on The Big Dry
    by Joe Wilkins
    Counterpoint, 2012
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    Nature Writing and Natural Histories
    The Nature Pages

    Saturday, June 30, 2012

    Now Cooking with The Farmer's Market Guide

    Eat fresh, seasonal, and locally-grown produce. That is what a farmers market encourages you to do and so does this new cookbook. With 251 color images, it is filled with lots of traditional, time-tested, and delicious recipes for everything from corn and brussels sprouts to tomatoes and rutabaga. 

    Small and portable, you can take this book to the market, identify the item by photograph, read a brief description, and see at a glance the most common ways for preparing the vegetable.

    With Identification Guide and Recipes
    by Jennifer Loustau
    Schiffer Publishing, 2012
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    Sunday, June 24, 2012

    Review: Doña Tomás

    California chefs Dona Savitsky and Thomas Schnetz showcase dishes from the menu of "authentic Mexican cooking" that has made their restaurant -- Doña Tomás -- a pioneering success in upscale Berkeley.

    More than 90 recipes are  included in this volume, divided into chapters on breakfast, lunch, salads and side, and dinner.  The opening chapter -- Básicos -- offers a primer on the ingredients, equipment and techniques of a Mexican kitchen.

    Discovering Authentic Mexican Cooking by Thomas Schnetz and Dona Savitsky
    Ten Speed Press, 2006

    Tuesday, June 19, 2012

    Now exploring Schelling's Game Theory

    Thomas Schelling, who wrote the foreword for this book, won the Nobel Prize in economics for "having enhanced our understanding of conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis." This came after he had taught a course in game theory and rational choice to advanced students and government officials for 45 years.

    In this book, Robert Dodge provides in language for a broad audience, the concepts that Schelling taught.

    Schelling's Game Theory
    How to Make Decisions
    by Robert Dodge
    Oxford University Press, 2012

    Saturday, June 16, 2012

    Reading the History: Fear of Food

    There may be no greater source of anxiety for Americans today than the question of what to eat and drink. Are eggs the perfect protein, or are they cholesterol bombs?  Is red wine good for my heart or bad for my liver? Will pesticides, additives, and processed foods kill me?

    Here with some very rare and very welcome advice is food historian Harvey Levenstein: Stop worrying!

    Fear of Food
    A History of Why We Worry about What We Eat
    by Harvey A. Levenstein
    University of Chicago Press, 2012

    Tuesday, June 12, 2012

    Reading the History: Rum

    ‘Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!’

    A favourite of pirates, the molasses-coloured liquid brings to mind clear blue seas and weatherbeaten sailors. But enjoyment of rum spread far beyond the scallywags of the Caribbean – Charles Dickens savoured it in punch, George Washington served it at campaign rallies, Queen Victoria sipped it in the British Navy’s grog, and Kamehameha I of Hawaii drank it straight

    A Global History
    by Richard Foss 
    Reaktion Books, 2012