Monday, June 29, 2015
1) Carson, Robert (editor). Many Waters: Natural History of the Walla Walla Valley and Vicinity. 2015. Keokee Books. Paperback: 192 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Many Waters is a testament to the beauty of an extraordinary place. From the Blue Mountains to the Columbia River, southeastern Washington and northeastern Oregon, in particular the Walla Walla Valley, is a remarkable region, one that American Indians called Wallah Wallah, or Many Waters. And for good reason. It's always been a bountiful place with its rich soils and streams teeming with fish.
Included are more than 40 paintings by noted Northwest landscape artist Leslie Cain to illustrate the Walla Walla River, Mill Creek and the Touchet River as they make their way from the Blue Mountains through fertile valleys to the mighty Columbia River. Katrina Roberts and Janice King contributed six poems about the hills, farms, forests, flowers, water and rocks of the area. Among the short essays are one on fishing by Scott Elliott and another by Kevin Pogue on wine terroir. Geography and geologic history are followed by chapters on past and present animals of southeastern Washington and adjacent Oregon. Images by Duane Scroggins and 15 more photographers illustrate the magnificent landscapes, beautiful flowers, and interesting birds and mammals of the Walla Walla Valley and vicinity.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone with an interest in the natural history of the region. The book is available here: http://keokeebooks.com/products-page/natural-and-human-history/many-waters/
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
1) Pratchett, Terry and Stephen Baxter. The Long Utopia: A Novel. 2015. Harper. Hardbound: 355 pages. Price: $26.99 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: It is the middle of the twenty-first century.
After the cataclysmic upheavals of Step Day and the Yellowstone eruption, humanity is spreading farther into the Long Earth. Society, on a battered Datum Earth and beyond, continues to evolve.
And new challenges emerge.
Now an elderly and cantankerous AI, Lobsang is living with Agnes in an exotic, far-distant world. He's determined to lead a normal life in New Springfield—they even adopt a child. But there are rumors, strange sightings in the sky. On this world, something isn't right. . . .
Millions of steps away—learning about a hidden family history and the father he never knew—Joshua receives an urgent summons from New Springfield.
Lobsang has come to understand that what has blighted his Earth is also a threat to all the worlds of the Long Earth. Countering this threat will require the combined efforts of humankind, machine, and the super-intelligent Next. And some must make the ultimate sacrifice. . . .
RECOMMENDATION: Fans of the Long Earth series should enjoy this book.
Monday, June 22, 2015
Friday, June 19, 2015
1) Stephenson, Neal. Seveneves: A Novel. 2015. William Morrow. Hardbound: 867 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Anathem, Reamde, and Cryptonomicon comes an exciting and thought-provoking science fiction epic—a grand story of annihilation and survival spanning five thousand years.
What would happen if the world were ending?
A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space.
But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain .. Five thousand years later, their progeny—seven distinct races now three billion strong—embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown . . . to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth.
A writer of dazzling genius and imaginative vision, Neal Stephenson combines science, philosophy, technology, psychology, and literature in a magnificent work of speculative fiction that offers a portrait of a future that is both extraordinary and eerily recognizable. As he did in Anathem, Cryptonomicon, the Baroque Cycle, and Reamde, Stephenson explores some of our biggest ideas and perplexing challenges in a breathtaking saga that is daring, engrossing, and altogether brilliant.
RECOMMENDATION: Fans of the author's other works should enjoy this book.
Monday, June 15, 2015
1) Howell, Steve N. G. & Brian L. Sullivan. Offshore Sea Life ID Guide: West Coast. 2015. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 56 pages. Price: $14.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Two-thirds of our planet lies out of sight of land, just offshore beyond the horizon. What wildlife might you find out there? And how might you identify what you see? This Offshore Sea Life ID Guide, designed for quick use on day trips off the West Coast, helps you put a name to what you see, from whales and dolphins to albatrosses, turtles, and even flyingfish. Carefully crafted color plates show species as they typically appear at sea, and expert text highlights identification features. This user-friendly field guide is essential for anyone going out on a whale-watching or birding trip, and provides a handy gateway to the wonders of the ocean.
RECOMMENDATION: A well illustrated introduction to the marine life found off the West Coast.
My WEEKLY Birdbooker Report can be found here: http://www.scilogs.com/maniraptora/birdbooker-report-376-7/
Saturday, June 13, 2015
1) Benton, Rachel C., Dennis O. Terry Jr., Emmett Evanoff, and H. Gregory McDonald. The White River Badlands: Geology and Paleontology. 2015. Indiana University Press. Hardbound: 222 pages. Price: $45.00 U.S.PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The forbidding Big Badlands in Western South Dakota contain the richest fossil beds in the world. Even today these rocks continue to yield new specimens brought to light by snowmelt and rain washing away soft rock deposited on a floodplain long ago. The quality and quantity of the fossils are superb: most of the species to be found there are known from hundreds of specimens. The fossils in the White River Group (and similar deposits in the American west) preserve the entire late Eocene through the middle Oligocene, roughly 35-30 million years ago and more than 30 million years after non-avian dinosaurs became extinct. The fossils provide a detailed record of a period of abrupt global cooling and what happened to creatures who lived through it. The book provides a comprehensive reference to the sediments and fossils of the Big Badlands and will complement, enhance, and in some ways replace the classic 1920 volume by Cleophas C. O'Harra. Because the book focuses on a national treasure, it touches on National Park Service management policies that help protect such significant fossils.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a serious interest in the geology/fossils of the region.