Saturday, October 21, 2017

New Title


1) Ridpath, Ian and Wil Tirion. Stars and Planets: The Most Complete Guide to the Stars, Planets, Galaxies, and Solar System (Princeton Field Guides). 2017. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 400 pages. Price: $22.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: In this newly updated and expanded edition of their classic work, Ian Ridpath and Wil Tirion illuminate the night sky as never before, providing novice stargazers and professional astronomers alike with the most informative, user-friendly, comprehensive, and authoritative celestial field guide available. The product of a thirty-year collaboration between one of the world’s leading astronomy writers and the world’s foremost celestial mapmaker, Stars and Planets features superb color sky charts, diagrams, or photographs on almost every page; clear and engaging writing; a spacious and attractive design; and a compact size. This updated edition features the latest information on stars, a revised section on planets that incorporates recent research on exoplanets, and some revised charts and new photographs. Simply put, Stars and Planets is indispensable. Don’t leave home―at night―without it.
  • Detailed charts covering all 88 constellations in the Northern and Southern hemispheres
  • Data and notes on all bright stars and other objects of interest
  • Detailed Moon maps and descriptions of the main lunar features
  • Tips on choosing and using binoculars and telescopes, to suit any budget
  • The only guide to provide annual planetary data as a downloadable online resource
  • Updates include the latest data on stars and exoplanets and some revised charts and new photos
 RECOMMENDATION: For anyone with an interested in Astronomy.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

New Title


1) Crossley, Richard, Paul Baicich, and Jessie Barry. The Crossley ID Guide: Waterfowl. 2017. Crossley Books. Flexibound: 510 pages. Price: $40.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds, published in 2011, revolutionized birding and books by providing the first real-life approach to ID. The Crossley ID Guide: Waterfowl, the fourth of these user-friendly guides, is for both hunters and birders. Unlike other guides, which provide isolated individual photographs or paint illustrations, this book features large, lifelike scenes that are 'painted in pixels.' Nearly 300 pages of waterfowl scenes - showing waterfowl in a wide range of views - near and far, from different angles, in various plumages and behaviors, including flight, and in the habitat in which they live. These beautiful compositions show how a bird's appearance changes with distance, and give equal emphasis to characteristics experts use to identify birds: size, structure and shape, behavior, probability, and color. This is the first book to convey all of these features visually - in a single image - and to reinforce them with accurate text.       Each scene provides a wealth of detailed visual information that invites and rewards careful study. By making identification easier, more accurate, and more fun than ever before, The Crossley ID Guides redefine how readers look at nature. Essential for anyone interested in waterfowl, it also promises to make new birders of many people who have despaired of using traditional guides. This waterfowl guide also carries a strong underlying conservation message. If all the readers of this book come together as one, we can better protect the things we love.
RECOMMENDATION: The two features I like most about this book are the female/eclipse plumage plates (usually labeled Summer/Fall in the book) and the duck upperwing plates. If you have the other Crossley guides, you'll want this one!


Thursday, October 12, 2017

New Title


1) Gorman, Gerard. Woodpecker (Animal Series). 2017. Reaktion Books. Paperback: 180 pages. Price: $19.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Woodpeckers are among the most remarkable birds in the avian world, having evolved a unique anatomy that enables them to peck and bore into solid timber both to find food and to create nesting cavities. The birds are key indicators of forest health and perform an important ecological role, providing holes that many other animals use. Woodpeckers have been considered symbols of fertility, security, strength, power, prophecy, magic, rhythm, medicine, and carpentry, and have been esteemed across cultures as the guardians of woodlands, tree surgeons, fire-bringers, weather forecasters, and boat-builders.
     In this charming volume, avian expert Gerard Gorman delves into the natural and cultural history of woodpeckers, exploring their origins and habitats and the ways they have fascinated humankind throughout history. Gorman finds woodpeckers everywhere—from ancient Babylon, Greece, and Rome, to the jungles of Amazonia and Borneo, to our modern-day Woody Woodpecker cartoon. Richly illustrated with images from both nature and culture, Woodpecker will appeal to everyone who is interested in these extraordinary birds.
RECOMMENDATION: If you like the author's other woodpecker books, you should like this one! Other recent titles in the series include: Llama, Wild Boar, Lizard, and Hippopotamus.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

New Title


1) Everhart, Michael J.. Oceans of Kansas, Second Edition: A Natural History of the Western Interior Sea (Life of the Past). 2017. Indiana University Press. Hardbound: 427 pages. Price: $50.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Revised, updated, and expanded with the latest interpretations and fossil discoveries, the second edition of Oceans of Kansas adds new twists to the fascinating story of the vast inland sea that engulfed central North America during the Age of Dinosaurs. Giant sharks, marine reptiles called mosasaurs, pteranodons, and birds with teeth all flourished in and around these shallow waters. Their abundant and well-preserved remains were sources of great excitement in the scientific community when first discovered in the 1860s and continue to yield exciting discoveries 150 years later. Michael J. Everhart vividly captures the history of these startling finds over the decades and re-creates in unforgettable detail these animals from our distant past and the world in which they lived―above, within, and on the shores of America’s ancient inland sea.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a serious interest in Cretaceous paleontology.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

New Title


1) Berta, Annalisa and James L. Sumich. The Rise of Marine Mammals: 50 Million Years of Evolution. 2017. Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 198 pages. Price: $75.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Marine mammals have long captured the attention of humans. Ancient peoples etched seals and dolphins on the walls of Paleolithic caves; today, engineers develop microprocessors to track these denizens of the deep. This groundbreaking book from highly respected marine mammal paleontologist Annalisa Berta delves into the story of the extraordinary adaptations that gave the world these amazing animals. The Rise of Marine Mammals reveals remarkable fossil record discoveries that shed light on the origins, relationships, and diversification of marine mammals.
     Focusing on evolution and paleobiology, Berta provides an overview of marine mammal species diversity, enhanced with gorgeous life restorations by Carl Buell, Robert Boessenecker, William Stout, and Ray Troll and extensive line drawings by graphics editor James L. Sumich. The book also considers ongoing conservation challenges, demonstrating how the fossil record of adaptation in response to past environmental shifts may illuminate the way that marine mammals respond to global climate change. This invaluable evolutionary framework is essential for helping us understand how best to protect and conserve today’s polar bears, whales, dolphins, seals, and fellow warm-blooded ocean dwellers.
      The Rise of Marine Mammals also describes exciting breakthroughs that rely on new techniques of study, including 3-D imaging, and molecular, finite element, and morphometric analyses, which have enhanced scientists’ understanding of everything from the anatomy of fetal whales to the genes behind limb loss in cetaceans. Mammalogists, paleontologists, and marine scientists will find Berta’s insights absorbing, while developmental and molecular biologists, geneticists, and ecologists exploring integrative research approaches will benefit from her fresh perspective.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a serious interest in marine mammal evolution.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

New Title



1) Dunn, Jon L. and Jonathan Alderfer. National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 7th Edition. 2017. National Geographic. Paperback: 591 pages. Price: $29.99 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This fully revised edition of the best-selling North American bird field guide is the most up-to-date guide on the market. Perfect for beginning to advanced birders, it is the only book organized to match the latest American Ornithological Society taxonomy.
     With more than 2.75 million copies in print, this perennial bestseller is the most frequently updated of all North American bird field guides. Filled with hand-painted illustrations from top nature artists (including the ever-popular hummingbird), this latest edition is poised to become an instant must-have for every serious birder in the United States and Canada. The 7th edition includes 37 new species for a total of 1,023 species; 16 new pages allow for 250 fresh illustrations; 80 new maps; and 350 map revisions. With taxonomy revised to reflect the radical new American Ornithological Society taxonomy established in 2016, the addition of standardized banding codes, and text completely vetted by birding experts, this new edition will top of the list of birding field guides for years to come.
RECOMMENDATION: This edition was updated through December 2016. Of all the new artwork, the hummingbird plates are the most revised (all new except for Lucifer Hummingbird). If you own other editions of this book, you will want this one!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

New Title


1) Troelstra, A.S.. Bibliography of Natural History Travel Narratives. 2016. KNNV Publishing. Hardbound: 481 pages. Price: $259.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A.S.Troelstra's fine bibliography is an outstanding and ground-breaking work. He has provided the academic world with a long-needed bibliographical record of human endeavour in the field of the natural sciences. The travel narratives listed here encompass all aspects of the natural world in every part of the globe, but are especially concerned with its fauna, flora and fossil remains. Such eyewitness accounts have always fascinated their readers, but they were never written solely for entertainment: fragmentary though they often are, these narratives of travel and exploration are of immense importance for our scientific understanding of life on earth, providing us with a window on an ever changing, and often vanishing, natural world. Without such records of the past we could not track, document or understand the significance of changes that are so important for the study of zoogeography. With this book Troelstra gives us a superb overview of natural history travel narratives. The well over four thousand detailed entries, ranging over four centuries and all major western European languages, are drawn from a wide range of sources and include both printed books and periodical contributions. While no subject bibliography by a single author can attain absolute completeness, Troelstra's work is comprehensive to a truly remarkable degree. The entries are arranged alphabetically by author and chronologically, by the year of first publication, under the author's name. A brief biography, with the scope and range of their work, is given for each author; every title is set in context, the contents - including illustrations - are described and all known editions and translations are cited. In addition, there is a geographical index that cross refers between authors and the regions visited, and a full list of the bibliographical and biographical sources used in compiling the bibliography.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a serious interest in natural history travel literature.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

New Title


1) Newton, Ian. Farming and Birds (Collins New Naturalist Library). 2017. William Collins. Paperback: 628 pages. Price: $31.88 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Given the underlying topography, the scenery over most of Britain has been created largely by human activities. Over the centuries, landscapes have been continually modified as human needs and desires have changed. Each major change in land use has brought changes to the native plants and animals, continually altering the distribution and abundance of species. This is apparent from the changes in vegetation and animal populations that were documented in historical times, but even more so in those that have occurred since the Second World War. More than seventy per cent of Britain's land surface is currently used for crop or livestock production, and in recent decades farming has experienced a major revolution. Not only has it become more thoroughly mechanised, it has also become heavily dependent on synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, and increasingly large-scale in its operation. These changes have brought crop yields and livestock production to levels previously considered unattainable. However, such high yields have been achieved only at huge financial and environmental costs. One of the most conspicuous, and best documented, consequences of modern agriculture has been a massive loss of wildlife, including birds. In this timely addition to the New Naturalist Library, Ian Newton discusses the changes that have occurred in British agriculture over the past seventy years, and the effects they have had on bird populations. He explains how different farming procedures have affected birds and other wildlife, and how an understanding of the processes involved could help in future conservation.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in British avian ecology and/or collect the New Naturalist series.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

New Title


1) Datlow, Ellen (editor). Black Feathers: Dark Avian Tales: An Anthology. 2017. Pegasus. Hardbound: 308 pages. Price: $25.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A dazzling anthology of avian-themed fiction guaranteed to frighten and delight, edited by one of the most acclaimed horror anthologists in the genre.
     Birds are usually loved for their beauty and their song. They symbolize freedom, eternal life, the soul.
     There’s definitely a dark side to the avian. Birds of prey sometimes kill other birds (the shrike), destroy other birds’ eggs (blue jays), and even have been known to kill small animals (the kea sometimes eats live lambs). And who isn’t disgusted by birds that eat the dead―vultures awaiting their next meal as the life blood flows from the dying. One of our greatest fears is of being eaten by vultures before we’re quite dead.
     Is it any wonder that with so many interpretations of the avian, that the contributors herein are eager to be transformed or influenced by them? Included in Black Feathers are those obsessed by birds of one type or another. Do they want to become birds or just take on some of the “power” of birds? The presence or absence of birds portends the future. A grieving widow takes comfort in her majestic winged neighbors, who enable her to cope with a predatory relative. An isolated society of women relies on a bird to tell their fortunes. A silent young girl and her pet bird might be the only hope a detective has of tracking down a serial killer in a tourist town. A chatty parrot makes illegal deals with the dying. A troubled man lives in isolation with only one friend for company―a jackdaw.
     In each of these fictions, you will encounter the dark resonance between the human and avian. You see in yourself the savagery of a predator, the shrewd stalking of a hunter, and you are lured by birds that speak human language, that make beautiful music, that cypher numbers, and seem to have a moral center. You wade into this feathered nightmare, and brave the horror of death, trading your safety and sanity for that which we all seek―the promise of flight.
RECOMMENDATION: For those that like their bird tales on the dark side!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

New Title


1) Costa, James T.. Darwin's Backyard: How Small Experiments Led to a Big Theory. 2017. W. W. Norton. Hardbound: 441 pages. Price: $27.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Darwin’s Backyard goes beyond the portrait of Charles Darwin as a brilliant thinker to concentrate on him as a nimble experimenter delving into some of evolution’s great mysteries.
     James T. Costa takes readers on a journey from Darwin’s childhood through his voyage on the HMS Beagle where his ideas on evolution began. We then follow Darwin to Down House, his bustling home of forty years, where he kept porcupine quills at his desk to dissect barnacles, maintained a flock of sixteen pigeon breeds in the dovecote, and cultivated climbing plants in the study, and to Bournemouth, where on one memorable family vacation he fed carnivorous plants in the soup dishes.
     Using his garden and greenhouse, the surrounding meadows and woodlands, and even taking over the cellar, study, and hallways of his home-turned-field-station, Darwin tested ideas of his landmark theory of evolution with an astonishing array of hands-on experiments that could be done on the fly, without specialized equipment.
     He engaged naturalists, friends, neighbors, family servants, and even his children, nieces, nephews, and cousins as assistants in these experiments, which involved everything from chasing bees and tempting fish to eat seeds to serenading earthworms. From the experiments’ results, he plumbed the laws of nature and evidence for the revolutionary arguments of On the Origin of Species and his other watershed works.
    Beyond Darwin at work, we accompany him against the backdrop of his enduring marriage, chronic illness, grief at the loss of three children, and joy in scientific revelation. This unique glimpse of Darwin’s life introduces us to an enthusiastic correspondent, crowd-sourcer, family man, and, most of all, an incorrigible observer and experimenter.
    Includes directions for eighteen hands-on experiments, for home, school, yard, or garden.
RECOMMENDATION: For those that want to learn more about Darwin the scientist.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

New Title


1) Webster, Michael S.(editor). The Extended Specimen: Emerging Frontiers in Collections-Based Ornithological Research. 2017. CRC Press. Hardbound: 240 pages. Price: $139.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The Extended Specimen highlights the research potential for ornithological specimens, and is meant to encourage ornithologists poised to initiate a renaissance in collections-based ornithological research. Contributors illustrate how collections and specimens are used in novel ways by adopting emerging new technologies and analytical techniques. Case studies use museum specimens and emerging and non-traditional types of specimens, which are developing new methods for making biological collections more accessible and "usable" for ornithological researchers. Thus, book documents the power of ornithological collections to address key research questions of global importance.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in ornithological specimens.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

New Title


1) McKay, John J.. Discovering the Mammoth: A Tale of Giants, Unicorns, Ivory, and the Birth of a New Science. 2017. Pegasus Books. Hardbound: 241 pages. Price: $27.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The fascinating saga of solving the mystery of this ancient animal who once roamed the north country―and has captivated our collective imagination ever since.
      Today, we know that a mammoth is an extinct type of elephant that was covered with long fur and lived in the north country during the ice ages. But how do you figure out what a mammoth is if you have no concept of extinction, ice ages, or fossils? Long after the last mammoth died and was no longer part of the human diet, it still played a role in human life. Cultures around the world interpreted the remains of mammoths through the lens of their own worldview and mythology.
     When the ancient Greeks saw deposits of giant fossils, they knew they had discovered the battle fields where the gods had vanquished the Titans. When the Chinese discovered buried ivory, they knew they had found dragons’ teeth. But as the Age of Reason dawned, monsters and giants gave way to the scientific method. Yet the mystery of these mighty bones remained. How did Enlightenment thinkers overcome centuries of myth and misunderstanding to reconstruct an unknown animal?
     The journey to unravel that puzzle begins in the 1690s with the arrival of new type of ivory on the European market bearing the exotic name "mammoth." It ends during the Napoleonic Wars with the first recovery of a frozen mammoth. The path to figuring out the mammoth was traveled by merchants, diplomats, missionaries, cranky doctors, collectors of natural wonders, Swedish POWs, Peter the Great, Ben Franklin, the inventor of hot chocolate, and even one pirate.
     McKay brings together dozens of original documents and illustrations, some ignored for centuries, to show how this odd assortment of characters solved the mystery of the mammoth and, in doing so, created the science of paleontology. 8 pages of black-and-white illustrations.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in mammoths. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

New Title


1) Thibault, Jean-Claude and Alice Cibois. Birds of Eastern Polynesia: A Biogeographic Atlas. 2017. Lynx Edicions. Hardbound: 438 pages. Price: $37.50 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Birds of Eastern Polynesia is the first biogeographic atlas covering all of the birds of one of the largest areas of Oceania. The book treats all of the 241 species, including extinct birds, ever recorded on the Line Islands, the Cook, Austral, Society, Marquesas, Tuamotu and Gambier archipelagos, the Pitcairn Group, and the Eastern Is. Group. Their distribution over the 151 islands of the region is detailed in 142 maps. The species accounts include systematics, a detailed morphometric or genetic analysis when it is available, and data on distribution, population size and trends, habitat and breeding. All species recorded in Eastern Polynesia are illustrated in color, except those only known by bone records.
     Birds of Eastern Polynesia represents an original and much needed ornithological synthesis of all the available literature on Eastern Polynesian birds, including many difficult-to find reports, as well as unpublished data gathered from local ornithologists and biologists. It also contains new data collected by the authors during numerous field trips in Eastern Polynesia and during visits to museum collections. This work presents a complete overview of this vast oceanic region for anyone with an interest in the biology, biogeography and conservation of the birds of the Pacific islands.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a serious interest in the birds of the region.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

New Title


1) Arlott, Norman. Birds of South-East Asia (Collins Field Guide). 2017. William Collins. Hardbound: 432 pages. Price: about $40.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This comprehensive new field guide is an excellent addition to the world-renowned series – the ultimate reference book for travelling birdwatchers.
     Every species of bird you might encounter in the region is featured, apart from non-established introductions. This includes coverage of China (south of the line used to define the Palearctic), Hainan (treated separately from SE China), Taiwan, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and the Coco Islands. As many of the major subspecies as possible are also included.
     Beautiful artwork depicts their breeding plumage, and non-breeding plumage when it differs significantly. The accompanying text concentrates on the specific characteristics and appearance of each species that allow identification in the field, including voice and distribution maps.
RECOMMENDATION: A good introduction to the birds of the region.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

New Title


1) MacNeal, David. Bugged: The Insects Who Rule the World and the People Obsessed with Them. 2017. St. Martin's Press. Hardbound: 308 pages. Price: $25.99 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Insects have been shaping our ecological world and plant life for over 400 million years. In fact, our world is essentially run by bugs―there are 1.4 billion for every human on the planet. In Bugged, journalist David MacNeal takes us on an off-beat scientific journey that weaves together history, travel, and culture in order to define our relationship with these mini-monsters.
      MacNeal introduces a cast of bug-lovers―from a woman facilitating tarantula sex and an exterminator nursing bedbugs (on his own blood), to a kingpin of the black market insect trade and a “maggotologist”―who obsess over the crucial role insects play in our everyday lives.
      Just like bugs, this book is global in its scope, diversity, and intrigue. Hands-on with pet beetles in Japan, releasing lab-raised mosquitoes in Brazil, beekeeping on a Greek island, or using urine and antlers as means of ancient pest control, MacNeal’s quest appeals to the squeamish and brave alike. Demonstrating insects’ amazingly complex mechanics, he strings together varied interactions we humans have with them, like extermination, epidemics, and biomimicry. And, when the journey comes to an end, MacNeal examines their commercial role in our world in an effort to help us ultimately cherish (and maybe even eat) bugs.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in entomology.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

New Title



1) Carruthers, Vincent (editor). Wildlife of Southern Africa: A field guide to the animals and plants of the region. 2017. Struik Nature. Paperback: 336 pages. Price: $23.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A field guide to the wildlife of southern Africa, describing over 2,000 plants and animals, with clear illustrations in full colour. This book has been a trusted field companion for many years. Comprehensively updated, it now features range maps for most groups. The chapters are colour-coded for easy reference, and diagnostic features appear in bold type within the descriptions. Each chapter is written by a leading expert in the field: • Lower invertebrates Mike Musgrave • Spiders and other arachnids Astri Leroy • Insects Mike Musgrave • Freshwater fishes Paul Skelton • Frogs Vincent Carruthers • Reptiles Bill Branch • Birds Ken Newman and Christine Read • Mammals Peter Apps • Grasses, sedges, ferns and fungi Elsa Pooley • Wild flowers Elsa Pooley • Trees Elsa Pooley.
RECOMMENDATION: A good introduction to the wildlife of the region.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

New Title



1) Ryan, Peter. Guide to Seabirds of Southern Africa. 2017. Struik Nature. Paperback: 160 pages. Price: $14.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A field guide to the seabirds that occur around the southern African coastline. Written by a specialist in the field of seabirds, the book focuses on the ID and behaviour of 135 species of seabird commonly seen around the coast and in the seas of the region. The text is supported with photographs (multiple images per bird where available) and distribution maps for all species. • An essential ID guide to all southern African seabird species. • Expert author, Peter Ryan – Director of the Percy FitzPatrick Institute. • Outstanding photographs vividly showcase each species • Introductory text covers species, origins, feeding, breeding and conservation.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interested in Southern African seabirds.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

New Title



1) Chandler, David. RSPB Spotlight Kingfishers. 2017. Bloomsbury. Paperback: 128 pages. Price: $18.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Usually observed as a flash of blue and orange from a riverbank, most people are aware of Kingfishers, but few of us are familiar with the intricacies of their day-to-day lives.
    With their long, dagger-like bills, bright blue plumage and characteristic fast, low flight over water, Common Kingfishers are instantly recognizable thanks to a massive range that stretches from Ireland, across Europe, North Africa and Asia as far as Australasia. The 90 or so species that belong to this colorful family have a cosmopolitan distribution and, in Spotlight Kingfishers, David Chandler celebrates their remarkable existence, studying their unique adaptations--including their ability to see prey under water--and examines their courtship, breeding and feeding habits. David investigates historical threats to Kingfisher populations, considers their future, and offers practical advice on how to find and see these glorious birds.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interested in the Common Kingfisher.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

New Titles



1) James, Matthew. Collecting Evolution: The Galapagos Expedition that Vindicated Darwin. 2017. Oxford University Press. Hardbound: 284 pages. Price: $34.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: In 1905, eight men from the California Academy of Sciences set sail from San Francisco for a scientific collection expedition in the Galapagos Islands, and by the time they were finished in 1906, they had completed one of the most important expeditions in the history of both evolutionary and conservation science. These scientists collected over 78,000 specimens during their time on the islands, validating the work of Charles Darwin and laying the groundwork for foundational evolution texts like Darwin's Finches. Despite its significance, almost nothing has been written on this voyage, lost amongst discussion of Darwin's trip on the Beagle and the writing of David Lack.
     In Collecting Evolution, author Matthew James finally tells the story of the 1905 Galapagos expedition. James follows these eight young men aboard the Academy to the Galapagos and back, and reveals the reasons behind the groundbreaking success they had. A current Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, James uses his access to unpublished writings and photographs to provide unprecedented insight into the expedition. We learn the voyagers' personal stories, and how, for all the scientific progress that was made, just as much intense personal drama unfolded on the trip. This book shares a watershed moment in scientific history, crossed with a maritime adventure. There are four tangential suicides and controversies over credit and fame. Collecting Evolution also explores the personal lives and scientific context that preceded this voyage, including what brought Darwin to the Galapagos on the Beagle voyage seventy years earlier. James discusses how these men thought of themselves as "collectors" before they thought of themselves as scientists, and the implications this had on their approach and their results.
     In the end, the voyage of the Academy proved to be crucial in the development of evolutionary science as we know it. It is the longest expedition in Galapagos history, and played a critical role in cementing Darwin's legacy. Collecting Evolution brings this extraordinary story of eight scientists and their journey to life.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interested in the history of scientific exploration.


2) Smalley, Andrea L.. Wild by Nature: North American Animals Confront Colonization. 2017.  Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 334 pages. Price: $49.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: From the time Europeans first came to the New World until the closing of the frontier, the benefits of abundant wild animals―from beavers and wolves to fish, deer, and bison―appeared as a recurring theme in colonizing discourses. Explorers, travelers, surveyors, naturalists, and other promoters routinely advertised the richness of the American faunal environment and speculated about the ways in which animals could be made to serve their colonial projects. In practice, however, American animals proved far less malleable to colonizers’ designs. Their behaviors constrained an English colonial vision of a reinvented and rationalized American landscape.
     In Wild by Nature, Andrea L. Smalley argues that Anglo-American authorities’ unceasing efforts to convert indigenous beasts into colonized creatures frequently produced unsettling results that threatened colonizers’ control over the land and the people. Not simply acted upon by being commodified, harvested, and exterminated, wild animals were active subjects in the colonial story, altering its outcome in unanticipated ways. These creatures became legal actors―subjects of statutes, issues in court cases, and parties to treaties―in a centuries-long colonizing process that was reenacted on successive wild animal frontiers.
     Following a trail of human–animal encounters from the seventeenth-century Chesapeake to the Civil War–era southern plains, Smalley shows how wild beasts and their human pursuers repeatedly transgressed the lines lawmakers drew to demarcate colonial sovereignty and control, confounding attempts to enclose both people and animals inside a legal frame. She also explores how, to possess the land, colonizers had to find new ways to contain animals without destroying the wildness that made those creatures valuable to English settler societies in the first place. Offering fresh perspectives on colonial, legal, environmental, and Native American history, Wild by Nature reenvisions the familiar stories of early America as animal tales.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interested in American environmental history.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

New Title


1) Gregory, Phil. Birds of New Guinea: Including Bismarck Archipelago and Bougainville. 2017.  Lynx Edicions. Hardbound: 464 pages. Price: $85.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This is the first field guide to cover the entire New Guinea region, comprising Indonesian West Papua (including the West Papuan Islands, Geelvink Bay Islands and Aru Islands) and Papua New Guinea and its associated islands, the Bismarcks and Bougainville. All of the 943 species known to occur are covered, including the extraordinarily high total of 456 endemics, as well as 5 introduced species, 2 species yet to be formally described and a separate appendix with 75 vagrants. Subspecies are listed also to give a comprehensive overview of the remarkable regional avifauna.New Guinea is the second largest island in the world and many of its ecosystems are as yet relatively intact. There are 7 endemic families, and the region is the major centre of diversity for pigeons and doves, kingfishers, parrots, honeyeaters and birds of paradise, with an astonishing diversity and morphological variation and including some of the most sought-after species in the world.
     The author has over 25 years experience in the region, living there for some 7 years and travelling widely on birding and research trips, which has given him valuable experience and insight into the avifauna that he has shared with hundreds of people over the years. The artists from Lynx Edicions have worked on many new and revised plates, which give an excellent visual coverage of the avifauna, with over 1780 illustrations. The taxonomy is up-to-date and the distribution maps have been carefully prepared and revised, whilst field identification and vocalizations are a major interest and should make this book an essential and compact reference companion to anyone birding in the region.
RECOMMENDATION: It's a little thinner and a bit heavier than the Pratt and Beehler guide.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

New Title


1) Ellis, Richard and James G. Mead. Beaked Whales: A Complete Guide to Their Biology and Conservation. 2017. Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 194 pages. Price: $79.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Beaked whales have been shrouded in mystery for most of the twentieth century. Denizens of deep, remote ocean waters and highly resistant to life in captivity, they have proven notoriously difficult for humans to observe. Over the past few decades, however, scientists have gained a better understanding of this distinct group of cetaceans, deciphering the natural history of the twenty-two beaked whale species. Here, famed artist and naturalist Richard Ellis and leading beaked whale researcher James G. Mead bring these elusive marine mammals into the limelight.
     Beaked whales’ generous life spans can extend well past 70 years. They spend their decades diving to extreme depths in search of prey, which they capture by expanding their oral cavity suddenly to suck in the squid or fish they are hunting. It appears that these sleek predators may engage in fierce, clandestine aquatic battles, as the bodies of many males are covered in scars. Because many species are only somewhat larger than dolphins, they are often confused with porpoises; however, some larger beaked whale species may grow to 40 feet. These enigmatic and compelling creatures need our help; their numbers are declining, perhaps due to the damaging effects of naval sonar on their sophisticated auditory systems.
     In Ellis and Mead’s book, the beaked whales finally get their due. The duo provides a combination of captivating stories about the species, original Richard Ellis art, and photos from leading natural history photographers. The result is an accessible, beautiful book―the first of its kind on this unusual group of cetaceans. Meet the beaked whales, and enjoy the fascinating and mysterious world in which they live.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a serious interest in beaked whales.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

New Title


1) Glassberg, Jeffrey. A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America. 2017. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 420 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A thoroughly revised edition of the most comprehensive and authoritative photographic field guide to North American butterflies.
      This is a revised second edition of the most detailed, comprehensive, and user-friendly photographic field guide to the butterflies of North America. Written by Jeffrey Glassberg, the pioneering authority on the field identification of butterflies, the guide covers all known species, beautifully illustrating them with 3,500 large, gorgeous color photographs--the very best images available. This second edition includes more than 500 new photos and updated text, maps, and species names. For most species, there are photographs of topsides and undersides, males and females, and variants. All text is embedded in the photographs, allowing swift access in the field, and arrows point to field marks, showing you exactly what to look for. Detailed, same-page range maps include information about the number of broods in each area and where strays have been recorded. Color text boxes highlight information about habitat, caterpillar food plants, abundance and flight period, and other interesting facts. Also included are a quick visual index and a caterpillar food plant index. The result is an ideal field guide that will enable you to identify almost every butterfly you see.
  • A revised second edition of the most comprehensive photographic field guide to North American butterflies, featuring more than 500 new photos and updated text, maps, and species names
  • Written by the pioneering authority on the field identification of butterflies
  • Beautifully illustrated with 3,500 color photographs that show all known species, including views of topsides and undersides, males and females, and variants for most species
  • Authoritative text embedded in the photographs for swift access
  • Detailed range maps
  • Color text boxes that highlight information about habitat, food plants, abundance and flight period, and other interesting facts
  • An invaluable tool for field identification
RECOMMENDATION: If you liked the first edition, you should like this edition.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

New Title


1) Sterry, Paul. Warblers and Other Songbirds of North America: A Life-size Guide to Every Species. 2017.  Harper Design. Hardbound: 352 pages. Price: $29.99 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A stunning full-color photographic field guide of 285 species of North American songbirds and warblers, captured in glorious life-sized detail and featuring concise descriptions, location maps, and useful facts for both experienced birdwatchers and armchair ornithologists alike.
     Birds such as the Acadian Flycatcher, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Indigo Bunting, Northern Mockingbird, Pyrrhuloxia, Rock Wren, Song Sparrow, Tree Swallow, and the Yellow-throated Warbler are known for their elaborate songs produced by their highly developed vocal organs. Warblers and Other Songbirds of North America is a breathtaking collection of 285 species of these beautiful, melodious creatures, the largest number of species in a single field guide about North American songbirds.
     Arranged by region and taxonomic order, every songbird is depicted life-sized; each photograph is accompanied by a short description with essential information on identification and the particular species, habits, and behavior. Every species entry also includes a map showing where the species can be found, as well as a fact grid listing key details such as common and scientific name, length, food, habitat, status, and voice. Inside you'll find fun facts, including:
  • Songbirds are members of the order Passeriformes, the most varied group of birds both in terms of numbers of species and diversity of appearance and habit preferences.
  • Songbirds have feet that allow them to perch with ease, with three toes pointing forward and one facing back.
  • Songbirds are extremely vocal; some male species are among the finest songsters in the bird world.
     Every photograph is gloriously detailed and chosen to show each species’ unique identification features and typical postures. Packed in a convenient portable size, Warblers and Other Songbirds of North America is ideal for the experienced birdwatcher, the aspiring naturalist, and every bird lover.

 RECOMMENDATION: The photography highlights this book.


New Title



1) Wells, Jeffrey V. et al.. Birds of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao: A Site and Field Guide. 2017. Cornell University Press. Paperback: 474 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY:  Birds of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao is the essential guide for anyone traveling to those islands. It showcases the more than 280 species seen on Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao and provides descriptions of and directions to the best places to bird, from the famous white sand beaches to hidden watering holes to the majestic national parks.
     Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao―the "ABCs"―located in the southwestern Caribbean, not far from Venezuela, share fascinating ecological features with the West Indies as well as the South American mainland, making birding on the islands unique. The identification portion of the book features endemic subspecies such as the Brown-throated Parakeet; a wide variety of wintering North American migrants; spectacular restricted-range northern South American species such as the Yellow-shouldered Parrot, Bare-eyed Pigeon, Troupial, Ruby-topaz Hummingbird, and Yellow Oriole; and West Indian species including the Pearly-eyed Thrasher and Caribbean Elaenia,
     Colorful introductory sections provide readers with a brief natural history of the islands, detailing the geography, geology, and general ecology of each. In the site guide that follows, Jeffrey V. Wells and Allison Childs Wells share their more than two decades of experience in the region, providing directions to the best birding spots. Clear, easy-to-read maps accompany each site description, along with notes about the species that birders are likely to find.
     The identification section is arranged in classic field guide format and offers vivid descriptions of each bird, along with tips on how to identify them by sight and sound. The accounts also include current status and seasonality, if relevant, and common names in English, Dutch, and Papiamento, often inspired by the unique voices of the birds, such as the “chibichibi” (Bananaquit) and “choco” (Burrowing Owl). The accompanying color plates feature the beautiful work of illustrator Robert Dean.
     The final section, on conservation, raises awareness about threats facing the birds and the habitats on which they rely and summarizes conservation initiatives and needs, offering recommendations for each island.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those birding these islands.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

New Title


1) Faust, Lynn Frierson. Fireflies, Glow-worms, and Lightning Bugs: Identification and Natural History of the Fireflies of the Eastern and Central United States and Canada. 2017. University of Georgia Press. Paperback: 356 pages. Price: $32.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Fireflies, Glow-worms, and Lightning Bugs is the first-ever comprehensive firefly guide for eastern and central North America. It is written for all those who want to know more about the amazing world of lightning bugs and learn the secrets hidden in the flash patterns of the 75+ species found in the eastern and central United States and Canada. As an independent researcher working with numerous university teams, naturalist Lynn Frierson Faust, “The Lightning Bug Lady,” has spent decades tracking the behavior and researching the habitats of these fascinating creatures.
      Based on her twenty-five years of fieldwork, this book is intended to increase understanding and appreciation of bioluminescent insects while igniting enthusiasm in a fun and informative way. Species accounts are coupled with historical backgrounds and literary epigraphs to engage and draw readers young and old into the world of these tiny sparklers. A chart documenting the flash patterns of the various species will aid in identification.
Clear photos illustrate the insects’ distinguishing physical characteristics, while habitats, seasonality, and common names are provided in easy-to-understand yet scientifically accurate language. The guide will be welcomed by everyone who wants to learn more about fireflies’ and glow-worms’ unique traits and fragile niche in the ecosystem.
Features:
Over 600 color photographs
Detailed accounts and anatomical diagrams of 75+ species, as well as aids in distinguishing between similar species
A first-of-its-kind flash-pattern chart that folds out on heavy-weight paper
Extensive scientific details written in an understandable and engaging way
Colorful common names―Twilight Bush Baby, Shadow Ghosts, Snappy Syncs, and more―for easy species identification based on flash patterns
Tips on ideal sites and times of year for firefly watching
Conservation-oriented approach

RECOMMENDATION: For those with a serious interested in the fireflies of the region.

Friday, May 26, 2017

New Title


1) Ashton, Nick. Early Humans (Collins New Naturalist Library). 2017. William Collins. Paperback: 354 pages. Price: about $35.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Our understanding of the British Palaeolithic and Mesolithic has changed dramatically over the last three decades, and yet not since H. J. Fleure's A Natural History of Man in Britain (1951) has the New Naturalist Library included a volume focused on the study of early humans and their environment. In this long overdue new book, distinguished archaeologist Nick Ashton uncovers the most recent findings, following the remarkable survival and discovery of bones, stone tools and footprints which allow us to paint a picture of the first human visitors to this remote peninsula of north-west Europe. As part of the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain project and subsequent research, Ashton is involved in an unrivalled collaborative effort involving archaeologists, palaeontologists, and earth scientists at different British institutes, including the Natural History Museum and the British Museum.
     Using an interdisciplinary approach, the book explores the latest discoveries such as footprints at Happisburgh, Norfolk that are thought to be nearly one million years old, flint artefacts at Pakefield in Suffolk and mammoth remains at West Runton, among others. These remarkable remnants help our quest to unravel the interactions between the changing environments and their ancient human occupants, as well as their lifestyles and migrations. Early humans colonised our remote corner of the European mainland time and again, despite being faced with ice age climates with far-reaching consequences. Setting the scene on the Norfolk coast almost a million years ago, Ashton tells the story of the fauna, flora and developing geography of Britain against the backdrop of an ever-changing climate. Above all, he explores how early people began as brief visitors to this wild remote land, but over time through better ways of acquiring food and developing new technologies, they began to tame, shape and dominate the countryside we see today.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in British paleoanthropology and/or collect the New Naturalist series.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

New Title


1) Menkhorst, Peter et al.. The Australian Bird Guide. 2017. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 566 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The Australian avifauna is large, diverse, and spectacular, reflecting the continent's impressive habitats and evolutionary history. Looking at more than 900 species, The Australian Bird Guide is the most comprehensive field guide on Australian birds available, and contains by far the best coverage of southern seabirds. With 249 color plates containing 4,000 stunning images, this book offers a far more in-depth treatment of subspecies, rarities, and overall plumage variation than comparative guides. The artwork meets the highest standards, and the text is rigorously accurate and current in terms of identification details, distribution, and status. The Australian Bird Guide sets a new bar for coverage of Australia's remarkable avifauna and is indispensable to all birders and naturalists interested in this area of the world, including the southern oceans.
  • Brand-new guide with an attractive look and design
  • 249 color plates containing 4,000 superb images by some of the most talented illustrators working in Australia today
  • Every bird species in Australia is covered (more than 900), including subspecies and rarities
  • Up-to-date maps reflect the latest information on distribution
  • Accurate and detailed text
 RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for anyone birding Australia!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

New Title


1) Ascanio, David et al.. Birds of Venezuela (Helm Field Guides). 2017. Bloomsbury. Paperback: 592 pages. Price: $54.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Covering the sixth largest avifauna in the world, this important new guide is essential for anyone exploring the diverse habitats of this beautiful South American country. Birds of Venezuela - complete with authoritative text and superb colour plates - will ensure that this top birding destination is made accessible to all.
     This field guide has 248 colour plates illustrating more than 1,400 species, covering racial, sexual and seasonal plumage variations. Accompanying text is placed on facing pages for easy reference providing key information, voice and status of all species and subspecies found in the region, including Venezuela's 45 endemic species. Detailed colour distribution maps are provided for every species.
RECOMMENDATION: This book is more compact and up to date than the Hilty guide.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

New Title


1) Prum, Richard. The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin's Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World - and Us. 2017. Doubleday. Hardbound: 428 pages. Price: $30.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A major reimagining of how evolutionary forces work, revealing how mating preferences—what Darwin termed "the taste for the beautiful"—create the extraordinary range of ornament in the animal world.
     In the great halls of science, dogma holds that Darwin's theory of natural selection explains every branch on the tree of life: which species thrive, which wither away to extinction, and what features each evolves. But can adaptation by natural selection really account for everything we see in nature?
     Yale University ornithologist Richard Prum—reviving Darwin's own views—thinks not. Deep in tropical jungles around the world are birds with a dizzying array of appearances and mating displays: Club-winged Manakins who sing with their wings, Great Argus Pheasants who dazzle prospective mates with a four-foot-wide cone of feathers covered in golden 3D spheres, Red-capped Manakins who moonwalk. In thirty years of fieldwork, Prum has seen numerous display traits that seem disconnected from, if not outright contrary to, selection for individual survival. To explain this, he dusts off Darwin's long-neglected theory of sexual selection in which the act of choosing a mate for purely aesthetic reasons—for the mere pleasure of it—is an independent engine of evolutionary change.
    Mate choice can drive ornamental traits from the constraints of adaptive evolution, allowing them to grow ever more elaborate. It also sets the stakes for sexual conflict, in which the sexual autonomy of the female evolves in response to male sexual control. Most crucially, this framework provides important insights into the evolution of human sexuality, particularly the ways in which female preferences have changed male bodies, and even maleness itself, through evolutionary time.
     The Evolution of Beauty presents a unique scientific vision for how nature's splendor contributes to a more complete understanding of evolution and of ourselves.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in evolutionary biology.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

New Title


1) Wesson, Rob. Darwin's First Theory: Exploring Darwin's Quest for a Theory of Earth. 2017. Pegasus Books. Hardbound: 457 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: An acclaimed geologist leads the reader on an adventure through the landscape that absorbed and inspired Charles Darwin.
     Everybody knows―or thinks they know―Charles Darwin, the father of evolution and the man who altered the way we view our place in the world. But what most people do not know is that Darwin was on board the HMS Beagle as a geologist―on a mission to examine the land, not flora and fauna.
     Retracing Darwin’s footsteps in South America and beyond, geologist Rob Wesson treks across the Andes, cruises waters charted by the Beagle, hunts for fossils in Uruguay and Argentina, and explores sites of long vanished glaciers in Scotland and Wales. As he follows Darwin’s path―literally and intellectually―Wesson experiences the land as Darwin did, engages with his observations, and tackles the same questions Darwin had about our ever-changing Earth.
     Upon his return from his five-year journey aboard the Beagle, after examining the effects of earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and more, Darwin conceived his theory of subsidence and uplift‚―his first theory. These concepts and attitudes―the vastness of time; the enormous cumulative impact of almost imperceptibly slow change; change as a constant feature of the environment―underlie Darwin’s subsequent discoveries in evolution. And this peculiar way of thinking remains vitally important today as we enter the human-dominated Anthropocene age.
     Expertly interweaving science and adventure, Darwin’s First Theory is a riveting and revelatory journey around the world with one of the greatest scientific minds in history. 
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in Darwin and/or geological history.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

New Title



1) Rousseau, Élise and Yann Le Bris. Horses of the World. 2017. Princeton University Press. Hardbound: 536 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A beautifully illustrated and detailed guide to the world's horses.
     Horses of the World is a comprehensive, large-format overview of 570 breeds of domestic and extant wild horses, including hybrids between the two and between domestic breeds and other equids, such as zebras. This beautifully illustrated and detailed guide covers the origins of modern horses, anatomy and physiology, variation in breeds, and modern equestrian practices. The treatment of breeds is organized by country within broader geographical regions--from Eurasia through Australasia and to the Americas. Each account provides measurements (weight and height), distribution, origins and history, character and attributes, uses, and current status. Every breed is accompanied by superb color drawings--600 in total--and color photographs can be found throughout the book.
     Describing and depicting every horse breed in existence, Horses of the World will be treasured by all who are interested in these gorgeous animals.
  • A unique large-format, field-guide approach that provides complete coverage of the world's 570 horse breeds
  • 600 superb color illustrations showcasing every breed
  • Additional color photos and maps
  • Accessible text offers detailed information on each breed, including measurements, distribution, origins and history, character and attributes, uses, and current status
 RECOMMENDATION: A must have for horse lovers!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

New Title


1) Álvarez-Castañeda, Sergio Ticul et al.. Keys for Identifying Mexican Mammals (revised and updated edition). 2017. Johns Hopkins University Press. Paperback: 522 pages. Price: $44.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A remarkable achievement that took over 30 years to construct, Keys for Identifying Mexican Mammals is the only complete identification guide to Mexico’s mammalian fauna. Fully updated and revised, this bestselling book follows a bilingual arrangement, with identical information presented in Spanish and English on facing pages. The dichotomous presentation is both easy to follow and flawlessly compiled, including updated and expanded material that surpasses any previously available resource. Hundreds of diagnostic images are dispersed throughout the book, many showing minute details that differentiate one species from another, and introductory materials carefully explain the use of diagnostic features. The heart of the book, though, is the keys themselves, which cover every taxa―from artiodactyls and carnivores to primates and rodents―while allowing confident identification at the species level for both field and museum use.
     The book closes with appendices that cover preparation of specimens, a glossary, and a bibliography. Anyone with an interest in the mammalian fauna of Mexico, or mammals in general, will find this one-of-a-kind book an indispensable reference to Mexico’s rich diversity of wildlife.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a SERIOUS interest in Mexican mammals.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

New Titles


1) Emanuel, Victor with S. Kirk Walsh. One More Warbler: A Life with Birds. 2017. University of Texas Press. Hardbound: 273 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Victor Emanuel is widely considered one of America's leading birders. He has observed more than six thousand species during travels that have taken him to every continent. He founded the largest company in the world specializing in birding tours and one of the most respected ones in ecotourism. Emanuel has received some of birding's highest honors, including the Roger Tory Peterson Award from the American Birding Association and the Arthur A. Allen Award from the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. He also started the first birding camps for young people, which he considers one of his greatest achievements.
     In One More Warbler, Emanuel recalls a lifetime of birding adventures—from his childhood sighting of a male Cardinal that ignited his passion for birds to a once-in-a-lifetime journey to Asia to observe all eight species of cranes of that continent. He tells fascinating stories of meeting his mentors who taught him about birds, nature, and conservation, and later, his close circle of friends—Ted Parker, Peter Matthiessen, George Plimpton, Roger Tory Peterson, and others—who he frequently birded and traveled with around the world. Emanuel writes about the sighting of an Eskimo Curlew, thought to be extinct, on Galveston Island; setting an all-time national record during the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count; attempting to see the Imperial Woodpecker in northwestern Mexico; and birding on the far-flung island of Attu on the Aleutian chain. Over the years, Emanuel became a dedicated mentor himself, teaching hundreds of young people the joys and enrichment of birding. "Birds changed my life," says Emanuel, and his stories make clear how a deep connection to the natural world can change everyone's life.
RECOMMENDATION: For those that like good birding stories!


2) Tyson, Neil deGrasse. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. 2017. W.W. Norton. Hardbound: 222 pages. Price: $18.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The essential universe, from our most celebrated and beloved astrophysicist.
     What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.
     But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day.
    While you wait for your morning coffee to brew, for the bus, the train, or a plane to arrive, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.
RECOMMENDATION: Fans of the author's other works should enjoy this one.