Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bonus Tidbit: Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl

Three Cups of Deceit?

Greg Mortenson has built a global reputation as a selfless humanitarian and children’s crusader, and he’s been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. He is also not what he appears to be. As acclaimed author Jon Krakauer discovered, Mortenson has not only fabricated substantial parts of his bestselling books Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools, but has also misused millions of dollars donated by unsuspecting admirers like Krakauer himself.

This is the tragic tale of good intentions gone very wrong.

Read Krakauer's essay here.

Watch the 60 Minutes piece here.

For the Adventurous Reader: Intriguing Novella Coming Out In May

The Door to Lost Pages
Step through the door to Lost Pages and escape a life you never wanted! On her tenth birthday, Aydee runs away from home and from her neglectful parents. At first, surviving alone on the streets is harsh, but a series of frightening, bewildering encounters with strange primordial creatures leads her to a bookshop called Lost Pages, where she steps into a fantastic, sometimes dangerous, but exciting life. Aydee grows up at the reality-hopping Lost Pages, which seems to attract a clientele that is either eccentric - or desperate. She is repeatedly drawn into an eternal war between enigmatic gods and monsters, until the day she is confronted by her worst nightmare: herself!
"It is business as usual for Canadian writer and editor Claude Lalumiere, if you consider the usual business to be elegant dark fantasy saturated with phantasmagoric imagery, skillfully wrapped around meta-narrative structures." (read the rest of this review at The Portal.)

TC Tibits: Kerouac reads American Haikus

Friday, April 29, 2011

Lynn Highly Recommends...

I picked up Miguel de la Torre's Trails of Hope and Terror: Testimonies on Immigration recently, surprised it had escaped my notice since its publication in 2009.  Having found  the author's book, The Hope of Liberation in World Religion a superb study of how poverty and social justice issues are viewed through the lenses of a dozen or so spiritual traditions, I was curious what this director of the Justice and Peace Institute at Denver's Iliff School of Theology might have to say on the immigration question, given the detention center here and the recent Arizona-style bill in Georgia opening the doors to identification spot-checks to determine immigration status.

The voices in this volume include undocumented laborers themselves; Tucson's "No More Deaths" co-founder and several of that organization's volunteers; Colorado farmer Andy Grant; former Civil Rights speechwriter for Martin Luther King, Jr., Vincent Harding; a rancher, several educators, religious leaders, students and others who succeed in putting a human face on the undocumented immigrant.  The economic realities faced by the displaced farmer struggling to feed his family or the teenage girl who perishes in her
attempt to walk north to a better life are contextualized here within the historical record of policies that have contributed to the systematic dehumanization and criminalization of our southern neighbors with increased racial profiling, raids, detentions and deportations, with documentation from the late 19th century's exclusionary policies to the dumping of subsidized US corn onto the Mexican market, ultimately ripping
families apart and eviscerating the economy of impoverished millions.

The truths told here are uncomfortable ones because they challenge us to look within at our own hypocrisies when our way of life ignores the plight of those caught in the double bind of being despised as outsiders, yet at the same time, heavily exploited to do the most backbreaking labor (often literally) in our own backyards. No, it's not a cozy read, but hopefully one that can both inform and help us to recognize the caste system we
participate in and help us begin to find our way out of the widespread cynicism that perceives such injustice as an immutable fact of life beyond our control. This book is an undeniable call to conscience and heart, imbued with the ethos of Saint Francis, who is quoted as saying "Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words."  De la Torre has packed a great deal into this slim volume of only 211 pages, showing us how the
actions on the ground ultimately matter at least as much as the framing of words to persuade public opinion.  His book helps the reader to truly see beyond some of the myths in the NAFTA and immigration debate with more clarity, and to scrutinize our own part in an economy where "We are a nation of immigrants who benefit from the oppression of immigrants".


There's a Science to Annoyance

In Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us, NPR science correspondent Joe Palca and Flora Lichtman, multimedia editor for NPR’s Science Friday, take readers on a scientific quest through psychology, evolutionary biology, anthropology, and other disciplines to uncover the truth about being annoyed. What is the recipe for annoyance? For starters, it should be temporary, unpleasant, and unpredictable, like a boring meeting or mosquito bites.
  For example, why is that guy talking on his cell phone over there so annoying? For one, it’s unpleasant and distracting. Second, we don’t know, and can’t control, when it will end. Third, we can’t not listen! Our brains are hardwired to pay close attention to people talking and follow the conversations. The loud chatter pulls our brains away to listen to half of something we’re never going to understand. In Annoying, Palca and Lichtman can talk about annoyingness in any context: business, politics, romance, science, sports, and more.

How often can you say you’re happily reading a really annoying book? The insights are fascinating, the exploration is fun, and the knowledge you gain, if you act like you know everything, can be really annoying.

Read an excerpt.

Annoying Book Promo from flora lichtman on Vimeo.

TC Tidbits: Edna St Vincent Millay:Recuerdo

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Catch This On Oprah Today

Stories I Only Tell My Friends
A wryly funny and surprisingly moving account of an extraordinary life lived almost entirely in the public eye

A teen idol at fifteen, an international icon and founder of the Brat Pack at twenty, and one of Hollywood's top stars to this day, Rob Lowe chronicles his experiences as a painfully misunderstood child actor in Ohio uprooted to the wild counterculture of mid-seventies Malibu, where he embarked on his unrelenting pursuit of a career in Hollywood.

The Outsiders placed Lowe at the birth of the modern youth movement in the entertainment industry. During his time on The West Wing, he witnessed the surreal nexus of show business and politics both on the set and in the actual White House. And in between are deft and humorous stories of the wild excesses that marked the eighties, leading to his quest for family and sobriety.

Never mean-spirited or salacious, Lowe delivers unexpected glimpses into his successes, disappointments, relationships, and one-of-a-kind encounters with people who shaped our world over the last twenty-five years. These stories are as entertaining as they are unforgettable.

Meet the Author Tonight!!!

Mary Beth Latham has built her life around her family, around caring for her three teenage children and preserving the rituals of their daily life. When one of her sons becomes depressed, Mary Beth focuses on him, only to be blindsided by a shocking act of violence. What happens afterward is a testament to the power of a woman’s love and determination, and to the invisible lines of hope and healing that connect one human being to another. Ultimately, as rendered in Anna Quindlen’s mesmerizing prose, Every Last One is a novel about facing every last one of the things we fear the most, about finding ways to navigate a road we never intended to travel.

Quindlen will be reading and signing her book this evening at 7:30  at our Historic Lodo store.
Free numbered tickets for a place in the booksigning line will be available at 6:30 pm. Seating for the presentation prior to the booksigning is limited, and available on a first-come, first-served basis to ticketed customers only.

A New Writing Challenge For The Dark Days of Supernatural

Can there truly be love after death?

Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.

Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, Hereafter is a sensation you won't want to miss.
The book isn't coming out until June 7, 2011, but we are taking pre-orders so you can get yours as soon as possible.  You can read an interview with the author here.

The writing challenge for Hereafter begins today at the site for details.

TC Tidbits: Maya Angelou, "Phenomenal Woman"

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dan Millman at Lodo Tonight!!!!

Few writers approach the topic of life purpose with the clarity of Dan Millman, whose prior book The Life You Were Born to Live has reached more than a million readers worldwide. In The Four Purposes of Life, Millman distills decades of exploration and experience into a concise map of what we’re here to accomplish on our life’s journey.

This book is for anyone seeking deeper insight into themselves and their lives, but especially for those at a crossroads, facing a challenge or change, when past approaches no longer work.

These four purposes — learning life’s lessons, finding your career and calling, discovering your life path, and attending to this arising moment — will bring your life into sharper focus by revealing:
* the value of everyday challenges in relationships, health, work, and money
* how to make wiser decisions in career and relationships
* our twelve required courses in the school of life
* a mysterious system that clarifies your hidden calling
* keys to mastering the most important purpose of all

The Four Purposes of Life can generate a quantum leap in self-knowledge, insight, and wisdom. The seeds planted will bear fruit for years to come.

Millman will be discussing and signing his new book at our Historic Lodo store at 7:30 this evening.
Free numbered tickets for a place in the booksigning line will be available at 6:30 pm. Seating for the presentation prior to the booksigning is limited, and available on a first-come, first-served basis to ticketed customers only.

How Can You Resist This Book?

The perfect gift for dog-lovers who knit!  From a spotted Dalmatian to a wrinkly Bulldog, the step-by-step patterns in Knit Your Own Dog let you knit the dog you've always wanted.

The knitted dog is indeed the ideal companion: There's no feeding, barking, shedding, or vet's bills, and he'll live forever! Knit Your Own Dog is the irresistible guide to knitting the perfect pup. With patterns for 25 different pedigree pooches, Knit Your Own Dog lets you choose the dog you want, whether it's a pretty Poodle or a loyal Labrador. Or knit them all for a pack of canine fun!

The patterns are easy-to-follow for both new and veteran knitters. It should take only a few evenings to create a covetable companion for life. And yet each pattern is extremely detailed and includes all of the distinguishing features of each breed, from the startling blue eyes of the Siberian Husky and the long, woolly curls of the Old English Sheepdog to the lolling tongue of the German Shepherd.

Accompanying the patterns are a brief description of each breed, as well as expert tips on choosing yarns, stuffing and sewing the dogs, and adding personality to your creation. Beautiful color photographs of the finished dogs, as well as detail shots, both inspire and instruct. Knit Your Own Dog is the perfect book for knitters and devoted dog lovers.

Breeds include: Afghan Hound, Basset Hound, Border Collie, Cocker Spaniel, Corgi, Dachshund, Dalmatian, English Bulldog, English Bull Terrier, French Bulldog, German Shepherd, Jack Russell, Labrador, Miniature Schnauzer, Old English Sheepdog, Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog, Pug, Red Setter, Rough Collie, Scottish Terrier, Siberian Husky, West Highland Terrier, Whippet, Wire-haired Fox Terrier.

Read an interview with the authors. 

TC Tidbits: The Weary Blues by Langston Hughes

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Meet the Author Tonight!

A fascinating exploration of humanity's eternal bond with animals, and an urgent call to answer the needs of millions of at-risk creatures 
A landmark work, The Bond is the passionate, insightful, and comprehensive examination of our special connection to all creatures, written by one of America's most important champions of animal welfare. Wayne Pacelle, the president of the Humane Society of the United States, unveils the deep links of the human-animal bond, as well as the conflicting impulses that have led us to betray this bond through widespread and systemic cruelty to animals.

Pacelle begins by exploring the biological and historical underpinnings of the human-animal bond and reveals our newfound understanding of animals, including their remarkable emotional and cognitive capacities. In the book's second section, Pacelle shows how the bond has been disastrously broken. He takes readers to a slaughter plant shuttered for inhumane practices, as well as the enormous egg factory farms of California. We visit Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary in Kansas to speak with NFL star Michael Vick, then serving his sentence for dogfighting. Pacelle paints a portrait of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and highlights the heroic actions of residents and volunteers to reunite pets with their owners. Pacelle's narrative also leads the reader to remote locations in which conflicts over the killing of wildlife continue to play out—from the fields outside of Yellowstone National Park where bison are slaughtered with the encouragement of federal authorities, to the ice floes of Atlantic Canada where seal nurseries turn into killing fields.

In its final section, The Bond takes on the arguments of opponents and critics of animal protection and spotlights the groups and industries standing in the way of progress—from the National Rifle Association and agribusiness organizations like the American Farm Bureau, to surprising adversaries like the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Kennel Club. Ultimately, Pacelle points the way to a new, humane economy—one not built on extraction, suffering, and killing, but on the celebration, stewardship, and care of animals.

An eye-opening must-read, The Bond reminds us that animals are at the center of our lives, they are not just a backdrop. How we treat them is one of the great themes of the human story.

Pacelle will be discussing and signing his book tonight at 7:30 at our Historic Lodo store.
Free numbered tickets for a place in the booksigning line will be available at 6:30 pm. Seating for the presentation prior to the booksigning is limited, and available on a first-come, first-served basis to ticketed customers only.

"this is teen" Launches Today

Scholastic To Launch “this is teen” Initiative

Extensive and integrated teen community to include Facebook, SCVNGR, and national tour featuring bestselling authors Meg Cabot, Libba Bray, and Maggie Stiefvater

New York, NY, April 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — This spring, Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education, and media company, will launch “this is teen,” an integrated and comprehensive initiative to connect teens with their favorite authors and books, while building a community of readers. Components of the extensive program which kicks off on April 26, 2011, will include a dedicated Facebook page (, location-based mobile gaming technology via SCVNGR, and a national tour featuring bestselling and acclaimed authors Meg Cabot (“Abandon”; April 26, 2011), Libba Bray (“Beauty Queens”; May 24, 2011), and Maggie Stiefvater (“Forever”; July 12, 2011), whose new books will be published later this spring/summer.

“Our goal with ‘this is teen’ is to create a destination and a community for readers—a virtual book club experience where the conversation starts with books,” said Stacy Lellos, Vice President of Marketing, Scholastic. “this is teen is about going where teens are and harnessing the connectivity of Facebook, the in-world exploration of SCVNGR, and the intensity that exists between readers and their favorite authors in order to create a fully interactive, reader-driven experience.”

The “this is teen” dedicated Facebook page is a content-rich, teen-focused destination where readers can connect and communicate with authors and other readers. Launching on April 26th to coincide with the release of Meg Cabot’s first book in a new paranormal trilogy, “Abandon,” the permanent Facebook page will also feature ongoing exclusive author videos, blog entries, contests, trivia, giveaways, and will highlight a wide selection of young adult authors and books published by Scholastic.

Scholastic will be the first publishing partner of SCVNGR, the location-based mobile gaming application platform that enables consumers to participate in challenges at specified locations using their smart phones. Starting on April 26th, SCVNGR will engage teens across the country through exclusive “this is teen” book-related challenges at participating bookstores, where they can accumulate points, and be instantly enrolled in a sweepstakes for prizes. Some of the challenges include tasks such as coming up with the best opening line for a story, snapping photos of specific titles at participating bookstores, and getting books signed at author events.

The “this is teen Live” multi-city national tour featuring bestselling authors Meg Cabot, Libba Bray, and Maggie Stiefvater kicks off on May 24, 2011, with major bookstore events in five markets including New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, and Miami. Select “this is teen Live” events will feature exclusive tour-specific exclusive challenges on SCVNGR. The list of confirmed author events is as follows:
  • May 24, 2011, Barnes & Noble in Carle Place, NY
  • May 26, 2011, The Scholastic Store in New York, NY
  • June 13, 2011, Books Inc. in San Francisco, CA
  • June 15, 2011, Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville, IL
  • June 16, 2011, Wellesley Booksmith in Wellesley, MA
  • July 23, 2011, Books & Books in Miami, FL

TC Tidbits: Jimmy Stewart, Poet and Dog Lover

Monday, April 25, 2011

Lisa Loved "Bird Cloud"

Lisa says:
"Bird Cloud is the name of Annie Proulx's 640 acres in Wyoming, that includes cliffs, wetlands and a variety of birds, raptors, reptiles, mammals, and the North Platte River runs through it. She has lived all over the world and in 2005, decided to call this home. This is the story of how she found the land, what it means to her, her family history, and how she built her home there with the help of an architect, Harry Teague, and the James Gang. That said, this is written with the same exquisite use of language as The Shipping News (still my number one favorite book).

At times, reading
Bird Cloud, I found myself saying - it is poetry: 'The blue-white road twists like an overturned snake showing its belly...But it is a different world down by the river at Bird Cloud. On the north bank rears a four-hundred-foot cliff, the creamy caprock a crust of ancient coral. This monolith has been tempered by thousands of years of polishing wind, blowtorch sun, flood and rattling hair, sluice of rain.' 

This book not describes the wonder and hardship of building on an unforgiving land in winds, rain, heat and snow, it is, I think Annie Proulx's story of how she has discovered herself, her work, her family, the land, and how that knowledge has molded her as a person - much like the land of Wyoming was molded by volcanoes.
Bird Cloud made me want to discover more about my family, the land that I call home and in some ways it made me want to move to Wyoming, rugged winters, quirky characters, and all. Annie Proulx has an amazing sense of the land and place. She is a national treasure, and if you haven't read her work, here's a great place to start."

Sincerity or Trickery? That's the Question That Comes With This Book

The Tragedy of Arthur is an emotional and elaborately constructed tour de force from bestselling and critically acclaimed novelist Arthur Phillips, “one of the best writers in America” (The Washington Post).
Its doomed hero is Arthur Phillips, a young man struggling with a larger-than-life father, a con artist who works wonders of deception but is a most unreliable parent. Arthur is raised in an enchanted world of smoke and mirrors where the only unshifting truth is his father’s and his beloved twin sister’s deep and abiding love for the works of William Shakespeare—a love so pervasive that Arthur becomes a writer in a misguided bid for their approval and affection.

Years later, Arthur’s father, imprisoned for decades and nearing the end of his life, shares with Arthur a treasure he’s kept secret for half a century: a previously unknown play by Shakespeare, titled The Tragedy of Arthur. But Arthur and his sister also inherit their father’s mission: to see the play published and acknowledged as the Bard’s last great gift to humanity. . . .

Unless it’s their father’s last great con.

By turns hilarious and haunting, this virtuosic novel—which includes Shakespeare’s (?) lost King Arthur play in its five-act entirety—captures the very essence of romantic and familial love and betrayal. The Tragedy of Arthur explores the tension between storytelling and truth-telling, the thirst for originality in all our lives, and the act of literary mythmaking, both now and four centuries ago, as the two Arthurs—Arthur the novelist and Arthur the ancient king—play out their individual but strangely intertwined fates.

Read an excerpt.

TC Tidbit: Weighing In

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Dreams of the Garden: Keeping It Contained

Continuous Container Gardens
Two renowned garden designers offer an innovative system for creating stylish containers that change with the seasons. The book features 12 designer containers, each with a unique plan for swapping plants in every season. Full color.

Succulent Container Gardens 
With their colorful leaves, sculptural shapes, and simple care, succulents are beautiful yet forgiving plants for pots. The more than 300 photos, A-Z descriptions, and inspiring ideas in this collection show how to get the most out of these plants.

The Vegetable Gardener's Container Bible

Bestselling author Smith shows readers how easy it is to grow a backyard garden even without a backyard. By growing vegetables in containers, even novice gardeners can reap an abundance of organic food in very small spaces.

Tips for Container Gardening

Truth be told, you can grow almost anything in a pot — and you can place those pots anywhere … on a deck, patio or rooftop. That’s why so many people love container gardening. It’s versatile enough for suburban homeowners with acres of land as well as apartment-dwellers with no patch of ground to call their own. In fact, growing edibles in containers is a perfect way for homeowners and gardeners with limited space to have fresh food in their kitchens. Like each issue of "Fine Gardening," this latest collection is brimming with 300 essential tips, savvy shortcuts, and tried-and-true techniques, celebrating the growing popularity of container gardening. Tips for Container Gardening promises to bring out the bountiful best in all containers, large or small.

Container Gardening: Fresh Ideas For Outdoor Living
Great ideas and expert advice on designing, planting, and caring for beautiful container gardens. Creating a paradise in pots
  • The latest choices in container styles and materials
  • Combining "thrillers" and "spillers" for spectacular arrangements
  • Twenty-eight simple and stunning DIY projects
  • Secrets to keeping container gardens thriving
Inspiration blossoms with dozens of photos showcasing container gardens of all styles, from traditional to contemporary. "Designing Your Container" covers the basics of working with color, shape, and scale to create eye-catching compositions. "Finishing the Look" offers a wealth of ideas for displaying container gardens to maximum effect.

Kids' Container Gardening
With 18 projects gleaned from the author’s experience as director of the Good Earth Kids’ Club, Kids’ Container Gardening will teach enthusiastic young gardeners how to create an assortment of container gardens that are simple to make, that are fun to work on, and that make great gifts. Organized by season, the books’ chapters will help kids develop their green thumbs with projects ranging from “Great Big Garden Bowls for Mom,” “Father’s Day Fountains,” and other special occasion/holiday containers to sand art terrariums. In addition to providing the basics on plants and gardening, this helpful guide also includes a glossary of terms, a listing of plants used in the book, a list of resources, and numerous photographs to show kids that they’re proceeding on the right path as they create their individual containers.


A Family Picture Inspired This Children's Book

Bird in a Box
Otis, Willie, and Hibernia are three children with a lot in common: they've all lost a loved one, they each have secret dreams, and they won't stop fighting for what they want. And they're also a lot like their hero, famed boxer Joe Louis. Throughout this moving novel, their lives gradually converge to form friendship, family, and love. Their trials and triumphs echo those of Joe Louis, as he fights to become the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion.

Andrea Pinkney masterfully weaves in factual information about Joe Louis and actual radio commentary from his fights, enriching the narrative of this uniquely rendered and beautifully written novel. 

Read an article about the author and her writing process.

Read the BookPage interview with the author.

TC Tidbits: An Interview with Poet Suheir Hammad

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Wendy's Window: Swing Into Spring!

The Timeless Swing
Tom Watson, a few months short of his sixtieth birthday, led the 2009 British Open with one hole to play and came within an unlucky bounce of winning it for the sixth time. His stunning performance electrified the golf world and showcased a swing that has endured as a model of good mechanics, rhythm, and repeatability.

In The Timeless Swing, Watson draws on all the knowledge and expertise he has accumulated over the course of his extraordinary career, imparting lessons that will help golfers of any age play to the best of their abilities and enjoy the game more. From fundamentals like learning the proper grip to advanced shotmaking techniques such as swinging in wind, he breaks down the full swing into all its parts and explains with his trademark easy voice the most effective ways for mastering each.

Watson complements these lessons with time-tested drills and also offers a variety of tips and exercises to help golfers continue to swing well as they get older. And for the first time ever, he reveals the two key concepts he considers the most important of all—concepts that can enable players of all levels to attain a timeless swing.
The Timeless Swing is illustrated with stunning photographs by award-winning Golf Digest photographer Dom Furore, and Watson carefully draws the reader’s eye to what is essential in each photo, providing the kind of easy-to-understand guidance usually found only in private lessons.

With a foreword by Jack Nicklaus and archival highlights of Tom Watson’s most memorable shots and tournaments, this is an indispensable guide from a consummate teacher and one of the most respected and admired players in the game.

Special Bonus: Each chapter includes an easy-to-access video of Tom Watson teaching key lessons. See details in the book's introduction.

 Power Golf
"There is no such individual as a born golfer. Some have more natural ability than others, but they’ve all been made."—Ben Hogan
Considered one of the greatest golfers in the history of the game, Ben Hogan is still noted for the phenomenal power of his swing and his unbeatable ability as a ball striker. He is also known for his dedication to practice and his belief that any golfer can, with training, determination, and a little guidance, improve his or her game significantly. With the help of his classic book, Power Golf, you too can achieve a higher level of play than you ever thought possible.
Profusely illustrated with detailed line drawings, Power Golf walks you through every step of the skills that Ben Hogan painstakingly acquired over his years as a champion player. Here, you will find:
· How to master the celebrated Hogan grip that made his swing so powerful
· Why a balanced stance is important, and how to achieve it
· The details of a winning backswing and downswing
· How to achieve greater distance from your wood shots
· Why iron shots are so important and how to accomplish greater accuracy
· Minimizing your number of putts
· How to conquer bunker, uphill, and downhill shots
· Playing in rain and wind
· And featuring Ben Hogan's "Eight Hints on How to Lower Your Score"

No matter how experienced a golfer you are—whether a beginner or more advanced—Power Golf will help you play through to your best game ever.

 Baseball in the Garden of Eden
Think you know how the game of baseball began? Think again.

Forget Abner Doubleday and Cooperstown. Forget Alexander Joy Cartwright and the New York Knickerbockers. Instead, meet Daniel Lucius Adams, William Rufus Wheaton, and Louis Fenn Wadsworth, each of whom has a stronger claim to baseball paternity than Doubleday or Cartwright. 
But did baseball even have a father—or did it just evolve from other bat-and-ball games? John Thorn, baseball's preeminent historian, examines the creation story of the game and finds it all to be a gigantic lie, not only the Doubleday legend, so long recognized with a wink and a nudge. From its earliest days baseball was a vehicle for gambling (much like cricket, a far more popular game in early America), a proxy form of class warfare, infused with racism as was the larger society, invigorated if ultimately corrupted by gamblers, hustlers, and shady entrepreneurs. Thorn traces the rise of the New York version of the game over other variations popular in Massachusetts and Philadelphia. He shows how the sport's increasing popularity in the early decades of the nineteenth century mirrored the migration of young men from farms and small towns to cities, especially New York. And he charts the rise of secret professionalism and the origin of the notorious "reserve clause," essential innovations for gamblers and capitalists. No matter how much you know about the history of baseball, you will find something new in every chapter. Thorn also introduces us to a host of early baseball stars who helped to drive the tremendous popularity and growth of the game in the post–Civil War era: Jim Creighton, perhaps the first true professional player; Candy Cummings, the pitcher who claimed to have invented the curveball; Albert Spalding, the ballplayer who would grow rich from the game and shape its creation myth; Hall of Fame brothers George and Harry Wright; Cap Anson, the first man to record three thousand hits and a virulent racist; and many others. Add bluff, bluster, and bravado, and toss in an illicit romance, an unknown son, a lost ball club, an epidemic scare, and you have a baseball detective story like none ever written.
Thorn shows how a small religious cult became instrumental in the commission that was established to determine the origins of the game and why the selection of Abner Doubleday as baseball's father was as strangely logical as it was patently absurd. Entertaining from the first page to the last, Baseball in the Garden of Eden is a tale of good and evil, and the snake proves the most interesting character. It is full of heroes, scoundrels, and dupes; it contains more scandal by far than the 1919 Black Sox World Series fix. More than a history of the game, Baseball in the Garden of Eden tells the story of nineteenth-century America, a land of opportunity and limitation, of glory and greed—all present in the wondrous alloy that is our nation and its pastime. 
 Neil Lanctot's biography of Hall of Fame catcher Roy Campanella—filled with surprises—is the first life of the Dodger great in decades and the most authoritative ever published. 
Born to a father of Italian descent and an African- American mother, Campanella wanted to be a ballplayer from childhood but was barred by color from the major leagues. He dropped out of school to play professional ball with the Negro Leagues' Washington (later Baltimore) Elite Giants, where he honed his skills under Hall of Fame catcher Biz Mackey. Campy played eight years in the Negro Leagues until the major leagues integrated. Ironically, he and not Jackie Robinson might have been the player to integrate baseball, as Lanctot reveals. An early recruit to Branch Rickey's "Great Experiment" with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Campy became the first African-American catcher in the twentieth century in the major leagues. As Lanctot discloses, Campanella and Robinson, pioneers of integration, had a contentious relationship, largely as a result of a dispute over postseason barnstorming. 
Campanella was a mainstay of the great Dodger teams that consistently contended for pennants in the late 1940s and 1950s. He was a three-time MVP, an outstanding defensive catcher, and a powerful offensive threat. But on a rainy January night in 1958, all that changed. On his way home from his liquor store in Harlem, Campy lost control of his car, hit a utility pole, and was paralyzed below the neck. Lanctot reveals how Campanella's complicated personal life (he would marry three times) played a role in the accident. Campanella would now become another sort of pioneer, learning new techniques of physical therapy under the celebrated Dr. Howard Rusk at his Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. As he gradually recovered some limited motion, Campanella inspired other athletes and physically handicapped people everywhere.
Based on interviews with dozens of people who knew Roy Campanella and diligent research into contemporary sources, Campy offers a three-dimensional portrait of this gifted athlete and remarkable man whose second life after baseball would prove as illustrious and courageous as his first. 
Sherrie Daly, the former wife of PGA tour superstar John Daly, takes a swing at the controversial man they call “Wild Thing” in this jaw-dropping memoir about what really goes on behind the scenes of professional golf.

Golf’s wholesome reputation is not what it used to be, thanks to Tiger Woods. But Woods’s bad boy scorecard doesn’t even compare to that of the sport’s original player: John Daly. Sherrie Daly should know. She was married to him for nine years.

It’s no secret that John, one of the PGA tour’s most popular stars, is known for his erratic behavior and on-the-edge lifestyle as much as for his powerful, grip-it-and-rip-it style on the green. But the never-ending carousel of free-flowing cash, booze, and women seduces many of the sport’s big-time swingers. In this juicy tell-all, Sherrie takes readers into the clubhouse to expose the seedy side of the gentleman’s game.

She dishes on John’s out-of-control antics throughout their marriage, many of which she helped cover up to protect his career, and his self-destructive addictions to whiskey, sex, and gambling, which led him to lose one of his biggest purses ever—nearly one million dollars—in an hour. She writes candidly about the physical and emotional abuse she endured and why she continued to play the role of golf wife despite the trashed hotel rooms, wrecked homes, and demolished cars. Then she turns the tables on herself, sharing the truth behind her catfights with his girlfriends, her legal troubles, and especially the night John alleged she attacked him with a steak knife.

Behind the polite clapping, collared shirts, and hushed voices, golf is just like any other professional sport, with groupies, party-crazed athletes, and blatant infidelity. After years in the exclusive players’ wives club, Sherrie Daly is Teed Off and ready to rip the game’s well-groomed facade to shreds.

It's Book and Lovers' Day!!!

Every year on April 23rd, Barcelona erupts in a celebration of chivalry and romance. It all began in the Middle Ages with an annual Festival of Roses to honor St. George, Patron Saint of Catalonia. A brave Roman soldier, he allegedly slew a dragon about to devour a beautiful young princess. According to legend, a rosebush then sprouted from the blood of the slain dragon and the soldier plucked its most perfect blossoms to give to the princess as a remembrance. In 1923, the traditional Rose Festival merged with International Book Day, established to celebrate the lives of Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare, both of whom died on April 23rd in 1616. Now, bookstalls and flower stands sprout up along the Rambla, a two-mile stretch connecting the city with the Mediterranean Sea. Thousands of Barcelonans crowd the streets to enjoy a festive atmosphere of readings, music, literature, and dance. And rare is the woman without a rose - or the man without a book tucked under his arm.

The Tattered Cover is delighted to honor this springtime celebration of culture, beauty, intelligence, and love. Complimentary roses and bookmarks will be available on Saturday, April 23, beginning at 9:00 am, with the purchase of a book; while supplies last. As always, we'll be happy to turn your purchases into lovely wrapped gifts at no extra charge.

TC Tidbits: The Song Anne Sexton Inspired

Friday, April 22, 2011

Arthur Is Back After Ten Years!!!

Arthur Turns Green
Arthur comes home from school and begins sneaking around the house, taking notes and talking about a Big Green Machine. D.W. is suspicious of her brother's weird behavior, but when Arthur shows up late for dinner with green hands, she really gets the creeps! But it turns house Arthur is making a poster listing all the ways to save energy at home--and go green!

Just in time for Earth Day, this heartwarming story is printed on recycled paper with soy based ink.

Read the Seattle Times article about the book.

Happy Earth Day!

A Little Wordsworth For Earth Day

Earth Day Poem -- powered by

from our friends at

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cathy's Civil War Reading Recommendations

April marks the sesquicentennial of the of the beginning of the Civil War.  There have been thousands ofbooks published about the Civil War, and many just this year in commemoration of this divisive and decisive period in our history.  Every day of the war was full of news and all the news corresponded to real people and their experiences of the war.   You can go to the history shelves and find a wealth of well documented material, or, you can go to the fiction shelves and read stories about the Civil War.  These are  perhaps not so well documented but sometimes lessons are easier to learn and the human toll more palpable when told through the craft of a novel.

First though, we have a great big record of the events of the war:
The New York Time: The Complete Civil War 1861-1865
The Civil War as you've never experienced it before, through original, first-hand reportage of The New York Times, the country's newspaper of record. Available for the first time in a unique book/DVD package.

The New York Times, established in 1851, was one of the few newspapers with correspondents on the front lines throughout the Civil War. The Complete Civil War collects every article written about the war from 1861 to 1865, plus select pieces before and after the war and is filled with the action, politics, and personal stories of this monumental event. From the first shot fired at Fort Sumter to the surrender at Appomattox, and from the Battle of Antietam to the Battle of Atlanta, as well as articles on slavery, states rights, the role of women, and profiles of noted heroes such as Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee, the era comes alive through these daily first-hand accounts.

- More than 600 of the most crucial and interesting articles in the book-typeset and designed for easy reading
- Commentary by Editors and Civil War scholars Harold Holzer and Craig Symonds
- More than 139,000 additional articles on the DVD-ROM- every article the "Times" published during the war.
- A detailed chronology highlights articles and events of interest that can be found on the disk.
Strikingly designed and illustrated with hundreds of maps, historical photographs, and engravings, this book is a treasure for Civil War and history buffs everywhere.

 Killer Angels
In the four most bloody and courageous days of our nation’s history, two armies fought for two conflicting dreams. One dreamed of freedom, the other of a way of life. Far more than rifles and bullets were carried into battle. There were memories. There were promises. There was love. And far more than men fell on those Pennsylvania fields. Bright futures, untested innocence, and pristine beauty were also the casualties of war. Michael Shaara’s Pulitzer Prize–winning masterpiece is unique, sweeping, unforgettable—the dramatic story of the battleground for America’s destiny.

Gone With The Wind
Margaret Mitchell's epic novel of love and war won the Pulitzer Prize and went on to give rise to two authorized sequels and one of the most popular and celebrated movies of all time.

Many novels have been written about the Civil War and its aftermath. None take us into the burning fields and cities of the American South as Gone With the Wind does, creating haunting scenes and thrilling portraits of characters so vivid that we remember their words and feel their fear and hunger for the rest of our lives.

In the two main characters, the white-shouldered, irresistible Scarlett and the flashy, contemptuous Rhett, Margaret Mitchell not only conveyed a timeless story of survival under the harshest of circumstances, she also created two of the most famous lovers in the English-speaking world since Romeo and Juliet.

 Cold Mountain
In 1997, Charles Frazier's debut novel Cold Mountain made publishing history when it sailed to the top of The New York Times best-seller list for sixty-one weeks, won numerous literary awards, including the National Book Award, and went on to sell over three million copies. 
Sorely wounded and fatally disillusioned in the fighting at Petersburg, a Confederate soldier named Inman decides to walk back to his home in the Blue Ridge mountains to Ada, the woman he loves. His trek across the disintegrating South brings him into intimate and sometimes lethal converse with slaves and marauders, bounty hunters and witches, both helpful and malign. At the same time, the intrepid Ada is trying to revive her father's derelict farm and learning to survive in a world where the old certainties have been swept away. As it interweaves their stories, Cold Mountain asserts itself as an authentic odyssey, hugely powerful, majestically lovely, and keenly moving.
From Louisa May Alcott's beloved classic Little Women, Geraldine Brooks has animated the character of the absent father, March, and crafted a story "filled with the ache of love and marriage and with the power of war upon the mind and heart of one unforgettable man" (Sue Monk Kidd). With "pitch-perfect writing" (USA Today), Brooks follows March as he leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause in the Civil War. His experiences will utterly change his marriage and challenge his most ardently held beliefs. A lushly written, wholly original tale steeped in the details of another time, March secures Geraldine Brooks's place as a renowned author of historical fiction.

 My Name Is Mary Sutter
Mary Sutter is a brilliant young midwife who dreams of becoming a surgeon. Eager to run away from recent heartbreak, Mary travels to Washington, D.C., to help tend the legions of Civil War wounded. Under the guidance of two surgeons, who both fall unwittingly in love with her, and resisting her mother's pleas to return home to help with the difficult birth of her twin sister's baby, Mary pursues her medical career against all odds. Rich with historical detail-including cameo appearances by Abraham Lincoln and Dorothea Dix, among others-My Name Is Mary Sutter is certain to be recognized as one of the great novels about the Civil War.

 Across Five Aprils
The Newbery Award-winning author of "Up a Road Slowly" presents the unforgettable story of a brave boy who comes of age during the turbulent years of the Civil War.   Based on stories the author's Grandfather used to tell about his family and their experiences
living in Southern Illinois during the war.

Just In Time, Abraham Lincoln
Michael and Derek don't expect the adventure of a lifetime visiting a Civil War museum with their grandmother. But the mysterious museum keeper invites them to play a game, and before they know it, they're walking through a door straight into a very realistic depiction of 1863. They see the destruction at the battlefield of Antietam, and even meet President Lincoln. Soon, they start to wonder if it's really a game, after all, and suddenly they're racing across Confederate-occupied land to return to their own time before it's too late.

Patricia Polacco's time-travel premise is fascinating--who knew that history museums could literally be doorways into the past? She makes history exciting for young readers, drawing them into a pivotal part of our nation's development.

The Stories, and Recipes, Behind an Iconic Brand Revealed

The Boiardi name has reached tables across America for more than 70 years. Most Americans have fond memories of this iconic brand, evoking nostalgia for a simpler time. From a very young age, Anna Boiardi spent countless hours helping her mother and grandmother, kneading and folding, and listening to stories as rich as the tortellini she and her mother would work to perfection. Now, for the first time, Anna brings us the authentic recipes that inspired the brand, including Ravioli with Ricotta and Squash Filling, Cotechino with Lentils, and Baked Fennel with Butter and Parmesan. Recipes for sauces, meats, and of course pasta dishes are just some of the secrets Anna shares in Delicious Memories.

About the author
Anna Boiardi is the granddaughter of Mario Boiardi and the great-niece of Hector Boiardi, founders of the Chef Boiardi Food Product Co. Born and raised in Italy in a family of chefs, Boiardi learned to cook at home with her mother and grandparents. After college, she launched Cucina Academy, which has been featured on CNBC, and she appears regularly on QVC presenting her dessert line, Delicious Memories. Boiardi lives in New York.
Read the Publisher's Weekly interview with the author.

And for a blast from the past, here is a vintage commercial:

TC Tidbits: Tornado Child

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Meet The Author Tonight!!!

If this were 1923, this book would have been called "Why Radio Is Going to Change the Game" . . .

If it were 1995, it would be "Why Amazon Is Going to Take Over the Retailing World" . . .

The Thank You Economy is about something big, something greater than any single revolutionary platform. It isn't some abstract concept or wacky business strategy—it's real, and every one of us is doing business in it every day, whether we choose to recognize it or not. It's the way we communicate, the way we buy and sell, the way businesses and consumers interact online and offline. The Internet, where the Thank You Economy was born, has given consumers back their voice, and the tremendous power of their opinions via social media means that companies and brands have to compete on a whole different level than they used to.

Gone are the days when a blizzard of marketing dollars could be used to overwhelm the airwaves, shut out the competition, and grab customer awareness. Now customers' demands for authenticity, originality, creativity, honesty, and good intent have made it necessary for companies and brands to revert to a level of customer service rarely seen since our great-grandparents' day, when business owners often knew their customers personally, and gave them individual attention.

Here renowned entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk reveals how companies big and small can scale that kind of personal, one-on-one attention to their entire customer base, no matter how large, using the same social media platforms that carry consumer word of mouth. The Thank You Economy offers compelling, data-driven evidence that we have entered into an entirely new business era, one in which the companies that see the biggest returns won't be the ones that can throw the most money at an advertising campaign, but will be those that can prove they care about their customers more than anyone else. The businesses and brands that harness the word-of-mouth power from social media, those that can shift their culture to be more customer-aware and fan-friendly, will pull away from the pack and profit in today's markets.

Filled with Vaynerchuk's irrepressible candor and wit, as well as real-world examples of companies that are profiting by putting Thank You Economy principles into practice, The Thank You Economy reveals how businesses can harness all the changes and challenges inherent in social media and turn them into tremendous opportunities for profit and growth.


Rocky Mountain Land Series with Curt Meine TONIGHT

Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work

This biography of Aldo Leopold follows him from his childhood as a precocious naturalist to his profoundly influential role in the development of conservation and modern environmentalism in the United States. This edition includes a new preface by author Curt Meine and an appreciation by acclaimed Kentucky writer and farmer Wendell Berry.

Meet the author tonight at 7:30 at our Historic Lodo Store.

This Week's Dark Days of Supernatural Happenings:

TODAY (4-20-11): live chat with Angelfire author Courtney Allison Moulton.  Check in at to find out what time.

How do you defy destiny?

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.

As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.

This book will not be released until May 31, 2011, but the Writing Challenge based on it starts tomorrow, April 21, 2011.  Check the site for details.

TC Tidbits: Hands by Sandra Kay

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dispatches From The Field: Joe Reviews This Memoir About Grief and Living Off the Grid and On the Land

Set on a rugged coastal homestead during the 1970s, This Life Is in Your Hands introduces a superb young writer driven by the need to uncover the truth of a childhood tragedy and connect anew with the beauty and vitality of the back-to-the-land ideal that shaped her early years.

In the fall of 1968, Melissa Coleman's parents, Eliot and Sue—a handsome, idealistic young couple from well-to-do families—pack a few essentials into their VW truck and abandon the complications of modern reality to carve a farm from the woods. They move to a remote peninsula on the coast of Maine and become disciples of Helen and Scott Nearing, authors of the homesteading bible Living the Good Life. On sixty acres of sandy, intractable land, Eliot and Sue begin to forge a new existence, subsisting on the crops they grow and building a home with their own hands.

While they establish a happy family and achieve their visionary goals, the pursuit of a purer, simpler life comes at a price. Winters are long and lean, summers frenetic with the work of the harvest, and the distraction of the many young farm apprentices threatens the Colemans' marriage. Then, one summer day when Melissa is seven, her three-year-old sister, Heidi, wanders off and drowns in the pond where she liked to play. In the wake of the accident, ideals give way to human frailty, divorce, and a mother's breakdown—and ultimately young Melissa is abandoned to the care of neighbors. What really happened, and who, if anyone, is to blame?

This Life Is in Your Hands is the search to understand a complicated past; a true story, both tragic and redemptive, it tells of the quest to make a good life, the role of fate, and the power of forgiveness.

Read an excerpt.

Joe says:
"Melissa Coleman did not have the 1970's childhood many of us did: she was raised in rural Maine on a farm without electricity, in a family that helped pioneer the back-to-the-earth movement. It was a fun life, but a tragic one. When Melissa was seven years old, her little sister drowned in the family's pond. It was an event that tore apart their family, and changed all of their lives. This book is as much about the quest to understand fate as it is a book about the hard work it takes to live a life off the grid.

This book is full of heart-warming reminisces of her childhood, made all the more heart-breaking by the end of the book. Melissa Coleman's story is not only about her, but about her parents, Eliot and Sue, and the community of like-minded individuals that lived on and near their farm on the coast of Maine. Many of these people were the ones who worked hard on the groundbreaking work regarding the organic movement. Coleman writes with honest passion in a style at once homespun and powerfully emotional."

Bloody Science

A sharp-eyed exposé of the deadly politics, murderous plots, and cutthroat rivalries behind the first blood transfusions in seventeenth-century Europe.

On a cold day in 1667, a renegade physician named Jean Denis transfused calf's blood into one of Paris's most notorious madmen. In doing so, Denis angered not only the elite scientists who had hoped to perform the first animal-to-human transfusions themselves, but also a host of powerful conservatives who believed that the doctor was toying with forces of nature that he did not understand. Just days after the experiment, the madman was dead, and Denis was framed for murder.

A riveting account of the first blood transfusion experiments in 17th-century Paris and London, Blood Work gives us a vivid glimpse of a particularly fraught period in history-a time of fire and plague, empire building and international distrust, when monsters were believed to inhabit the seas and the boundary between science and superstition was still in flux. Amid this atmosphere of uncertainty, transfusionists like Denis became embroiled in the hottest cultural debates and fiercest political rivalries of their day. As historian Holly Tucker reveals, transfusion's detractors would stop at nothing-not even murdering Denis's patient-to outlaw a practice that might jeopardize human souls, pave the way for monstrous hybrid creatures, or even provoke divine retribution.

Taking us from the highest ranks of society to the lowest, from dissection rooms in palaces to the filth-clogged streets of Paris, Blood Work sheds light on an era that wrestled with the same questions about morality and experimentation that haunt medical science to this day.

TC Tidbits: Forgetfulness by Billy Collins

Monday, April 18, 2011

Amy Stewart Is In Denver April 20 and 21!!!

Wicked Bugs
In this darkly comical look at the sinister side of our relationship with the natural world, Stewart has tracked down over 100 of our worst entomological foes-creatures that infest, infect, and generally wreak havoc on human affairs. From the world's most painful hornet, to the flies that transmit deadly diseases, to millipedes that stop traffic, to the "bookworms" that devour libraries, to the Japanese beetles munching on your roses, Wicked Bugs delves into the extraordinary powers of six and eight-legged creatures.

With wit, style, and exacting research, Stewart has uncovered the most terrifying and titillating stories of bugs gone wild. It's an A - Z of insect enemies, interspersed with sections that explore bugs with kinky sex lives ("She's Just Not That Into You"), creatures lurking in the cupboard ("Fear No Weevil"), insects eating your tomatoes ("Gardener's Dirty Dozen") and phobias that feed our (sometimes) irrational responses to bugs ("Have No Fear").

Intricate and strangely beautiful etchings and drawings by Briony Morrow-Cribbs capture diabolical bugs of all shapes and sizes in this mixture of history, science, murder and intrigue that begins-but doesn't end-in your own backyard.

The book isn't available until May, but you can read an excerpt here. Tattered Cover is accepting pre-orders as well.

Stewart is offering a workshop on April 20 and a slide show on April 21 at the Denver Botanical Gardens.  Click on the dates for more information.  She is also speaking at the Denver Woman's Press Club on the April 21.  Get the details here.

Backyard Birders, KB Has Found A Book For You!

Spring has sprung!  As the days grow longer and warmer, and with daylight savings time's early commencement, our thoughts turn to outdoor activities.

An oft-requested book for the springtime at the Tattered Cover has been a local "backyard guide" for birds.  For many years I have directed customers toward the Colorado bird guides, particularly Mary Taylor
Gray's Guide to Colorado Birds because of the superior graphics, good information, and the choice of birds included in the guide. There are also portable laminated pamphlets, with one available for Denver Birds and the other entitled Colorado Bird, but the information just includes general bird categories, bird illustrations
and bird names, so that little information can be imparted to the user other than the bird's physical appearance.  No book limited to 'backyard  birds' existed, and I wondered how one would be possible,
since relatively few birds--about fifteen or so--actually showed up in MY backyard the year I kept track of them.  Plus, three of those birds consisted of the uncharismatic (and non-native) starlings, pigeons and House Sparrows.  How could an enticing and informative guide be focused on a seemingly small number of lackluster birds?  Also, would the typical East Coast backyard have anything in common with mine?

Now, brand new for 2011, National Geographic has done a book specifically labeled 'backyard birds' entitled National Geographic Guide to Backyard Birds of North America.  This book does have a limited scope, as expected  by its intended audience, but it imparts plenty of useful information  and entices the user with appealing graphics.  Just 150 species receive coverage in this guide, the ones most likely to be noticed in suburb or residential areas with some parks, wooded areas, watercourses and ponds. 

The 150 species covered each have a page devoted to them, with an illustration of the bird perched and another of the bird in flight. Another set of illustrations is provided when different field marks occur for the male and female of the species (those species that are 'sexually dimorphic').  Each description includes a scientific name, an extensive descripton of the bird's appearance, similar species, voice description (unfortunately this can be a bit subjective), and range description and map.

Special note: Those seeking their first bird guide or looking for a bird guide as a gift will often be drawn to the bird books using photographs rather than drawings of the birds, as the photographs initially offer a greater visual appeal.  I am among those many instructors and seasoned birders who prefer illustrations to photographs, particularly for those just beginning to bird.  I've got several reasons for this preference, but the main one is that illustrations enable one to draw attention to key distinquishing and diagnotic features. Illustrators make sure the drawings clearly show the unique aspects of the bird, and they can point out and label that part of the bird needing particular attention in the field--key field marks can be highlighted.
Immediately inside the front cover of this book, one gleans information from a "quick-find" index to the common types of birds (ie. thrushes, swallows, wren, hawks etc.) found in North America, with representative pictures of these categories of birds on the back side of the same flap.  Also found here is the all-important key to the range maps, with different colors indicating whether a bird typically stays in an area year-round, occurs just in the spring/summer breeding season, migrates through, or resides there in the winter.

The first section of the book contains some suggestions on feeding birds, how to set up birdhouses, landscaping with birds in mind, choosing binoculars and several other topics.  In addition, throughout
the book there are sidebars on topics such as seasonal coloration and molts, how owls are able to hunt in the dark, how long different species of birds typically live, and other birdlife topics.

A unique male bird head key exists near the front of the book, and as these play a crucial role in bird  ID --expert birders can generally ID a bird by head and facial features alone--this key may encourage a beginning birder to focus particularly on this crucial region of the bird, and perhaps advance more quickly in accurate bird identification.

Other nifty aspects of the book include some sharp photographs, a small glossary of bird terms in the back, and a list of suggested readings.  For someone seeking a first guide or a gift that would be appealing but not overwhelming, this would be something to consider.  But remember that the book's limited scope means that even birds in one's immediate neighborhood (such as the breeding Double-crested Cormorants and Black-crowned Night Herons three blocks from Colfax Ave Tattered Cover in City Park) may not be covered.

So if this book whets one's appetite for birding, it may encourage the purchase of a more comprehensive guide at a later date.