SammYou can take the girl out of Texas, but you can't take Texas out of the girl. I will always say y'all, have a slight twang in my voice, and prefer boots if the option is available. But I am a naturalist at heart and, having recently moved to Oregon, realize that I have the Pacific Northwest spirit. You might find me by the river with binoculars and Birds of the Willamette Valley, or on a park bench glued to Antonio Damasio's new book on consciousness. Science, Nature, Environment and the Human Condition are not only my favorite genres to read in, they are also the driving forces behind my hobbies and fascinations. And if there is good fiction that is driven by those same forces, chances are I'm reading that too.

ISBN-13: 9780810997387
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Harry N. Abrams, 5/2011
Let me just tell you how much I love Nikkie McClure's art. I love it a lot. When she uses her talents to tell/illustrate a story for children, like To Market, To Market, it becomes a beautiful living thing. Considering our outdoor market is beginning again here in Corvallis, this would be a great story to pick up and share with the children in your life. McClure not only goes through what their family is going to the market to pick up, but how those items came to be. She goes as far as to explain grafting and honey collection, answering in depth the question of where our food really comes from.

ISBN-13: 9780547003092
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 3/2012
Prepare yourself to experience some ordinary birds that have been quite extraordinary in the life of Julie Zickefoose. Julie has an amazing connection with and ability to truly observe the lives and times of birds. An Ivory-billed Woodpecker, sparrows, a Mourning Dove, even starlings are among her muses. I absolutely love her voice, writing style, beautiful sketches and full page illustrations. Her encounters are not of an intellectual ornithologist, but of a curious naturalist, a student in the school of songbirds, a devotee of aviary wisdom. And she shares it all with us in twenty-five short, beautiful vignettes - perfect for a fifteen minute break or completely devouring with more time.

Love, an Index (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9781936365791
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: McSweeney's, 3/2012
"Just because the world is beautiful doesn't mean it will satisfy us." Just. . . a simple word that hides deep meaning for Rebecca Lindenberg. Just one line of poetry can break the heart or open the eyes. Lindenberg's debut collection of poetry and creative narrative is beautiful and evocative. Although written during a time of personal grieving, her insights and observations are universal. I was personally touched by her interpretive words and feel that poetry lovers of the world will appreciate this debut work of poetry.

Plenty (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9781845335731
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Published: Mitchell Beazley, 10/2010
I can't think of a better way to recommend a cookbook than to say that I have cooked, and enjoyed, many of these recipes. Not only are they wonderful, this cookbook is also beautiful. It's full of delicious seasonal recipes that include tasty vegetable centered recipes and recipes that include wild game and foraged fruits.  Instructions are clear, ingredients are simple and I believe anyone is capable of any of these recipes. Henry even anticipates leftovers offering recipes to use with them and encourages nose to tail eating and sustainable fish choices.  I for one was a big fan of the Roasted Squash & Spinach Lasagna on page 81, and with all the winter squash available right now it’s a perfect for a chilly night.

ISBN-13: 9780547085906
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Mariner Books, 9/2008
This is one of my favorite books for several reasons. One – I love Walt Whitman and the first essay in this collection is about Whitman's unknown contribution to the field of neuroscience. The other 7 essays include Marcel Proust (on memory) and Virginia Woolf (on self). I first discovered Jonah Lehrer through SEED magazine, which focuses on making science more interdisciplinary and using art and culture to explore and understand it further. Proust Was A Neuroscientist expands on this idea with short vignettes focusing on each artists contribution to different fields of science. Great, quick, read!

ISBN-13: 9780465020133
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Basic Books, 5/2011
Not only do I love birds, and therefore feathers, I possess an unquenchable curiosity. This curiosity was instantly sparked upon first look at the single feather that adorns the cover of Feathers. The book radiated a bit of intrigue--telling me that the contents could not be as simple as the cover. Although Thor Hanson easily makes complicated subjects like evolution and aerodynamics easy to understand, I found that feathers themselves are far from simple. Their beauty, perfect design, and role in our own lives is closely examined by Hanson and conveyed with an engaging and fluid writing style. Some single subject non-fiction books can become cumbersome, but not this one!

Bright's Passage (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9781400069507
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: The Dial Press, 6/2011
Ritter's first novel is beautifully written and well thought out. Bright's Passage takes place when a young Henry Bright returns to rural West Virginia after fighting battles in WWI. While the premise may sound simple enough, this young man embarks on a journey involving many layers. The short chapters and poignant prose read more like a novella and the story line touches on subjects like religion, war, and personal freedom without bring them up directly. Wonderful. I highly recommend.

ISBN-13: 9780307378750
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Pantheon, 10/2010
In college I studied consciousness and read pretty much all of Antonio Damasio's books. I was fascinated by him, and recommended him ever since to anyone interested in the scientific study of human consciousness. Self Comes to Mind is Damasio's newest book and I was so excited to start reading it. Just the first couple of pages had me hooked. His previous books have discussed the role of feelings on the process of consciousness and this book delves into his radical theories on their origins as well as a more evolutionary approach to studying the mind. I will warn that this is definitely not for the faint of heart (or should I say mind) as it uses many scientific terms and technical language. But, there is an appendix in the back for reference, so don't be scared!

ISBN-13: 9780061351327
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Published: It Books, 11/2010
Sabotage! Temptation! Revelation! Redniss describes her own work as "a visual book about invisible things." Love and radioactivity. It was a national book award finalist and for good reason. Redniss artfully tells a beautiful love story both of science and between scientists, she also uses cyanotype printing to depict the story in a quirky and unique way.

Ready Player One (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9780307887436
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Crown, 8/2011
You don't have to know all about Galaga and Devo in order to get this book, its a great stand alone science fiction quest. Then again if you are one of the many 'nerds' of our time that constantly quotes Star Trek and partakes in vintage video games night, this might be perfect for you. Ernest Cline takes us to the grim future of 2044 where everyone lives in virtual reality and, in an attempt to win a fortune, a rag tag team of avatars goes on a quest solving riddles constructed my a man obsessed with 1980's pop culture. John Scalzi calls it a 'nerdgasm' and for good reason!

ISBN-13: 9780062024688
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Balzer + Bray, 8/2011
After cracking open the first pages of Colin Meloy's (of The Decemberists) first novel, I was swept into a grand adventure. The world created by Meloy is so close to our own yet so far apart. It takes place in the Impassable Wilderness and all the nature concepts are accurate and the imagination magical. Any kids that are into animals, hiking, camping, and exploring the natural sciences will really love this book. Adults too!

ISBN-13: 9780525478812
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Dutton Books for Young Readers, 1/2012
John Green's novel is. . . Beautiful. The language and metaphor he uses are lovely, poignant, and speak to the true core of the reader. This might sound lame but - I laughed, I cried, I sat in awe as I read and re-read some of the most touching words I have laid my eyes on as of late. This book isn't really about cancer. It's about life and death, oblivion, infinity, and what it all means. Hazel, the 16 year old narrator, asks tough questions about her place in the universe. Cancer is merely the catalyst for her observations and ideas. And, if there is one book I'd pick out of the YA section for adults to read, it would be this one. If you're 16, 35, or 87, this book could change the way you look at life.

ISBN-13: 9780545258975
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Scholastic Press, 5/2011
And just what is a troubletwister you're probably asking yourself. Well that question is explored in detail by twelve year old twins Jack and Jaide in this book, which is the first in what will be a five book series. I can't tell you now if they found the answer, or if you will either. I can say you will meet some pretty gifted twins with shadows in their closet, a secret and quirky Grandma X, talking cats and a quest that is only just beginning. Their adventure is filled with mystery, intrigue, and certainly lots of trouble. A great read for the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson lovers out there with the need for new magic in their lives.

Crocodile's Tears (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9781419700088
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Published: Harry N. Abrams, 8/2011
To all the parents, children, and young at heart folks out there - I urge you to take a look at this awesome picture book about some endangered animals in Africa. Follow tick bird and rhino as they investigate the mystery of crocodile's tears. They will meet many animals during their journey and so will you! The text is simple, engaging and perfect for reading aloud. Beard's line drawings combined with watercolor give fun, yet true to form amazing illustrations. The best part is in the back, where there are photos and facts about each animal encountered in the story. Plus, a portion of the profits from the book will be donated to the Shompole Community Trust, who help to ensure the habitat of many of the critically endangered animals met in this story.