Here are just a few of the new non-fiction books that have come out at the public libraries this week:
"Horses of the World," by Jacqueline Ripart. Whether you look at this book for the photos, or read it for its text, you will come away with a sense of awe at the history between humans and horses. Do some armchair travelling to Mongolia, for the annual New Year's horse race, where all the jockeys are between the ages of 5 and 12. Or read about the wild horses of the Namibian Desert, whose herds come from horses abandoned during World War I. Beautiful photos and stories from around the world.
"The Blue Bear," by Lynn Schooler. An elegant and poignant memoir of one man's life redeemed in Alaska. Schooler describes his life as an outdoor guide, his travels with famed photographer Michio Hoshino, searching for the elusive glacier bear and being healed by Hoshino's friendship. Pair this with the following title to remember why you stay in Alaska despite the rainy days.
"Breakfast at Trout's Place," by Ken Marsh. Not at all your usual "braving-bears-in-Alaska" book, this beautifully written book celebrates fish, fly-fishing, and Alaska all at once. Written by the former editor-in-chief of Alaska Magazine, it is an ode to friendships forged over lakes and the satisfaction found in choosing just the right fly to haul in a steelhead.
"The Bush Dyslexicon," by Mark Crispin Miller. This mix of political analysis by Miller and direct quotes from President Bush is at once sobering and hilarious. Sobering, because Miller takes the time to give context for the statements and spell out how they have affected American policy formation and the expectations citizens have of their government. Hilarious, because it is really difficult to have any other response to something like "The great thing about America is that everybody should vote."
"Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace," by Gore Vidal. This collection of essays has as its centerpiece an essay commissioned by Vanity Fair, but refused for publication because of its inflammatory nature. Vidal proposes that, though the events of September 11th were horrific, the way the American government has savaged American civil liberties is worse. Vidal, known for his forceful opinions, includes essays about Timothy McVeigh's execution and the 2000 Presidential election. Whether you agree with him or not, this is infuriating reading with a point - do not be complacent.
"The Culture of Death," by Wesley J. Smith. Are we coming to the end of the era when doctors believe that every possible medical technology must be used to prolong life? Is the definition of "death" being changed without our knowledge? In this book, whose premise is that medical institutions are flinging themselves down an ethically slippery slope, Smith grapples with many difficult questions concerning medical treatment for permanently disabled and terminally ill patients. Pair this with "Raising the Dead," by Ronald Munson, for an often opposing view of the some of the same territory.
"The Encyclopedia of Sushi Rolls," by Ken Kawasumi. Aimed at beginners and experienced sushi-rollers alike, this is a mix of practical and whimsical information. Learn to make large rolls, small rolls, inside-out rolls, and rolls decorated to look like flowers, animals from the Chinese zodiac, and letters of the alphabet! Fun to look at, even if you don't do sushi.
Next week I'll have a guest article for you about one of the services available from the library computers and from your computer at home!
If you'd like to place a hold on any of these titles, call the Juneau Public Library at 586-5249. If you have Internet access, your library card, and a PIN, you may place your own holds by going to our Web site (www.juneau.lib.ak.us/library) and looking at our catalogue. The "In the Stacks" column is now archived! Go to the Juneau Public Libraries' Web site and look for "In the Stacks."