Juneau Public Libraries have new nonfiction to sate, pique curiosity

Posted: Sunday, December 28, 2008

The following is new nonfiction to sate or pique your curiosity at the Juneau Public Libraries.

"When Languages Die," by K. David Harrison. This fascinating book examines how languages fall out of favor and decline, and why it matters to us all. Nearly a tenth of the world's languages have fewer than 600 speakers, but the number of speakers isn't the only factor keeping languages alive: over the next 30 years, about half of the world's nearly 7,000 languages, many of these without complete writing systems, will become extinct. With them will go unique systems for counting time, seasons, and kinship; taxonomy for animals and plants; and the folktales, idioms, and other oral traditions that make cultures unique. Harrison focuses on his area of expertise, Siberian Turkic languages, but includes a wide variety of other languages, even signed languages, as well.

"A Visual History of the English Bible," by Donald L. Brake. Brake, an antique Bible collector, traces the many hands that honed the editions of the English bible we can choose from today. Beginning with stories of the scrolls and texts that eventually became the Old and New Testaments, he follows them through their translations and into printed form. In sidebars along the way, Brake chronicles his searches for first editions, as well as sites from Bible history he's visited. In fact, most of the early editions shown here are from Brake's collection. Well-illustrated and footnoted, there is also a thorough glossary and index to help readers back to topics of interest.

"The Best of Inquiring Mind," edited by Barbara Gates and Wes Nisker. Twenty-five years of the magazine "Inquiring Mind" is distilled here into a collection of the best of contemporary Buddhist thought. There are interviews with Buddhist teachers, essays on practice, and thoughts on birth, death, and the living that comes in between. A student writes about his experiences in retreat, a schoolteachers writes about bringing a minute of silence into her classrooms, and a woman compares hanging laundry to dry with prayer flags blowing in the breeze. A lovely, thoughtful and thought-provoking collection.

"Rock Art Along the Way," by Janet Webb Farnsworth. If you're planning a trip to the American Southwest, you might want to browse this book to help you plan visits to ancient rock art. All sites listed are open to the public, but some are more easily accessible than others. Farnsworth has packed this slim book with information about petroglyphs, pictographs, pictoglyphs and geoglyphs, directions to sites, notes about the area's other special features, questions for young hikers to encourage them to look around and plenty of color photos. The introduction lays out "rock art manners" and "backcountry manners," as well as giving some background to the cultures that created the rock art. A glossary, index, list of further reading and list of other, more remote sites to visit round out this excellent guide.

"The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper," by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. Chock-full of anecdotes, tips and, of course, recipes, this cookbook tantalizes readers with color photos, enticing descriptions, and unintimidating recipes. While beginning cooks will find this book very approachable, cooks of all levels will find things here to pique their appetites. The authors' approach is realistic: we're all busy with our lives, but we all like good food, hence, the judicious mix of fresh and pre-prepared ingredients in these recipes. Whether you want to spice up your basic salad or cook mouthwatering lamb chops, you'll find delicious choices that are easy, healthy and quick, but don't sacrifice flavor or presentation. The end pages list complete dinner menus to speed dinner preparation even further.


Ever wonder who great uncle Fred was? Wonder where your family lived before moving to Juneau? Ancestry Library Edition allows you to find and trace your family tree. The database offers census records, local history resources, ship passenger lists and war service records. Find out everything you ever wanted to know about your family's history at the Mendenhall Valley branch or the main library in Downtown Juneau!

For information about the Juneau Public Libraries' upcoming programs or to place a hold on any material, visit www.juneau.org/library or call 586-5249.

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