Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Where You’ll Find Me: Risk, Decisions, and the Last Climb of Kate Matrosova, by Ty Gagne

June 18, 2021


I attended our library program by Ty Gagne talking about his most recent book: The Last Traverse: Tragedy and Resilience in the Winter Whites,” and, wow. Gagne is an excellent speaker who brings you right inside the real stories he writes about. If you live in New Hampshire and/or if you are a hiker, then the phrase “Winter Whites” gives you a shiver of fear or a real sense of danger.

I’ve been meaning to read Gagne’s first book about a hiker’s deadly experience hiking the Northern Presidential Range in the winter so I picked it up right after the program. A tragedy like this is compelling for the archetypal human vs. nature struggle but Gagne adds the element of risk assessment and decision-making under extreme conditions. Fascinating.

I’m looking forward to reading The Last Traverse. From the library program, I know that the Mountain Rescue Service and other brave men and women play an even larger role in this book and I want to know more.

In our catalog:
Where You’ll Find Me
The Last Traverse

Other books you might like:
Not Without Peril
Critical Hours

My Houseplant Changed My Life: Green Well-being for the Great Indoors, by David Domoney

June 8, 2021


I am perhaps the absolutely most unlikely person to check out this book. I am pretty much whatever the opposite of a plant whisperer is (a plant shouter?). Despite my best efforts – and recommendations from others for plants that are impossible to kill – no plant lasts very long under my “care.”

This book inspired me though! In part because it had good information to help me decide which plants might be more suited to my environment (places in my house or at work), and more suited to my actual potential (admittedly low, but with the right match, maybe higher).

Domoney’s detailed descriptions of what each plant needs are paired with the benefits of each plant for humans and our surroundings. For example, the Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata – if you like that sort of thing). “This is probably the toughest houseplant you can buy – it’s low maintenance, tolerant of neglect, and a hardworking air purifier. It also has an interesting form, with its upright swordlike foliage and fascinating variegated leaf markings, that will provide a positive mental distraction from your worries.” Sounds like it was made for me! The simple two-page spread has four brief tips to help the plant thrive (position, potting, growth rate, and care) and four other facts to help you take care of the plant and about its benefits. After an introduction about the benefits of houseplants on our well-being and our living spaces, each plant gets its own two-page spread with this simple, easy to use and refer to format. It’s really a usable book and fun and interesting to browse through even if you don’t decide to bring any plants into your home.

Plants I’m considering as a result of looking at this book: The Snake Plant (obviously), Velvet Plant, Sword Fern, Joseph’s Coat (mood-enhancing beauty, symbolizes change), and Zebra Plant. Most of these clean air, have striking foliage and/or color, don’t get huge, and are a bit less fussy about watering and fertilizing. One that I’m definitely not going to get but was so odd and unfamiliar to me is “Living Stones.” I probably should get one since you don’t even water it at all from early fall to midspring!

I mentioned inspiration… The introduction includes reasons why to consider bringing plants into your indoor environments. One of these is “A sense of achievement: Plants can boost self-esteem. To see a living thing thrive thanks to your care and attention evokes a feeling of pride. And success in the form of propagation or seeing your plant flower releases serotonin, another hormone that lifts and stabilizes your mood.” I don’t even think I would need to see propagation or flowers (in fact I mostly looked at plants that don’t flower) – I would feel successful just to have the plant live longer than six months.

I haven’t gotten any plants yet, but will keep you posted if I do! Find this book in our catalog here.

Books about houseplants and how to take care of them on Hoopla:
All titles
Happy Houseplants
What’s Wrong with my Houseplant
Pocket Guide to Houseplants
Handmade Houseplants: Remarkably Realistic Plants you can Make with Paper

Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl by Jonathan C. Slaght

January 11, 2021


Did you ever hear of fish owls? Me neither before I read a little column about this book in a nature magazine.
In this book, the author details his research ( you might call it search first!) on the eastern fish owl in Eastern Russia, a bird that only exists there and in Japan, threatened by climate change and heavy logging. The colorful local characters he encounters and partners with to observe and help this species survive are all fascinating, making for a great non fiction read. I highly recommend the author. I read the audiobook version! Owls of the Eastern Ice is available at the Library and as an audiobook on Hoopla and on Libby/Overdrive.

Here is a youtube video of the virtual book launch for this book.

Owls of the Eastern Ice