Desert Oracle by Ken Layne

Staff Pick

From Amboy to Zyzzyx, Layne beckons us to the strange wilderness of Joshua Tree and its environs—and warns us of the fate that can befall unprepared pilgrims to his harsh desert home. Within this volume you'll find glimpses of the paranormal, descriptions of vast natural beauty, and tales of the eclectic denizens of the Mojave over the centuries. Part field guide, part lure, Desert Oracle is like stepping out of the beating sun into the cool of a roadside bar where you might meet a stranger--and they might have a story to tell you.

Desert Oracle: Volume 1: Strange True Tales from the American Southwest By Ken Layne Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250800350
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Picador - December 7th, 2021

The Last Cold Place, by Naira de Gracia

Staff Pick

The reality of five months at an Antarctic research camp is constant wind and cold, cramped and damp cabin quarters with four other people and wet socks hanging from the ceiling. It’s a shower every two weeks and no days off.  But it’s also magical snowscapes, “a momentary rainbow” in sunlit sea foam, penguins with personality to spare, the privilege of holding seal pups absorbed in REM dreams, and much more. Demonstrating how “wonder is the fire behind” so much science, de Gracia found her own wonder only increasing as she tirelessly counted, weighed, measured, “pumped,” and banded chinstrap and gentoo penguins during a summer at Cape Shirreff. Her account is as beautiful as it is brutal, showing us twilight’s “dramatic, angled shadows,” elaborate penguin pebble nests (and the bowing ceremonies that accompany their construction), and the fledglings leaping into the sea--but also penguin chicks devoured by skuas, fur-seal pups snatched by leopard seals, a yearly decrease of ice and, most threatening of all, unstable krill populations. To a future field technician, de Gracia warns “you will probably be heartbroken.”

The Last Cold Place: A Field Season Studying Penguins in Antarctica By Naira de Gracia Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982182755
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Scribner - April 4th, 2023

Orchid Muse, by Erica Hannickel

Staff Pick

Hannickel, a master gardener and environmental historian, combines her two skills for an inspiring and fascinating book about that most mysterious plant: the orchid. As her weave of history, research, and hands-on experience demonstrates, there is much more to these "little divas" than their flowers. Telling stories of both the plants and the people who sometimes went to great risks to find, grow, and love them, Hannickel spins a compelling narrative that spans continents and centuries, gives us glimpses of other cultures, and shares tips on choosing, handling, and raising orchids, making this both a delightful read and a practical companion.



Orchid Muse: A History of Obsession in Fifteen Flowers By Erica Hannickel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393867282
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - December 20th, 2022