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The Green Life: Media Lounge

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March 23, 2007

Media Lounge

Books about exploring and understanding the natural world

Smma07_gl_earthTO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH
a book by Gordon Wiltsie
Iconic images of a climber rappelling off a cliff or a trekker silhouetted against soaring peaks always omit one detail: These "lone" adventurers are accompanied by someone with a camera. Famed expedition photographer Gordon Wiltsie steps out of the shadows to tell the stories behind his shots of the Amazon, the Arctic, and beyond. He relates extreme derring-do as vividly as snow baths, freeze-dried meals, and other quotidian details.

Smma07_gl_treasuresLOCAL TREASURES
a book by Margot Anne Kelley
From wooded trails to suburban fringes, scattered bits of land are the playing field for "geocaching," a kind of high-tech hide-and-seek in which participants use global-positioning devices to find stashes of trinkets and notes left by others. What Margot Anne Kelley finds is how this oddly compelling amalgamation of technology and nature provides fresh insight into the "places that people . . . treasure enough to share freely."

Smma07_gl_roughTHE ART OF ROUGH TRAVEL
a book by Sir Francis Galton
While on an expedition, are you awoken by braying pack animals? Just lash heavy stones to their tails. Need to swim an icy river? "The chilliness . . . is retarded by rubbing all over the body . . . about twice as much oil or bear's grease as a person uses for his hair." Really, really hungry? "Carrion is not noxious to starving men." Written in 1885 for Victorian travelers, this well-edited reissue suits the modern armchair variety as well. --Paul Rauber

Smma07_gl_returnRETURN TO WILD AMERICA
a book by Scott Weidensaul
Half a century after two naturalists explored North America and wrote about their 30,000-mile trek in the book Wild America, what has changed? Scott Weidensaul follows his predecessors' route from Newfoundland to Mexico, and all around the United States, to see if Americans are still "worthy of their land." His carefully observed travelogue reminds us of the great strides made to protect our environment--and of how far we have left to go.

Singlecircle_burgundy_whitearrow_7Let's Talk: Discuss this selection with your friends and neighbors.

Smma07_gl_pigeonsPIGEONS
a book by Andrew D. Blechman
Long revered for their navigational abilities and swift flight--they delivered the results of the first Olympics in 776 B.C.--pigeons are now usually seen as a nuisance. To learn how familiarity bred contempt, Andrew D. Blechman delves into the eccentric, and often gritty, worlds of those who breed, race, and shoot pigeons and discovers that even urban pests have remarkable stories to tell.

(Local Treasures cover image by Margot Anne Kelley)

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