10 January, 2010

Tomes 2010: The First Books o' 2010

I'd like to draw your attention to the sidebar for a moment, where (in addition to my half-assed attempt to update the blogroll - if you're missing, let me know), you'll find a new section entitled Tomes 2010, right there above said blogroll.  It's part of my New Year's resolutions: I've decided that I'm going to keep a list of books I've finished this year.  It threatens to become longer than the blogroll at some point.

I've already completed two.  And I shall now inflict them upon you.

Roadside Geology of the Northern Rockies

This has been my bathroom reading for the past month or so.  Roadside Geology books are perfect for el baño.  Hey, if you're gonna spend a year and a half of your life there, you might as well learn something, right?

This book has the usual interesting bits of geology you can see close to the roadways, and covers Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, not to mention billions of years.  It's informative, entertaining, and educational.  But my favorite part has to be this:
Basin, one of the small towns between Butte and Helena, was once a very active mining community where mills and smelters treated the ores dug from the surrounding mine.  Most of the mining was for silver and gold, now priced too low to make the ore bodies in this area commercially mineable.  Apparently there are some radioactive minerals in the district because several of the old properties have become "health mines."  A small fee is charged for the privilege of sitting in an old mine opening and basking in the radiation.  Exactly how this can be healthful eludes the authors of this book.
Love that dry, scientific sense of humor!

In Search of Ancient Oregon: A Geological and Natural History

I'm not going to quote from this book, because all of it is quotable.  Dr. Ellen Morris Bishop, author and photographer, is a wonderful writer who brings Oregon's geology to brilliant life.  It's rare to find a PhD scientist who's also a talented writer who's also a brilliant photographer, but Dr. Bishop is all three.  You hear words like "expertly written" and "lavishly illustrated" tossed about for books that don't strictly deserve it.  This one most decidedly does.

If you've ever been even the slightest bit interested in geology, you owe it to yourself to get this book.  If you like landscape photography but don't give two shits about how the pretty rocks came to be there, you owe it to yourself to get this book.  If you're interested in the flora and fauna of long-vanished worlds, you owe it to yourself to get this book.  If you want to know some awesome places to visit in Oregon, you owe it to yourself to get this book.

I hope she heads for Washington State next.  I really, really want a book this spectacular for my own stomping grounds.

So far, we're off to a wonderful start.  Now we're on to The Seven Hills of Rome, and for bathroom reading we've got The Physics of the Buffyverse.  I'm also nibbling round the edges of Greek Architecture and Japanese Homes and Their Surroundings.  So you can expect Tomes 2010 to fill up rather rapidly.

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