Saturday, September 27, 2014

2014 Books Part XII

A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest by William deBuys - As regular visitors know, water scarcity is one of my favorite reading topics. This is the most comprehensive book I've found about water and/or climate in the Southwest. deBuys examines impacts on all facets in the region from development/growth to flora and fauna to immigration to fires, as well as looking at past civilizations. It should be required reading for every resident of the Southwest. 5 stars

Crashes, Crises, and Calamities: How We Can Use Science to Read the Early-Warning Signs by Len Fisher - To be honest it's been a few weeks since I finished it and I don't remember much, just that it's interesting and has an incredible notes-to-content ratio: 47 pages of endnotes supporting 170 pages of text. 3 stars*

An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church's Strangest Relic in Italy's Oddest Town by David Farley -  I learned more about holy relics, particularly Jesus' foreskin, in this book than I had learned in decades of being Catholic. You may think you don't want to know about the Holy Prepuce, but after reading this book, you'll realize you were wrong. Very entertaining and informative with a quirky cast of real-life characters. 5 stars

Miles from Nowhere: Tales from America's Contemporary Frontier by Dayton Duncan - Roughly 25 years ago I read Duncan's first book, Out West: An American Journey Along the Lewis and Clark Trail. The only thing I remember is that I liked it.** In this book, Duncan visits counties with fewer than two residents per square mile (all of which are west of the Mississippi River). By definition, this is a world most of us are unfamiliar with, and it's fascinating. My only regret is that the book is from 1993; I'm curious what impact the Internet has had there. 5 stars

* I had given it four stars at the time I read it, but I decided to take one away since it has faded from memory so quickly. I think a four- or five-star book should stay with you for a while.

** But I'd still give Out West five stars. It's okay to forget a book in a quarter of a century.


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