Monday, June 17, 2013

Review: Llewellyn's Witches' Spell-A-Day Almanac

Here's a book to add some magic to your days with a chronological collection of spells, recipes, rituals, incantations and meditations. Each day of the year is marked with a brief essay or piece of advice along with suggested colors and incenses based on planetary influences.

April 4, for instance, is linked to the Festival of Cybele and the Roman mother goddess, Magna Mater, an arbiter of moral and ethical dilemmas.

Chandra Alexandre, Ph.D., a doctor of ministry, suggests the following Megalesian divination:

"Take a bowl of water and drop three leaves onto the surface, having formulated a question for which a yes/no response will be useful. Three leaves face us is a yes. Two leaves up and one down in a yes with qualifications.Three leaves face down is no. Two leaves down and one up is a no with qualifications.

"To ascertain the meaning or the nature of the qualifications, crumble the leaves into the water, let them settle, and drain the bowl. Look for your fullest answer in the images you find left in the remaining leaves."

Holidays & Lore
by Llewellyn 
Llewellyn Publications, 2012

continued in The Book Stall

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Artwork: God`s Eye Leather Blank Book

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Well Read Books: The Itch

"There are a thousand causes underlying a condition of itching. They can include anything from dandruff to diabetes.

"In medical discussion and articles the term pruritis is used to indicate itching. To show the low status of the word, a similar-sounding word, prurience, means lewdness in thought or desire. An "itch plant," which is found in tropical countries and which is used to make itching powder, is call mucuna pruriens.

"Why do people scratch? Some believe that the pain produced by the scratching is a mean of stopping the itching. The physiological explanation is that itching stops when pain supervenes. But the explanation lies deeper...

by J. I. Rodale
Rodale Books, 1971
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Friday, June 7, 2013

Now Exploring "Lake Effect"

This book offers an in-depth and personal look at a natural phenomenon shaped by geography and weather patterns and how it affects human history. A "lake-effect snow" occurs when narrow bands of clouds formed in cold, dry arctic air pass over a large, relatively warm inland lake, producing intense snowfalls lasting from a couple of minutes to two days. Such snowfalls occur famously along the Great Lakes, the Great Salt Lake, and Hudson Bay; this narrative focuses on the Great Lakes and the Buffalo area east of Lake Erie in particular.

continued in The Nature Pages

Tales of Large Lakes, Arctic Winds, and Recurrent Snows
by Mark S. Monmonier
Syracuse University Press, 2012
Nature Writing and Natural Histories
Science Writing
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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Reading the History: The Kentucky Derby

If the Super Bowl had been played in the same city each year, say a working class community like Green Bay, and still grew up to become a multi-billion-dollar spectacle attracting the world's rich and famous as well as the beer-swilling, tatooed commoners then it would be an event comparable to the Kentucky Derby, especially if you added an extra hundred years of tradition to its history.

An unabashed  thoroughbred horse enthusiast and Kentucky Derby fan, the author nevertheless provides a straightforward history and honest assessment of the event and its evolution.

The book follows the progress of the Derby through the decades as it broke away from a pack of other races to become America’s premier thoroughbred event.

How the Run for the Roses Became America's Premier Sporting Event
by James C. Nicholson
The University Press of Kentucky, 2012
Kentucky Derby
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Denali National Park

The second edition of this guidebook updates and reorganizes a first edition published ten years ago by the defunct Alaska Northwest Books and now long out of print. It provides detailed information on the history of the region and advice on exploring by foot, train, car, bus, boat or even sled dog team.

Continued in The Nature Pages

The Complete Visitors Guide to the Mountain, Wildlife, and Year-Round
Outdoor Activities
by Bill Sherwonit
Mountaineers Books, 2013
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Artwork: Remote Ruth Gorge, Denali National Park, Alaska

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Weird Life

As a consequence of space exploration and the realization that life on other planets might be very different from what we are used to, scientists in recent decades have improbably discovered bizarre life forms here at home in places previously deemed uninhabitable.

This book provides a bestiary of weird creatures, both real and imagined, and describes the science behind their existence.

Weird Life
The Search for Life That Is Very, Very Different from Our Own
by David M. Toomey
W. W. Norton & Company, 2013

Out There: Scouting the Frontiers of Science
Out There: Extreme Sucking Up
Artwork: O'opu Nopili
Science and Technology Books
The Nature Pages