How To Invent Everything by Ryan North

Staff Pick

You have been stranded in the distant past due to an accident involving a personal time machine. Fortunately, enclosed in the user guide of your non-repairable craft is a cheat sheet for rebuilding an industrial civilization from scratch in (much) less than the 200,000 or so years it took us the first time around. How To Invent Everything (Riverhead, $27) by Ryan North is a copy of that guide, found encased in Precambrian rock on a building site, and now made available to anyone who might need to guide humanity from the invention of spoken language all the way through to the design and construction of computers, while avoiding fossil fuels, sexism, and other little mistakes. It made me wonder what “obvious” technologies we’re missing right now. Anyone interested in science, history, bizarre trivia involving birthing forceps, or laughing at how clever and, also, incredibly stupid, people can be, will like this book. 

How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735220140
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Riverhead Books - September 18th, 2018

The Photographer in the Garden by Jamie M. Allen and Sarah Anne McNear

Staff Pick

The Photographer in the Garden (Aperture, $50), co-written by Jamie M. Allen and Sarah Anne McNear, explores how the art of photography adopted the theme of gardens and suggests how the photographer is a kind of gardener seeking the beauty of a perfect composition. The book explains how successful photography incorporates a love of the subject and how black-and-white images shift attention to structures, forms, and textures. The volume displays the work of myriad botanists, sculptors, artists, and photographers as diverse as Anna Atkins, the first botanist/photographer to publish a book with photographic images; Karl Blossfeldt, an artist and photographer inspired by nature and the ways in which plants grow; and Edward Steichen, who famously said that he “knew that trees and plants have roots, stems and branches [and] reach up to the light,” but had to learn “that the magician was the light itself.” This elegant and radiant book is a noteworthy gift for the art and nature lover.

The Photographer in the Garden Cover Image
ISBN: 9781597113731
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Aperture - April 15th, 2018

Gardenlust by Christopher Woods

Staff Pick

Gardenlust (Timber Press, $40) is both a feast for the eyes and a thrilling peek at the future of garden design. Accoladed gardener Christopher Woods organizes the book geographically, presenting fifty of the world’s most stunning gardens across six continents. Yet the diversity Woods presents goes far beyond the mere geographical. From Enzo Enea’s Tree Museum in Switzerland to Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay, Woods is admirably broad-minded, showcasing an array of exhilaratingly modern—at times envelope-pushing—gardens, both public and private. Throughout, conundrums of globalism, sustainability, native planting, and urbanization are substantively addressed, but it’s the beautiful photographs, highlighting local botany and landscaping genius so incisively, that make this glossy volume. You’ll feel as if you’ve actually traveled across the world to glimpse these gardens. And yet: don’t be surprised if this book is the impetus for your next travels.

Gardenlust: A Botanical Tour of the World’s Best New Gardens Cover Image
ISBN: 9781604697971
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Timber Press - September 25th, 2018