Welcome to the world of shielings, orthliths, and zawns. In the third chronicle of his travels, the mountaineer and prodigious walker Robert Macfarlane introduces The Old Ways (Viking, $27.95) of Britain, its coastal islands, and the water routes in between. Traversing a variety of drove roads, pilgrim paths, and green lanes, some so old and half-forgotten that they’re more legend than passage, Macfarlane meditates on a past that kept our species in motion around fields and shores; he calls this work “biogeography” and traces the reciprocal shaping of landscape and human practices. But if his rigorous hikes and sea voyages in a tiny, century-old craft give him a taste of previous eras, they also root him firmly in the here-and-now. As he describes the sounds, smells, and sheer spectacle of being awakened by skylarks before dawn or watching the sunset shatter in a set of bog pools, he offers some of the crispest, most immediate nature writing around.

The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780670025114
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Viking Books - October 11th, 2012

The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot (Landscapes #3) Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9780147509796
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Penguin Books - September 24th, 2013

How much can live on twelve inches of the Earth? Plenty. In fact, look closely and you’ll find A World in One Cubic Foot (Univ. of Chicago, $45). National Geographic photographer and one-time assistant to Richard Avedon, David Liittschwager traveled the world and focused on one cubic foot of six distinct habitats. Ranging from Central Park to a Central American cloud forest, from Tennessee’s Duck River to a Polynesian coral reef, Liittschwager’s subjects yield not the lush panoramas of classic nature imagery but the finest details of the tiniest creatures. A cubic foot of water under the Golden Gate Bridge harbors some 9,000 living organisms; a drop of this water reveals their diverse shapes, textures, and delicate colors. And who dreamed that the Temae Reef’s squat lobster (.49” across) boasted such dazzling orange spots? Whether you’re looking the minuscule (.39” long) shell-less marine snail in its black speck of an eye or admiring the velvety green moss on a river cooter’s back, these elegant, amazing pictures are simply beautiful. Oh, and—the photos are complemented by essays from distinguished writers—poets, journalists, scientists—who also live in these places.

A World in One Cubic Foot: Portraits of Biodiversity Cover Image
By David Liittschwager, E. O. Wilson (Foreword by), W. S. DiPiero (Text by), Alan Huffman (Text by), August Kleinzahler (Text by), Elizabeth Kolbert (Text by), Nalini M. Nadkarni (Text by), Jasper Slingsby (Text by), Peter Slingsby (Text by)
$45.00
ISBN: 9780226481234
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: University of Chicago Press - November 21st, 2012

Can you name the capital of imperial Vietnam? This was a question in a recent National Geographic Bee, an annual event that challenges the downward trend in U.S. geographical literacy. These are just a few of the facts collected by Ken Jennings, a life-long Maphead (Scribner, $15), in his exuberant look at all things cartographic. As you would expect from a record-holding Jeapordy! champion, Jennings is well-supplied with trivia. He’s a perfect guide to a subject as diverse as geography; the “ultimate interdisciplinary study,” geography encompasses language, history, biology, public health, urban planning, and, of course, maps. Jennings offers paeans to the early cartographers, working without GPS, and he revels in GPS-enabled games, becoming an avid geocacher. He visits people who travel by checklist, collecting countries, elevations, and even Starbucks shops, then goes on his own road-atlas rally, an exercise that involves staying home. Throughout, he demonstrates how vital a tool a map is, while also savoring it as “a beautiful system in and of itself.”
Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781439167182
Availability: Backordered
Published: Scribner - April 17th, 2012

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