Monday, August 14, 2017

Joys of outdoor work

These glorious summer days are perfect for getting outdoors. Even the tasks of weeding and watering a garden are a pleasure. Peter White Public Library’s new nonfiction collection, housed on the main floor of the library, has several books that celebrate the joys of working the soil and being active in the natural world.
Infestations of aphids have been a real problem for many gardeners this summer thanks to the abundant rainfall this earlier in the season. Instead of reaching for the chemical insecticide, consider reading The Humane Gardener by Nancy Lawson for tips on using natural predators to curb your bug problem. The book’s author promotes the concept of understanding your property as a whole ecosystem with compassion for all the variety of life in it. For example, one ladybug can eat up to fifty aphids a day, a much better alternative for the earth than chemical controls. Developing an appreciation of your property’s ecosystem will enrich your outdoor gardening experience. 577.554 LA
Garden designer, Kate Frey and biology professor, Gretchen LeBuhn, are the authors of The Bee Friendly Garden, a how-to guide to make your yard attractive to these busy pollinators. Topics covered in this well illustrated book range from why bees are essential to our ecosystems, what food sources to plant that support bee populations (an often other animals), and how to provide shelter for all kinds bees. 595.799 FR
Taking the interest in bees several steps further is Save the Bees with Natural Backyard Hives by Rob and Chelsea McFarland. This book explores the wonder of the world of honeybees and gives an overview of the process of getting set up to keep bees, how to maintain a healthy hive, troubleshooting problems and how to harvest the honey. Joining a local beekeeping group is another way to learn more before diving into this rewarding hobby. 638.1 MC
Readers who want to make a positive impact on the environment and help the effort to combat climate change will enjoy The Permaculture Promise by Jono Neiger. Permaculture is the art of using the patterns and features observed in the natural world to design our communities and living spaces. The author covers practical ideas each of us can utilize to stabilize our food supply, fulfill our energy needs, build smarter homes and ensure a good supply of clean water. 631.58 NE
In The Wood for the Trees: One Man’s Long View of Nature author Richard Fortey leads the reader through a year in the life of his four-acre woodland in Oxfordshire, England. Twelve chapters, one for each month, cover the geology, natural history, flora and fauna of this piece of land under his stewardship. An award winning paleontologist at London’s Natural History Museum, Fortey’s writing style is very readable and informative, providing an interesting “walk” through the woods in all seasons. 577.3094 FO
What’s new for readers who don’t have a piece of earth to till? Check out Urban Jungle: Living and Styling with Plants by Igor Josifovic and Judith De Graaff. Full of inspiring colorful photographs, the authors provide plenty of ideas on how to bring the outdoors in by decorating with hanging plants, succulents, indoor trees and herbs to create a light and contemporary decorating style. For more indoor garden tips visit the authors’ online blog at 635.965 JO
Happy gardening! 
--Margaret Boyle, Circulation Services

Monday, August 7, 2017

Local Historian Sonny Longtime

The library has a copy of all seven local history books written by Sonny Longtine over the past eighteen years, You can find them in our Michigan collection of regional books.  The books are listed below, newest to oldest, beginning with U.P. People, which is hot off the press.  All of these non-fiction books can be found by their call numbers on the upper level of the library.

U.P. People (2017) – 977.49 LO – Longtine once again uses the tagline, “Incredible Stories About Incredible People” to describe the stories within.  Following the format of Courage Burning, U.P. People features incredible people who claim the U.P. as their source of inspiration.  Find stories about George Shiras III, the first to photograph animals at night with a trip wire; Nita Engle, a most extraordinary watercolor artist; Steve Mariucci and Tom Izzo, all-star athletes who went on to become famous coaches in football and basketball; Dr. Paul Van Riper, longtime physician and namesake of Van Riper State Park in Michigamme; Anne Clemenc, union organizer in the Copper Country; William G. Mather, who instituted safety practices in the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company; and Charlotte Armstrong, mystery writer and author of numerous television screenplays.  All forty-two stories are supplemented by photos and drawings.

Michigan's Upper Penninsula Magnificent Mansions and Courtly Cottages (2015) -720.9774 LO - The subtitle, “The Houses We Live In, The Buildings We Work In, The Churches We Pray In,” aptly describes the subject matter.  Buildings are grouped together by architectural design, such as Gothic Revival, Tudor Revival, Arts & Crafts, Art Deco, and Modern, with the Table of Contents listing the building, the city, and date of construction all in one line.  The story of each structure includes a complete history from its construction to present day use.  Black and white photographs of the buildings and close-ups of architectural details add to their historical interest.  There’s a huge glossary of architectural terms, with a similarly large bibliography at the back of the book.

Murder in Michigan's Upper Peninsula (2014) - 364.1523 LO - This book consists of twenty-one Upper Peninsula murders lifted directly from WADING IN BLOOD and repackaged with a new cover.  Some of these short stories have been re-written into full-length books or made into modern documentary films.  “Spousal Assassin,” a 1992 murder in Ontonagon, became “The Sweater Letter” by Dave Distel (also found in the true crime section under 364.1523 DI).  “A Staircase to Death,” covers the death of 73 people in Calumet’s 1913 Italian Hall Disaster, which has been the subject of various books such as “Death’s Door: The Truth Behind the Italian Hall Disaster and the Strike of 1913” by Steve Lehto (977.4993), and two recent documentaries on DVD:  “Red Metal: The Copper Country Strike of 1913” (977.499 RE) and “1913 Massacre” (977.4041 NI).

Wading in Blood: Murder in Michigan: A Riveting Read on Legendary Murders that Spanned Upper and Lower Michigan (2009) - 364.1523 LO – The title is very descriptive of thirty-six short stories of murder, each one more ruthless than the last.  These spectacular crimes range from “A Hymn for the Hangman,” an 1830 story of a Detroit tavern owner who beat his wife to death, to “A Picture Perfect Plan for Murder” in 2008, unraveling the tale of a woman falling over a cliff at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Munising while hiking with her husband.  Did she fall or was she pushed?  The book includes photos and drawings to enhance the factual text of each story. 

Courage Burning:  Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (2006) - 977.39 LO - Longtine highlights “Incredible Stories About Incredible People” by telling short stories about notable figures in the U.P. from founding fathers to modern day pioneers.  There are well-known names such as John Longyear, John Voelker, Charles Kawbawgam, and Peter White, along with lesser known, but quite awesome, people such as Fred Rydholm, William Blakewell, and Maggie Waltz. These short biographies are accompanied by photos that enhance the information.

Michigan's Upper Peninsula:  Life, Legends, and Landmarks (2002) - 977.49 LO – Longtine moves from the history of buildings to the history of interesting people and places in the U.P.  Did you know about the Flying Bietila brothers - Finnish ski jumpers from Ishpeming?  How about Henry Ford’s home away from home at the Thunder Bay Inn  in Big Bay, which was also the setting for the filming of the movie, “Anatomy of a Murder.”  There are tidbits of information from every corner of the U.P.

Marquette, Then and Now (1999) - 977.496 LO - This book, with its historical and current photographs of city landmarks, appeals to historians, tourists, and everyday residents of Marquette.  The stories are brief, but full of interesting facts about each structure.  Take the book with you on a walk around town to reap the full benefit of its content.  Longtine established his style of combining story and photographs in this extraordinary publication.

--Lynette Suckow, Reference Desk.