Next Books & Sources

Books are one thing I don’t feel too guilty about buying. After all, each one is like a Vulcan Mind Meld.

After my last post about book discovery on Sheperd.com, I decided to keep track of the other sources I use to find them.

Since my year usually begins with the Sierra Writers Conference, it’s a good bet that multiple reads will come from that source. Other recent ones include Bluesky (social), YouTube book reviews, and ‘like’ research on Amazon.

When you see and hear authors talking about their work, their enthusiasm rubs off. These first two books are by authors I watched in Zoom presentations during the 2024 Sierra Writers Conference.

Climate Change | Sea Level Rise | California Homeowners

In California Against the Sea, Rosanna’s coverage of climate change, sea level rise, and resilience/adaptation in the cities along the California coast is carefully considered and compassionate. Her writing is clear and the material is not too emotionally overwhelming. As I was reading, I wished this book was also NOVA series.

Rosanna begins her California story at the Mexican border and works her way
North. Having visited and vacationed in many, it’s easy to envision each place. The fresh perspective I gained is what it’s like to be a permanent resident with the ocean constantly eroding your roads and property lines. What happens if your city condemns your home, or your insurance company stops coverage?

[Watch “Pacifica fly over video” in resources below.]

Living in California’s forests, we have different issues – wildfire and
smoke – but the questions are the same. As a society, we can’t keep
turning away from change brought on extreme weather.

In city, county, state, and national governance, we must match desired
behaviors (moving or not allowing new building in frought places) with
incentives to act.

Animals | Night | Photography

Nocturnalia  – When Charles Hood described wrap-around model lighting used to highlight animals active at night, I was already ordering his book! (Hood is a wildlife photographer). I was also intrigued when he said that California has over a hundred bat species…something I’ve not had much luck researching.

Book quote: “Bats! Are! Great!” The first photograph for this chapter is a stunning image of a bat in flight taking a sip from a pond with sharp splash droplets and a mirror image of the animal reflected in the water.

The humor and enthusiasm Hood uses to tell his stories are easily detectable
in his writing. His book will make you smile.

The images and descriptions are big book, hard bound, coffee table quality
but are packaged in a soft-cover compact package at a reasonable price. For
animal lovers, explorers, photographers, and naturalists, it’s a book they’ll
appreciate.

The next two titles were Blue Sky recommendations. Bluesky is a Twitter spin-off from when it was fun. The new platform has a nice vibe (so far). Connecting with academics, naturalists, and photographers, especially folks who enjoy posting pictures of #moss is great.

The Modern Bestiary by Joanna Bagniewska.
This book is entertaining and has cool graphics. It has quirky information about weird animals and is written in short segments. 

The first animal I read about was the Atlantic horseshoe crab. The bleeding industry, which Bagniewska mentions, first came to my attention in a news article with a graphic photo showing how this is done. In a media environment saturated with war and human despair, the picture of the crabs strapped in with tubes sucking out their blue blood took my breath away and had me reaching for a tissue. I still don’t fully understand my strong visceral reaction, but an affection for ‘ugly’ animals is here to stay.

If you have an animal or trivia lover, or a zoology student in your life, The
Modern Bestiary
would make a lovely gift. (If I were the gift giver, I’d pair Nocturnalia and The Modern Bestiary together.)

Hard Science Fiction | More Animals |Apocalypse

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky was a recommended read by Jay, CEO of Blue Sky. Her comment about characters based on octopi sold me. It’s a long book, the first of three. Normally, I steer clear of science fiction because it’s difficult to imagine off-world settings.

When my husband, who has an extensive science fiction library, saw me reading it, he stopped in his tracks saying, “We already have that e-book series, and why
are you reading it?”

My reply, “I don’t care about the human characters, but I’m loving
the (jumping) spider civilization.”

Tchaikovsky’s description of what drove humanity into space is bleak, but
also fitting for today, even though he wrote and published it before 2015.

Romance | Entertainment | Light Reading | Historical Fiction

I discovered The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston from YouTube book reviewer, gabbyreads. Since I also enjoyed We Spread by Ian Reid, I took Gabby’s recommendation for The Dead Romantics.

Dead Romantics is something light and easy to counterbalance some of the heavier topics I choose. Anything with ghosts and romance, published by an imprint of Penguin Random House is bound to be a winner.

Finally, Amazon. Sigh. It’s a market dominator for a reason…

A perk of being a supporting member of Shepherd.com, is a book launch program. A participation requirement is to submit ten author names with books ‘like’ yours. While doing this research, I discovered two more titles that I’ll keep in my library (a pile next to my bed) ready to read when the next ‘hole’ appears.

My historical fiction novel, Crossing: A Chinese Family Railroad Novel is quietly rolling out. Once it appears in the Amazon system, I will send it to the launch program.

A Girl Called Samson by Amy Harmon  – an indentured servant in Massachusetts disguises herself as a man and joins the Continental Army.

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi – Set in the 1950s in India, a young woman escapes an abusive marriage and begins working as a henna artist for the upper class. Keeping secrets is a must.

Seven new books before February ends is satisfying!

Happy 2024 reading to one and all.

Resources

Article Authors on Bluesky

[California Against the Sea: Visions for Our Vanishing Coastline]
Rosanna Xia
@rosannaxia.bsky.social
https://bsky.app/profile/rosannaxia.bsky.social

[The Modern Bestiary]
Joanna Bagniewska
@joannabagniewska.com
https://bsky.app/profile/joannabagniewska

[Children of Time]
Adrian Tchaikovsky
@aptshadow.bsky.social
https://bsky.app/profile/aptshadow.bsky.social

Jay, CEO of Bluesky
@jay.bsky.team
https://bsky.app/profile/jay.bsky.team

[The Dead Romantics]
Ashley Poston
@ashleyposton.bsky.social
https://bsky.app/profile/ashleyposton.bsky.social

[Crossing: A Chinese Family Railroad Novel]
Lisa Redfern
@lisaredfern.bsky.social
https://bsky.app/profile/lisaredfern.bsky.social

 

Shepherd is a FUN Book Discovery Website

Last year, I got a detailed e-mail that I thought was probably spam. Since I wasn’t completely sure, I asked my husband – a seasoned Silicon Valley veteran – to have a look.

He said, “It’s not spam. They’re building something.”

Once Ben Fox, the architect of Shepherd (a non-faith-based book-finding website) got my attention, I started reading his updates about the newest progress with site construction.

It’s been a blast watching (and taking part in!) the site’s growth.

Shepherd keeps getting better and more FUN.

Because I know the books I’ve recommended are the best-of-the-best, I’ve read many titles on their reading lists, and I’ve also bought and read books that Fox and other Shepherd authors have recommended, I can say, with certainty, this website is a good source of quality books.

One of my recent, soothing activities has been creating this collection of animated backgrounds to play on my living room screen.

The Shepherd website reminds me of this. It is a cozy virtual space that feels like a bookshop filled with friends who are sophisticated readers.

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