Friday, November 6, 2009

Picture books for grown-ups

You're never too old to sit down and enjoy books full of big, colorful pictures. And - thanks to the library - you don't have to find permanent shelf space for these big coffee-table books, either. Take them home, enjoy, and let us worry about storage.
The National Parks: America's best idea, by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns. This is the accompanying book to Burns' latest documentary series, and it is a wonderful story of America and the impact of our glorious geology and wildlife on our collective psyche. Our National Parks are an enshrinement of the idea of equality for all, and Duncan & Burns track the development of the park system over 125 years, from Yellowstone (WY) in 1872 to Congaree (SC) in 2003. Lots of photographs enliven the narrative.
Over the Coasts: an aerial view of geology is by writer and photographer Michael Collier. If you think this a book full of dull pictures of shale beds, cliff striations and igneous rock, think again. Collier's beautiful aerial photos really drive home the relationship between water and land, and how the waves and tides have inexorably shaped our coastline. I do think it a little odd that he doesn't have any photos of the coast between Astoria, OR and Eureka, CA - a truly rugged section of coastline (but I may be biased, having previously lived in Oregon).
Woodstock: three days that rocked the world is edited by Mike Evans and Paul Kingsbury. This book is a collection of photos and memories from people who were there - artists, organizers, attendees, support crew - and even those who weren't (like Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell). It's a book full of the rosy glow of good memories (well, pretty hazy drug-fogged memories, actually). If you want a book with a little more piercing view of the time period, try Daughters of Aquarius : women of the sixties counterculture by Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo.

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