For the budding geologist—or photographer, or pilot—in the household, a thing of wonder, and an exemplary work of...

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WONDERS OF GEOLOGY

AN AERIAL VIEW OF AMERICA'S MOUNTAINS

A captivating introduction, technical but not difficult, to the rumblings within the Earth that produce the world’s mountains.

Few readers will ever have the experience of flying over Denali/Mount McKinley, fewer still in a 1955 Cessna 180. Pilot, photographer, writer, geologist and medical doctor Collier, the owner of that craft, writes that it has “carried me from Fairbanks to Honduras, from Bangor to Baja.” As he traverses the skies, he has been photographing the geologic features he encounters. This app, excellent in both design and content, performs two main jobs: First, it provides a top-flight portfolio of photographs that look fine on earlier models but that leap off the screen with the retina display of the new iPad; this is no small thing, for Collier is esteemed as a landscape photographer, shooting in both film and digital formats. Second, it takes readers on a rigorous—but not off-putting—tour of geologic basics, beginning with the rock cycle (all rocks are, at some time or another, igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary) and ending with a close look at the various geologic provinces of North America. These range from the Appalachian Highlands of the East to the Basin and Range of the West—and then, of course, the mountains of Alaska, which are a world of their own. The app is accompanied by sound files of Collier commenting on his photographs, as well as animations showing geologic features such as subduction, continental drift and sheet erosion at play. Geology can be notoriously dull, but Collier writes in an easy and encouraging manner (“To begin to know a mountain, you have to look past its exterior shape and see the rocks inside”). Overall, the text is clear and easy to read, though it lacks a bookmarking feature; navigation is accomplished by means of a table of contents, as well as a band of thumbnails at screen bottom. Of added value are the hyperlinked pop-up definitions of geologic terms as they appear (“Sandstone: sedimentary rock composed of quartz, feldspar or other grains with diameters from 0.062 to 2 millimeters”). 

For the budding geologist—or photographer, or pilot—in the household, a thing of wonder, and an exemplary work of feature-rich multimedia publishing.

Pub Date: Dec. 2, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Mikaya Digital

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2012

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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