Weekly Words About New Books in

Independent Bookstores

November 19, 2023

Go Green For The Holidays With These Two Visual Celebrations of Spectacular Gardens Around the World

THIS IS A BIT OF A DEPARTURE FOR ME in showcasing these two books on gardens - neither will be on bestseller lists and probably not the subject of a TikTok video. But both these newly published volumes are informative and strikingly illustrated volumes, and they would be a great gift for anyone with a green thumb or dirt under their fingernails. You may have to order them from your local bookstore, but they are worth considering for a special someone. I've included a page spread from each to give you an idea of what's inside.

Botanic Gardens of the World: The Story of Science, Horticulture, and Discovery in 40 Gardens by Deborah Trentham. This book provides interesting historical context and discusses how many of the 1,775 botanic gardens around the world are leading the way in certain conservation efforts and scientific research. But it's not the text that's the lure here. The photography that illustrates the 40 featured institutions from around the world provides spectacular visual portraits that will make armchair travelers drool and garden fans start checking airline prices. From the Renaissance gardens of Italy to the futuristic Singapore Botanic Gardens, this gorgeous book offers a terrific visual guided tour of very special natural wonders.

The Joy of Exploring Gardens by Lonely Planet. This special edition created by the distinguished travel book publisher presents unparalleled views of 180 of the world's most astounding gardens. Walk spellbinding nature trails at the Desert Botanical Garden in Arizona; wander the stone paths of Japan's infamous Kenroku-en Garden; or steal away to a subtropical retreat just off the coast from Glengarriff, Ireland. In-depth garden profiles, Q&As with experts, and personal accounts from writers who have experienced the magic of each destination accompany the inviting photos of the featured places. And since Lonely Planet is in the travel guide business, the book also includes At-a-Glance Reasons To Go, Accessibility Awareness, and In the Know Tips for each destination.

Excited About Life in Space? Maybe Don't Get Stars in Your Eyes Just Yet

A City on Mars: Can We Settle Space, Should We Settle Space, and Have We Really Thought This Through? by Kelly Weinersmith and Zach Weinersmith. For anyone who has been taken with the idea of traveling and living in space, here is a book for you. The wife-and-husband team of Kelly and Zach Weinersmith brings scientific backgrounds, years of research, and healthy senses of humor to the book, which was originally meant to be a guide to a glorious future of space settlements and turned into a "be careful what you wish for" cautionary tale. Space technologies and space business are progressing fast, and tech bigwigs are certainly on board with hyping their pet projects, but the authors make a compelling argument that we humans are woefully unprepared for and ignorant about what life in space actually means. Forget about how one manages bathroom functions, there are thorny technological, financial, and ethical issues that most enthusiasts haven't given much - or any - thought to. The Weinersmiths underscore those challenges with writing and cartoon illustrations (by Zach) that showcase both their knowledge of science and their belief that space colonization anytime soon is impractical and even silly.

Publishers Weekly, in its starred review, described City on Mars as, "Wickedly irreverent . . . The cheeky tone is loads of fun, and Zach's humorous illustrations of, for instance, contraptions proposed to facilitate zero-gravity sex, entertain

. . . A boisterous takedown of techno-utopianism."

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Hi, I'm Hut Landon,and I'm a bookseller in an independent bookstore in BerkeIey, CA.

My goal here is to keep readers up to date about new books hitting the shelves, share what indie booksellers are recommending in their stores, and pass on occasional news about the book world. 

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