16 September 2005

The books in the bag

Nuthatch's post about her recent reading reminded me that it's been a while since my previous books in the bag. So, here are some selections from my recent and current reading.

Shipwrecks and Archaeology by Peter Throckmorton. Little, Brown & Co., 1970. I have an armchair interest in underwater archaeology (actually, I am a certified scuba diver, but I haven't dived since 1998). So, when I chanced upon this book at the used bookstore for $3, I couldn't pass it. Another reason for my interest was that Peter Throckmorton (1928-1990) spent several years in Turkey in the late 1950s and early 1960s and was responsible for the initiation of underwater archaeology in that country, although, to my disappointment, he has very little in this book about that period of his life. Nevertheless, Throckmorton was a good writer and this is a fine book with long accounts, including some technical drawings, of several wrecks that Throckmorton discovered mostly in the Aegean Sea, some dating to the Roman Period, while others to the 19th century, including that of H.M.S. Nautilus from 1807.

Amphibians and Reptiles of Delmarva by James F. White, Jr. & Amy Wendt White. Tidewater Publishers, 2002. I had first borrowed this little book from the local public library. But it was so useful, I decided to get my own copy (it was also relatively cheap at Amazon). Although, as the title implies, it is intended strictly for the Delmarva Peninsula, my part of Maryland, being not that far from Delmarva, has more or less the same species. For each species, there is a color photograph, a detailed description, and information on its habitat, reproduction and other natural history characteristics.

Lichens by William Purvis. Smithsonian Institution Press, 2000. I have long had an interest in lichens, but never had a chance to learn much about them. When I saw this book in the public library last week I thought I would take it out and read it. It turned out to be a pretty good introduction to lichens with lots of informative color photographs and drawings. But the discussions of some particular subjects were too brief to satisfy me. Also, many tantalizing bits of information are given without precise literature citations. For example, the "oldest undisputed fossil lichen" is stated to be Winfrenatia reticulata from about 400 million years ago, but it is left to the readers to track down more information on it. Footnotes with specific literature citations would have been very helpful.

I wonder what Tony G over at milkriverblog has been reading.

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