Boating Books | Rural Living Books | Great Fiction | The Reference Shelf
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Path of the Paddle - An Illustrated Guide to the Art of
Song of the Paddle - An Illustrated Guide to Wilderness Camping
(also see Bill Mason's excellent videos - Waterwalker and Song of the Paddle)
Canoescapes - Bill Mason's artwork is finally published! This is a gorgeous book containing color plates of more than 100 of Bill's pieces of art. Many of his paintings were as small as 2" square, yet contained an incredible amount of detail, as shown in greatly enlarged photos. See the wilds of Canada's rivers through Bill Mason's eyes. Just a delight!
Canoeing Michigan Rivers - The definitive guide to have before setting out down any of Michigan's many rivers. Describes in detail, access, portages, campgrounds, hazards, and points of interest. Very thorough, very accurate. Don't miss it.
KAYAK - A "comic book" to teach the ins and outs of whitewater paddling
Boundary Waters Canoe Area , Volume 2: The Eastern Region -
A well planned, easily followed book describing a multitude of trips through
Minnesota's BWCA. All the information you'll need prior to setting out including
a handy map for your travels.
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A Good House - Building a house, mostly by hand, including details on composting toilets and how to build responsibly. Highly recommended.
The Fox Fire Books - Old timer's wisdom. Many good insights on life in days gone by.
The Draft Horse Primer - "...for those who wish to farm a modest amount of ground with a minimum of cash outlay and do it with a source of power that is self-producing, consumes homegrown fuel, and contributes to the fertility of the soil, the draft horse whould have a place in their future."
The New Putting Food By - One of those books that never sit on a bookshelf very long; constantly pulled down and re-read. Virtually anything you need to know about preserving food will be here.
Dutch Oven Cookbook - While you probably aren't going to want to backpack with a dutch oven, if you've got the chance, don't miss cooking with one! An excellent book including lots of great recipes and a fair share of history. Includes a section on jerking and smoking.
Producing Your Own Power - Getting off the grid through self-produced power. Sections on solar, wind, hydraulic rams, methane, and more. An easily digested format with solid information.
Stalking the Wild Asparagus - A great guide on how to identify and prepare wild foods that grow all around us, whether you're city-bound or free hiking through the countryside. If you haven't tried cattail bloom spikes with generous globs of melted butter, you're missing a widely available and seldom utilized treat. Get the book!
A Guide to 199 Michigan Waterfalls - If you're a midwestern
waterfall buff, this is the bible of waterfalls around this area. Great
photos, clear descriptions, easy to follow directions to get to the popular
and the deeply hidden falls around the state of Michigan. An excellent source
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Venus on the Half Shell - Quite possibly the best book ever written (at least, in my top 10). Simon Wagstaff, the Space Wanderer, in search of the answer to why we were brought here to suffer and die. At last count I'd given away 38 copies of this. I really like it.
God Emperor of Dune
Heretics of Dune
Children of Dune - The books of the Dune series go far beyond a simple story. Herbert creates an entire universe complete with religions, governments, and alternate lifestyles, woven together so skillfully that you will find it completely believable. An excellent tale. If you've had the opportunity to see the long version of the movie Dune you'll know how involved the written series is. The movie just couldn't quite fit it all in, even in the extended version.
The Monkey Wrench Gang - Hayduke, Doc Sarvis, Seldom-Seen,
and Bonnie set out on the path of the eco-warrior. A finely crafted tale
of an adventure in the canyon country of Utah.
Hayduke Lives! - A continuation of the original. Solid writing, perhaps not as moving as MWG.
Desert Solitaire - A collection of essays written about Abbey's deep love for the desert.
Fire on the Mountain - Eventually made into a major movie (with Ron Howard!), FotM is about an elderly rancher's fight against big government. Well written.
Black Sun - Finding and losing love while serving as fire lookout. Probably Abbey's most lyric work. Don't miss it.
Abbey's Road - (take the other) More of Abbey's essays written about land beyond civilization.
Another Roadside Attraction - "Let yourself go on
a long strange trip to a time and place when life was a carnival..."
Prepare your karma!
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues - A great book made into a lousy movie.
Still Life with Woodpecker - Find the answer to how you make love stay.
Jitterbug Perfume - This was probably the most important book I ever read when it first came out. I've probably given a dozen of these away to good friends. It's that important to read.
Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas - ...and just about the time I figured ol' Tom would never write anything quite as good as Jitterbug, along he comes with Half Asleep... ahhhh!
George R. R. Martin
Fevre Dream - One of the first and probably the best of the vampire genre of books. A truly engaging and haunting story, Fevre Dream is one of the books you'll pass around to every reader you care for. It is, indeed, that good of a tale.
The Armageddon Rag - firstname.lastname@example.org has this to say in the Amazon.com review: This book is a little-known gem, one of the most enjoyable novels I've read in ages. In terms of genre, it's equal parts detective fiction and Steven King. The plot centers around the reunion of a legendary (and fictional) 60s band. They need the money, their habits have made them old before their time, and they've got a lot of ghosts to exorcise. It is especially notable for its sympathetic and accurate treatment of the Sixties -- one of the only popular novels to ring true in this dept., IMO. Martin builds a great plot, understands pacing, and makes you care about his characters. What's not to like?
It's been several years since I've read a book that has excited me as much as The Last Day has. The writing was technically excellent; the story so engrossing that it became much more important than going to work on time was; the ramifications, eerily spooky. A blast at our current religious and political beliefs, an icy stare at the handling of media in our society... without setting down the whole thing word-for-word I can only suggest extremely strongly that you get and read this book. When you're done, read it again. If only we could all have a copy of the Gospels of the Apotheosis, the world would, indeed, be a better place. Don't miss this book. (back to top)
If you liked Tolkein's Lord of the Rings, get set to enter a world even more engaging! George R. R. Martin has set us upon a journey following the House Stark of Winterfell and their quest of peace for their family in a land where it is denied them at every turn. I don't know when I've ever read a book as captivating as this one is. This is the first volume of four (the second, due in the spring of '98) and as much as I wish all were available right now, the time lag here will give me time to re-read A Game of Thrones another time or two before the second is released. If you like to get so wrapped up in a book that you can't wait to get back home to read some more, this is the one you need to get into. Every time you think you've figured out what the next turn of fate will bring the members of the Stark family, George Martin snatches the rug out from under you as you pour into the next chapter. This is the finest writing I've found in the last two decades! [George! It's coming up on the spring of '99 now, and we're still waiting!]
Speaker for the Dead
Xenocide - a trio of great books about young Ender playing video games and saving humanity. That's way too simple - these are fine books well worth reading.
Hatrack River - A wonderful tale of Alvin Miller growing up in a colonial America where history, as we know it, is skewed a bit. Alvin is a maker, being the seventh son of a seventh son, destined to know the secrets of all things in nature. This is a compilation of 3 of cards books all dealing with the life and growth of young Alvin. Excellent.
(The Hitchhiker's Trilogy - at last count, comprising FIVE [or is it
6?] wonderfully entertaining books all carefully wound around each other.
Arthur Dent, ordinary everyday Englisman, finds himself jerked mercilessly
around the universe. These are all treats!)
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Life, the Universe, and Everything
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
[Young Zaphod Plays it Safe]
The Many Books of the Diskworld Series - if you like Douglas Adams, Gary Larson, or Tom Robbins, you'll be chuckling through the night at Terry Pratchett.
The Vampire Chronicles - Interview has become a movie, The Vampire Lestat
paved the way to Rice's fame, I personally can't get over the finely tuned
Queen of the Damned, my favorite of the three. If you didn't believe in
vampires before your read these...
Interview With A Vampire
The Vampire Lestat
Queen of the Damned
Lives of the Mayfair Witches - Classic gothic horror. Anne Rice can surely spin wonderful tales - you'll be smelling the bougainvillaea and feeling the New Orlean's humidity while getting deep inside the history of a family of modern day witches - these aren't the type to deal with warts of toads, they'll be manipulating markets.
Sleeping Beauty - Anne's erotica. These've become popular since the Vampire Chronicles, but I'd say they're worth passing up.
I like Hambly's writing style in these books - the first three are fantasy,
the last a tale of horror - I was disappointed in some of Barbara's other
books, but these are great.
The Ladies of Mandrigyn
The Witches of Wenshar
The Dark Hand of Magic
Those Who Hunt the Night
Into the Out Of - The evil spirits of Africa are loosed on our contemporary world. Your deepest fears may well be in here, too.
The 23 books of Travis McGee - I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Travis fan. From the time I read the first book I liked this guy. Good ol' moral hero fights the bad guys and learns about life along the way. If you read one, you'll wind up having the whole darned collection!
Vonnegut's been on every college student's list of top books since he
started churning them out. These are the classics - there's a bunch more.
Definitely worth reading just to give you the pause to reevaluate your life.
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
Sirens of Titan
Slaughter House Five
Crichton doesn't write anything anymore that isn't immediately picked
up to be made into a movie. These are GREAT - Congo pretty much sucked (I've
heard the movie wasn't any better than the book!).
The Andromeda Strain
The Lost World
These aren't the 'popcorn' books that you'll read in an evening to pass
the time. Trevanian writes literature; the old fashioned way. Enthralling
work. The Eiger Sanction was made into a good movie with Clint Eastwood
playing the lead. It's worth watching.
The Loo Sanction
The Eiger Sanction
Shibumi - imho, the best of the lot. This, too, is one of those books that I continue to buy and hand out to dear friends. Read it often. It's that good.
The Wolfen - A wonderful book, a great audio book, a fine
movie with Albert Finney. The movie is way different from the book but great
in its own right. Read it, listen to it, watch it.
The Hunger - Whew! This one'll chill you right to the marrow. The Hunger was also made into a movie (David Bowie) which is great if you've read the book and you won't understand at all if you haven't. Such is life.
Tom Brown - Learning
how to live with and respect the earth. Excellent how-to books on tracking
and survival tactics.
Harry Harrison - the Stainless Steel Rat series is great fun
Jim Harrison - Legends of the Fall and A Good Day To Die - excellent
Bob Arnold - Wonderful writings about life and love in the woods and fields of Vermont. His On Stone is a treasured posession.
Carlos Castenada - Carlos was the first writer to ever really shake me awake and make me consider that things might not be as I expected them to be. His first four books carried a lot of weight for me... the ones beyond that seemed to do a fair amount of rehashing the same ground.
The Findhorn Garden - help from the world of faerie.
Robert Service - Favorite campfire tales. I seldom hike into the backcountry without a copy of Service tucked into the pack. Dangerous Dan McGrew, Sam McGee, etal. Poems of the Yukon.
Tom Clancy - Geez, I like the way this guy writes. Without Remorse (his latest?) was great.
John Grisham - The Chamber gave even an old pro-capital punishment guy like me pause. ALL of Grisham's books are GREAT!
Andre Norton - The very first sci-fi book I ever read was Daybreak: 2025. The Witchworld series is great fun, too.
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Mathematical Handbook of Formulas and Tables - for those
of you who still use the occasional logarithm or need trig tables... maybe
financial tables? One handy book that I've trucked around for years now.
The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary - If you're a word-monger you can hardly get through a day without reaching for one of the volumes of the OED. The definitive source of information about the words we rely on to convey our meaning.
A Dictionary of Modern English Usage - Are you using commas correctly? When do you use farther instead of further? Fowler presents what could be dry information in an enjoyable way. If you write, you'll need this book more often than you'd like to admit.
Guide to Movies and Videos - I don't watch television unless
there's a really good movie on or if I've popped down to the video store
to scarf up a few tapes. This book is the best source I've found to preview
what's on before you make a bad choice. All the information you can use.
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Boating Books | Rural Living Books | Great Fiction | The Reference Shelf