Books for Browsers | Reference Round-Up

Public and academic libraries alike can benefit from books that draw both browsers and researchers looking for quick facts. Many of the recent and upcoming titles listed offer that versatility, compellingly and factually covering everything from objects carried on the famed Silk Roads to the United States Constitution.

De Roy, Tui, Mark Jones, and Julie Cornthwaite. Penguins: The Ultimate Guide. 2nd ed. Princeton Univ. Apr. 2022. 240p. ISBN 9780691233574. $35. REF

Nothing draws browsers, young and old, like penguin photos, so one can’t go wrong with this title. As well as 400 awww-inducing photos, this new edition offers the most recent science on these creatures and their conservation. For more completist collections, Princeton has recently released Gulls of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East: An Identification Guide by Peter Adriaens, Mars Muusse, Philippe J. Dubois, and Frédéric Jiguet.

Dietz, Theresa S. The Complete Language of Flowers: A Definitive and Illustrated History. Wellfleet. Apr. 2022. 256p. ISBN 9781577152835. $15.99. REF

Which flower signifies adventurousness? How about ambition? All is revealed in Dietz’s listing of “meanings, powers, facts, and folklore” about more than 1,000 flowers. (Spoiler: it’s the amaryllis and the sunflower, respectively.)

Timelines of Science. DK. Oct. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9780744060171. $29.99. REF

While this title will be published by DK’s children’s division, crossover appeal is guaranteed by the publisher’s signature graphics-heavy, attractive presentation. In addition, it’s hard to find an adult-level science work that covers the proverbial forest rather than the trees, so this should be popular with adult readers who seek a whirlwind tour of scientific history.

Gogerty, Clare (text) & Maria Nilsson (illus). 50 Things To Do in the Urban Wild. Princeton Architectural. May 2022. 144p. ISBN 9781648961540. $17.95. REF

Readers don’t have to get out of the city to enjoy some wilderness. Describing activities such as birding, stargazing, and gardening, travel writer and urban gardener Gogerty offers ways to “engage, explore, and appreciate” the city. This affordable title will fit nicely in reference collections that support makerspaces and in travel collections.

Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Barack Obama 2016, Book 2. ed. by Government Printing Office. Bernan. Apr. 2022. Pages 935–1812. ISBN 9780160948220. $193. REF

The wheels of government grind slowly. The Government Printing Office has just published the second volume of Obama’s 2016 presidential papers. Proponents and opponents of the Obama administration will both want to know what he wrote on various topics. This work will also be of value to those interested in the politics of climate change, as the United States formally joined the Paris global climate agreement in September 2016, a process likely documented in the papers.

Hudson Jr., David L. The Constitution Explained: A Guide for Every American. Visible Ink. Jun. 2022. 384p. ISBN 9781578597505. $24.95. REF

The First, Second, and Fifth Amendments are often referred to, but—if social media is any indication—only vaguely understood by most. The rest of the Constitution fares mostly worse. To the rescue is this comprehensive, clear work by Hudson, who teaches First Amendment law at Belmont University’s College of Law in Nashville. Beyond the Constitution itself, Hudson addresses related topics, such as methods of interpreting the Constitution, controversial Supreme Court picks, and the composition of the court.

Medoff, Rafael. America and the Holocaust: A Documentary History. Univ. of Nebraska. May 2022. 352p. ISBN 9780827615182. $30. REF

Holocaust denial and Nazism are present dangers in the United States, as elsewhere, making primary sources on the Holocaust, and the U.S.’s response to it, essential. Medoff’s 20 themed chapters cover topics such as news coverage of atrocities and American Jewish and Christian responses to the Holocaust. Each chapter offers five primary sources—three textual and two visual.

Mierse, William E. Artifacts from the Ancient Silk Road. Greenwood. Dec. 2022. 446p. ISBN 9781440858284. $103. REF

The objects that will be showcased in this title promise to illustrate the different groups who made the ancient trade routes unique: the sedentary people who lived along the routes and turned it into an urban thoroughfare; the nomads who traveled the roads; and the peoples who lived at either end.

Minetor, Randi. Essential Oils. Your Questions Answered. Greenwood. Mar. 2022. 125p. ISBN 9781440877841. $40. REF

Essential oils are certainly popular among the wellness enthusiasts who visit the library. Here, medical journalist Minetor offers the scientific facts that are often missing from wellness-industry claims. It provides reliable information for consumers, students, and providers of alternative health care.

National Geographic Complete National Parks of the United States. 3rd ed. National Geographic. Oct. 2022. 560p. ISBN 9781426222337. $40. REF

Produced by Netflix, the documentary series Our Great National Parks is narrated by former President Barack Obama and showcases some of the world’s most stunning locations. The series might spur more interest in the United States’ National Parks, which are already perennially popular destinations. To satisfy those needs, this National Geographic reference is worth considering. It offers photographs, maps, historical background on the parks’ development, and visitor information, such as the best times to visit.

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