When it comes to home and garden, three new books at the Astoria Public Library will brighten your home:

"Planted Junk" by Adam Caplin is a new approach to container gardening. Whether small or large, terrific plants in terrific containers add depth and interest to any porch, step, or deck. But how do you choose the right plant? And the right pot?

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Leeann Mackenzie, author of "Garden Decoration from Junk," concentrates on transforming household junk into great garden features. Mackenzie teaches her readers how to recognize the natural attributes in a piece of common junk that will turn it into an artistic windchime, planter, garden light or whatever you can envision.

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Joe Rhatigan and Dana Irwin are the authors of "Salvage Style." They feature 45 home and garden projects using reclaimed architectural details from flea markets, yard sales and salvage yards. Most projects require minimal technical skills and are designed to inspire homeowners.

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"The American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers" offers gardeners more than 700 pages of photographs and plant descriptions. The entries are logically arranged and include a plant catalog and a plant dictionary. The table of contents page easily guides readers to the kind of plant they want to research and a comprehensive index further identifies specific plants. The photographs are delightful in their own right. This volume will be housed in the reference section of the library.

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At exactly two minutes past 10 on the morning of Aug. 27, 1883, 36,000 people died. When Krakatoa exploded, the sound was heard 3,000 miles away. The debris sent into the air lowered the planet's temperatues. The eruption took place at a time when cables first connected the world's news bureaus, making it the first catastrophic event to be known world wide in a matter of hours. Simon Winchester has researched this extraordinary event in "Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded, August 27, 1883."

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In the third mystery/suspense novel featuring Ministry of Public Security agent Liu Hulan, and her husband, American attorney David Stark, set out to investigate a death. David realizes there has also been a theft of a most important Chinese artifact. Everyone wants this relic, and this death may well have been murder. "Dragon Bones" was written by Lisa See.

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"Living History" is the title of Hillary Rodham Clinton's memoir. Growing up in the 1950s in a suburban, middle class home set the stage for her later life. As First Lady for eight years, she redefined the role, speaking out for health care, families, and children. Her 30 years of marriage include many moments of tenderness and survives others of betrayal.

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"Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women" was written by Australian journalist Geraldine Brooks. Brooks spent six years covering the Middle East for The Wall Street Journal. As an independent, working woman, she reported on significant events. Yet in her years there, she came to know about the lives of the women behind the veils. She presents a once liberating faith, Islam, that is now perceived through male power.

- Jane Tucker, librarian, Astoria Public Library

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