Check out these new books at the Astoria Public Library:

"Care Free Plants: A guide to growing the 200 hardiest low-maintenance, long-living beauties" is here just in time for planning your next garden. From the editors of Readers Digest, you can find out how to mix and match these easy care plants for maximum garden space. Blistering winds? Acidic soil? Care Free Plants has an answer.

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The National Audubon Society's "Guide to Marine Mammals of the World" has been illustrated by Pieter Folkens. The full color paintings and color photography complement range maps and text regarding the life and behavior of the marine mammals. The volume was written by Randall R. Reeves, Brent S. Stewart, Phillip J. Clapham and James A. Powell.

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If you're looking for some good recommendations on genre reading, look in the Reference section for "Genreflecting, Fifth Edition, A Guide to Reading Interests in Genre Ficiton." Written by Diana Tixier Herald, this book covers historical fiction, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, horror, crime, the western and adventure.

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Free Meeker was driving down the freeway when a strong wind created a dust storm. The dust storm created a 52-car chain reaction and Free is listed as dead. But Free is actually free, bearing the identity and the bag of cash her hitchhiker had in the car. All would be well except for the two men who were chasing the hitchhiker. One of the men wants the money, the other wants to take her life. "Learning to Fly" was written by April Henry.

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Anna Quindlen is the author of "Blessings." On a dark night, headlights out, two teenagers drive up to the estate of Lydia Blessings. They leave a box that will change the life of Lydia and her groundskeeper forever. Skip Cuddy wants to keep the child found in the box, and Lydia agrees to help him. Quindlen explores all the depths of family life in this latest novel.

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From the author of "Pay It Forward" Catherine Ryan Hyde, comes another stunning work of fiction. In "Walter's Purple Heart," an aimless Michael finds he is the reincarnation of Walter, the spirit of a young soldier killed in World War II. Angry with his too soon death, Walter cannot let go. He convinces Michael to find the friend who got him to enlist and the fiancee he left behind. It is up to Michael to integrate all these lives and bring peace to all concerned.

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Poets Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen and Jack Kerouac have something else in common - they were all fire lookouts in the early 1950s. "Poets on the Peaks," by John Suiter, presents the early development of these three poets. It also addresses the wilderness ethic and talks about how the solitary experience of being a wilderness fire lookout helped form their spiritual and literary outlooks.

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Beginning at the mouth of the Mississippi River, Stephen Ambrose, Douglas Brinkley and Sam Abell explored the length of the river to its source at Lake Itasca, Minn. They took their time, talking to people of all kinds and exploring the river's many features. The result is "The Mississippi and the Making of a Nation."

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Henry Pierce has plenty of work to do. But he can't get his mind off some messages left on his new telephone. Even though his new company is at a critical point in its development, Pierce decides he has to help a woman he has never met. As he searches for her, he finds himself deeply involved in a level of violence he had never anticipated. Soon he is fighting for his life in "Chasing the Dime" by Michael Connelly.

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Stephen Dow Beckham wrote the text and Robert M. Reynolds took the photographs for "Lewis & Clark: From the Rockies to the Pacific." Beckham and Reynolds concentrated on the territory of the West in their book. The photographs were taken at the same time of year as Lewis and Clark made their journey. The book is an official publication of the national Council of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial 2003-2006.

- Jane Tucker, librarian, Astoria Public Library

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