Check out these new arrivals at the Astoria Public Library, and visit the Web site www.astorialibrary.org

The ultimate garden book, "Sunset's Western Garden Book," is completely revised and updated. Everything you will ever need to know about gardens and more is here, including information from Abelia to Zoysia.

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"How To Be Idle," by Tom Hodgkinson, gives us many reasons for being idle. Hodgkinson focuses on how we can slow down in our fast-paced, overworked lives and do nothing. Guilt-free loafing is at hand.

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Can you ever have too many garden books? "Native Plants in the Coastal Garden," by April Pettinger with Brenda Costanzo, is a great guide for gardeners in the Pacific Northwest. Sections include working with native plants, plants and their habitats and regional source guides.

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Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, has given us a profound book with answers to poverty. An in-depth study of various countries has led to solutions that are economic, political, environmental and social. "The End of Poverty" is a book of astounding vision.

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"Babycakes," the fourth book in the Tales of the City series, is a wonderful book by Armistead Maupin. It is funny, sad, and entertaining. The story, a whimsical romp in San Francisco, can be beautiful and vulgar at the same time.

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Jan Karon's new book is a delight. "The Light from Heaven" brings back Father Timothy Kavanaugh, now retired but still being called on to help out. Including Father Timothy's bishop, there are old and new characters to be enjoyed. Available in large print too.

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Haines, Alaska, a small town north of Juneau, is the setting for an account of Heather Lende's life in this backwater place. This is a good story about living in a dangerous and gorgeously beautiful setting. I spent a week in this town four years ago and enjoyed every minute of it. The title is "If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name."

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Published in 1930 in Japan, "The Scarlet Gang of Asakusa," by Yasunari Kawabata, gives us a vivid picture of Japan in the 1930s. The book captures the decadent allure of a famous entertainment district called Asakusa. The author won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968.

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"Too Late to Die Young," by Harriet McBryde Johnson, is a heartwarming story about a woman with a neuromuscular disease that has prevented her from ever walking. Her illness has never held her back. She is a lawyer in South Carolina and an activist for social justice. She lives life on her own terms.

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The beauty of Persian carpets is explored in "The Root of Wild Madder," by Brian Murphy. Traveling through Iran and Afghanistan, the author follows the carpets from weaving to the bazaars where they are sold. His journey is filled with tales, culture and mystery.

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