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April 6, 2014 / Leslie

Mailbox Monday ~ April 7th

SpringBirdsFenceMailbox-smlWelcome to Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia of To Be Continued, a place where readers share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.

After several years of being on tour with different blogs as the monthly host, the Mailbox Monday Blog is now the permanent home for the meme.


 
No print books or packages in the mailbox last week. I bet my mail carrier was happy about that! I did receive some audiobook downloads which for me are just as nice. Here’s what arrived:

Audio Downloads

DarkEdenDecoded

Dark Eden by Chris Beckett from Random House Audio.
On the alien, sunless planet they call Eden, the 532 members of the Family shelter beneath the light and warmth of the Forest’s lantern trees. Beyond the Forest lie the mountains of the Snowy Dark and a cold so bitter and a night so profound that no man has ever crossed it.

Decoded by Mai Jia from Random House Audio.
Rong Jinzhen, an autistic math genius with a past shrouded in myth, is forced to abandon his academic pursuits when he is recruited into Unit 701. As China’s greatest cryptographer, Rong discovers that the mastermind behind the maddeningly difficult Purple Code is his former teacher and best friend, who is now working for China’s enemy.
 

WordExchangeNorthSide

The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon from AudioBook JukeBox.
In the not-so-distant future, the forecasted death of print has become a reality. Bookstores, libraries, newspapers, and magazines are a thing of the past, as we spend our time glued to handheld devices called Memes that not only keep us in constant communication but have become so intuitive as to hail us cabs before we leave our offices, order takeout at the first growl of a hungry stomach, and even create and sell language itself in a marketplace called the Word Exchange.

A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred by George F. Will from Random House Audio.
Columnist George Will returns to baseball with a deeply personal look at his hapless Chicago Cubs and their often beatified home, Wrigley Field, as it turns one hundred years old. Baseball, Will argues, is full of metaphors for life, religion, and happiness, and Wrigley is considered one of its sacred spaces.

What are you reading?

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April 5, 2014 / Leslie

Weekend Birding: The Sounds of Spring

Winter is a quiet time. No birdsong and barely a chirp out of most species. With the arrival of spring and the upcoming mating season, there is a change in the air. Around the time of the vernal equinox, the start of longer days than nights, birds begin to sing. Some species begin singing a few weeks earlier. In my (unscientific) observations, some singing appears to be triggered by the number of daylight hours from dawn to dusk rather than sunrise to sunset.

Why do birds sing?

Birds sing to attract and impress a mate and to claim territory. In some species females judge mates by the quality of the song, in others the loud and persistent singers will attract the females.

Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird

Some songs are loud and repetitive like the male Red-winged Blackbird. He will spend the entire breeding season fiercely and loudly defending his territory and mates. When I walked past the marsh earlier this week, the Red-winged Blackbirds were the first birds I heard and this one was only too happy to display his gorgeous red feathers while calling out his song.

The Northern Cardinal has been cheerfully singing for a few weeks as has the Song Sparrow, but this past week I began to hear the delightful song of the American Robin, the definitive indicator of spring for many of us in North America. Robins have finally broken up their winter flocks and are claiming nesting territory in backyards, parks and woodlands.

American Robin

American Robin

Robins are very approachable, don’t mind people and are usually happy to pose for a photo. I saw many singing robins but instead chose to photograph this shy bird that ran off into the brush when he or she saw me. From the pale coloring, this is probably a female or a first-year male. Adult males are more brightly colored and have a glossy black head and back.

Not all birds sing

Woodpeckers drum on trees to produce their song, choosing a dry or hollow branch that will produce a loud sound. This declares their territory and females of the same species will recognize and be attracted to their “song”. Both males and females also have a loud call and various sounds for communication, but the drumming is the equivalent of singing during mating season.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

This male Red-bellied was not only drumming loudly but also beginning work on a nest cavity. I hope he wasn’t too disappointed that his drumming attracted me rather than a female woodpecker.

Canada Goose

Canada Goose

The geese weren’t making much noise but several pairs were walking or swimming along the river, presumably searching for a good place to start their nest. They mate for life so don’t have to go through the business of attracting a new mate every spring. The female selects the site, builds the nest and does all the incubation. The male’s job is to guard her and the nest. My job was to watch where I was stepping!

 


Saturday Snapshot was originated by Alyce at At Home With Books. It is now hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy. Visit her blog to see more great photos or add your own.

© 2014 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.
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April 3, 2014 / Leslie

Review – Audiobook: The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert

The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth KolbertThe Sixth Extinction:
An Unnatural History
by Elizabeth Kolbert
Narrated by Anne Twomey

Genre: Science / Non-Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publish Date: February 11, 2014
Format: Audio CD, 10 hours
Audio Listening Level: Easy – Intermediate
Rating: 5 of 5

From the Publisher:

From the author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe, a powerful and important work about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a compelling account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes.

My Thoughts:

The mass extinction most of us are familiar with occurred about 65 million years ago and killed off the dinosaurs, but there were four previous mass extinctions in the history of the earth. Each of these appears to have been brought on by a natural event that caused a sudden change in climate. Species that could not quickly adapt to the new conditions died out.

A growing number of scientists now believe we are living in a new geological era, the Anthropocene, which began about 8,000 years ago with the development of farming. Only after our descendants look back in thousands of years’ time will they know for sure, but the evidence for a new era is mounting. Humans have been affecting the earth’s systems for centuries now and have caused irreversible change to the climate at a pace too fast for many species to adapt.

In this extensively researched book, Kolbert provides us with some history in the form of an overview of previous mass extinctions and the research of Darwin and Lyell, she closely examines a dozen recently extinct and endangered species, and details her travels across the globe to participate in field research with other scientists.

This is a fascinating, balanced account of the current threat to the diversity of life on our planet. The author does not dispute that temperatures on earth have fluctuated in the past, which they have, but explains how rapid change can bring on mass extinctions. The melting of the polar ice caps, destruction of the rain forests, thinning of the ozone layer, the introduction of invasive species to other continents, high levels of carbon dioxide, which may be at its highest level in 15 million years, are only a few contributors to a rapidly changing climate.

I was so engrossed in this book that I read it in only a few days. It is thought-provoking, at times scary and also sad for what we have lost and can still lose in our lifetime. Scientists predict that 30% – 50% of species could be gone from the planet by 2050, a stunning loss to diversity.

This is not a heavy science book. While there are a lot of scientific facts contained between the pages, it’s a very readable and relatable book. I consider myself a bit of a science geek and loved every minute of it, but at the same time I would also highly recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in the subject. It is that good.

Audio Production:

The book was read by Anne Twomey whose voice was perfect for the narration. Her pacing was steady and deliberate and her soft, melodic tones made it easy for me to listen for hours at a time. For me this was an easy listen but I also have a copy of the book to refer to for passages I wanted to study in more detail.

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Source: Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.
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April 2, 2014 / Leslie

Wordless Wednesday: Spring Thaw

Thaw_IMG_1046

Almost wordless: Monday’s warm temperatures melted the last of the ice on the river. Now I’m ready for some spring color.

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More Wordless Wednesday. © 2014 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.
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April 1, 2014 / Leslie

First Chapter First Paragraph ~ Tuesday Intros

The Remedy:
Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Quest to Cure Tuberculosis
by Thomas Goetz

Gotham Books | April 3, 2014 | Hardcover 320 pages

Remedy

1st Paragraph:

“In train after train, consumptives filled the passenger cars, their hacks and coughs competing with steam whistles and screaming brakes as the engines came to a halt in Potsdamer Platz. They came to Berlin without any sense of where to go or what to do once they arrived. And they kept coming, for day, weeks, and months. It must have struck Berliners as a sort of zombie pilgrimage: here were the walking dead of Europe, all suddenly flocking to their city in search of something – some fantastic substance that did not yet officially exist.”

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Next week I’ll be posting my review and have one copy for giveaway (US addresses).
 


First Chapter Tuesday is hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea. Join us by visiting Diane and linking your own First Chapter post or to find out what others plan to read this week.

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Source: Review copy provided by Gotham Books.
© 2014 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.
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March 31, 2014 / Leslie

Mailbox Monday ~ March 31st

SpringBirdsFenceMailbox-smlWelcome to Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia of To Be Continued, a place where readers share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.

After several years of being on tour with different blogs as the monthly host, the Mailbox Monday Blog is now the permanent home for the meme.


 
Yesterday the weather finally warmed up so I took my books outside for a photo to take advantage of the natural light, but the background ended up dull and, well, dead. In another month or so the perennial garden will be back and so will the color. Later today I will be putting my audiobooks to use while I begin garden cleanup.

This was a busy week for my mailbox with an assortment of print books plus a few audio downloads. Here’s what arrived:

New Print Books

BooksMar31_IMG_1229

That Summer by Lauren Willig from St. Martin’s Press.
From modern-day England to the early days of the Preraphaelite movement, Lauren Willig’s That Summer takes readers on an un-put-downable journey through a mysterious old house, a hidden love affair, and one woman’s search for the truth about her past—and herself.

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares from Delacorte Press.
An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world … if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.

BooksMar31_IMG_1240

Monday, Monday by Elizabeth Crook from FSB Associates.
On an oppressively hot Monday in August of 1966, a student and former marine named Charles Whitman hauled a footlocker of guns to the top of the University of Texas tower and began firing on pedestrians below. Monday, Monday follows three students caught up in the massacre.

Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen from LibraryThing.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Garden Spells comes a novel about heartbroken people finding hope at a magical place in Georgia called Lost Lake.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart from Delacorte Press.
A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island. A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive. A revolution. An accident. A secret. Lies upon lies. True love. The truth. We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Audio Downloads

From Penguin Audio

My Wish ListWaiting For Wednesday

My Wish List by Grégoire Delacourt
The number-one best-selling international phenomenon that asks, If you won the lottery, would you trade your life for the life of your dreams?

Waiting for Wednesday by Nicci French
The thrilling third installment in the bestselling Frieda Klein series.

What are you reading?

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© 2014 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.
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March 30, 2014 / Leslie

Giveaway Winner: The Frangipani Hotel

Thank you to everyone that stopped by to read my review and enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of:

The Frangipani Hotel

by Violet Kupersmith

 
Frangipani Hotel

Winner: Anita

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© 2014 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.
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