Sunday, April 03, 2005

How I Find Books to Read, Part 5: A Place Between the Tides by Harry Thurston

When friends or relatives die, some people like to honor them with gifts to their libraries. When this happens in Western Springs, they often come to me. They tell me the types of books the deceased enjoyed and how much they would like to spend. I listen, take notes, and tell them that I will do a little research to find suitable books. When I have made some choices, I call the benefactors and they accept or ask me to look again. When we have agreed, I order the books. When the gifts are processed, we put memorial plates in the books and the nearest relatives are contacted. We have added some very nice books that we would not have had through memorial gifts.

When I was walking through the Morton Arboretum yesterday, noticing the signs of the changing seasons, I remembered A Place Between the Tides by Harry Thurston, a recent memorial gift to our library. Thurston lives on the edge of a salt marsh in Nova Scotia. As a naturalist, he spends many hours watching the marsh from his window and wandering along its shores when weather allows, noting the activity of its animal life. Using his journals, he has been able to identify very local seasonal patterns. He knows when the ice will break, when the alewives will run, and when to look for the resident foxes to leave their dens. Still, he is surprised when storms bring in rare birds from Europe or when a dam breaks and floods the marsh. Through stories about birds, fish, and mammals, Thurston encourages nature observation. Readers can enjoy this book any time of the year.

Thurston, Harry. A Place Between the Tides: A Naturalist's Reflections on the Salt Marsh. Vancouver ; Berkeley : Greystone Books ; [Berkeley, Calif.] : Distributed in the U.S. by Publishers Group West, c2004. ISBN 1553650352

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