Monday, March 28, 2011

Plants of Deep South Texas: A Field Guide to the Woody and Flowering Species

Slide Show and Lecture
Plants of Deep South Texas: A Field Guide to the Woody and Flowering Species
Dr. Alfred Richardson
Paragraphs On Padre Boulevard
5055 Padre Boulevard, South Padre Island, TX
Thursday, March 31, 2011
5:30 – 7:00 pm

You are invited to join us on Thursday evening, March 31 at 5:30 for a slide show and lecture which will be presented by Dr. Alfred Richardson about the "Plants of Deep South Texas: A Field Guide to the Woody and Flowering Species" The event will begin at 5:30 and the slide show and lecture will be at 6pm. This book as well as other titles by Dr. Richardson will be available for purchase and for signing.

Over ten years in the making, Dr Richardson and biologist, Dr Ken King, travelled thousands of miles trying to find the right time to take photos and find many of these plants. This is your opportunity to meet and hear from one of the foremost experts in flora of the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

Dr. Alfred Richardson is professor emeritus of biological sciences at the University of Texas at Brownsville. Ken King, of Weslaco, Texas, has a MS in biology with an emphasis on herpetology. He serves on the board of directors for the Native Plant Project and is well known in the valley as a self-taught naturalist.

This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided

For information call us at 956-433-5057

More about the book:

Covering the almost three million acres of southernmost Texas known as the Lower Rio Grande Valley, this user-friendly guide is an essential reference for nature enthusiasts, farmers and ranchers, professional botanists, and anyone interested in the plant life of Texas.

Alfred Richardson and Ken King offer abundant photographs and short descriptions of more than eight hundred species of ferns, algae, and woody and herbaceous plants—covering two-thirds of the species that occur in this region, excluding grasses.

Plants of Deep South Texas opens with a brief introduction to the region and an illustrated guide to leaf shapes and flower parts. The book's individual species accounts cover: Leaves, flowers, fruit, blooming period, distribution, habits, common and scientific names.

In addition, the authors' comments include indispensable information that cannot be seen in a photograph, such as the etymology of the scientific name, the plant's use by caterpillars and its value from the human perspective. The authors also provide a glossary of terms, as well as an appendix of butterfly and moth species mentioned in the text.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

This book has been on my to be read list for ages. I think the time has come to actually sit down to it. From everything I have read this would be a great book club selection.

One reviewer comments:
Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences.

We now have it in stock in a trade paperback edition.

From the Prologue:

The Woman in the Photograph
There’s a photo on my wall of a woman I’ve never met, its left corner torn and patched together with tape. She looks straight into the camera and smiles, hands on hips, dress suit neatly pressed, lips painted deep red. It’s the late 1940s and she hasn’t yet reached the age of thirty. Her light brown skin is smooth, her eyes still young and playful, oblivious to the tumor growing inside her—a tumor that would leave her five children motherless and change the future of medicine. Beneath the photo, a caption says her name is “Henrietta Lacks, Helen Lane or Helen Larson.”

No one knows who took that picture, but it’s appeared hundreds of times in magazines and science textbooks, on blogs and laboratory walls. She’s usually identified as Helen Lane, but often she has no name at all. She’s simply called HeLa, the code name given to the world’s first immortal human cells—her cells, cut from her cervix just months before she died.

Her real name is Henrietta Lacks.
Part science, biography, and history this book deals with the many of the issues we see in the front pages of the news every day and which are at the center of some of the most fierce culture wars and ethical debates. I am really looking forward to reading this book.

We now have it in stock in trade paperback. You can also buy the book online, read this book on your ereader or download the audio book to listen to on your ipod or MP3 player.
Purchase at our online store here: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Download the audiobook at this link
Or, download it to read on your ereader of choice (Kindle excepted) here: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Kind Words from the SPI Flip Flop Foodie

Every once in a while I have to share some very nice thing someone has said about the store. One of our frequent visitors who stops by often and always generously shares some latest culinary experiment -- cookies, cake pops or some other decadent tasty treat -- writes a delightful blog The South Padre Island Flip Flop Foodie. Anyway, Debbi wrote this very nice blog post about Paragraphs and I had to share some of the highlights.
Paragraph's "Meet the Author Series" are like a "social"...people visit, there's usually snacks of some sort, frequently wine, coffee, or's like we've gone to Joni's home and she has entertained us at a fine, yet comfortable, soiree. (I can come with no make-up, shorts, and flip flops...
she continues ..
There are no whispering library voices in Paragraphs...just lots of happy and interesting people.
What I really liked about Debbi's kind words is her reinforcement that we are providing the atmosphere that has been the driving force behind the development of Paragraphs from the very beginning. Our logo was even designed to represent the social hub idea that is what we want Paragraphs to be all about.

So, I do appreciate the kind blog post by Debbi. If you cook, or like me just like to eat, The Flip Flop Foodie is a great blog to follow. And if you live on the island and haven't gotten to know Debbi Hook, she is a person you should meet.

She continues:
This week, Joni shared a fabulous little rum cake...I am determined to duplicate it. She said a friend shipped it to Griff from the Caribbean...something like a Tortuga Rum Cake. If I get around to making my take on it, I'll blog about it you can be sure! Past events have featured yummies from Zeste, cheese and crackers, chocolates, and other little yummies. What book store does that? We are so fortunate to have them.
Now, I am waiting for her to try the Tortuga Rum Cake! I can't wait to sample some of those experiments!

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Great Read to Listen to

I love audio books. I listen to them whenever possible - walking the dogs, working outside, driving, actually, I am listening to a book whenever I can't sit down and read. I must admit, most of the time I find this a good way to catch up on classics that are in the public domain and available at Librivox. What is better than getting a classic story read to you, for free? These volunteer narrators are quite good.

But, I am always surprised when I listen to a professionally produced audio book. Right now I am listening to "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman and read by the author. This had been on my TBR pile for ages but I just couldn't sit down to it. After hearing the audio version recommended by Michael and Ann, at Books On The Nightstand I have been waiting for it to become available at the Denver Public Library, but I finally decided to splurge and download a copy from Audible.

I have not been disappointed. Everyone knows Gaiman can write a great story but he is also a wonderful storyteller. I have been drawn into the story in a way I don't think I would have been by reading the book.

The publisher says:
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead.

There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack - who has already killed Bod's family.

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times best-selling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

Music arrangement of "Danse Macabre" copyright 2008 by Béla Fleck and Ben Sollee, Fleck Music (BMI), admin. by Bug Music.

©2008 Neil Gaiman; (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers

This is a young adult novel that can be enjoyed by kids of all ages. A little scary in places for sensitive readers -- it is Neil Gaiman, after all -- but generally a tale to keep your interest. You can purchase the book for download here.