September 23, 2022 - Annual Astronomical Marks

In case you missed it, yesterday at 8:03 p.n. the Autumnal Equinox occurred. For all intents and purposes this means that the hours of night and day are equal or about 12 hours each. Having reached the Autumnal Equinox can the Winter Solstice be far away? Well, actually it is 90 days away. On December 21st we'll roll past the shortest day of the year, but as many of you regular readers of this column probably recall, by the time the Winter Solstice rolls around we've started adding back time at the end of the day (when, frankly, most of us notice it) although we continue losing time in the mornings well into the new year. These annual astronomical marks help us define the year. Right now the plants and animals are responding to the loss of daylight. Crops are finishing and turning the landscape into the yellows and greens of Packer country. Migratory birds have already flocked up and if they haven't already left, they are practicing flying in flock formations. Crickets are chirping away. Bees are swarming. Squirrels are storing away food. The whole world has that slightly hazy look that the angle of sunlight at this time of year casts. It is that golden time preceding the end of another growing season. I hope you are getting out and enjoying nature and as twilight comes sooner everyday, that you use this time to settle in with a good book. Below you will find many such books. Enjoy!

“What If ? 2: Additional Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions “ by Randall Munroe. Filled with crazy science, endless curiosity and the author’s signature stick-figure comics, this practical guide for impractical ideas consults the latest research to concisely answer reader’s questions, demonstrating you can learn a lot from examining how the world might work in very specific extreme circumstances.


“The Year of the Puppy: How Dogs Become Themselves” by Alexandra Horowitz. The author of the classic “Inside of a Dog”, by observing her puppy Quid from week to week, makes new sense of a dog’s behavior, keeping a lens on the puppy’s point of view as she researches the science of early dog development.


“The Mosquito Bowl: A Game of Life and Death in World War II” by Buzz Bissinger. This extraordinary, never-before-told story of WWII follows two U.S. Marine Corps regiments, comprised of some of the greatest football talent, as they played each other in a football game in the dirt and coral of Guadalcanal known as “The Mosquito Bowl” before they faced the darkest and deadliest days at Okinawa.


“Prisoners of the Castle: An Epic Story of Survival and Escape from Colditz, the Nazis’ Fortress Prison” by Ben MacIntryre. Tracing the arc of World War II from within the walls of one of history’s most notorious prisons—Colditz Castle—that held the most defiant Allied prisoners, this gripping narrative shows how a remarkable cast of POWs concocted ingenious ways to escape their Nazi captors.


“Starry Messengers: Cosmic Perspectives on Civilization” by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Bringing his cosmic perspective to civilization on Earth, an astrophysicist discusses the scientific palette that sees and paints the world differently, sharing insights on resolving global conflict to reminders of how precious it is to be alive in a universe stimulating a deeper sense of unity for us all.

“The Last Dreamwalker” by Rita Woods. Tells the story of two women, separated by nearly two centuries yet inextricably linked by the Gullah Geechee Islands off the coast of South Carolina—and their connection to a mysterious and extraordinary gift passed from generation to generation.


“The Marriage Portrait “by Maggie O’Farrell. In Florence during the 1550s, captivating young duchess Lucrezia de’ Medici, having barely left girlhood behind, marries the ruler of Ferrara, Modena and Reggio, and now, in an unfamiliar court where she has one duty—to provide an heir—fights for her very survival.


“On the Rooftop” by Margaret Sexton. The talk of the Jazz-era Fillmore, The Salvations—sisters Ruth, Esther and Chloe—find their personal ambitions on a collision course with those of their mother, whose dreams of musical stardom for them forces her to confront the parts of her life that threaten to splinter.


“The Two Lives of Sara” by Catherine West. During the racially divided 1960s, a Black young, unwed mother named Sara, working for Mama Sugar at a popular boarding house in Memphis, Tennessee, finds friendship and refuge until secrets from Mama Sugar’s are revealed, forcing Sara to make a decision that will reshape the rest of her life.


“Back to the Garden” by Laurie R. King. Inspector Raquel Laing investigates a fifty-year-old case at a storied and glamourous California estate after renovations turn up a human skull that may have been the work of a serial killer.


“Marple: Twelve New Mysteries (Miss Marple Mysteries)” by Agatha Christie, et al. Starring Agatha Christie’s legendary detective Jane Marple, this brand-new collection of short stories is written by 12 best-selling and acclaimed authors—each of which reimagines Marple through their own unique perspective while staying true to the hallmarks of a traditional mystery.


“Angelika Frankenstein Makes Her Match” by Sally Thorne. The younger sister of Victor Frankenstein embarks on her own project, resurrecting an intended beau who is more intent on uncovering his forgotten identity than in romance, in the new novel from the best-selling author of “The Hating Game”.


“Rules of Engagement” by Selena Montgomery & Stacey Abrams. While infiltrating a terrorist group responsible for stealing lethal environmental technology, Dr. Raleigh Foster, an operative for a top-secret intelligence organization, finds the most dangerous thing of all is falling for her partner as they untangle a twisted web of secrets and lies