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PC's favorite sites

- Readerville
The social life of the mind--book discussions, author visits, links to articles from all over the world, and a great online bookstore, too

- The Onion
The only humor site you need

- Scott McCloud's Home Page
The author of Understanding Comics shows what the form can do online

- The Internet Anagram Server
Cheap amusement with one of the world's oldest word games

The unofficial site for anyone interested in sports at the University of North Carolina

- The Virginia Festival of the Book
Charlottesville's annual literary festival--and well worth the drive

 Political Animal
Kevin Drum's column, my favorite political blog by far.
Home of Strong Bad, Trogdor the Burninator, and Teen Girl Squad, it's the web's best cartoon site.

  The Straight Dope
Cecil knows all. All hail Cecil.
Urban legends explained, debunked, exchanged. Comfort for your inner skeptic.


 E-mail Peter



Audubon, John James, The Audubon Society Baby Elephant Folio: Audubon's Birds of America (R.T. Peterson, V. Peterson, eds.), Abbeville Press, New York, 1981
If it will fit your house or your budget, own this. It's dictionary-sized, beautiful, and full of the most important paintings of birds ever made.

Austin, Oliver L., Jr., Birds of the World, Golden Press, New York, 1961
A terrific overview of global ornithology, with great full-color illustrations by Arthur Singer

Burton, Robert, National Audubon Society North American Birdfeeder Handbook, Dorling Kindersley, London/New York/Stuttgart, 1992
A practical guide for anyone who wants to bring birds into his or her life, or just get more information on the ones you already have.

Catesby, Mark, Catesby's Birds of Colonial America, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC, 1985
Before Audubon, there was Catesby, the first naturalist to paint our continent's birds.

Connor, Jack, The Complete Birder: A Guide to Better Birding, Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, 1988
If you've been birding for a while and want to take the next step, Connor knows exactly where you should put your feet.

Ehrlich, Paul R., David S. Dobkin and Darryl Wheye, Birds in Jeopardy, Stanford University Press, Stanford, Cal., 1992

Forbush, Edward Howe (John Bichard May, ed.), A Natural History of American Birds of Eastern and Central North America, Bramhall House, New York, 1939
The classic, described lovingly by E.B. White.

Ford, Alice, John James Audubon, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK, 1964

Heinzel, Hermann and Martin Woodcock, Collins Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe, William Collins Sons & Co LTD, London, 1978
Birding, unlike politics, does not stop at the water's edge. Take this across the pond.

Hill, Jen, An Exhilaration of Wings: The Literature of Birdwatching, Penguin Books, New York, 1999
The ornithological words of everyone from Thoreau to Browning to Teddy Roosevelt; a delightful way to spend a day when the weather's too nasty for birding.

Long, John L., Introduced Birds of the World, Terrey Hills, Sydney, NSW: Reed, 1981

Pasquier, Roger, Watching Birds, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1980

Pearson, T. Gilbert, ed., Birds of America, Garden City Publishing Company, Garden City, NY, 1936
The massive book my grandmother got me from the Beaufort County Library's discard pile; if you find one in a similar place, or maybe a used bookstore, don't hesitate to grab it.

Peterson, Roger Tory, ed., The Bird Watcher's Anthology, Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York, 1957

Peterson, Roger Tory, A Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern and Central North America, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1980
The Birder's Bible. Period. Go buy it. Right now. Chop chop.

Scott, Shirley F., ed., Field Guide to the Birds of North America (2nd Edition), National Geographic Society, Washington, DC, 1992
An excellent supplement to the Peterson; it covers the whole of the continental U.S. in one volume, too, which makes it convenient for birders in the East or in the West.

Sill, Ben L., Cathryn P. and John C., Another Field Guide to Little-Known & Seldom-Seen Birds of North America, Peachtree Publishers, Ltd., Atlanta, 1990
A hilarious and lovingly illustrated guide to birds that really ought to exist.

Stokes, Donald and Lillian, Stokes Field Guide to Birds/ Eastern Region, Little, Brown and Company, Boston/New York/Toronto/London, 1996
Another excellent supplementary field guide, illustrated with photographs.

White, E.B., Essays of E.B. White, Harper & Row, New York/Hagerstown/San Francisco/London, 1977
Well, maybe it's not that useful from a birding standpoint, except for the essay "Mr. Forbush's Friends, but damn, the man could write.


Alterman, Eric, What Liberal Media?
Painstaking research, overwhelming logic, wry observation—this is why we need a free press. (And why it's important to note that the one we have isn't the one many people think we have.) A splendid book for explaining the difference between what people say and what's actually true.

Beagle, Peter S., Tamsin
A beautiful and engrossing ghost story from one of fantasy's masters, with one of the best teen narrators you'll ever meet, Jennie Gluckstein.

Eugenides, Jeffrey, Middlesex
A sprawling multigenerational narrative of changing roles, changing nationalities, and even changing genders, written with verve, depth, and originality.

Frank, Thomas, What’s the Matter with Kansas?
If all politics is local, we can all learn a lot from Frank's pointed observations about Kansas' shift from home of radical economic populism to hotbed of reactionary anti-intellectualism. Thought-provoking and intriguing.

Gaiman, Neil, with Adam Kubert, Richard Isanove et al., 1602
The heroes of the Marvel Comics universe, from Daredevil to Dr. Strange to the X-Men, come to life four hundred years too soon, and it's more than Elizabethan England can handle. Gorgeous artwork and delightful recasting of familiar characters and situations.

Le Guin, Ursula K., The Lathe of Heaven
One of her true masterworks, this is a tale about dreams, reality, and the dangers that await those who seek to breach the wall between them. It's by Le Guin—it's going to be great.

McPhee, John, The Founding Fish
Everything you ever wanted to know about shad fishing—more than everything, actually, but in McPhee's capable hands, there's not a subject on earth that isn't fascinating.

Moore, Christopher, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal
It's not for believers in Biblical inerrancy, but if you believe God has a sense of humor, you'll love this.

Pratchett, Terry, Going Postal
One of the best of the recent Discworld books, this account of a con man assigned the task of organizing the Ankh-Morpork Post Office stands alone, but gives Pterry's fans a look at plenty of their favorite characters.

Rhodes, Richard, John James Audubon: The Making of an American
A detailed and complex portrait of America's first great nature artist. (And yes, I reviewed it for OnEarth Magazine.)

Ruth, Maria Rudd, Rare Bird: Pursuing the Mystery of the Marbled Murrelet
A quirky and personal account of the author's obsession with the titular bird and its maddeningly mysterious nesting habits. (And yes, I wrote a blurb for it.)

Schulz, Charles M., The Complete Peanuts: 1950-1952
The first two years of Charlie Brown and his pals, done in the minimalist style that defined the American comic strip for decades afterwards. A beautiful package from Fantagraphics Books, and a fitting treatment for one of the medium's true greats.

Vowell, Sarah, The Partly-Cloudy Patriot
For every geeky American whose heart beats a little faster when hearing the words "Free Exercise Clause," "Spoils System," or "Bull Moose Party." A collection of hilarious, thoughtful, and touching essays on American history and culture.

Whedon, Joss, with John Cassaday et al, Astonishing X-Men: Gifted
The creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel turns to penning the adventures of my favorite super-team from high school? And he gets the artist of Planetary to come along? Why the hell wouldn't I think this is the greatest thing since sliced bread?

Winick, Judd, The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius
As inventive as Isaac Asimov, as hilarious as Douglas Adams, and as cheerfully profane as George Carlin, Winick has created a science-geek South Park, but with far better artwork and even more four-letter words. Absolutely priceless.



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