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A GOOD READ: Big is beautiful in books

A GOOD READ by Andrée Duval As we head into February, the world can seem dull and grey. With a trip to your local library, you can turn the grey to vivid colours.

A GOOD READ by Andrée Duval

As we head into February, the world can seem dull and grey. With a trip to your local library, you can turn the grey to vivid colours.

Tabletop or oversize books are alive with the evocative images of places, times and events. In this column, I am not writing about the most common types of oversize books (atlases and art books); rather, I highlight other subjects that can be discovered in this format.

Off the Tourist Trail is the ultimate guide to unique armchair travel. This Eyewitness Travel book published by DK provides readers with alternatives to major tourist sights. "Herculaneum vs. Pompeii," "The Orinoco vs. The Amazon" and "Wine-Tasting in Mendoza vs. Wine-Tasting in Napa Valley" are just a few of the intriguing essays that combine practical information with stunning photos.

The Sacred Balance by David Suzuki and Amanda McConnell (with Maria DeCambra) celebrates nature. In the introduction, Suzuki shares his personal journey to the realization that we are the Earth. The following chapters are full of reflections and information on, quotes about and photos of the natural forces, creatures and people who share our planet.

Weddings are joyful and elaborate affairs, as evidenced in The Best of Martha Stewart Living Weddings. From the invitations to the bouquets, from the ceremony to the reception, from fabulous cakes to wedding traditions, Stewart covers it all with her unique touch.

Small worlds can be viewed in big, bold colours in Bugs by Frank Lowenstein and Sheryl Lechner. The fascinating life of insects, their useful and sometimes destructive behaviour is there for all to see. Budding entomologists will love all the amazing details and factual information. But take care or you may start subconsciously scratching.

Interested in other creatures? Check out these big books: The Pictorial Encyclopedia of Cats by Strader; The World of the Polar Bear by Rosing; and North American Wildlife by Jones.

Natural Light: Visions of British Columbia by photographer David Nunuk presents B.C. in all its glory. While some of these places will be familiar, most will be new to many readers. The awe-inspiring beauty and solitude of our province is brought home with every page turn and may provide you with your next travel destination.

When one thinks of National Geographic, one usually thinks of the magazine but the National Geographic Society also publishes books. In Peoples of the World: Their Cultures, Traditions and Ways of Life, the writing of 16 world-renowned Geographic contributors is combined with the work of professional photographers. The nine chapters span the major continental-cultural areas of the world and examine the lives of more than 150 ethnic groups in all their glorious diversity.

The Illustrated History of Textiles, edited by Madeline Ginsburg, describes the evolution of textiles through the centuries. The artistry and enduring nature of textiles is wonderfully illustrated with close-ups of small sections of the textiles to full-page photos of the works. Also included are seven chapters that give in-depth information for collectors of various textiles such as lace, tapestry and carpets.

The list above is only a sampling of what I found on my library's shelves. Some libraries have separate sections for oversize books and some are on the bottom shelves throughout the library. Ask a librarian if you are having difficulty locating these or any other items.

A Good Read is a column by Tri-City librarians that is published every Wednesday. Andrée Duval works at Port Moody Public Library.

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