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The Bookshelf:
Great Reads for Your Summer Vacation
By Bill Rickman, The Island Bookstore

One of the most attractive books we've ever sold is Outer Banks Edge by Steve Alterman, Outer Banks Press, $39.95. We continue to sell it well and it remains the epitome of the photographic “gift book” for the Outer Banks. Since June of 2004 we've had another handsome and fascinating title to sell, Pure Sea Glass, by Richard LaMotte, Chesapeake Seaglass Publishing, $34.95.

Most of us know sea glass as those elusive shards of bottles and other glass objects that only very occasionally poke up amidst the shells, wood, seaweed and other bric-a-brac we encounter on our walks on the beach.

Richard LaMotte and his wife, Nancy, have discovered far more. Initially they began gathering pieces appropriate for Nancy's use in designing unique jewelry. While only a small percentage of their findings are adequate for jewelry they now have 30,000 pieces in a wide array of colors. During exhibitions many people shared stories and asked questions about the origins of sea glass. It is these repeated questions from observers and fellow collectors, as well as corresponding explanations that make up the core of this book.

Among the questions addressed are: What glass object might this piece of sea glass have come from and how old might it be? How would it have reached this location over time? Where are the best places to hunt sea glass and when is the most opportune time? Why are some colors so hard to find? How did something so sharp and jagged get so smooth and round? What causes the white patina on the surface of a piece of sea glass?

Photographer Celia Pearson elegantly captures this extraordinary sea glass collection. Each glass color is presented in order of rarity based on the LaMottes' study. Bottles and tableware are photographed to create a unique reference guide for sea glass collectors to use in identifying the origin of glass shards. Throughout the book, Pearson's seascapes are a reminder of the alluring promise of the shore. Pure Sea Glass reveals facts regarding the science, history and the finite existence of this dwindling resource. The text includes knowledge of glass lineage that can help identify overall rarity and it provides a key to identifying features of premium pieces. The final chapter reminds us of the fragile nature of our shorelines; while we may have access to much less sea glass than years ago, we may also have much less shoreline if we fail to act wisely.

Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh,Pantheon, $16.00. 50th Anniversary Edition.

In this beloved, graceful, lucid and lyrical classic, Anne Morrow Lindbergh shares her meditations on youth and age, love and marriage, peace, solitude and contentment as she set them down during a brief vacation by the sea. Drawing inspiration from the shells on the shore, Lindbergh's musing on the shape of a woman's life brings new understanding to both men and women at any stage of life. A mother of five, acclaimed writer and pioneering aviator, Lindbergh casts an unsentimental eye on the trappings of modernity that threaten to overwhelm us: the time-saving gadgets that complicate rather than simplify, the multiple commitments that take us from our families. And by recording her thoughts during a brief escape from everyday demands, she helps readers find a space for contemplation and creativity within their own lives.

With great wisdom and insight Lindbergh describes the shifting shapes of relationships and marriage, presenting a vision of life as it is lived in an enduring and evolving partnership. A groundbreaking bestseller when it was originally published in 1955, Gift From the Sea continues to be discovered by new generations of readers. With a new introduction by Lindbergh's daughter, Reeve, this fiftieth anniversary edition will give those who are coming upon it for the first time fresh insight into the life of this remarkable woman.

Mystery at Blackbeard's Cove by Audrey Penn, Tanglewood Press, $14.95.

Set on Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks, approaching Halloween festivities find Billy, Daniel, Stefanie and Mark exhausted from their trip to sea to give their eccentric friend, Mrs. McNemmish, the pirate burial on which she had insisted. But now they are trapped in a tunnel, locked in by Zeek, local scoundrel and direct descendent of Israel Hands, who is racing against them to find the hidden treasure. This rollicking tale magically combines the unruly group of youngsters, Blackbeard's ghost, secret tunnels, skeletons, hidden treasure, a very mysterious inheritance, the Bermuda Triangle, the Underground Railroad and a hurricane hitting the Outer Banks in a page-turning delight, full of mystery, laughs, suspense and adventure.

This story captures the history of the location by mixing lore and legends with real characters. Audrey Penn, author of the best-selling The Kissing Hand, spent 20 years researching these real pirates and interviewing their still-living descendents. This is an exciting adventure grounded in reality with pirates and buried treasure, all on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and is suitable for young adult readers.

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