Nature Calls

The gift book of the year? Hands down, we predict it’ll be The National Parks: America's Best Idea (Random House, $50), the coffee-table-worthy companion tome to the latest Ken Burns doc series, which debuts on PBS later this month. That series will tackle the birth of the national park system in the Burns style we’ve all come to know and love: incisive, riveting, gloriously visual, and packed with quotes and fascinating speakers who channel the words of figures like publisher James Mason Hutchings, environmentalist John Muir, photographer George Masa, park ranger George Melendez Wright and other individuals, big and small, who’ve worked to preserve American natural treasures. But the book, written by Burns and colleague Dayton Duncan, is also a keeper, simply because it’s something you can open and reopen again and again. Its amalgamation of popular themes — images from nature, American history and values, democracy, environmentalism — borrowed from the video makes for a fine picture book that’s palatable to a wide range of readers.

It’s worth noting as well that Burns chose Colorado as the place to launch The National Parks. He’ll acknowledge today’s national release of the book by signing copies tonight at the Tattered Cover LoDo, 1628 16th Street. Strictly a signing, with no formal presentation, the event begins at 8 p.m.; for more information, visit www.tatteredcover.com or call 303-436-1070.
Tue., Sept. 8, 8 p.m., 2009

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd

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