Dreaming of Read Christmas Regional Writers Head an Excellent Crop of Holiday Gifts

Article excerpt

Some books are copouts as Christmas gifts, given when the giver can think of nothing else. Some books, though, are complements for both giver and recipient.

With weather as it typically is in this area in January and February books can be logical gifts for outdoors people. Books provide vicarious adventures in the winter and enhance the experience when the outdoors season begins.

This, then, is the twenty-something edition of the Post-Dispatch annual Christmas book list for outdoors people. All of these are new for 1993, chosen from the dozens of review copies that come from publishers around the world.

It's an unusually strong list this time, strengthened by works from St. Louis area and Missouri authors. The list includes one videotape and two pocket handbooks designed to be carried afield.

The list are in the order of my preference - first are the works I would most like to see under my Christmas tree.

Tallgrass Prairie, by John Madson with photographs by Frank Oberle (Falcon Press, P.O. Box 1718, Helena MT $29.50) is simply spectacular in visual and literary appeal. Madson, of Godfrey, Ill., writes about nature and the outdoors as well as anybody who ever lived. The prairies are an an important element in America's soul, shaping our culture and economy. Yet the prairie is an abstract image to all but a very few Americans. This book in text and color photographs makes them real.

About Mammals And How They Live, by Charles W. and Elizabeth R. Schwartz, Missouri Department of Conservation, Fiscal Section, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City MO 65102-0180. Charlie Schwartz died in 1990 before he could finish all the color drawings for this softcover, 8 x 10-inch book, but most of the animals discussed are shown, some in drawings done for other works. This 190-page book, a companion volume to their "Wild Mammals of Missouri," first published in 1959, covers all wild, land-dwelling mammals in Canada and the United States. The language is for lay people, the drawings for everybody, especially children.

Modern Tackle Craft, by C. Boyd Pfeiffer, Lyons & Burford, Publishers, 31 West 21 Street, New York, New York 10010, $39.95 in cloth. Fishing tackle has changed a lot in the last 10 years, and this is a major revision and updating of Pfeiffer's original Tackle Craft. With literate text and some 700 photos and drawings Pfeiffer, one of the deans of American outdoor writers, tells how to make modern rods, lures, jigs, rigs and other tackle. Making just one rod can save an angler the price of the book.

Fishing Tackle Made In Missouri, History and Identification, by Dean A. Murphy, Daamo Publishing Company, 7076 Noth Shore Drive, Hartsburg MO 65039, $22. Missouri outdoors people know Dean Murphy as a big game biologist who worked for years for the Missouri Department of Conservation. Lure collecting has long been his hobby and collectors everywhere will enjoy and appreciate this the definitive work on an important state in the development and making of fishing lures.

Peter Deane's Guide To Fly Tying, Stoeger Publishing, 55 Ruta Court, South Hackensack NJ 07606 (800-631-0722), $24.95.

No Christmas book list would be complete without a fly tying manual and Deane's is a good one, with clear illustrations and instructions. All of the classics and some original flies are included. …

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