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Book Notes June 2007

"I headed west with the sights and the aromatic salt-marsh smell of the Sound Country filling my head, all the way back to the red-clay hills that were so near and yet so far from the spartina, the Spanish moss, and the seawinds singing in the pines.”

— The InnerIslands

History and mystery on the InnerIslands

While North Carolina’s Outer Banks, barrier islands on the Atlantic coast, are well-known as popular vacation and fishing spots, few are familiar with the inner islands of eastern North Carolina.

Bland Simpson’s “The Inner Islands: A Carolinian’s Sound Country Chronicle” ($34.95, The University of North Carolina Press, October 2006) introduces readers to the lesser-known islands in the sounds, rivers and swamps that lie between the Outer Banks and mainland North Carolina.

Simpson writes about 15 islands or groups of islands, beginning north with MachelheIsland and ending with the CapeFearIslands in the south. The stories, accompanied by photos from his wife Ann, tell not only of the wildlife and environment found in the InnerIslands, but of the histories as well. “If ever a place in America has claimed loss as its theme,” Simpson writes, it’s Roanoke Island, last home of the Lost Colony and later disappearances as well. Simpson goes on to tell of Brenda Joyce Holland, a North Carolina native whose death was never solved.

Areas covered cannot be found on most maps and are only accessible by boat; in writing this book, a companion to his earlier “Into the Sound Country: A Carolinian’s Coastal Plain,” Simpson completes his journey of the land and sea of eastern North Carolina.

Contact: The University of North Carolina Press, .

Capturing the Cup in pictures

Available in five languages (English, Spanish, French, Italian and German), the “Official 32nd America’s Cup Book” (about $80 U.S., Lunwerg Editores, 2007) features photography from seven international photographers, including Carlo Borlenghi. “I have been a photographer for a number of editions of the America’s Cup,” Borlenghi says, “but it is only now that I feel I have total freedom to take some totally different photographs and be really creative.”

The book is 216 pages, printed in large format and is the result of a year-and-a-half’s work of compiling selected photos from thousands of images taken over three years of America’s Cup events. The seven chapters feature the people, technology and culture of the oldest sporting trophy in the world.

Copies of the book will be available from department stores, specialized book shops and Port America’s Cup; a special boxed edition of the book will also become available in the near future.

Contact: 32nd America’s Cup Media Centre, .

Safety and structure in marine surveying

The latest in marine surveying technology is covered in the expanded and updated edition of “Thomas Ask’s Handbook of Marine Surveying, second edition” ($49.50, Sheridan House, Inc., April 2007). Topics include analysis of the mechanical behavior of materials, stress concentration, polymer chemistry and wood-damaging organisms. The heartwoods of azobe, greenheart, jarrah, kasikasi, manbarklak, teak and totara are the most resistant to marine borers, Ask writes.

New sections include combustion and pollution, hydraulic and pneumatic systems and engine installations including cooling and exhaust systems. The guide features black-and-white photos, diagrams and charts to illustrate, for example, the differences between displacement, semi-displacement and planing hulls. Also included is a 10-page survey checklist, to verify that principal items are inspected.

Thomas Ask is an associate professor in the School of Construction and Design at the Pennsylvania College of Technology, as well as the principal of Ask and Associates, a marine consulting firm.

Contact:Sheridan House, Inc., .