Friday, September 10, 2010

Rock and Gem Review of the New Agate Book

The leading rockhounding magazine, Rock and Gem, formally reviewed my new agate book in the September issue. When I received the five advance copies in May, I sent one to Rock and Gem. I was a bit nervous because what happens if they don't like the book? I am very relieved and humbled by their positive review.

Pictured below is the September cover as well as the half-page review.

Here is the actual review:

Book Review:
Agates: Inside Out
by Karen A. Brzys

With its limitless combinations of bright colors and intricate patterns, agate is one of the most intriguing and widely collected of all forms of quartz. Thanks to its popularity and beauty, agate is the subject of a plethora of books ranging from simple primers and collecting guides to the most detailed, technical treatises of the theories of agate formation. And in terms of its comprehensive content, readability, organization, and superb color photography, Karen A. Brzys' Agates: Inside Out, just released in 2010, is among the best.

Brzys, who owns and curates the Gitche Gumee Agate and History Museum in Grand Marais, Michigan, begins by defining quartz itself and emphasizing the differences between the macrocrystalline and microcrystalline varieties. She then guides readers through the fascinating world of agates, explaining everything from the inflow and silica-gel theories of agate formation to the origin of agate's complex banding patterns, channel structures, and array of delightful colors.

After describing the 31 major types of agate, from botryoidal,brecciated and cloud to the shadow, tube, and water-level subvarieties, the author includes an informative and helpful chapter on agate hunting that will inspire any reader to plan a field trip. Brzys ends the book with a detailed listing of notable agate collecting locations in 14 American states and eight foreign countries.

Agates: Inside Out will appeal to both beginners and experts. For beginners, this book provides a solid foundation for further studies into agate, while experts will find it valuable for its stunning photographs.

This 248 page, 6-inch by 9-inch, softcover book includes 240 color photographs, 20 explanatory diagrams, footnotes, references, and an index. It retails for $22.95.

Steve Voynick

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