Sue Hubbell's most recent book is "Waiting for Aphrodite."

Because I have moved recently from the Midwest to Maine, I have been putting together a collection of field guides, the ultimate in natural history books in my opinion, for my new home. Some are specific to my area, but several of them would be of interest to anyone who likes to poke about out of doors and try to understand what is going on there.

One is the new edition of Butterflies Through Binoculars, by Jeffrey Glassberg (Oxford), which has been enlarged to include butterflies of all of eastern North America.

Another that is useful far to the south of Maine's state line is the Guide to Common Marine Organisms Along the Coast of Maine, by Wendy Norden and Esperanza Stancioff (Maine/New Hampshire Sea Grant, Univ. of Maine).

And I've just bought the wonderfully handsome, well-arranged Weeds of the Northeast, by Richard H. Uva, Joseph Neal and Joseph M. Ditomaso (Cornell). I have three other weed field guides, but this is the best. A person can never have too many books on weeds.

There are several other new or recent books devoted to natural history that I think are exceptional, too. One is Robert Torrance's Encompassing Nature (Counterpoint); it is a collection of poetry from many places and other times.

Henry David Thoreau, at his death, left an unfinished manuscript. Norton has just issued it under the title Wild Fruits. Thoreau would have added to it and polished it had he lived, but even in this form it has passages that are a delight to read.

Jonathan Weiner's Time, Love, Memory (Knopf) is a tale of microbiology, but for those of us who are not scientists it contains the clearest explanation I've read of the processes that underlie all lives, those going on around us as well as our own.