To Know a Starry Night

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Pub Date 12 Oct 2021 | Archive Date 11 Oct 2021

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“Against a backdrop rich with purples, blues, and shades of black, a blaze of stars glittering across a vast empty sky spurs our curiosity about the past, driving us inevitably to ponder the future. For millennia, the night sky has been a collective canvas for our stories, maps, traditions, beliefs, and discoveries. Over the course of time, continents have formed and eroded, sea levels have risen and fallen, the chemistry of our atmosphere has changed, and yet the daily cycle of light to dark has remained pretty much the same . . . until the last 100 years.”

—Karen Trevino, from the foreword

No matter where we live, what language we speak, or what culture shapes our worldview, there is always the night. The darkness is a reminder of the ebb and flow, of an opportunity to recharge, of the movement of time. But how many of us have taken the time to truly know a starry night? To really know it. 

Combining the lyrical writing of Paul Bogard with the stunning night-sky photography of Beau Rogers, To Know a Starry Night explores the powerful experience of being outside under a natural starry sky\--how important it is to human life, and how so many people don’t know this experience. As the night sky increasingly becomes flooded with artificial-light pollution, this poignant work helps us reconnect with the natural darkness of night, an experience that now, in our time, is fading from our lives. 

*** Low-res file due to size restrictions ***

“Against a backdrop rich with purples, blues, and shades of black, a blaze of stars glittering across a vast empty sky spurs our curiosity about the past...

Advance Praise

“Paul Bogard is the unofficial poet laureate of dark skies. This is a terrific work.” —Christopher Cokinos, author of Hope Is the Thing with Feathers and The Fallen Sky

“Paul Bogard brings attention to what we have lost, how our night skies are fading and growing dimmer over time, and how we can strive to protect our starry nights.” —Roberta Moore, co-editor of Wild Nevada

"As an astronomer, I think I know the night sky. But Paul and Beau's book reminds me I mostly know it in small pieces on camera monitors and telescope displays. Through their prose and photographs I am reminded that in reality the night is a multisensory experience, one that includes mind as well as emotion, feeling as well as seeing. Their book is a beautiful testament to how much of ourselves we lose as our city lights obscure the stars." —Dr. Tyler Nordgren, astronomer and artist


“An ode to joy of contemplating the starry sky. . . . The wonderful photographs by Beau Rogers will urge you to search for a dark place to see a star-filled night sky, and Paul will show how to reconcile yourself with the real night, or discover it for the first time. To savor it, to sip it in its complete essence, with your dark-adapted sight, with its sounds, its scents, its temperature, all different from their day counterparts.” —Fabio Falchi, author of The World Atlas of Light Pollution, ISTIL - Light Pollution Science and Technology Institute

“Paul Bogard is the unofficial poet laureate of dark skies. This is a terrific work.” —Christopher Cokinos, author of Hope Is the Thing with Feathers and The Fallen Sky

“Paul Bogard brings attention...

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ISBN 9781647790127
PRICE $35.00 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

A truly beautiful book. ‘To Know a Starry Sky’ is a collection of incredibly photography of the night sky, taken in the USA, mostly in national parks. Alongside this is writing about darkness and the sky. I really enjoyed reading and looking through. Multiple photographs I returned to several times. The night sky is wonderful and how often we take it for granted. It’s a sad thought to think how much we miss these days with light pollution that could be viewed 100 years ago. A book to be looked at over and over again. I would recommend people go for the physical book as I was viewing this on my e-reader and felt the photography would have been even better on a page. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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I would like to thank the authors and publisher for kindly sharing an electronic review copy of this book. "To Know a Starry Night" by Paul Bogard and Beau Rogers is a thoughtful literary and artistic tribute to humanity, nature, and, of course, the night sky. This book contains a series of essays by Bogard on the night sky, darkness, light pollution, nature, and relationships. The essays are both philosophical and appreciative of nature. The book is easy to read and identify with since it discusses the environment that surrounds us all. It also evoked a sense of nostalgia in me as I thought back on time I have spend camping and appreciating similar locations described and photographed.. Nearly half of the book is stunningly beautiful night photographs by Rogers. Many of the pictures are from national parks in the Western United States in which the Milky Way is adroitly featured. Each time I turned a page and saw another photograph, I kept hoping that the authors would share their photography tips. I was delighted with the Afterword in which Rogers fulfilled my wish by providing his advise on night photography. The essays and photographs were both lovely. I recommend this book to people who enjoy nighttime outdoors.

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To Know a Starry Night by Paul Bogard is a beautiful book with very approachable writing that relates the darkness, and our loss of it, with life in general as well as specific lives. The review copy I received included the Preface, Foreward, Introduction, and first chapter. This didn't surprise me because, well, I read the description and the first line, in bold, with asterisks before and after it, states this is a preview of the first chapter. Not sure how well one reads when they miss the very first line, but, well, whatever. I mention how much of the book I have read because while I am usually reluctant to recommend a book without more, I am familiar with both Bogard's writing and the University of Nevada Press quality to comfortably recommend with this disclaimer. When I can actually see a complete copy I may well bump my rating up and will definitely add some details to my review. The photography is beautiful and the text serves as both educational and reflective musing. The problem of light pollution is a major part of what most readers will take away. It is more than just not being able to see more stars or rarely (for many never) experiencing anything approaching real darkness. It affects nature in a myriad of ways. The one thing I can't speak to even with my qualified recommendation is the evenness of the writing throughout. The first chapter reads like a self-contained essay, so if each chapter is essentially separate, though connected, essays, there will likely be one or two that won't speak to a reader like some of the others may. This is true of any collection of essays or short stories, some appeal more and some appeal less. That said, I believe, based on Bogard's previous writing, that it will be a case of a reader connecting or not with an essay rather than any of the essays being weak or poorly written. EDIT: I saw a copy of the entire book and as expected the chapters were very much like separate, though connected, essays. In essence, he shares a personal experience about the night sky and the darkness, or lack thereof, then connects that to what people miss by not only never seeing anything approaching very dark but never being, for lack of a better term, out of the light. Which brings us back to the importance of addressing light pollution. As a result of seeing the rest of the stunning photographs and reading the rest of his heartfelt essays/chapters, I bumped my rating up. Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.

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To Know a Starry Night is a collection of night sky photographs presented in the way that they should be: unobstructed by light pollution. The photography is presented alongside commentary about the night sky, with the introduction and first chapter included in this book preview. As a night sky enthusiast, I found To Know a Starry Night to be a stunning book. There are few things that stack up to the beauty of the night sky that is not drowning in city lights. I enjoyed the writing style as well, with the author's passion for the topic clearly shining through each paragraph of this book preview. I am so thrilled about this book, and I cannot wait to pick up a copy of the full book when it is published. Thanks to Netgalley and University of Nevada Press for this ARC; this is my honest and voluntary review.

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