A Beachcomber's Odyssey, Volume I:
Treasures from a Collected Past
by S. Deacon Ritterbush, Ph.D. Photographs by Megan Elyse Lloyd Ritz Dotter Publishers

"Beachcombing is a journey, not a competitive sport. Finding special treasures really has little to do with skill or ability or even with being the first on the beach. Sure, timing, location and experience can weigh the odds in our favor, but that only works up to a point... What matters more is the ability to let go and be present... Then, when least expected, magic happens..."

A Beachcombers Odyssey is a lovely book, one that makes the reader want to head for a beach immediately. It appeals to the collector, the garage saler, those who seek out the thrill of the hunt. It is about finding free treasures wherever you travel. S. Deacon Ritterbush has traveled widely in search of seaside treasures, yielding up beach glass, political pins, doorknobs, shells, ceramic shards, prehistoric fossils, driftwood, and more.

Deacon Ritterbush, aka Dr. Beachcomb, runs Archaeology at the Beach workshops in the Chesapeake Bay region. Her book takes the reader through the author's travels, both internal and external, between ages 2 and 32. Her parents die; she marries. She is in Hawaii, on the east and west coasts of the U.S., in Scotland, Jamaica, and Tonga. The passages on Scotland excel for their descriptions of the barren, haunting landscape and the friendly, musical people. Included in each chapter are notes on the geology and history of the area. The color photos by Megan Elyse Lloyd make the book more appealing: shells nest in shells; ancient doorknobs lay on shelves; sparkling, multicolor beach glass tumbles everywhere.

Beachcombing teaches that we must follow the light to see more clearly, discard the unnecessary and pocket the best for safekeeping. A bit self-help, a bit environmental tome, a bit of a coffee table photo book, this book should appeal to a variety of readers, especially inveterate, romantic explorers.

This book won the 2009 Books for Better Living Award (Independent Publishers Collecting/Hobby Book), as well as a 2009 Eric Hoffer Award Honorable Mention for the Spiritual/Self-Help Book. It was also short-listed for a 2009 da Vinci Eye Medal for cover art.

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