Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Sunday Salon... Books to Get You Back to Nature!

Happy Sunday! Welcome to The Sunday Salon! Pull up a chair, grab a cup of joe, and join other bookish people chatting about all the latest on what we're reading, listening to and discovering. I'm posting today's Sunday Salon a little late because today when I got up at the crack of dawn it was time to put on my hiking boots and make a day of it with my DH and my furry baby, BJ, at Steep Rock Reservation. It's a beautiful 974 acre's with hiking trails, horseback riding trails, plenty of nature, and fresh air. The mornings have become cooler here in Connecticut and we thought we'd take advantage and enjoy today in the great outdoors. We were on the trail pretty early today and we didn't see a single soul for the first couple of hours. The only sounds besides our feet crunching along the trail was the screeching of a red tail hawk flying above the trees. Walking along made me wonder if this was the same feeling Henry David Thoreau felt as he enjoyed the great outdoors, and wrote Walking, part of a lecture he gave in 1851 and was later published in the Atlantic Monthly. (This was 3 years before he published his most well known book on nature, Walden). In Walking, Thoreau writes on the beauty of walking, and how in "Wildness is the preservation of the world." And while writing today's post I also thought how I haven't read a "nature" book in a while. I have spotted a few nature books in my travels this week, so let's look at Nature this week...

The Bumper Book of Nature by Steve Moss... I spotted this big beautiful book at my local bookstore recently and just had to open it up. It made me a bit nostalgic for some of the nature books I had as a child, by the way it's put together and the beautiful illustrations. It's divided by seasons and by "All Year Long", and is filled with things to do and experience during those times, and encourages you to really experience nature. Stand in the rain, make a real daisy chain, climb a tree. There are plenty of "How to Identify..." pages too. Such as how to identify Bird of Prey in Flight, or Frogs, Toads & Newts. It is "A User's Guide to The Great Outdoors", and it made me want to get outside and enjoy myself while I was looking through it. From the Publisher... When was the last time you climbed a tree? Picked blackberries? Held a snail race? Made maple syrup candy, an old-fashioned quill pen from a bird feather you found, or a plaster cast of an animal track? If the answer is "can't remember" or quite possibly "never," The Bumper Book of Nature will inspire you to get outdoors and enjoy the very best kind of free entertainment for you and your family. Who wouldn't love to discover a colorful butterfly hibernating in a woodshed for the winter or look at a snowflake under a magnifying lens? In warmer weather, why not explore rock pools by the seaside, pick wild meadow flowers (and then fry up elderflower fritters!), or go on a city safari? Whether you live in the heart of the city, the suburbs, or the deepest countryside, The Bumper Book of Nature will bring out the child in youwith its treasure trove of offbeat, playful nature activities arranged by season. With lovely full-color illustrations as well as related trivia, quotes, and bits of poetry, it's a wonderful keepsake as well as a one-of-a-kind field guide. If you have young children I would encourage you to take a peek at this book! And if you don't have children, I would tell you to pick it up anyway and try something in the book, it will make you feel like a child again! This book is Kindle Ready! This is a pricey book at $30, and the Kindle version is $16.49, but I would love to know how well the illustrations translate to the screen. (Especially that nice new Kindle DX screen!)

A Walk In The Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson... This is a classic and has almost a cult following. Bill Bryson shares his experience with a bit a humor along the way. A friend of mine encouraged me to buy this book and READ IT. So, this is in my TBR pile now, and as part of my "getting back to nature" plan, I'm going to be reading it. Here's what the Publishers writes about it...Iowa native Bryson decided to reconnect with his mother country by hiking the length of the 2100-mile Appalachian Trail. Awed by merely the camping section of his local sporting goods store, he nevertheless plunges into the wilderness and emerges with a consistently comical account of a neophyte woodsman learning hard lessons about self-reliance. Bryson (The Lost Continent) carries himself in an irresistibly bewildered manner, accepting each new calamity with wonder and hilarity. He reviews the characters of the AT (as the trail is called), from a pack of incompetent Boy Scouts to a perpetually lost geezer named Chicken John. Most amusing is his cranky, crude and inestimable companion, Katz, a reformed substance abuser who once had single-handedly "become, in effect, Iowa's drug culture." The uneasy but always entertaining relationship between Bryson and Katz keeps their walk interesting, even during the flat stretches. Bryson completes the trail as planned, and he records the misadventure with insight and elegance. He is a popular author in Britain and his impeccably graceful and witty style deserves a large American audience as well.

Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer... I read this book when it came out in 1996. Jon Krakauer is a wonderful writer and he really is able to dig deep into a person's psyche to have the reader really understand the people he writes about. This book is a sad, true tale of a young man abandoning the material world for his love of nature. This book is so well written and a wonderful, but ultimately sad, read. Here's what the Publisher's Weekly writes... After graduating from Emory University in Atlanta in 1992, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandoned his possessions, gave his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhiked to Alaska, where he went to live in the wilderness. Four months later, he turned up dead. His diary, letters and two notes found at a remote campsite tell of his desperate effort to survive, apparently stranded by an injury and slowly starving. They also reflect the posturing of a confused young man, raised in affluent Annandale, Va., who self-consciously adopted a Tolstoyan renunciation of wealth and return to nature. Krakauer, a contributing editor to Outside and Men's Journal, retraces McCandless's ill-fated antagonism toward his father, Walt, an eminent aerospace engineer. Krakauer also draws parallels to his own reckless youthful exploit in 1977 when he climbed Devils Thumb, a mountain on the Alaska-British Columbia border, partly as a symbolic act of rebellion against his autocratic father. In a moving narrative, Krakauer probes the mystery of McCandless's death. I have not seen the movie, but would encourage you to pick the book up. Also, author Jon Krakauer has written another great book entitled Into Thin Air, a personal account of disaster on Mt. Everest. This Book is Kindle Ready!

I hope you found something today that piqued your interest! Do you regularly read books on nature and the outdoors? Share what great nature books you've read! And in the meantime, if you'd like to read Thoreau's Walking, it's available free Online, or a Kindle Version for .95 cents!

A short recap of last weeks Bookish news involves a NEW Kindle! The Kindle 3 is coming in late August with promises of a better screen, more features and a smaller size! If you missed my post, you can catch up with this link! Plus I had reviews for:

And for the coming week... I just finished listening to Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson and LOVED IT! Look for my review this coming week AND a giveaway for a copy of the unabridged audiobook! Plus it's that time of year again... The Man Booker Prize long list was announced and next week we'll take a look at some of those books on the list. It's always fun to try and pick out which book will win, and to see if any of the books you enjoyed are on the list! And if you enjoy cooking, or just eating, I have a review of & Chili recipe from a great (and healthy) cookbook by the name of The Secret Ingredient by Sally Bee!

Until then... Happy Reading!


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I like the Bryson books. A Walk in the Woods was good, as was Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.

The weekend was picture perfect in New England wasn't it?

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Bibliophile By the Sea!
It sure was the perfect weekend! This is when us New Englanders can sit back and relax in comfort! I'm making a note of Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. I just love the title too!

Harvee said...

Oh to be in New England now that August's here. It's hot in the Midwest! Enjoy the nice weather. Loved Bryson's book.

Helen's Book Blog said...

The hike and time outdoors sound great. Bill Bryson is so funny though I need to take him in smallish doses. I couldn't get through Into the Wild though students at my school really enjoy it.

carla said...

The Bumper Book sounds really good!

I knew Bryson was from Iowa but haven't got around to reading him yet.

Rainy here again with heat and humidity back for this week. We help out with an antique power show this weekend so expect it to be humid!

bashtree said...

Ooo, Bumper Book of Nature! I saw it too, at the library, and it came home with's fun to poke through!

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