Staff Pick

Macfarlane’s new book is profound in all senses of the word. In it he explores the “deep time” of caves, glaciers, and burial chambers as well as reflecting on the meaning of our most ancient myths and primal dreams. It’s no accident that the title rhymes with Wonderland: here are wonders galore, from the magnificent geological formations of limestone and karst to the earliest human art in Lascaux and Chauvet to the myriad surprises waiting in the Paris catacombs. Here also is the wonder of Macfarlane’s prose; rhythmic, dramatic, and fluent in the rich vocabulary of geology, glaciology, and their emotional analogs, Macfarlane is spellbinding as he describes the look, feel, and sound of extreme cold; the amazing variety of blues in a Greenland glacier; and the remarkable life cycle of stone, which, seen in deep time, “folds as strata, gouts as lava, floats as plates, shifts as shingles.” But if the underland is where we store “that which we love and wish to save,” it’s also where we hope to unburden ourselves of “that which we fear.” Macfarlane found as many nightmares as wonders in his travels; his accounts of underground avalanches and impossibly narrow stone gorges are chilling. But the greater dangers he uncovered—from anthrax spores released by melting permafrost to tons of radioactive nuclear waste—also threaten those of us who stay safely on the surface. Grappling with these and other symptoms of the Anthropocene, Macfarlane bumps up against the very limits of language. “The idea of the Anthropocene repeatedly strikes us dumb,” he admits. But by linking our destabilized present and uncertain, post-human future to our roots in the deepest past, be believes we might be able to find “a language of grief and…a language of hope” that will help us survive.

Underland: A Deep Time Journey Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780393242140
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - June 4th, 2019

Staff Pick

This book is a good balance of science and storytelling. De Waal makes a sobering and passionate argument for the better understanding of animals- not as "primitive versions" of ourselves, but as living organisms that are emotional, intelligent, opportunistic and socially adept. For example, chimpanzees display jealousy over other chimps  receiving better gifts, and bonobos, our “closest social relatives,” prefer sex and grooming over fighting. If you are a pet owner, animal lover, or are genuinely interested in the non-human animal world, this is worth a read.

 

Mama's Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780393635065
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - March 12th, 2019

Staff Pick

As one of our prominent nature writers, Barry Lopez travels throughout the American Southwest and Alaska to explore the great abundance and diversity of some of our nation’s most pristine settings. His writing seamlessly blends science and history in a narrative that is as beautifully crafted as it is insightful and inspiring. The essays contained within Crossing Open Ground vary greatly in theme and subject, though along with the author, the reader too can lose the sense of urgency, rekindle a sense of what people were and a sense of “our endless struggle as a species to understand time and to estimate the consequences of our acts”. The great Barry Lopez leaves the reader with a lasting sense of wonder and respect for nature. A gem of our modern thinking about the human place and natural world.

Crossing Open Ground Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780679721833
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Vintage - May 14th, 1989

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