A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir - Donald Worster

“I care to live only to entice people to look at Nature’s loveliness,” said John Muir in 1874. Born in Scotland, reared in rural Wisconsin; resistant to industrial and agricultural life, yet a talented carpenter, engineer, and fruit rancher; an autodidact of botany and geology; and given to taking walks—long walks, of, say 1,000 miles or so, Muir, the founder of the Sierra Club, indeed exhibited A PASSION FOR NATURE (Oxford Univ., $24.95). Until discovering the beauty of the Sierra Nevada and falling in love with California in general, Muir felt restless and alienated from both farming and urban life. Donald Worster’s biography sets Muir within the currents of his time, showing his struggles to harmonize scientific views of nature with spiritual belief, and to advocate wilderness preservation in the face of civilization’s relentless expansion. Generous quotations from Muir’s letters and sketches from his notebooks bring the man to life.

A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir By Donald Worster Cover Image
ISBN: 9780199782246
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Oxford University Press, USA - May 6th, 2011

Memory Wall: Stories - Anthony Doerr

Who are we without our memories? From South Africa to China, Wyoming to Lithuania, the disparate stories in Anthony Doerr’s Memory Wall are linked by their ability to capture the pathos of the human condition in stunning prose. In “Village 113,” a rural Chinese village is marked as one of hundreds to be destroyed in a man-made flood of the Yangtze River. The seed-keeper of the village must make the painful choice either to move to the city where her son, a government official instrumental in the village’s destruction, lives disconnected from his past, or stay in the only home she’s ever known and drown. The fifteen-year-old orphaned evangelical narrator of “The River Nemunas” is sent to live with her grandfather in Lithuania, where she struggles to hold onto memories of her mother by tracing the river paths her mother took as a young child. In the collection’s beautiful title story, the lives of three South Africans are irrevocably linked by the legacies of apartheid and the greater arc that draws us together: our humanity borne through our memories.

Memory Wall: Stories By Anthony Doerr Cover Image
ISBN: 9781439182840
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Scribner - July 5th, 2011

Saints and Sinners: Stories - Edna O'Brien

The Saints And Sinners in Edna O'Brien's latest collection are mostly downtrodden Irish folk caught in an unforgiving world where grace is the exception, not the rule. The narrator in "Madame Cassandra" is desperate for information about what she already knows—that her husband is cheating on her with a girl young enough to be his granddaughter—and seeks out a fortuneteller to deliver the news. When, by chance, the narrator and her husband meet on the train as he returns from his illicit rendezvous, a kernel of hope is sewn into the final paragraphs. In "Inner Cowboy" a mentally disabled man runs up against a greedy real-estate developer, and the unexpected turns and quick pacing intensify the heartbreaking ending. In my favorite of the collection, "Green Georgette," an impoverished young girl and her mother unwillingly provide cover for a wealthy woman's affair with the local doctor, and the girl's mounting rage symbolically explodes into violence. O'Brien's spare yet lyric language hypnotizes.

Saints and Sinners: Stories By Edna O'Brien Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316122726
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Back Bay Books - May 9th, 2011