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A Goose in Toulouse: And Other Culinary Adventures in Franceby Mort Rosenblum
Synopses & Reviews
A riveting book for all readers who know and love a place where the sea meets the land.
In 1937, Adam Nicolson's father answered a newspaper ad — "Uninhabited islands for sale. Outer Hebrides, 600 acres . . . Puffins and seals. Apply . . . " — and found the Shiants (the name means holy or enchanted islands). Adam inherited this almost indescribably beautiful property when he was twenty-one: Sea Room describes, and relives, his love affair with the three tiny islands, composed as he prepares to give them to his oldest son.
The Shiants lie east of the Isle of Lewis in a treacherous sea once known as the "stream of blue men," after the legendary water spirits who menaced sailors there. For millennia they were a haven for those seeking solitude — an eighth-century hermit, the twentieth-century novelist Sir Compton Mackenzie — but their rich, sometimes violent history of human habitation includes much more. The landscape is soaked in centuries-old tales of restless ghosts and Bronze Age gold, and it cradles the heritage of a once productive world of farmers and fishermen. In passionate, keenly precise prose, Nicolson evokes the paradoxes of island life: cut off from the mainland yet intricately bound to it, austere yet fertile, unforgiving yet bewitchingly beautiful.
Sea Room does more than celebrate this unique, profoundly isolated place. It shares with us the greatest gift an island bestows on its inhabitants, a deep, revelatory engagement with the natural world.
A round-the-world detective story about rediscovering vanished species.
Three or four times an hour, eighty or more times a day, a unique species of plant or animal vanishes forever. It is, scientists say, the worst global extinction crisis in the last sixty-five million years — the hemorrhage of thirty thousand irreplaceable life-forms each year. And yet, every so often one of these lost species resurfaces, such as the Indian forest owlet, considered extinct for more than a century when it was rediscovered in 1997. Like heirlooms plucked from a burning house, they are gifts to an increasingly impoverished world.
In The Ghost with Trembling Wings, naturalist Scott Weidensaul pursues these stories of loss and recovery, of endurance against the odds, and of surprising resurrections. The search takes Weidensaul to the rain forests of the Caribbean and Brazil in pursuit of long-lost birds, to the rugged mountains of Tasmania for the striped, wolflike marsupial known as the thylacine, to cloning laboratories where scientists struggle to re-create long-extinct animals, and even to the moorlands and tidy farms of England on the trail of mysterious black panthers whose existence seems to depend on the faith of those looking for them. The Ghost with Trembling Wings is a book of exploration and a survey of the frontiers of modern science and wildlife biology. It is, in the end, the story of our desire for a wilder, bigger, more complete world.
Thoreau's major essays annotated and introduced by one of our most vital intellectuals.
With The Essays of Henry D. Thoreau, Lewis Hyde gathers thirteen of Thoreau's finest short prose works and, for the first time in 150 years, presents them fully annotated and arranged in the order of their composition. This definitive edition includes Thoreau's most famous essays, "Civil Disobedience" and "Walking," along with lesser-known masterpieces such as "Wild Apples," "The Last Days of John Brown," and an account of his 1846 journey into the Maine wilderness to climb Mount Katahdin, an essay that ends on a unique note of sublimity and terror.
Hyde diverges from the long-standing and dubious editorial custom of separating Thoreau's politics from his interest in nature, a division that has always obscured the ways in which the two are constantly entwined. "Natural History of Massachusetts" begins not with fish and birds but with a dismissal of the political world, and "Slavery in Massachusetts" ends with a meditation on the water lilies blooming on the Concord River.
Thoreau's ideal reader was expected to be well versed in Greek and Latin, poetry and travel narrative, and politically engaged in current affairs. Hyde's detailed annotations clarify many of Thoreau's references and re-create the contemporary context wherein the nation's westward expansion was bringing to a head the racial tensions that would result in the Civil War.
About the Author
Mort Rosenblum is special correspondent for The Associated Press. His acclaimed books include the James Beard Award-winning Olives. He lives in Paris and Provence.
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