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On the Wing

On the Wing paints a vivid, personal, and fascinating portrait of Peregrine Falcons, covering habits, evolution, biology and also information on human farming practices and pesticides that continue to threaten a wide range of birds.  More than that, it is an engrossing first-person adventure story supported with scientific and historical asides and full of sympathetic characters – human, avian and animal.  Doggedly tracking Peregrine Falcons in migration to see where they go, what they see, how they play, what they eat, the author comes off as slightly unhinged, but also educated and entertaining. I can’t testify to the … Continue Reading

Antoine’s Alphabet

Antoine’s Alphabet was delightful, if a bit scattershot. Jed Perl’s ear for prose is wonderful, and his thoughtfulness and love of his subject were clear and enjoyable throughout. Even without any familiarity with Antoine Watteau‘s body of work, there were enough plates in the book for me to appreciate the text. Having read it I am both more knowledgeable and more curious. In fact, the whole thing piqued my interest enough to run out to the library and check out a big fat book full of drawings and color plates of the paintings. Unknown … Continue Reading

Wild Trees, Vita Nuova

I enjoyed Wild Trees a lot. I also have a distinct fondness for awkward, passionate, somewhat geeky characters. The book is more about the extraordinary people who investigate giant trees than it is about the trees themselves. Don’t get me wrong – lots of tree talk. But the tree talk itself becomes part of the human interest story – because of the human awe and emotion the giant organisms inspire. I really loved the book, I loved learning about the trees and I miss the characters now that it’s over, but I could … Continue Reading

Shape of a Pocket, Tales from Outer Suburbia

Tales from Outer Suburbia is beautiful and amazing. Shaun Tan is awesome.As is John Berger. I loved The Shape of a Pocket even when I didn’t completely understand it. His passion and interest is continuously contagious and heartening. I underlined and left notes in the margins and smiled and patted the book when it was finished.

Apples are from Kazakhstan

Apples are from Kazakhstan has all the non-fiction bits I could have wanted. It’s a personal travelogue with diversions into history, politics and geography. Not nearly as elegant as

Shadow of the Silk Road

I just finished Shadow of the Silk Road and I’m utterly charmed and impressed – how the author managed to pack so much information into this conversational and incredibly accessible travelogue is beyond me. He manages to communicate his curiosity and compassion and experience while at the same time touching on a truly enormous number of historical, cultural and geographic details. Wonderfully researched. Passionately told. Beautiful. Fluid. Marvelous. It’s a brilliant book.

Turtle Derby

I enjoyed Queen of the Turtle Derby very much – although I wish it had been longer…. and perhaps less repetitive in some ways. Always a danger with something cobbled together like that. I liked the essays, but I guess I’d love a cohesive memoir.This Merchant of Venice was much better than expected. I actually very much enjoyed Al Pacino as Shylock. Also – having seen Measure for Measure recently throws it into a new light. All this stuff about law… hmmm….I swam in a river today with Andrew, … Continue Reading

New Apartment, Octavian Nothing, Scurvy

My new apartment is very very nice. Also I have a computer set up for my personal use again. (All of Andrew’s technology resides in the Doom Cave and not in the Living Area) Most of the boxes have been emptied – much of the stuff has been put away. Books are (haphazardly) on shelves. A dinner has been cooked. Life Is Good.And I’m reading books again finally. I had a serious stress-induced dry spell after Wizard of the Crow. Cured by a very cozy new living room for reading … Continue Reading

An Ordinary Man

An Ordinary Man by Paul Rusesabagina is truly an account of horrors. But somehow at the same time, impossibly beautiful.