All posts tagged: nature

Catherine Raven asks: why do we separate ourselves so much from one another? Moving from graph paper to words, she provides reason & intuition to readers in her debut nature memoir, FOX AND I, plus advice and letting go of bitterness

By Leslie Lindsay Wise, thoughtful, and intimate portrayal of a solitary woman’s relationship with nature, particularly a male fox who sort of befriends her, a lush literary and ecological study. WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS ALWAYS WITH A BOOK Leslie Lindsay & Catherine Raven in Conversation A naturalist, writer, and professor, Catherine Raven lives ‘off-the-grid’ in Montana. FOX AND I is her debut nature-memoir. About FOX AND I: An Uncommon Friendship: Can humans and wild animals become friends? That’s the overarching question in this debut memoir, FOX AND I by Catherine Raven (Spiegel & Grau, July 7 2021) in which a woman biologist–living remotely–becomes acquainted with a fox. Each day, at approximately the same time, outside her cozy cottage in the woods, a fox would appear. She was intrigued and then began reading to him from THE LITTLE PRINCE, and he’d return. There’s more here, too, mostly about Raven’s life as a park ranger, teaching and leading field classes in Yellowstone National Park, and more. It’s about isolation and nature, how the two meld to bring self-awareness. As for the …

Debut author Julie Carrick dalton talks about WAITING FOR THE NIGHT SONG, the environment, how THE TRUTH WILL ALWAYS RISE–even the parts we don’t want to remember, the magic of childhood, her spry late grandmother

By Leslie Lindsay  Sweeping novel of epic portions about friendship, the environment, migrant workers, and secrets. ~WEEKEND READING|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS Cadie Kessler has spent years–decades–keeping secrets. A moment, really, from her past. That’s what I think the title, WAITING FOR THE NIGHT SONG (Forge, January 12 2021) seems to convey in this coming-of-age story set in New England about a two estranged adult friends, ‘that summer,’ and the truth they tried to keep hidden.Daniela Garcia calls her friend, Cadie Kessler– now a forestry researcher/entomologist in an urgent plea to return home.Told in an alternating style, between the ‘now’ and ‘that summer,’ we get a sense of the friendship forged between Cadie and Daniela, the secret, and those nostalgic summer days, a warm balm in the middle of winter. The language is lush and thoughtful, with many details of the natural world: blueberries on the vine, creeks, books and boats and piers, too. WAITING FOR THE NIGHT SONG is a complex tale of friendship, ecology, hidden truths, climate change, racism, immigration, and so much more. WAITING FOR NIGHT SONG …

KATHERINE MAY’S NYT BESTSELLER: WINTERING & HOW IT RELATES TO A PERIOD OF TIME IN MY LIFE

By Leslie Lindsay How does one care for and repair ourselves when we find ourselves slipping through the cracks? ~NONFICTION SPOTLIGHT|ALWAYS WITH BOOK~ NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A meditation in what it means to winter, this intimate, part-memoir, part exploration, part essay, WINTERING by Katherine May (Riverhead, November 2020) explores all the ways winter is a lesson in self-care, healing, and rejuvenation. I once believed I could live in the northern climate of Minnesota. My mother scoffed, “It’s one of the coldest places we have in the U.S. Why would you want to go there?”  Simple: I had a job at the Mayo Clinic. I also wanted to get away from my wildly unstable, mentally ill mother. Still, her warning, her motherly instinct to shelter me from the harsh realities of a 6-8 month long winter, was somewhat…comforting. As children had been doing for eons, I defied her. I moved to Minnesota. Encapsulated in the snowy drifts and what I am sure was my first real blizzard, I hunkered down. I sat in the bay …

Julia Heaberlin on how obsessions start early and never leave, the horrific experience of a woman’s found body parts, ‘evil passing through,’ her mother’s box of terrifying nature, reading poetry to unlock flat descriptions, plus prosthetics in WE ARE ALL THE SAME IN THE DARK

By Leslie Lindsay  Portrait of modern Texas, in which tradition, family, secrets, and redemption run wild, this is a slow-burn mystery rooted in gorgeous writing. It’s been a decade since Trumanell Branson vanished from her family farm, leaving only a bloody handprint behind. She was the town’s beauty queen, beloved daughter, but now she’s gone. Was it a serial killer? Her brother? Her disappearance and murder haunts the town. Now, in WE ARE ALL THE SAME IN THE DARK (Ballantine/PRH, August 11 2020), another girl has turned up. She’s not dead, but badly injured. She’s missing an eye, she’s mute. Odette Tucker, the town’s youngest cop (and hiding a perceived disability herself) is the one to find this injured girl amidst a field of dandelions. She believes the two instances may somehow be linked. The writing in WE ARE ALL THE SAME IN THE DARK is delicately charged and searing, exploding with atmosphere. But it is a slow-burning literary thriller told from the POV of several traumatized characters carrying plenty of their own baggage. WE ARE ALL THE SAME IN THE DARK is …

Lush and graceful reflections on life, love, family, and nature–it’s about the South and the interstitial space between humans and the natural world

By Leslie Lindsay  From NYT opinion writer Margaret Renkel comes the most luscious and unique portrait of a family, how it’s touched by love and loss, and also nature.  ~WeekEND Reading~ The Today Show’s “Read With Jenna”  book-club pick for December A finalist for the Southern Book Prize Highlighted in year-end lists by The A.V. Club, the New Statesman, the New York Public Library, the Chicago Public Library, BookPage, the Washington Independent Review of Books, and Iowa Public Radio Growing up in Alabama, Margaret was a devoted reader, an explorer of riverbeds and red-dirt roads, and a fiercely loved daughter. Here, in brief essays, she traces a tender and honest portrait of her complicated parents—her exuberant, creative mother; her steady, supportive father—and of the bittersweet moments that accompany a child’s transition to caregiver. Braided into the overall narrative, she offers observations on the world surrounding her suburban Nashville home. There’s love and heartache, detailed and gorgeous descriptions of nests, wings, red-tailed hawks, fluffy bunny fur, even snakes and orb spiders, bees, ladybugs, more. These two threads–the human connection and the animal world–haunt and harmonize …

Can you play with your child with NO toys? YES! Why you should, plus first words, early literacy tips, getting out in nature, and so much more in Ayelet Marinovich, M.A., CCC-SLP’s “Learn with Less philoshophy”

By Leslie Lindsay  A practical, accessible, no-nonsense guide to understanding and connecting with your baby from a pediatric speech-language pathologist. Give–away!! I’m passing along a complimentary gently-used book bundle of both of these amazing books. Must reside in the continental U.S. to be eligible. Details below! (keep scrolling) UPDATE: Winner of the UNDERSTANDING YOUR BABY and UNDERSTANDING YOUR TODDLER by Ayelet Marinovich, M.A., CCC-SLP is: Shruti Gangakhedkar of Beaverton, Oregon! Congratuations and thanks for all the interest. This give-away is now closed. But there’s a another coming next Monday, 1/27/20. ~APRAXIA MONDAY/BookS on MondaY~ UNDERSTANDING YOUR BABY is a MUST read for any new parent–or even a seasoned one! I love Ayelet Marinovich, M.A., CCC-SLP’s down-to-earth, no-frills approach to connecting with your baby, how to maximize your time and efforts, and she does it all in an efficient, easily digested form. Parents are busy. They don’t have time (or energy) to read large research-heavy books on child development. And even if they do, chances are, they’re too distracted (or exhausted) to absorb the information.  A …

DECEMBER SHORT STORY SERIES: Karen Russell’s exquisite imagination flares with mundane moments turned surreal in ORANGE WORLD

Stunningly surreal and mystical stories from literary great, Karen Russell, captures a vibrant imagination with a dash of outlandish. DECEMBER SHORT STORIES SERIES From the Pulitzer finalist and universally beloved author of the New York Times best sellersSWAMPLANDIA! and VAMPIRES IN THE LEMON GROVE, a stunning new collect ion of short fiction that showcases Karen Russell’s extraordinary, irresistible gifts of language and imagination.  I’m a little late the the game here on Karen Russell, but rest assured, she’s been on my radar for some time. Russell’s her wild, brilliant imagination (which is completely unique) fuels my own (more tame) vault of weirdness. ORANGE WORLD (May 2019) completely captured and intrigued me. Eight stories in all–almost all have an ecology connection, they also interweave a series of surreal moments, almost as a melding of Salvador Dali meets literature. I enjoyed all the stories in ORANGE WORLD–even the hard-to-fathom ones–because Russell’s writing and observations are razor-sharp. But they’re not for everyone. I found I ‘connected’ most with “The Prospectors,” and the title story, “Orange World,” most, but you may feel differently. I also …

Helen Phillips on THE NEED: how she couldn’t have written this speculative fiction if she wasn’t a mother, reconciling love and loss, a fabulous reading list, and so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  Eerie, speculative fiction with a slight thriller aspect, THE NEED is existential, mind-bending, and gloriously rendered.  I have a very teetering TBR bookshelf at home and on it are several Helen Phillips novels. Her stories are wild and brilliant and a bit eccentric. That’s what I like about her work. It’s not the mundane. It’s like a fever dream, those little bits of oddities that keep us awake at night, but we don’t do anything more with because, well…we don’t know how. Or we think they’re ‘too minute’ to flesh out into a whole story. THE NEED (Simon & Schuster, July 2019) is clever and strange and distorted, but I loved it. You may read the first lines of the synopsis and see that Molly is a mother of young children and there’s an intruder in the house and automatically think this is domestic thriller. It’s not. THE NEED is a literary exploration of what it means to be a mother, but also a study in identity, empathy, fear, the joys and insecurities and also the miseries of motherhood. It’s gorgeously, lushly …

Poet John James talks about how he doesn’t think we ever truly leave childhood, plus his father’s death, how humanity is ensconced in the natural world, technology, more in THE MILK HOURS

By Leslie Lindsay Pensive but inquisitive, THE MILK HOURS is a debut poetry collection about loss, the intimacy of art and dreams, and the vulnerable space of new life.  What does it mean to live in a state of loss, when the two are nearly imcompatible? That’s the overarching question in THE MILK HOURS: Poems, a debut collection from John James (Milkweed Editions, June 2019). Populated with living, grieving things, THE MILK HOURS is scattered with roots, bodies, and concealed histories. There are cemeteries and the milky breath of babies. We taste art and geography, and crunch on gravel, and are moved through dream sequences and religious myth and story. James takes science and nature and cleaves it into something new, something at once beautiful, but destructive. How do we make meaning in this world–to whom do we turn? Each other? Can those boundaries collapse? THE MILK HOURS is sparsely, yet densely written. It’s at once lush and stark, full of metaphor and unsettled-ness. James has such a fabulous and unique grasp of language, a shifting perspective on nature, fecundity, and decay. This …

The writing will blow you away–Katherine Forbes Riley talks about perseverance, trauma, art, a stone cottage in the woods, and so much more in her luscious debut, THE BOBCAT. Plus, her amazing reading list!

By Leslie Lindsay  Haunting and lyrical, magical and yet melancholy, about traumas and art, imagination, a meditation on nature, nurture, even medicine.  THE BOBCAT (Skyhorse/Arcade Publishing, June 18 2019) is one of those quiet, insidious debuts that will grab you by the scruff of your neck and won’t let you go. It’s such a deliberate and descriptive read (don’t be fooled by the slim size), and so well done, you’ll find yourself almost hallucinating as you read. That’s a good thing. Laurelie is a young art student at a college in Vermont. She’s bright and yet scarred by a violent sexual attack leaving her unwilling and unable to trust. She retreats to a cottage in the woods where she explores her world through art and nature, where she is the most comfortable in the comfort of a little boy she babysits. I absolutely loved her cottage—but I’m such a connoisseur of homes. While out along the river banks, Laurelie and the boy come across a pregnant–and injured–bobcat, and the hiker who has been following it for miles. Both the hiker and Laurelie are struggling with …