I discovered this book shortly after its publication in 2017. My ninety-year-old mother-in-law had developed fairly advanced dementia. But her lifelong appreciation for books, cartography, history, exploration, and the art of illustration had not failed her. The fortuitous coincidence of all those elements allowed us to ramble through these pages together on multiple occasions with some semblance of former camaraderie.
Arranged alphabetically by the names of the explorers, this visually stunning book represents a wealth of information and artistry, not to mention a herculean task of compilation. As the title indicates, it represents excerpts from the sketchbooks of more than seventy explorers and documenters of the natural world. Some names are familiar—John James Audubon, Meriwether Lewis, Carl Linnaeus, David Livingstone—most much less so. Most are men; a little more than a tenth are women.
I was sorry to hear that L’Engle passed away on September 8. I would have liked to meet her, slim though the chance might have been. L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time was one of the first books I bought with my own money. My fourth-grade teacher had read it to the class, and I liked it so much I wanted my own copy. However, my big purchase precipitated buyer’s remorse, so I sold it to a classmate and returned to the bookstore for the title I had not yet read, A Wind in the Door. These two and their sequel, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, remained among my favorites throughout childhood and are still high on my list.
How are prayer, poetry, and food preparation related? Sufism, Arabic literature, and the culinary arts all contribute to the backdrop of Diana Abu-Jaber’s multifaceted second novel. As I was drawn into Abu-Jaber’s masterfully crafted world, I found myself increasingly aware of the art in the everyday circumstances of life. Continue reading
We recently learned from PowellsBooks.Blog that Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis has been made into a feature-length animated French film. An English version is purported to be on the way. Variety has a review here: Variety review of Persepolis film
We recently retreated for a quick overnight getaway to Southern Oregon, where we stayed in a delightful B&B. The house is straw bale construction, built by artists Dennis Meiners and Leslie Lee. The ambience is refreshing, the hospitality warm, and Penny the resident canine affectionate. We enjoyed discussing alternative construction, books, linguistics, and international travel. Dennis and Leslie gave us a tour of their adobe studio, where they make their ceramics, and told us about their experiences with alternative construction. They also have a nice selection of books for browsing. We started reading The Piano Tuner, by Daniel Mason, and are looking forward to continuing it as soon as we can obtain a copy.
The Hummingbird is conveniently located for fans of the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland or visitors to the historic mining town of Jacksonville. We particularly recommend it for those interested in ceramics, art and/or alternative construction. Dennis and Leslie also offer classes and the opportunity to work in their studio. Learn more here: Hummingbird Bed and Breakfast