Sunday, May 15, 2016

Summer Reading List 2016

     It's time!! I have a list of 17 titles collected, all new-to-me, which is a bit of a deviation from the norm, as I usually revisit a couple old favorites over the summer. However, with so much out there begging to be read, I figured the favorites can wait for a while. I don't have any personal reviews of these yet (obviously) but I'll share a synopsis of each, taken from Goodreads.com. Are you ready to read with me this summer? If you choose to, feel free to leave comments and opinions. :)


Summer Reading List 2016 

Orchid Fever: A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust, and Lunacy

 by Eric Hansen

 The acclaimed author of Motoring with Mohammed brings us a compelling adventure into the remarkable world of the orchid and the impossibly bizarre array of international characters who dedicte their lives to it.

The orchid is used for everything from medicine for elephants to an aphrodisiac ice cream. A Malaysian species can grow to weigh half a ton while a South American species fires miniature pollen darts at nectar-sucking bees. But the orchid is also the center of an illicit international business: one grower in Santa Barbara tends his plants while toting an Uzi, and a former collector has been in hiding for seven years after serving a jail sentence for smuggling thirty dollars worth of orchids into Britain. Deftly written and captivatingly researched, Orchid Fever is an endlessly enchanting and entertaining tour of an exotic world.


The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman 

by Nancy Marie Brown


Five hundred years before Columbus, a Viking woman named Gudrid sailed off the edge of the known world. She landed in the New World and lived there for three years, giving birth to a baby before sailing home. Or so the Icelandic sagas say. Even after archaeologists found a Viking longhouse in Newfoundland, no one believed that the details of Gudrid’s story were true. Then, in 2001, a team of scientists discovered what may have been this pioneering woman’s last house, buried under a hay field in Iceland, just where the sagas suggested it could be. Joining scientists experimenting with cutting-edge technology and the latest archaeological techniques, and tracing Gudrid’s steps on land and in the sagas, Nancy Marie Brown reconstructs a life that spanned—and expanded—the bounds of the then-known world. She also sheds new light on the society that gave rise to a woman even more extraordinary than legend has painted her and illuminates the reasons for its collapse.





Death and the Maidens: Fanny Wollstoncraft and the Shelley Circle 

by Janet Todd


From the Romantic period's star circle, the story of its saddest casualty--Fanny Wollstonecraft, daughter of an original feminist, sister of a literary star, and hopeful object of a poet's affection, dead of suicide at the age of nineteen.
Little contemporary information was written about Fanny Wollstonecraft, whose mother Mary Wollstonecraft's scandalous life scarred Fanny's possibilities before she was even born. Deserted by her father, yet reared by Mary's husband William Godwin, Fanny barely had a chance to adjust when her mother died from giving birth to the legitimate and lovely Mary. Fanny was always considered the ungainly one, the plain one, the less intelligent one. Finally her imagination was sparked by the arrival of Percy Bysshe Shelley to the Godwin household. Her infatuation was quickly shattered when Shelley, like so many before him, chose the company of her sister instead, and though Fanny bore this rejection bravely, she was never quite the same after Mary and Shelley eloped along with her step-sister Claire--who would later track down and seduce Lord Byron.
Awash in a sea of sexual radicals, Fanny acted as personal assistant and go-between to this den of hedonists, shuttling information from one faction to the other, covering her sister's lies and creating fabrications of her own. She ultimately ended her life alone in a Welsh seaside hotel, an empty bottle of laudanum and an unsigned note by her side.
Janet Todd's meticulously researched and brilliantly told rendering of this life give fresh and fascinating insight to the Shelley-Byron world even as it draws Fanny out of the shadows of her mother's and sister's stunning careers.






 

White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson



 The first book to portray one of the most remarkable friendships in American letters, that of Emily Dickinson—recluse, poet—and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, minister, literary figure, active abolitionist.

Their friendship began in 1862. The Civil War was raging. Dickinson was thirty-one; Higginson, thirty-eight. A former pastor at the Free Church of Worcester, Massachusetts, he wrote often for the cultural magazine of the day, The Atlantic Monthly—on gymnastics, women’s rights, and slavery. His article “Letter to a Young Contributor” gave advice to readers who wanted to write for the magazine and offered tips on how to submit one’s work (“use black ink, good pens, white paper”).

Among the letters Higginson received in response was one scrawled in looping, difficult handwriting. Four poems were enclosed in a smaller envelope. He deciphered the scribble: “Are you too deeply occupied to say if my Verse is alive?”

Higginson read the poems. The writing was unique, uncategorizable. It was clear to him that this was “a wholly new and original poetic genius,” and the memory of that moment stayed with him when he wrote about it thirty years later.

Emily Dickinson’s question inaugurated one of the least likely correspondences in American letters—between a man who ran guns to Kansas, backed John Brown, and would soon command the first Union regiment of black soldiers, and the eremitic, elusive poet who cannily told him she did not cross her “Father’s ground to any House or town.”

For the next quarter century, until her death in 1886, Dickinson sent Higginson dazzling poems, almost one hundred of them—many of them her best. Their metrical forms were unusual, their punctuation unpredictable, their images elliptical, innovative, unsentimental. Poetry torn up by the roots, Higginson later said, that “gives the sudden transitions.”

Dickinson was a genius of the faux-naïf variety, reclusive to be sure but more savvy than one might imagine, more self-conscious and sly, and certainly aware of her outsize talent. “Dare you see a Soul at the ‘White Heat’?” she wondered. She dared, and he did.

In this shimmering, revelatory work, Brenda Wineapple re-creates the extraordinary, delicate friendship that led to the publication of Dickinson’s poetry. And though she and Higginson met face-to-face only twice (he had never met anyone “who drained my nerve power so much,” he said), their friendship reveals much about Dickinson, throwing light onto both the darkened door of the poet’s imagination and a corner of the noisy century that she and Colonel Higginson shared.

White Heat is about poetry, politics, and love; it is, as well, a story of seclusion and engagement, isolation and activism—and the way they were related—in the roiling America of the nineteenth century.









Ada Blackjack: A True Story of Survival in the Arctic

by










Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture

by

Mother Nature has shown her hand. Faced with climate change, dwindling resources, and species extinctions, most Americans understand the fundamental steps necessary to solve our global crises-drive less, consume less, increase self-reliance, buy locally, eat locally, rebuild our local communities. In essence, the great work we face requires rekindling the home fires.

Radical Homemakers is about men and women across the U.S. who focus on home and hearth as a political and ecological act, and who have centered their lives around family and community for personal fulfillment and cultural change. It explores what domesticity looks like in an era that has benefited from feminism, where domination and oppression are cast aside and where the choice to stay home is no longer equated with mind-numbing drudgery, economic insecurity, or relentless servitude.

Radical Homemakers nationwide speak about empowerment, transformation, happiness, and casting aside the pressures of a consumer culture to live in a world where money loses its power to relationships, independent thought, and creativity. If you ever considered quitting a job to plant tomatoes, read to a child, pursue creative work, can green beans and heal the planet, this is your book.









Gardening at the Dragon's Gate: At Work in the Wild and Cultivated World

by




 Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate is fundamental work that permeates your entire life. It demands your energy and heart, and it gives you back great treasures as well, like a fortified sense of humor, an appreciation for paradox, and a huge harvest of Dinosaur kale and tiny red potatoes.

For more than thirty years, Wendy Johnson has been meditating and gardening at the Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in northern California, where the fields curve like an enormous green dragon between the hills and the ocean. Renowned for its pioneering role in California’s food revolution, Green Gulch provides choice produce to farmers’ markets and to San Francisco’s Greens restaurant. Now Johnson has distilled her lifetime of experience into this extraordinary celebration of inner and outer growth, showing how the garden cultivates the gardener even as she digs beds, heaps up compost, plants flowers and fruit trees, and harvests bushels of organic vegetables.

Johnson is a hands-on, on-her-knees gardener, and she shares with the reader a wealth of practical knowledge and fascinating garden lore. But she is also a lover of the untamed and weedy, and she evokes through her exquisite prose an abiding appreciation for the earth—both cultivated and forever wild—in a book sure to earn a place in the great tradition of American nature writing.








 

Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds



In Mind of the Raven, Bernd Heinrich, award - winning naturalist, finds himself dreaming of ravens and decides he must get to the truth about this animal reputed to be so intelligent.

Much like a sleuth, Heinrich involves us in his quest, letting one clue lead to the next. But as animals can only be spied on by getting quite close Heinrich adopts ravens, thereby becoming a "raven father," as well as observing them in their natural habitat, studying their daily routines, and in the process painting a vivid picture of the world as lived by the ravens. At the heart of this book are Heinrich's love and respect for these complex and engaging creatures, and through his keen observation and analysis, we become their intimates too.

Throughout history there has existed an extraordinary relationship between humans and ravens. Ravens, like early humans, are scavengers on the kills of great carnivores. As scavengers, ravens were associated with hunters they found in the north: wolves and, later, men. The trinity of wolf, man, and raven in the hunt is an extremely ancient one. In considering the appeal of the raven, Bernd Heinrich suspects that a meeting of the minds might reside in that hunting trinity.

Heinrich's passion for ravens has led him around the world in his research. Mind of the Raven takes you on an exotic journey--from New England to Germany, Montana to Baffin Island in the high Arctic--offering dazzling accounts of how science works in the field, filtered through the eyes of a passionate observer of nature.

Heinrich has a true gift; through his stories, his beautiful writing, illustrations, and photography, the ravens come alive. Each new discovery and insight into their behavior is thrilling to read. just as the title promises, the reader is given a rare glimpse into the mind of these wonderful creatures.Following the dictum of Leonardo da Vinci--"It is not enough to believe what you see. YOU Must also understand what you see"--Bernd Heinrich enables us to see the natural world through the eyes of a scientist. At once lyrical and scientific, Mind of the Raven is bound to be a modern classic.

 







 

The Whale Warriors: The Battle at the Bottom of the World to Save the Planet's Largest Mammals




 

The Cloud Forest: A Chronicle of the South American Wilderness

A classic work of nature and humanity, by renowned writer Peter Matthiessen (1927-2014), author of the National Book Award-winning The Snow Leopard and the new novel In Paradise

Peter Matthiessen crisscrossed 20,000 miles of the South American wilderness, from the Amazon rain forests to Machu Picchu, high in the Andes, down to Tierra del Fuego and back. He followed the trails of old explorers, encountered river bandits, wild tribesmen, and the evidence of ancient ruins, and discovered fossils in the depths of the Peruvian jungle. Filled with observations and descriptions of the people and the fading wildlife of this vast world to the south, The Cloud Forest is his incisive, wry report of his expedition into some of the last and most exotic wild terrains in the world.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
 
 
 

 

Solo: On Her Own Adventure

by
 
 
 
Soulspace: Transform Your Home, Transform Your Life - Creating a Home That Is Free of Clutter, Full of Beauty, and Inspired by You 
 
 
Lauded designer and architectural conservator Xorin Balbes created the eight-stage SoulSpace transformation process to help his clients create a living space that feels like a haven and reflects, inspires, and celebrates what is essential about their inhabitants. Through the stages - assess, release, cleanse, dream, discover, create, elevate, and celebrate - readers explore not only the design of their living spaces but also their own interiors: the ways they think, feel, and sense.
 
 
 
 

Mycophilia: Revelations from the Weird World of Mushrooms

by
An incredibly versatile cooking ingredient containing an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and possibly
cancer-fighting properties, mushrooms are among the most expensive and sought-after foods on the
planet. Yet when it comes to fungi, culinary uses are only the tip of the iceberg. Throughout history fungus has been prized for its diverse properties—medicinal, ecological, even recreational—and has
spawned its own quirky subculture dedicated to exploring the weird biology and celebrating the unique role it plays on earth. In Mycophilia, accomplished food writer and cookbook author Eugenia Bone examines the role of fungi as exotic delicacy, curative, poison, and hallucinogen, and ultimately discovers that a greater understanding of fungi is key to facing many challenges of the 21st century.


Engrossing, surprising, and packed with up-to-date science and cultural exploration, Mycophilia is part narrative and part primer for foodies, science buffs, environmental advocates, and anyone interested in learning a lot about one of the least understood and most curious organisms in nature.
 

 

 

 

The Poetry of Robert Frost (Collected Poems, Complete & Unabridged)

 
 The only comprehensive gathering of Frost's published poetry, this affordable volume offers the entire contents of his eleven books of verse, from A Boy's Will (1913) to In the Clearing (1962). Frost scholar Lathem, who was also a close friend of the four-time Pulitzer Prize-winner, scrupulously annotated the 350-plus poems in this collection, which has been the standard edition of Frost's work since it first appeared in 1969.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Forbidden Journeys: Fairy Tales and Fantasies by Victorian Women Writers 
 
by

 

 

The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories

by

An unparalleled selection of fiction from H. P. Lovecraft, master of the American horror tale

Long after his death, H. P. Lovecraft continues to enthrall readers with his gripping tales of madness and cosmic terror, and his effect on modern horror fiction continues to be felt--Stephen King, Anne Rice, and Clive Barker have acknowledged his influence. His unique contribution to American literature was a melding of Poe's traditional supernaturalism with the emerging genre of science fiction. Originally appearing in pulp magazines like Weird Tales in the 1920s and 1930s, Lovecraft's work is now being regarded as the most important supernatural fiction of the twentieth century.

Lovecraft's biographer and preeminent interpreter, S. T. Joshi, has prepared this volume of eighteen stories--from the early classics like "The Outsider" and "Rats in the Wall" to his mature masterworks, "The Call of Cthulhu" and "The Shadow over Innsmouth." The first paperback to include the definitive corrected texts, The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories reveals the development of Lovecraft's mesmerizing narrative style, and establishes him as a canonical--and visionary--American writer.

"I think it is beyond doubt that H. P. Lovecraft has yet to be surpassed as the twentieth century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale." --Stephen King

Contents:
Dagon (1919)
The Statement of Randolph Carter (1920)
Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family (1921)
Celephaïs (1922)
Nyarlathotep (1920) poem
The Picture in the House (1924)
The Outsider (1921)
Herbert West--Reanimator (1922)
The Hound (1924)
The Rats in the Walls (1924)
The Festival (1923)
He (1926)
Cool Air (1928)
The Call of Cthulhu (1928)
The Colour Out of Space (1927)
The Whisperer in Darkness (1931)
The Shadow over Innsmouth (1936)
The Haunter of the Dark (1936)     


 

 

 

The Legend of Sigurd & Gudrún

 



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