Friday Finds: September 26, 2008

It’s been a fairly quiet week for adding books to my bookshelves and my wish list — I have several in my “to be read” stack, so I’ve been trying really hard to “just say NO.”  It’s not as easy as Nancy Reagan said it would be …

On Tuesday I went to the Harvard Bookstore with my daughter to see David Ebershoff (The 19th Wife), while there, I did a little shopping, one book for me, and four to put away for Christmas gifts.  By the way, if you read my post about Ebershoff’s event and were unable to leave a Comment, please visit again … I had a little technical glitch and had turned Comments “off” by mistake!

On the “remainder table” I found a nice paperback copy of Walden Pond: A History by W. Barksdale Maynard; this called to my interest in local history, so I picked it up without giving it much of a second look.  I was pleased when I took the time to leaf through it at home … especially pleased because I got a real bargain, $5.99 for a $19.95 book!  Here’s some info from the back of the book: 

Perhaps no other natural setting has as much literary, spiritual, and environmental significance for Americans as Walden Pond. Some 700,000 people visit the pond annually, and countless others journey to Walden in their mind, to contemplate the man who lived there and what the place means to us today.

Here is the first history of the Massachusetts pond Thoreau made famous 150 years ago. W. Barksdale Maynard offers a lively and comprehensive account of Walden Pond from the early nineteenth century to the present. From Thoreau’s first visit at age 4 in 1821–”That woodland vision for a long time made the drapery of my dreams”–to today’s efforts both to conserve the pond and allow public access, Maynard captures Walden Pond’s history and the role it has played in social, cultural, literary, and environmental movements in America. Along the way Maynard details the geography of the pond; Thoreau’s and Emerson’s experiences of Walden over their lifetimes; the development of the cult of Thoreau and the growth of the pond as a site of literary and spiritual pilgrimages; rock star Don Henley’s Walden Woods Project and the much publicized battle to protect the pond from developers in the 1980s; and the vitally important ecological symbol Walden Pond has become today.

I received In Hovering Flight by Joyce Hinnefeld.  I’ve read so many great things about this book; it’s first in this week’s books for me!  Here’s the publisher’s synopsis: 

At 34 years of age, Scarlet has come home for the passing of her famous mother, the bird artist Addie Kavanaugh. The year is 2002. Though Addie and her husband, the world-renowned ornithologist Tom Kavanaugh, have made their life in southeastern Pennsylvania, Addie has chosen to die at the home of her dearest friend, Cora. This is because their ramshackle cottage in Burnham, Pennsylvania, is filled with so much history and because, in the last ten years or so, even birdsong has seemed to make Addie angry, or sad, or both. These are the things that Scarlet needs to understand. Cora and Lou (the third woman in Addie’s circle) will help Scarlet to see her mother in full. In addition, Scarlet carries her own secret into these foggy days-a secret for Addie, one that involves Cora, too.

Norton, the publisher of Diane Ackerman’s The Zookeeper’s Wife, sent me a review copy of this incredible work of non-fiction.  The book has just been reprinted in paperback.  Here’s a summary: 

When Germany invaded poland, stuka bombers devastated warsaw—and the city’s zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into empty cages. Another dozen “guests” hid inside the Zabinskis’ villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing, and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts. Jan, active in the polish resistance, kept ammunition buried in the elephant enclosure and stashed explosives in the animal hospital. Meanwhile, Antonina kept her unusual household afloat, caring for both its human and its animal inhabitants—otters, a badger, hyena pups, lynxes.
So, a local history, a novel, and a non-fiction book … it’s a good mix, don’t you think?!?




3 comments to Friday Finds: September 26, 2008

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