The week leading to Christmas has been particularly exciting for me this year because of the enthusiastic e-mails I received from some of you in response to last week's compact selection of environmental books.
The week leading to Christmas has been particularly exciting for me this year because of the enthusiastic e-mails I received from some of you in response to last week's compact selection of environmental books. I share the opinion expressed in two of those messages: No matter how many great new books are currently in print, there are also the enduring, beloved classics of environmental literature which shouldn't be omitted from a list of gift ideas for nature lovers.
I take the following excerpt from a very warm message I received from Steve Fuller, who lives in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Steve suggested some titles for a list of the best nature books of all time. He wrote, "This list should include Rachael Carson's Silent Spring, Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac, and some of Sigurd Olsen's great books about the North Woods -- The Listening Point, Singing Wilderness, etc. Included in this list could also be lesser known but extremely powerful titles such as Barry Lopez's Of Wolves and Men, or his Arctic Dreams, and Farley Mowat's People of the Deer, and Extinction by Paul and Anne Ehrlich."
Ger Agrey-Thatcher from Ruidoso, New Mexico offered her idea of an environmental classic. Ger wrote about Knut Hamsun's Growth of the Soil, a 1917 agrarian novel that depicts with epic power and honesty the human attachment to the land. An electronic version of this book can be downloaded from Project Gutenberg:
As a personal postscript, I would like to share with all of you a wonderful early Christmas present that I received from my teacher and friend, Kevin Bowring. Credo, Hélène Grimaud's CD released by Deutsche Grammophon, is a brilliant fury of classical music at its most powerful. You can listen to samples from the CD at:
Grimaud is famous for her capacity for synaesthesia -- hearing in color -- and for her long-time involvement in the preservation of wolves as key species for the environment. She helps run an education project in New York designed to introduce children to wolves and teach about the ecological role of these often-misunderstood animals. Photojournalist Susan Markisz has an interesting journal entry about visiting Grimaud and her three wolves:
My very best holiday wishes to you all,