“If a picture paints a thousand words, then a naked picture paints a thousand words without any vowels…” -Josh Stern
“It was quite a beautiful thing, the way we simply just came to be, with no effort or trying and slowly we found each other’s hands in the dark.” -Charlotte Eriksson
“What sets wilderness apart in the modern day is not that it’s dangerous (it’s almost certainly safer than any town or road) or that it’s solitary (you can, so they say, be alone in a crowded room) or full of exotic animals (there are more at the zoo). It’s that five miles out in the woods you can’t buy anything.” -Bill McKibben
Stuffed and Starved, by Raj Patel
It took the author a chapter or so to nab me, and though it came out in 2007, it is still essential reading for anyone concerned about the extreme centralization of our food supply. 4 out of 5 stars.
A Field Guide to Your Own Back Yard, by John Jason Mitchell
This is halfway between a literary romp (where we get to see common things in the light of uncommon knowledge and sculpted turns of phrase) and a bathroom book that you can’t bring yourself to read cover to cover. 3 out of 5 stars.
Capitalism, A Ghost Story, by Arundhati Roy
Given Ms. Roy’s lofty reputation, I expected more out of this little book of essays. Far too much of it reads like the hallway mutterings of an eccentric pundit whose committee meeting didn’t quite go her way. If you’re going to address a global audience on a local topic, a little background preamble is always helpful. Sadly, she launches into full rant mode before she get’s our ear. 2 out of 5 stars.
Here, by Richard McGuire
This is a graphic novel that gives little snapshots of the history of one place, from one perspective, over time. Lots of time. Millions of years, to be exact. What’s cool is, he overlays little windows of coincident events from other eras on a single page. You can’t help but be drawn into the nostalgia for things that have passed through that place. 4 out of 5 stars.
A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson
I probably don’t need to say much about this book. Half the world read it years ago. It’s the third of his books I’ve read and it’s by far the most personal, anecdotal and hilarious. If you’re looking for a pleasant read, go for it. It’ll be worth every penny you pay for it. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, by Bill Bryson
In the same way the movie, The Goonies encapsulated everything you could ever want in a boys adventure story, the Thunderbolt Kid embraces every single childhood memory from someone who grew up in the 1950s. Here, I thought A Walk in the Woods was full of goofy story after goofy story. Hoi. This thing takes the cake. Lots out laugh-out-loud moments. 4 out of 5 stars.