Chris Knight walked into the central Maine woods in 1986 at the age of 20, and didn't talk to another human for 27 years. He survived by stealing whatever he needed from nearby cabins, and by developing some of the most impressive stealth bush-craft skills I've ever read about. He found a niche, and he occupied it. Comprised largely of interviews conducted in jail after Knight's arrest, this book is a fascinating and compelling rumination on what it means to crave solitude in a world that won't leave you alone.
With suggestive humor and a bit of orneriness, Cooke clears up crazy misconceptions about some of the world’s more mysterious and underappreciated species. Throughout, she dissects these past theories for signs of human superiority, a binary physical understanding, and a little too much of the woodsy musk from a beaver's “gonads.” What’s left: Hyenas are avid feminists, Eels keep their coitus quiet, and Sloths are pretty much the ultimate survivalists. You can devour this all at once or savor each chapter as an individual essay, but you will be amazed by the truth (and bestiary sketches) either way.
This book is a local wanderlust machine! Caroline (a passionate Alaskan biologist) expertly catalogs her post-grad coming of age as she undertakes a human-powered trip to the Arctic Circle with her husband Pat (a self-taught builder from Bellingham). In the midst of decisions about family, work, and one's place in the natural world, there are raging rapids and cold winds, whales and chickadees, snow and sunlight. Hopefully it will teach you something new about the PNW, and comfort you with the knowledge that it's okay to change course.
I finished Pam Houston's Deep Creek in late November, the holiday season was in full swing, and my reading time was at a premium. Thank you Pam for this book. I read it swiftly and by the end I desired to flee to the mountains with Irish wolfhounds of mine own.
The premise is as misleading as it is wacky; but beneath the surface, this series of philosophical essays represents nature writing of the highest order: probing, intellectual, alert, funny, and astonishing. His tone is blithe, his style loose and poetic. He doesn't write sentences so much as created little idea nests.
It's not for everyone - just someone a little eccentric, and full of wonder.
"Teach the children...stand them in the stream, head them upstream, rejoice as they learn to love this green space they live in, its sticks and leaves and then the silent, beautiful blossoms. Attention is the beginning of devotion." Mary Oliver is the only writer that makes me second-guess killing any rogue spider that comes near me, because her reverence for nature is more than mere observation - her writing becomes a spiritual experience in these essays.