In Wild Thoughts from Wild Places, award-winning journalist David Quammen reminds us why he has become one of our most beloved science and nature writers. This collection of twenty-three of Quammen's most intriguing, most exciting, most memorable pieces takes us to meet kayakers on the Futaleufu River of southern Chile, where Quammen describes how it feels to travel in fast company and flail for survival in the river's maw. We are introduced to the commerce in pearls (and ...
In Wild Thoughts from Wild Places, award-winning journalist David Quammen reminds us why he has become one of our most beloved science and nature writers.
This collection of twenty-three of Quammen's most intriguing, most exciting, most memorable pieces takes us to meet kayakers on the Futaleufu River of southern Chile, where Quammen describes how it feels to travel in fast company and flail for survival in the river's maw. We are introduced to the commerce in pearls (and black-market parrots) in the Aru Islands of eastern Indonesia. Quammen even finds wildness in smog-choked Los Angeles -- embodied in an elusive population of urban coyotes, too stubborn and too clever to surrender to the sprawl of civilization.
With humor and intelligence, David Quammen's Wild Thoughts from Wild Places also reminds us that humans are just one of the many species on earth with motivations, goals, quirks, and eccentricities. Expect to be entertained and moved on this journey through the wilds of science and nature.
"Humanity badly needs things that are big and fearsome and homicidally wild," contends acclaimed science writer Quammen The Song of the Dodo in this collection of short pieces, most of which appeared originally in Outside magazine. Quammen is an eloquent and witty apologist for the forces of nature that "civilized" people often want tamed: whitewater rivers, avalanche-prone peaks, even cougars or coyotes living near suburban backyards. Despite the dangers and inconveniences such forces might pose to people, "they give us perspective," Quammen writes. "They testify that God... might not be dead after all." Though his point of view is often not especially original and his analyses are necessarily brief, Quammen brings a well-honed sense of irony to essays that range from meditations on trout habitats to an exploration of Tasmanian geography and genocide. He is at his best when he muses on the deeper meanings of such phenomena as the physical properties of vortices, the life cycles of the barnacle or the evolutionary benefits of mammalian monogamy. Some essays, however, like "You Can Run," which deals with viral outbreaks, seem datedas do the several pieces on kayaking and skiing competitions. While Quammen's sportswriting is superior to most, it isn't outstanding enough to merit inclusion here. Nevertheless, the collection as a whole is distinguished by Quammen's broad-ranging intelligence, keen wit and unabashed passion for wild things and places. Feb.
Quammen Song of the Dodo, LJ 3/1/96, a former columnist for Outside magazine, where most of these pieces originally appeared, has compiled 28 of his essays for this book. His subjects range from kayaking to telemark skiing to cancer to urban pigeons. Quammen is an often perceptive viewer of the landscape and a persistent interviewer. Occasionally, his essays go on too long, as evidenced by his fascination with telemark skiing. Others demand greater investigation, such as his examination of emerging viruses. In these cases, Quammen offers a starting point for further study. His choice of topics is sometimes quirky and highly eclectic, but usually he manages to engage the reader. Recommended for public libraries with active natural history collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/97.]Randy Dykhuis, Michigan Lib. Consortium, Lansing
From Tasmania to Los Angeles and about a dozen other places, Quammen traveled far and wide to research this collection of essays. A former novelist, he writes with a freshness, vitality, and sense of humor unique in this genre. LJ 1/98
NY Times Book Review
He has a wide range of knowledge, an agile pen and a generous heart.
David Quammen has been awarded a Lannan Literary Award for nonfiction and an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for his novels, stories, and essays. He is a two-time winner of the National Magazine Award for science essays and other work in Outside magazine. He is the author of several books, including The Song of the Dodo. Quammen lives in Montana.
I. THE RIVER
Synecdoche and the Trout
Time and Tide on the Ocoee River
Grabbing the Loop
II. THE CITY
The White Tigers of Cincinnati
To Live and Die in L.A.
Superdove on 46th Street
Before the Fall
III. THE MOUNTAINS
The Keys to Kingdom Come
Karl's Sense of Snow
The Trees Cry Out on Currawong Moor
The Big Turn
Eat of This Flesh
IV. THE HEART
The Swallow That Hibernates Underwater
Trinket from Aru
Bagpipes for Ed
Point of Attachment
Voice Part for a Duet
Love in the Age of Relativity
Strawberries Under Ice Notes and Provenance Bibliography Index