The Paradise Notebooks: 90 Miles across the Sierra Nevada

The Paradise Notebooks: 90 Miles across the Sierra Nevada

The Paradise Notebooks: 90 Miles across the Sierra Nevada

The Paradise Notebooks: 90 Miles across the Sierra Nevada


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In The Paradise Notebooks, Richard J. Nevle and Steven Nightingale take us across the spectacular Sierra Nevada mountain range on a journey illuminated by incandescent poetry and fascinating fact.

Over the course of twenty-one pairs of short essays, Nevle and Nightingale contemplate the natural phenomena found in the Sierra Nevada. From granite to aspen, to fire, to a rare, endemic species of butterfly, these essay pairs explore the natural history and mystical wonder of each element with a balanced and captivating touch. As they weave in vignettes from their ninety-mile backpacking trip across the range, Nevle and Nightingale powerfully reconceive the Sierra Nevada as both earthly matter and transcendental offering, letting us into a reality in which nature holds just as much spiritual importance as it does physical.

In a time of rapid environmental degradation, The Paradise Notebooks offers a way forward—a whole-minded, learned, loving attention to place that rekindles our joyful relationship with the living world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501762697
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 04/15/2022
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.72(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Richard J. Nevle is Deputy Director of the Earth Systems Program at Stanford University and the author of numerous scientific articles.

Steven Nightingale teaches poetry in schools and universities in Nevada and California. He is the author of ten books, including the short fiction collection The Hot Climate of Promises and Grace.

Table of Contents

Setting Out
Part I: Stone, Water, Fire
Roof Pendants
Part II: Range of Life
Whitebark Pine and Clark's Nutcracker
Pileated Woodpecker
Belding's Ground Squirrel
Mountain Chickadee
Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog
Western Tanager
Sierra Nevada Parnassian
Wolf Lichen

What People are Saying About This

John Muir Laws

The Paradise Notebooks is a gift to the heart and mind, integrating poetry with geology, philosophy with hydrology, spirituality with geography. A beautiful book to help us understand, respect, and deepen our relationship with the natural world.

Gretchen C. Daily

"The Paradise Notebooks is a masterful symphony—its pages tingle with a magical blend of prose and poetry. Weaving together reflections on nature's material and ethereal dimensions, this luminous read will lift you from your armchair out into beauty and mystery."

Jay Griffiths

Its erudition is winged; its wisdom is granite. The combination is transcendent. If the Sierra Nevada could speak, this is what it might say.

Tom Killion

With extraordinary versatility, Nevle and Nightingale weave natural history, poetry, and meditations on High Sierra hiking into a compelling tapestry filled with jewels of insight and delight. Even the seasoned hiker will find new viewpoints on their favorite creatures and flowers.

Nalini M. Nadkarni

Nevle and Nightingale integrate the seemingly "strange bedfellows" of science and spirituality to offer new insights about this remarkable landscape. Their juxtaposition of poems with scientific explanations creates a unique way of knowing, clear as the crystal waters of these mountains.

Craig Childs

Full of stunning writing, The Paradise Notebooks takes the reader on a journey through the Sierras, weaving together the scientist as poet and the poet as scientist. Nature lovers are sure to enjoy this brilliant book.

Stephen Trimble

Nevle and Nightingale give us everything we'd desire as our literary companions on a 'skylark' across the Sierra Nevada. Delivering on their pledge to write with 'fearless generosity' and a 'fierce hunger for truth,' they admirably honor the spirit of these sublime mountains.

Thomas Lowe Fleischner

A call and response between a poetic scientist and a grounded poet, both of whom are enamored with, and awestruck by, the overpowering presence of the Sierra Nevada. Eloquent and sincere, this book resonates, like a bell, in both head and heart.

Rob Jackson

"Nevle and Nightingale unveil the Sierra Nevada in words luminous as alpenglow. A book as spiritual and uplifting as the landscape they hiked."

David George Haskell

Science and poetry elevate one another in this collaboration, carrying us deep into curiosity and wonder. A work full of astute observation and beautifully worded description, showing us that close, loving attention and story-telling can be both devotional and enlightening.

Rodolfo Dirzo

"Beautifully blending science and poetic artistry, Nevle and Nightingale offer readers an enchanting portrait of one of Earth's most enthralling, but threatened, ecological theaters—California's Sierra Nevada. This captivating, multifaceted book will undeniably heighten your love of nature."

Karen Amstutz

This joyous, lyrical collection transports us to the Sierra Nevada no matter where we are. Nevle and Nightingale exquisitely capture those profound moments when we realize our interconnectedness with the natural world. A book I'll have in my backpack, wherever I am.

Annie Dillard

We need a literary antidote to darkness. Not to read this book is damnable folly.

Gretchen Ernster Henderson

"Through a collaborative hike navigating memories and dreams, The Paradise Notebooks illuminates natural wonders of the Sierra Nevada. This book invites journeying among friends while reflecting upon landscapes within."

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