Monday, December 22, 2008

Books by Julie Zickefoose, John C. Robinson, and Nevada Barr

I recently read a book titled Letters From Eden by Julie Zickefoose. The book is a collection of stories about her encounters with birds and other animals. What makes the book special is the way Julie is able to bring each story to life using words, sketches, and paintings that are able to connect the reader with each moment by seeing them through her eyes. She is able to take what is happening in her own life at the moment, and make a seamless transition into nature.

One of the things I enjoyed about reading this book is that each chapter was an individual story. This allowed me to read the book at my own pace whenever the mood hit me. The morning after I finished this book. I was inspired to sketch three bluebirds perched on a snag in the middle of a bog. This book also gave me some new ideas as to how I might approach my own observations of birds and animals. Birding For Everyone -by John C. Robinson
John C. Robinson , world renowned natural history tour guide leader, ornithologist, delves into the topic as to why there seems to be a lack of interest in birding and other nature related activities among African-Americans . In this book, John talks about some of his birding experiences and shares a few tips about his personal approach to birding. The main point of this book is to bring attention to the fact that there is a lack of participation amongst African-Americans and other minorities in the birding community. The book uses statistical analysis gathered from various surveys to offer some possible explanations as to why this is true and suggests some ideas on how to start reversing this trend. John makes the point that Americans now considered to be minorities will become the majority in the not too distant future. This is something that is important to consider if we want to vote people into office that are interested in passing laws that will protect the environment.

Winteer Study-by Nevada Barr
Nevada Barr is a National Park Service ranger who has written a number of mystery novels with Park Ranger Anna Pigeon as the lead character. I listened to the audio version on my mp3 and thought the voice characterizations were done very well. The story takes place in Michigan's Isle Royale National Park where Anna pigeon is sent out to join a team that studies wolves. Homeland Security also plays a part in the story as they are considering shutting down the 50 year old wolf study project. Several Members of the team are viciously attacked and killed by a new breed of giant wolves ....but is there more to the story? This is the first book I've read by Nevada Barr and found it to be very entertaining-like Lifetime meets Discovery channel. I especially enjoyed the parts where she so vividly describes scenes in which the characters have been overcome by the elements of nature. I'm looking forward to reading more of her books in the future.

Note: If you live in Connecticut, check out this link to download free audio books on to your mp3.


Ruth said...

Interesting trio of books. I have Julie's book but will have to look up the other two. The Birding for Everyone would be very applicable in Canada too.

Lana Gramlich said...

"Letters from Eden" sounds very interesting. I'm glad you found some inspiration there. I've read & enjoyed Barr's fiction before. I'll have to have a gander at this one.

Mary said...

Larry, I have Julie's book and have re-read's wonderfully written and illustrated.

I'll need to check out the others.

Have a Merry Christmas, Larry.


Larry said...

Ruth-I found that the facts in Birding For Everyone to hold true from my own experience.I think that a book like this is good to get a discussion going.Part of the joy of birding is the diversity of the birds we see.It would be nice if the same were true of the birders.

Lana-I'm not sure how it rates with her other work since this is the only Nevada Barr book I have read.It thought it was a fun book though. Maybe it could have used a little more character development.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Thank you so much for the review and link, Larry! You're in my old stomping grounds--I lived in Salem, Hadlyme and Lyme CT for 10 years. I was just back in October and it was so sweet to walk the woods at Burnham Brook Preserve. Thanks very much for this kind endorsement. Happy birding!

Mary C said...

Larry, I enjoyed your book reviews. I'm hoping to get a copy of JZ's book in the near future. And the other two I will add to my wish list, and possibly consider buying the Nevada Barr book as a belated Christmas gift for my son. Have a Merry Christmas!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Larry,
I've read two of the three books you mentioned and hope that Julie will write more soon.

As for Nevada Barr, she has a whole series of Anna Pigeon mysteries and I've read them all. She is an excellent author and because Anna's a NPS ranger, I have visited some of the parks she writes about so it's neat to envision those places while I'm reading her books. You can find all of her titles listed here:

Larry said...

Julie-You're welcome-I'm sure giving an endorsement was a lot easier than writing the book and doing all the artwork! I just visited that preserve you mentioned this past Fall.I saw some bluebirds and a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers while out there-Maybe I'll check again in the spring.

Mary C.-I can't say that book 2 wa a great read-I was just curious about the book satisfied my curiosity.

Ruthiej-She seems to be an entertaining writer and I like the idea that nature is brought into it.-

Unknown said...

Nevada Barr's mysteries are fun reads. Each is in a different National Park. I've been to places I may never get to in body through her stories.

Anonymous said...

Nice books!! I like this "Birding For Everyone". It is my favorite book!!