Monday, May 23, 2011

Some Good and Not So Good Nature Books

The forecast calls for another dull gray and wet week so maybe it's a good time to sit back with some nice tea or coffee, a dog or cat nearby or on your lap and have a good read. I read all sorts of books, both fiction and non fiction but I love finding a good, well written, interesting and even fun nature book to read. Fortunately there are a lot of them out there and over the next couple of months I will highlight some of my favorites.
Of these three, if you can only choose one....please choose "The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating" by Elisabeth Tova Bailey. This is a small book and perhaps one of the best books I've read in years. It is so beautifully written, is so focused and lovely that it is unforgettable. It is also small enough to read in an afternoon or evening and I couldn't put it down. It's that good. And yes, it is in part about the sound of a wild snail eating and it is impossible to describe how profound and wonderful that turns out to be.

I am just now reading "Setttled in the Wild" by Susan Hand Shetterly and it is also an enjoyable read though not up to par with Bailey's book. It is always hard to read the next book after one that is so wonderful, don't you think?

As for the Wildbranch book....I found it basically unreadable but maybe that's just me. Way too self conscious and pedantic for my taste....and I was so hopeful when I found it. Wildbranch is a well known workshop for the best up and coming nature writers but if this is the best they can find...well, I'm not feeling very hopeful about it.

All three of these books I found at the wonderful Clarence Hay library at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History here on the Cape.


  1. Thanks for the very good book reviews. I'm on my way to check out "The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating" now.

  2. oh thanks for your comment on my blog and i will look for this little book although no idea where i might find it except to buy it perhaps.

  3. I found the book at a library, suki. if your library is on one of those sharing programs (here it is CLAMS) you can request it....

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