Monday, August 1, 2022

World of Wonders, by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

I really enjoyed this.  The fascinating animal facts are woven in beautifully with the autobiographical essays.  Some parts get a little too poetic for my personal tastes, but some people will especially love those parts.

Many of the chapters were originally written as standalone essays, so there's a bit of choppiness regarding the differing styles, the timeline of her life, etc., and a bit of repetitiveness here and there, but it worked for me.  A few of the connections between the natural world and the author's life felt like a bit of a stretch, but I enjoyed the book so much I just went with it.      

The drawings are beautiful.

Overall, a delightful surprise that I found on the library shelf, knowing nothing about the book or the author.  I'm glad I picked it up.

More accurate rating:  4.5 

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Cool Moth

 I came out of my motel room in Williams, Arizona and saw this beauty hanging on my tire.  At first I thought it was a big leafy stick stuck right into the tire, and hoped the tire wouldn't go flat.  Then I realized what it was:

Look how much well it camouflages itself as a leaf:

After I rescued it, I found a tree to put it in.  Unfortunately the bark wasn't the right color, but imagine if it were:

Nature is amazing.


Monday, July 18, 2022

Creamed Brains and Kidney Stew

 This is enough to make a meat hypocrite like me turn vegetarian:

But I admire people who used every part of the animal, who never wasted anything, unlike most of us now.  

From the Household Searchlight Recipe Book in the visitor center in Williams, Arizona

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Sunset at the Grand Canyon

The pictures says it all:

This was the day after my rim to river to rim hike in April (Down South Kaibab to Phantom Ranch, up Bright Angel).  DO NOT TRY THIS IN ONE DAY IN SUMMER OR WITHOUT PROPER TRAINING!!!  But you can enjoy the views over the rim at any time of year.  For more details on the hike, see this post:

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Lightning scar on a Ponderosa Pine

This is one of the best lightning scars I've been able to photograph.  It went round and round the trunk. 

This Ponderosa Pine still seems healthy. What a survivor.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Hate That Cat, by Sharon Creech

This sequel to Love that Dog was full of charm and beauty and accessible poetry, and though I don't think it was quite as great as the first book—mainly because no sequel can be as fresh and original as the first—I still really enjoyed it.  Bravo to the author.

This time I knew that the poems written about were in the back, and I read them along with the book, each at the appropriate time, and it really deepened my appreciation.

Highly recommended for reluctant poetry readers, aspiring writers, cat lovers…and pretty much everyone else.    

More accurate rating:  4.5

Rating of cover:  2

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Front Desk, by Kelly Yang

This was an engaging book, with a fearless, can-do main character, an interesting setting (and time period), and an unusual plot.  I enjoyed it quite a lot.

Some parts struck me as quite unrealistic, especially toward the end, especially with the [SEMI SPOILER ALERT] plan that involved collecting money from various people.  Several aspects of this plan seemed contrary to what would really happen and contrary to what certain characters would do.  But if you can just go with it, you'll enjoy it. 

The stories from Mia's family and from the various immigrants they meet are heart-breaking and eye-opening.  The letters Mia writes and their outcomes are fun to read about.  The relationships are interesting. 

Overall a very enjoyable book. Don't skip the author's note in the back.