Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Nevermore: Inner Life of Animals, Cold, Roaring Wind, World Without End, Boston Girl, My Stroke of Insight

Reported by Kristin 

Our first Nevermore member was excited by a book about the natural world, The Inner Life of Animals: Love, Grief, and Compassion—Surprising Observations of a Hidden World by Peter Wohlleben. Written as part of The Mysteries of Nature Trilogy, the New York Times bestselling author who lives in Germany as a park ranger in the national forest has now turned to animals, describing how they communicate with each other and with humans. Our reader was touched by the detail in the stories the author lovingly presented.

A different reader had picked up one of Bill Streever’s works of non-fiction, the national bestseller Cold: Adventures in the World’s Frozen Places. With great passion for his subject, Streever weaves together information from pole to pole, covering snow, seals, and Shackleton. Our reader commented that she was still reading and was so far enjoying it this glimpse of the natural world.

Next up was another book examining the workings of nature—And Soon I Heard a Roaring Wind: A Natural History of Moving Air by Bill Streever. While there is a sailboat on the cover, the author digs deep into the science of moving air with a light hand, drawing his readers in with personal observations and how the Earth’s atmosphere has sculpted human history. Our reader said that she was so very impressed with authors who could talk about seemingly dull subjects like cold or heat or wind from so many different angles and tie it into the issues that affect us all today.

Fiction consumed our next reader for over a thousand pages as she tackled World Without End by Ken Follett. The second in the Kingsbridge series, following The Pillars of the Earth and before A Column of Fire, this volume begins in the year 1327 in a fictional town in England. The sweeping saga is set two hundred years after the first in which generations of families had built a cathedral. Their descendants continue to interact with each other as changes come to their little world. Our reader said that it might have been the longest book she has ever read but she enjoyed every page.

Another fictional story emerged in The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant. Addie is a young girl growing up in the North End of Boston in the early 1900s with immigrant parents who are still struggling to adapt to their new world. Eighty-five years later Addie is telling her story to her granddaughter. Our reader found this quite a charming story with interesting historical details.

Lastly, a book club member discussed My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor. A brilliant scientist who studies the brain, Taylor had a massive stroke at the young age of thirty-seven. Having the wherewithal to understand what was happening, Taylor still struggled while floating between the euphoria of the right brain and the logical left brain. A phrase that lingered after reading was Taylor talking about “tending the garden of your mind.” Our reader found this very moving and a very worthwhile book.

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