Thursday, December 13, 2012

Books about vanishing glaciers and wildlife art make WY Outdoor Council''s "best of" list

Dr, Janice H. Harris is the former chair of the Women's Studies Department at the University of Wyoming. As president of the Wyoming Outdoor Council board of directors, she offers her list of best books for 2012 on the subjects of natural history and the environment. Sad to say I haven't read any of the books on her list, but plan to remedy that in 2013. 

She has high praise for an art book, Bob Kuhn: Drawing on Instinct, edited by Adam Duncan Harris (University of Oklahoma Press, ISBN 978-0806143019). Dr. Harris adds the caveat that the editor is her son, a curator at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson. But there's no caveat when it comes to quality. We have this book in our office and it's a beauty. Bob Kuhn spent a long lifetime sketching and painting animals. He also served as mentor to scores of wildlife artists in Wyoming and elsewhere. The museum has a lot of Kuhn's work -- drop in and visit next time you're in The Hole.

Another of her selections with Wyoming ties is Ice: Portraits of Vanishing Glaciers, James Balog and Terry Tempest Williams (Rizzoli, ISBN 0847838862). This features photographs from the Extreme Ice Survey along with observations by noted environmental writer (and part-time Wyoming resident) Williams. This should be mandatory reading for any Wyoming global warming deniers. Williams was writer in residence at UW a few years ago and ruffled a few feathers with her enviro town meetings held at various locales around the state

The one I plan on reading first is Eating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber, and Life with the Tree-Planting Tribe, Charlotte Gill, (Greystone Books, ISBN 978-1-55365-977-8). Here are Dr. Harris's reflections on the book:
One of first things you notice when you start reading Charlotte Gill is her wit. Given the title and the cover of the book, she had me initially skimming here and there to see where these dirt-eating, tree-planting folks live. I figured remote Brazil. Not at all. When not planting trees in Cascadia, from February through October in the Pacific Northwest, Gill lives in Vancouver writing award-winning short stories. It shows. I loved Eating Dirt. I now want to read Ladykillers, winner of the British Columbia Book Prize for fiction. How can a book about being wet, filthy, bitten, and exhausted be such a joy to read, such a page turner, such a rich introduction into the history and current practices of the timber industry of the northwest? This is a gem.
Gill is a fellow short story writer, and she has wit -- what's better than that?

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