A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir - Donald Worster

“I care to live only to entice people to look at Nature’s loveliness,” said John Muir in 1874. Born in Scotland, reared in rural Wisconsin; resistant to industrial and agricultural life, yet a talented carpenter, engineer and fruit rancher; an autodidact of botany and geology; and given to taking walks, long walks, of, say 1,000 miles or so, Muir, the founder of the Sierra Club, indeed exhibited A Passion For Nature (Oxford Univ., $34.95). Until discovering the beauty of the Sierra Nevada and falling in love with California in general, Muir felt restless and alienated from both farming and urban life. Donald Worster’s biography sets Muir within the currents of his time, showing his struggles to harmonize scientific views of nature with spiritual belief, and to advocate wilderness preservation in the face of civilization’s relentless expansion. Generous quotations from Muir’s letters and sketches from his notebooks bring the man to life.

A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir By Donald Worster Cover Image
ISBN: 9780195166828
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Oxford University Press, USA - October 21st, 2008

White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson - Brenda Wineapple

In White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson (Knopf, $27.95), accomplished biographer Brenda Wineapple has struck on a rich subject, one combining literature, American history, and fascinating personalities. Everyone has heard of Emily Dickinson, although she remains enigmatic. By contrast, Higginson is unfamiliar today, though renowned in his time as a journalist, editor, abolitionist, and activist for black enfranchisement and women’s rights. He led the Union Army’s first black regiment, the First South Carolina volunteers, formed in 1862. Higginson met Dickinson just twice—an experience he said “drained my nerve power”—but the two corresponded for nearly 25 years, and Higginson left some of the few first-hand impressions of the poet that we have. 

White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson By Brenda Wineapple Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307456304
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Anchor - December 1st, 2009

Working from Memory - William Christenberry

“Southerners like to tell stories—it’s a tradition,” the Alabama-born Christenberry says. In William Christenberry: Working from Memory (Steidl, $45), edited by Susanne Lange, the artist tells the stories behind some of his photographs. While his pictures chiefly represent small buildings on deserted dirt roads, kudzu-smothered structures, signs, homemade lawn ornaments, the stories are full of people. Christenberry, on his annual visits to Hale County, his childhood home, is always meeting unique individuals, such as the man with one arm who built himself a house, or the woman who fashioned grave markers out of egg cartons. Christenberry talks about angles of light and cameras, but the essential material for his work is a deep sensitivity to the South and a fascination with time’s passing and the visible residue it leaves on physical objects.