In 1939, the Warsaw Zoo was caught in the intersection between eugenics and wildlife biology. During the German occupation in World War II, sycophantic officers circled the zoo, which housed some of the great living treasures of Western Europe. Exploiting the Nazi obsession with science and power, the zookeeper, Jan and Antonia Zabinski risked their lives aiding the Polish resistance. Part history, part naturalism, this meticulously researched book will show you a new side of Warsaw.
Right now, nature writing is enjoying a day in the sun, and books about the great outdoors are flourishing. You need only whip out your smartphone to understand why: a growing backlash against our obsession with anything that pings is causing more people to look up from their screens and out of the window for things that rustle or squawk (here lies the great irony of Twitter). Better still, to go outside.
Nature needs us now more than ever, and great nature writing is where salvation starts. The very best of it not only reminds us of who we really are as a species (animals among other animals, who all grew from the same earth), but also of what we owe the natural world, and why we need her to survive. Plus, it's good for our mental health.
Emerson's formal schooling began at the Boston Latin School in 1812, when he was nine. In October 1817, at age 14, Emerson went to Harvard College and was appointed freshman messenger for the president, requiring Emerson to fetch delinquent students and send messages to faculty. Midway through his junior year, Emerson began keeping a list of books he had read and started a journal in a series of notebooks that would be called "Wide World". He took outside jobs to cover his school expenses, including as a waiter for the Junior Commons and as an occasional teacher working with his uncle Samuel and aunt Sarah Ripley in Waltham, Massachusetts. By his senior year, Emerson decided to go by his middle name, Waldo. Emerson served as Class Poet; as was custom, he presented an original poem on Harvard's Class Day, a month before his official graduation on August 29, 1821, when he was 18. He did not stand out as a student and graduated in the exact middle of his class of 59 people. In the early 1820s, Emerson was a teacher at the School for Young Ladies (which was run by his brother William). He would next spend two years living in a cabin in the Canterbury section of Roxbury, Massachusetts, where he wrote and studied nature. In his honor, this area is now called Schoolmaster Hill in Boston's Franklin Park.
Nature is a language and every new fact one learns is a new word; but it is not a language taken to pieces and dead in the dictionary, but the language put together into a most significant and universal sense. I wish to learn this language, not that I may know a new grammar, but that I may read the great book that is written in that tongue.
Mindfulness comes with so many benefits, including stress reduction, anxiety control, and improved emotional health. This book does a great job of explaining how mindfulness works to combat a negative thought process and how you can use it to help with depression.
The 2023 edition is available for pre-order (exact publication date seems to differ by country), but the 2019 version remains a great starting point. While the full DK Eyewitness Thailand book might take you a few days to read and digest, the Top 10 books are obviously more bite-sized. Planning a quick visit to Phuket? This will help you see what you need to see, Marie-Kondo-ing the rest.
Proust has written with great penetration of the difference between the writer as writer and the writer as a social being. You will find his thoughts in some of his essays in Against Sainte-Beuve, a book reconstituted from his early papers.
I was reading about the foolish search for El Dorado, and the murderous interloping of the English hero, Sir Walter Raleigh. In 1595 he raided Trinidad, killed all the Spaniards he could, and went up the Orinoco looking for El Dorado. He found nothing, but when he went back to England he said he had. He had a piece of gold and some sand to show. He said he had hacked the gold out of a cliff on the bank of the Orinoco. The Royal Mint said that the sand he asked them to assay was worthless, and other people said that he had bought the gold beforehand from North Africa. He then published a book to prove his point, and for four centuries people have believed that Raleigh had found something. The magic of Raleigh's book, which is really quite difficult to read, lay in its very long title: The Discovery of the Large, Rich, and Beautiful Empire of Guiana, with a relation of the great and golden city of Manoa (which the Spaniards call El Dorado) and the provinces of Emeria, Aromaia, Amapaia, and other countries, with their rivers adjoining. How real it sounds! And he had hardly been on the main Orinoco.
When I became a writer those areas of darkness around me as a child became my subjects. The land; the aborigines; the New World; the colony; the history; India; the Muslim world, to which I also felt myself related; Africa; and then England, where I was doing my writing. That was what I meant when I said that my books stand one on the other, and that I am the sum of my books. That was what I meant when I said that my background, the source and prompting of my work, was at once exceedingly simple and exceedingly complicated. You will have seen how simple it was in the country town of Chaguanas. And I think you will understand how complicated it was for me as a writer. Especially in the beginning, when the literary models I had - the models given me by what I can only call my false learning - dealt with entirely different societies. But perhaps you might feel that the material was so rich it would have been no trouble at all to get started and to go on. What I have said about the background, however, comes from the knowledge I acquired with my writing. And you must believe me when I tell you that the pattern in my work has only become clear in the last two months or so. Passages from old books were read to me, and I saw the connections. Until then the greatest trouble for me was to describe my writing to people, to say what I had done.
I am near the end of my work now. I am glad to have done what I have done, glad creatively to have pushed myself as far as I could go. Because of the intuitive way in which I have written, and also because of the baffling nature of my material, every book has come as a blessing. Every book has amazed me; up to the moment of writing I never knew it was there. But the greatest miracle for me was getting started. I feel - and the anxiety is still vivid to me - that I might easily have failed before I began. 2b1af7f3a8