Friday Open Thread ~ "What are you reading?" edition ~ Literature and the Environment


As an over 65 resident of Jefferson County, I have the perk of being able take courses at University of Louisville .... for free. I do have the expense of having to purchase any required books. But there is no pressure to perform, beyond participating as fully as I can out of respect to the professor and tuition paying fellow students, and taking only one class allows me the luxury of time.

My next challenge will be LITERATURE AND THE ENVIRONMENT. This distance learning class allows me to avoid crowded indoor rooms during Covid-19 times.


The texts for my latest class have arrived. I look forward to learning from them and writing about them.

Salvage the Bones

Cold Pastoral

Learning to Die in the Anthropocene

The Nature Poem


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QMS's picture

Good on you for maintaining an academic habit.
Lost in space here reading old Asimov novels.
Just finished an anthology Red Shift
some good writers in there I'd not known before.
Catherine Wells 'Bassador
Kit Reed Captive Kong
Gregory Beneford Anomalies
Stephen Baxter In the Un-Black
P.D Cacek Belief
Ardath Mayhar Fungi
Some better than others. Short stories are a useful diversion at times.
Our little local library are "deaccessioning" books to make room for new volumes.
The librarians know my tastes in reading, so are giving me piles of tomes.
We have several Tiny Libraries in the area, so I donate the discards to them.

Anka Zhuravleva Some Books Can Make You Fly

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ggersh's picture

if only americans were taught the real history the world would be different place.

And mother earth wouldn't be under attack from humans

97% of Earth's Land No Longer Ecologically Intact, Study Finds

"Conservation is simply not enough anymore. We need restoration."

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I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned

Prof. Feynman

Glad to know you are doing this. Have thought about doing the same but have not made the final step. Will be interesting to see what you can tell us.

Environmental topics have always held my interest. I have become part of a book group and in the past year have read three books that did have environmental issues; “River Town: Two years on the Yangtze” by Peter Hessler and “The Sixth Extinction” by Elizabeth Kolbert and “Lost Woods: The Discovered Writings of Rachel Carson” by Rachel Carson. All were interesting and the “River Town, two years on the Yangtze was a of great interest because we were traveling in China at the same time. Peter Hessler was a Peace Corp volunteer and lived in the region that was flooded by the Three Gorges Dam and it was interesting to see what that dam did to that part of China.

My book for the July meeting is “Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale” by Adam Minter and it deals with what happens to all the “junk” we accumulate and then dispose of.

In my bedside reading are two books I am reading a chapter or two at a time that deal with the wonders of nature and how important it is: “World of Wonders” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil and “A World on the Wing -The Global Odyssey of Migratory Birds” by Scott Weidensaul. Both are wonderful to read and transport me away from some of the harshness of everyday life.

Thanks for your OT and good luck with class. Looking forward to hearing more about it.

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Life is what you make it, so make it something worthwhile.

This ain't no dress rehearsal!

enhydra lutris's picture

do discuss the environment, and all of which impact it in some way.

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

near and dear to you, and of interest to all of us here!
Keep us posted on it all.
I still work at full tilt, have almost no time to read or attend any classes that are not work related.
My brother will till up a couple of rows of dirt for us, and I will plant a few vegetables. Not for canning, just for an addition of something fresh to eat at meals during the harvest. I also have almost no time to really treat a garden with the time and work it deserves.
That all comes in a few years when I retire.
Thank you for your OT, which I always enjoy reading.

5 users have voted.

And such a great topic. It reminds me of Robert McFarlane's work a bit. I read Underland by him last year--truly a great book, about the environment under our feet. He also has several other books that could fit into your class, and might be interesting to you later. I'm reading Wild Places now and have Landmarks in my to-read pile. Check him out.
And thanks for your OT. Always appreciated.

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It is about John Fetterman who is running for senate in Pennsylvania. It is a good read concerning the way politics works behind the scene. He would get my vote if I lived there.

He is a unique politician as pictured below.

Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman leaves the State Capitol to return to a Board of Parole hearing, in Harrisburg, Pa., on March 3.

Then how did he manage to win statewide office, and why is he running now in one of the most high-profile Senate races in the country? “Because I believe in the work. I believe in the issues. And I push myself out of who I … I mean, I’m sitting here in his office, dressed like this. This is who I am and how I am. I own one suit, and it’s over your right shoulder. … I don’t wear it unless I absolutely need to.”

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@humphrey I read that, it was the first I'd heard of him. I'll have to watch and see.

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The first thing literature this weekend was actually about a movie, and the book. A friend mentioned watching Hillbilly Elegy and not liking it at all whereas he'd enjoyed the book. The friend is a very left leaning Brit. People got down on him (facebook)because JD Vance is a Trumper, which my friend hadn't known.

I barely read the book. It just wasn't very interesting. I come from a similar place but a couple decades earlier. I wasn't exposed to anything I hadn't already known about. Writing was ok but in no way great literature or anything.

So I ended up downloading the movie on netflix. Thinking maybe it would be fun. I stopped at the 23 minute mark. Not that it was a waste of time, it wasn't even that.

The other piece of so so writing I'm on is Comanche Moon by Larry McMurtry, part of the Lonesome Dove saga. The writing is ok but it's all kind of a slapdash humor to it that lends an unserious tenor to the whole 500 pages or so, at least there's good nature, plant, animal descriptions. Blood Meridian it aint.

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phillybluesfan's picture

@ban nock

Two books in the Charlie Moon book series have been named as the Book of the Year by Publishers Weekly magazine. Doss became one of the biggest names in the literary world after creating two fictional characters, Charlie Moon a rancher and a Ute Detective. After completing his high school education, James D. Doss majored in electrical engineering.

The Shaman Sings: In the Shaman Sings, a physics student, one Priscilla Song is brutally murdered in an exceedingly peaceful town, Granite Creek, Colorado. All the signs point to one, Julio Pacheco, a maintenance worker, who serves at Rocky Polytechnic University. What made Julio, the main suspect is that he has always had an eye for Priscilla. Pacheco is a bad assed illegal Mexican immigrant. Scott Paris, the chief of Police, is not exceedingly sure because he had only dreamt about the killing. Daisy Perika on the other hand, an old Ute woman, also experienced the same dream. She understands the fact that the student, Priscilla was on the breakthrough of discovery. As all these things happen, the killings still go on and also spread all the way to the capital. Parris should not only trust the supernatural, but she should also be able to come up with the identity of a killer as well.

The Shaman Laughs: The second book in the Charlie Moon book series. In this book, we meet once again with Scott Parris, the chief of police once again. In Shaman Laughs, Scott is enjoying his hard earned vacation. However, Scott comes to learn that someone was not only mutilating cattle but also appeared to be performing an exceedingly bizarre ritual. It does not take long before the despised Arlo Nightbird is killed in cold blood. Moon and Parris must be able to locate the killer before the new agent puts it on someone whom they know is innocent. With that said, the Shaman Laughs is not only filled with humor but also mysticism as well. The twists and mysteries are much more than the first book.

The Shaman Bones: Just like all the other books in the series, the Shaman Bones is an appealing Southwest Mystery. In this installment, we meet once again with one Daisy Pereka, who happens to be the aunt of Charlie Moon, a police officer. Daisy has constantly been having dreams of brutal murders. Within her dreams, Daisy has been seeing that it has been raining blood, meaning it was more than one murder. Charlie Moon and Scott Parris, his law enforcement friend, eventually end up taking so many trips between Wyoming and southwest Colorado, to solve this case. Some of the characters in the Sharman Bones are not only mysterious but also intriguing as well.

“The Dark Wind” is a book that is not only fresh but also original and exceedingly suspenseful. The book begins as a corpse is found with its soles and palms removed after the killing. Immediately, Sargent Chee knows that he is going to have his hands exceedingly full with this case. Various disturbing occurrences follow including a vanishing shipment of cocaine, a mysterious plane crash, and several others.

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Few are guilty, but all are responsible.”
― Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Prophets