Thursday, July 5, 2012

Over the Counter #117

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over my library counter and under the scanner? A pair of memoirs this week.

First up was Before They're Gone by Michael Lanza. Subtitled - A Family's Year-Long Quest to Explore America's Most Endangered National Parks.

From the publisher, Beacon Press:

"A longtime backpacker, climber, and skier, Michael Lanza knows our national parks like the back of his hand. As a father, he hopes to share these special places with his two young children. But he has seen firsthand the changes wrought by the warming climate and understands what lies ahead: Alaska's tidewater glaciers are rapidly retreating, and the abundant sea life in their shadow departs with them. Encroaching tides threaten beloved wilderness coasts like Washington's Olympic and Florida's Everglades. Less snowfall and hotter summers will diminish Yosemite's world-famous waterfalls. And it is predicted that Glacier National Park's 7,000-year-old glaciers will be gone in a decade.

To Lanza, it feels like the house he grew up in is being looted. Painfully aware of the ecological-and spiritual-calamity that global warming will bring to our nation's parks, Lanza sets out to show his children these wonders before they have changed forever.

He takes his nine-year-old son, Nate, and seven-year-old daughter, Alex, on an ambitious journey to see as many climate-threatened wild places as he can fit into a year: backpacking in the Grand Canyon, Glacier, the North Cascades, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, and along the wild Olympic coast; sea kayaking in Alaska's Glacier Bay; hiking to Yosemite's waterfalls; rock climbing in Joshua Tree National Park; cross-country skiing in Yellowstone; and canoeing in the Everglades.

Through these poignant and humorous adventures, Lanza shares the beauty of each place and shows how his children connect with nature when given "unscripted" time. Ultimately, he writes, this is more their story than his, for whatever comes of our changing world, they are the ones who will live in it."

Next up was Growing a Farmer by Kurt Timmermeister. Subtitled - How I Learned to Live Off the Land.

From the publisher, W.W. Norton:

"When he purchased four acres of land on Vashon Island, Kurt Timmermeister was only looking for an affordable home near the restaurants he ran in Seattle. But as he slowly settled into his new property, he became awakened to the connection between what he ate and where it came from: a hive of bees provided honey, a young cow could give fresh milk, an apple orchard allowed him to make vinegar. With refreshing honesty, Timmermeister details the initial stumbles and subsequent realities he faced as he established a profitable farm for himself. Personal yet practical, Growing a Farmer will entirely recast the way we think about our relationship to the food we consume.

(Over the Counter is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World. I've sadly come the realization that I cannot physically read every book that catches my interest as it crosses over my counter at the library. But... I can mention them and maybe one of them will catch your eye as well. See if your local library has them on their shelves!)

4 comments:

bermudaonion said...

Since I love memoirs, those both look good to me.

V (BookBorne) said...

Before They're Gone sounds so interesting! Thanks for sharing.

Jamie said...

Hi, Before They're Gone seems to be exactly the kind of books I like to read.

Luanne said...

Wonderful - I'm so glad that you've all found a new read through this feature!