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review 2017-08-06 17:06
Field Notes From a Hidden City.
Field Notes from a Hidden City: An Urban Nature Diary - Esther Woolfson

I don't know what it was with this book, but after reading Corvus this one just paled in comparison. Woolfson seemed to repeat some of the stories in Corvus (or at least make reference to them without further explanation) and seemed to jump all over the place. 

 

Next!

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review 2017-07-18 22:09
The Log from the Sea of Cortez
The Log from the Sea of Cortez - John Steinbeck

Late, late in the night we recalled that Horace says fried shrimps and African snails will cure a hangover. Neither was available.

I called a stop to this @ 63%. I skim read to the end to see if the log ever changes into something that has a structure - or a point.

 

It may be that I am not in the right mood for this book, but from everything I have read, I get the impression that to be in the right frame of mind to read this book I would have to be on that boat, with a beer (not the first of the day), and develop a sudden liking for pointless meandering, unsubstantiated general philosophising, and killing things just to collect them. 

 

And I just can't.

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text 2017-07-18 16:33
Reading progress update: I've read 32%.
The Log from the Sea of Cortez - John Steinbeck

This is nowhere near as interesting as I first thought. :(

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text 2017-07-17 22:27
Reading progress update: I've read 17%.
The Log from the Sea of Cortez - John Steinbeck

The medical kit had been given a good deal of thought. There were nembutal, butesin picrate for sunburn, a thousand two-grain quinine capsules, two-percent mercuric oxide salve for barnacle cuts, cathartics, ammonia, mercurochrome, iodine, alcaroid, and, last, some whisky for medicinal purposes. This did not survive our leave-taking, but since no one was ill on the whole trip, it may have done its job very well.

Steinbeck cracks me up. Here we have a book about a scientific expedition but he still injects some fun in it. So far, the science bits have been speculation and conjecture, but at the end of the day, Steinbeck was more of a poet than a marine biologist. Unlike Thoreau, tho, he knows it, too,

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text 2017-07-17 20:41
The Invention of Nature - Reading Update: Part 5
The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World - Andrea Wulf

I am a little sad.

 

This was a fascinating book, and I loved the chapter that described the last years in Humboldt's life and the political changes that he was surrounded by, even tho for Humboldt the novelty of revolution had worn off because he had seen and been in the midst of so many of them.

 

As for the remaining chapters on Perkins, Haeckel, and John Muir, I am in two minds: We did not really need them to understand Humboldt and his times. But, they do illustrate - again - the far-reaching impact Humboldt and his work have had on a future generation that would lead to the birth of environmentalism. 

 

I appreciate the link that Wulf creates between the extraordinary Humboldt and the subsequent discussions that are still current affairs more than I criticise Wulf for meandering a little in the last three chapters

 

What a book! What a guy!

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