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A California Bestiary
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A California Bestiary

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  33 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Inspired by medieval bestiaries, in which animals were presented in a fashion that favored the fanciful over the factual, Solnit and Caron have partnered to create their own book of magical beasts one in which the truth is stranger than fiction. Deeply aware of how much animal lore feeds the language of human imagination, Solnit uses her unique literary prowess to describe ...more
Hardcover, 47 pages
Published August 1st 1987 by Heyday Books
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Mar 11, 2016 Linda rated it it was amazing
This is a little treasure book, small in physical size, but large indeed in beauty - Mona Caron's artwork is whimsical and lovely, and Rebecca Solnit's text informational with specific natural details while also wide-ranging in ideas, exploring what each creature might mean to us - both practically and in our imaginations. A lovely book!
Apr 30, 2010 Andres rated it it was ok
I didn't know what to expect and was surprised it was such a tiny book. It covers 12 different California animals, but "covers" is a very loose description. The book is very spare in pretty much everything. It talks about the animals but just barely, then philosophizes, waxes poetic, or reflects on what the animal (or nature in general) might mean, but again, just barely, and in some fairly humdrum prose. A 20 minute read, with nicely done illustrations of the animals, and that's it. Aside from ...more
Aug 14, 2016 Wendy rated it really liked it
Love the concept and execution of this tiny book, which is pretty far-ranging in the topics it covers, given its seemingly narrow scope and size. I only wish it would've been much longer - I somehow failed to realize that it was only 47 pages before I had it sent my way.
Apr 23, 2011 Yune rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, nature
If the title captures you -- the thought of medieval guides to mythical beasts being applied to a present-day coastal state's animal population -- then you can surely spare the fifteen minutes it will take to read through this slender volume. You may spend longer, pausing to wonder at odd facts or lingering over the charming illustrations.

This is not a dense work; do not open it expecting a full-fledged encyclopedia of Californian fauna, although a variety is presented within its short selection
Mar 28, 2010 VegasGal rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2010
This is a simple book packed with great information presented in a dazzling manner. Not only does it educate readers on a few key animals native to California such as the tule elk and the blue belly lizard, but it also spins an easy to read, lovely story about these creatures which is unlike more formal educational animal books which can be quite boring. The illustrations are clean and simple and anecdotal tidbits are also included that make this book a great read for not just educational ...more
Dec 17, 2010 A rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
Using twelve animals which live or lived in California as a start, Solnit writes beautifully about the history, fables, present and future of this state for which she has a strong affinity. The bestiary is a framework for comments about a lot of other things. It's all in the context.

The drawings are simple and elegant. This is a wonderful little book.
Apr 10, 2016 Miriam rated it liked it
Musings on a few Californian animals, with accompanying plates. Slight but pleasant -- Solnit can be counted on for thoughtful and polished prose, and Caron's illustrations reminded me of the animal coloring books I had as a child (in a good way).

Mar 01, 2015 Denise added it
beautiful illustrations and a lovely way to incorporate environmentalism into stories of our fellow beings.
Jan 20, 2011 Jim rated it it was amazing
the best writing by Solnit i've read so far. this is a book for gifts. i ended up reading one chapter each day, they're only a couple pages long but v. deep.
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Mills College Library
591.9794 S688 2010
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Rebecca Solnit is an American author who often writes on the environment, politics, place, and art. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications in print and online, including the Guardian newspaper and Harper's Magazine, where she is the first woman to regularly write the Easy Chair column founded in 1851. She is also a regular contributor to the political blog TomDispatch and to LitHub.

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