Winter Count
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Winter Count

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  279 ratings  ·  27 reviews
"Perfectly crafted. . . . [These] stories expand of their own accord, lingering in the mind the way intense light lingers in the retina."--Los Angeles Times

"Animals and landscapes have not had this weight, this precision, in American fiction since Hemingway's young heroes were fishing the streams of upper Michigan and Spain." --San Francisco Chronicle


A flock of great blue...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published November 2nd 1999 by Vintage (first published 1981)
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A Sand County Almanac with Other Essays on Conservation from ... by Aldo LeopoldWalden by Henry David ThoreauA Walk in the Woods by Bill BrysonDesert Solitaire by Edward AbbeySilent Spring by Rachel Carson
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183rd out of 325 books — 203 voters
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Best of Outdoor Literature
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 445)
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Lani
(currently re-reading)

I once had the pleasure of ghostwriting a speech introducing Barry Lopez, keynote speaker at a college commencement ceremony. I hadn't ever heard of him at the time, but was fascinated by what I learned as the friends, colleagues, and former students I contacted unanimously praised his tremendous talents and personality. I went home and promptly began reading everything of his that I could get my hands on.

"Winter Count" isn't his best known or most lauded book, but it's fir...more
Ron
This collection of ten early short stories by Barry Lopez seems written more than a little under the influence of Borges. Elegantly told, they are designed to evoke a deep sense of wonder in the reader. The settings are often remote - the open prairie, the desert - and touch on what feel like the remote worlds of other cultures and other times, especially Native American.

The title story refers to the Indian practice of keeping a record of tribal history by representing the one most significant e...more
Abigail Hilton
I discovered _Of Wolves and Men_ in high school, and read it until I could quote long passages. When I saw this little book by Lopez, I had to pick it up. _Winter Count_ is a book of essays that read like prose poetry. It is about American Indians and loss and mystery. Some of the essays are better than others, and some are kind of obtuse, but in the end, it does have coherent themes that hang together.

Something typical: I was going to criticize the author because he mentions lying on the beach...more
Jennifer W.
Barry Lopez is an amazing author that brings you close to nature through his eyes in a very surreal fashion! I fell in love with Lopez's work in an american literature class in college and had the insane opportunity to meet Barry Lopez because he donated a collection of his letters to Texas Tech University where I was working with my professor as a research assistant. Not only did I get to read many of his letters, but I got to meet the man behind some amazing works like this. Even when he write...more
SmokingMirror
A book so beautiful it grips you in fascination. Lopez loves North America and he makes the reader love it by the urgency of his words. When I look forward to rereading a book before I've even finished it for the first time, I give it five stars. Stars are magnificent beings; I would give Lopez many stars.
Jason
Jan 25, 2012 Jason rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jason by: Paul
Shelves: fiction, travel
My good friend Paul recommended this book to me. Because he described Barry Lopez as a naturalist writer I initially expected this book to be completely non-fictional. Boy was I wrong! After getting involved in the stories I was shocked at the supernatural twists and turns they took. However, once I got used to this unexpected formula I found that I really enjoyed the stories. They possess a character and flair that I don't think I've ever seen before. The stories were very captivating. A couple...more
Sara
Lopez shines when he's loosely writing about Native Americans. I was particularly struck by "Winter Count 1973" and "Buffalo"; even "Restoration". The stories are imbued with the trappings of scholarly research so that at times I couldn't tell if this was fiction or fact. The language is spare, yet sings off the page. His capture and command of natural imagery is nothing short of amazing. And then comes the story, "The Lover of Words." I sense what he's trying to do, though I'm left with a feeli...more
Daniel
thank you random customer for inspiring the research into this author and thank you jeffery for letting me borrow this book... i am a convert. barry lopez is extremely erudite and a masterful observer of nature. in this book, various anecdotes verge on the almost abstract, but are made succulently succinct via lopez's immense reservoir of naturalist (and/or all) knowledge & keen powers of prose reflections. weaving the personal into the mystical & then onto the even plain of science &...more
meghan
A collection of beautiful, simple and elegantly written stories. Memorable characters that have some incredibly compelling, but often very subtle connection to nature--sometimes a place, an animal, a landscape, or time in natural history. These are the elements that tie the stories together into a collection, and add richness to each story without being the driving force. The author has quite a sense of humor. Several of the stories have a hilarious little twist at the end, or cleverly razz the...more
kp
This is one of those rare books which makes the distinctions between poetry and prose and between fiction and nonfiction all but meaningless. In a collection of searching, gentle, yearning, and mysterious episodes, Lopez creates a landscape of wind and memory. I found the book too beautifully contemplative to read all at once, for each chapter/story/meditation is an indrawn breath, as if in wonder, and demands that the reader still the voices that constantly clamor in our heads. The result is so...more
Chris
I prefer River Notes, but there are still glimpses of what makes Lopez one of my favorites. It's not the disappearing rivers or the sandstone held aloft, constellating in the wind or the other flourishes of magical realism (magical naturalism?. It's the simple, ineffable beauty of his imagery--flock of herons landing touching down on a snow blanketed NYC street, a man sweeping a patch of desert--that really blows my skirt up.
Derek Emerson
Lopez has a gift for language and a unique sense of the natural world -- the resulting combination creates an unusual collection of stories. Like Borges, he blends fact/fiction with a mystical bent. My favorite is "The Orrery" about a mystic living in the desert who creates the cosmos with stones flying around him. Also really liked "Restoration."
Julie
I loved Barry Lopez's work when I was studying conservation in college, and I love his work now, more than 20 years later, for many of the same reasons: economical and evocative writing, intriguing and mysterious characters, and natural settings that deepen the reader's understanding without intruding on the pleasure of reading.
Marlene
On a bitterly cold winter's day I reread Lopez's lovely, evocative prose. Lovers of nature essays will enjoy.
missy lambert
My favorite story in this collection: "Winter Count 1973: Geese, They Flew Over in a Storm." I love this: "He wished for something to hold, something to touch, to strip leaves barehanded from a chokecherry branch or to hear rain falling on the surface of a lake. In this windowless room he ached."
David
Some of these stories were very moving. I appreciate the author's trying to connect our lives to nature amongst all of the industrialization we have created that surrounds us and tries to remove us from it. This is my first Barry Lopez book , and I intend to read more.
Gloria Erin
Haunting and lyrical, Lopez once again took me on a journey of discovery and dreamscapes, an exploration of the mythic and the mundane brought forth by the delicate touch of his pen. A book to savor on winter nights, and to return to as a vacation for the mind.
Joshua
A couple of these stories, perhaps the most affecting, involve historians/anthropologists who, after long study of their subjects stories and culture, are overtaken by the meaning underneath and can no longer remain objective, or even function well anymore.
Maggie
This collection reads more like poetry and especially appealed to someone caught in between the East and West Coasts.

Lopez becomes more and more abstract as he goes along; he eases you into it.

My favorites were "Restoration" and "Winter Herons".
Sheri-lee
There is something I can't put my finger on that draws me to the beauty of these stories. Just beautifully written...smooth and fragrant like that perfect cup of coffee on a quiet morning.
Mary
Beautiful writing. I was loaned this book of short stories, but the timing wasn't right, so I returned it before finishing it -- I would like to get back to it someday.
dr
there was one story about a book restorer guy who was working in north dakota -that was my favorite. the rest didn't grab me totally.
Sandra Novack
Spare, poetic. This collection is good for poets, I think. Very minimalistic stories that rely heavily on image.
David Winger
The greatest volume of short stories since Hemingway. Quiet, meditative, and yet immensely powerful.
Amina
Except for a couple of stories, I kind of loved this book.
Cameron
A great collection of essays by an amazing author.
Charles
A very short book, but beautifully written.
jack
Oct 02, 2011 jack added it
Shelves: fiction, nature
A stunning collection of short stories.
Mike
Mike is currently reading it
Apr 14, 2014
Monique Darkfire
Monique Darkfire marked it as to-read
Mar 28, 2014
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10262
Barry Holstun López is an American author, essayist, and fiction writer whose work is known for its environmental and social concerns.

López has been described as "the nation's premier nature writer" by the San Francisco Chronicle. In his non-fiction, he frequently examines the relationship between human culture and physical landscape, while in his fiction he addresses issues of intimacy, ethics an...more
More about Barry López...
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