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The Small Heart of Things: Being at Home in a Beckoning World
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The Small Heart of Things: Being at Home in a Beckoning World

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  47 ratings  ·  12 reviews
In The Small Heart of Things, Julian Hoffman intimately examines the myriad ways in which connections to the natural world can be deepened through an equality of perception, whether it’s a caterpillar carrying its house of leaves, transhumant shepherds ranging high mountain pastures, a quail taking cover on an empty steppe, or a Turkmen family emigrating from Afghanistan t ...more
Hardcover, 168 pages
Published October 15th 2013 by University of Georgia Press (first published January 1st 2013)
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4.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  47 ratings  ·  12 reviews

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Tim C
Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: travel, essays
This is a beautifully lyrical and engaging book. It is a series of meditations upon the twin themes of 'place' and 'perception' which encourages the reader to re-think how our unconscious expectations usually shape our views of the world around us - whether it be the place where we live, or the places we pass through on our travels, there are unexpected connections to be found everywhere. 'The Small Heart of Things' is a refreshing and thoughtful book by a writer with a remarkable eye and ear fo ...more
Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Finally finished this lovely excursion into landscapes I've never seen and would now dearly love to—none too soon, as I'll be hearing Julian read from his book tonight. (Disclaimer: We are Twitter pals who've never met, kindred spirits, etc.) You will find here a very measured, serious, philosophical approach to nature writing, but also the intimate, domestic voice of someone sharing both his beloved home, and the larger idea of how to be at home no matter where you are. Beyond all else you will ...more
Joshua Buhs
Dec 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: b12, ecology, non-fiction
For a moment, it promised something interesting, before becoming platitudinous.

This book came highly recommended by Terry Tempest Williams, and that was enough to intrigue me. I've become somewhat allergic to conventional nature writing, but she assured that this was different, merging natural history with the social and cultural to create something more open than the usual paeans to wild places.

Sounded good.

And the beginning seemed to fulfill that promise. Hoffman was open. He was unwilling to
May 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Being home and being at home, place and finding one's place and finding both in nature no matter where you find yourself are some of the themes to this wonderful book. Written as a series of essays that wander about a little much as the author has done I found it hard to put down at times. In fact, I left the last 4 or 5 pages for quite a few days not wanting to finish. I would recommend this book to nature lovers, travel lovers and those searching for their place in the world.
Aug 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
I recommend this lyrical little book of meditations on what it is to be alive, in the world at large, as much as in a particular place, to anyone who enjoys beautiful writing and anyone who has ever asked themselves what and where home might be. (That's me for one.)
Richard Carter
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My friend Julian Hoffman's book is an fascinating collection of essays about the relationships we develop with certain locations, thereby making them into ‘places’, and sometimes even homes. Such relationships are honed through our experiences in these locations: the things we see, the people we meet, the attention we pay. As the book's title implies, it's often the small things that make a location special: an encounter with an animal, a conversation with a stranger, a walk with a friend.

Most o
Oct 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
"Life is nothing but a succession of images and impressions racing before from one's mind: fom these some come out strongly, unforgettable, though they may have not been the most significant, but because they hold a crystallised moment of life encapsulated within." Hoffman quotes from Marcelle Caradja's "Memories from the Life of My Father." In "A Winter Moth," Hoffman writes about composing biography and in particular about the life of Aristide Caradja, pianist and moth and butterfly collector. ...more
charlotte bromwich
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2019
Jun 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Beautifully observed and expressed, Hoffman's words and the places he describes linger with you even after you finish. As this review notes: "Of greatest value, all of Hoffman’s observations resonate with a genuine care for what is being considered and what can be learned." (
Lorne Daniel
Jul 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A clear-eyed walk through landscapes and the evocative places of Prespa, The Small Heart of Things tells us much about nature and our varied, conflicted relationships with nature.
Jan 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nature
Spectacularly beautiful.
Mar 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Rambly. Sure, that was partly the point of this book, to reflect the ramblings in nature of the author, but it was definitely excessive in a lot of places.
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Julian Hoffman lives beside the Prespa Lakes in northern Greece. The Small Heart of Things was selected by Terry Tempest Williams as the winner of the AWP Award for Creative Nonfiction, described by her as a "tapestry of embodied stories, a book of faith in the natural histories of community." His follow-up book, Irreplaceable: The Fight to Save our Wild Places, will be published by Hamish Hamilto ...more
“At times we need to turn away from a place when it no longer suits or sustains us, when our ability to adapt to its vagaries has run its course.” 0 likes
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