Natural Acts (David Quammen's essay collections #1)
"David Quammen is simply the best natural essayist working today."--Tim Cahill, author of Lost in My Own Backyard
"Lively writing about science and nature depends less on the offering of good answers, I think, than on the offering of good questions," said David Quammen in the original introduction to Natural Acts. For more than two decades, he has stuck to that credo. In th...more
Natural Acts is a collection of essays, which mostly appeared originally in the authors column in "Outside" magazine. The essays mostly look at a particular question that the author thought of and presents a possible answer to the question. Such as, what is the benefit of mosquitos? Or why do bats have such a bad reputation / people are so fearfu ...more
--- I learned that of all the known species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes and crustaceans, plasmic tentacle-waving sea creatures, every brand of zooplankton, every . . . hell, every one of the 1.25 million known species of animal, one in four of them is a beetle.
--- I learned that mosquitoes are good for nothing, except maybe slowing the destruction of tropical rain forests.
--- I learned about parthenogenesis. Sure the wingless aphid sucks a lo ...more
the mosquito is taking a bad rap. It has been victimized, I submit to you, by a strong case of anthropomorph ...more
I should have stopped there. The essays that were interesting had too much authorial intrusion such as forced humor, references to the poetry or Auden and Donne, and a pretentious vocabulary, imo. And the newer essays, added in this greatly revised & expanded edition, did not intrigue me. I kept trying to read each essay, then finding myself skimming up to the next and trying again.
Otoh, if you're a fan of Quammen, an ...more
Quammen has had the kind of career that would make anyone with a remote interest in the outdoors jealous. He has written many years for Outside magazine, embarking on wild adve ...more
The fact some of the essays date back to 1981 and the most recent to 2005 does not make the information outdated either. Quammen has revised and ...more
This book is a collection of columns from a magazine he wrote for over the course of many years. They are roughly grouped together, with the first section zooming in on particular animals ...more
I'll read anything by Quammen. His mix of humour, up-to-the-minute science, travelogue and thoughtful angles is endlessly e ...more
The book is mostly a collection of essays that he wrote as a columnist for Outside magazine in the early 80's. They are short, 4-6 pages, and cover weird and wonderful things with a good bit of humor thrown in. The last section of the book is several longer pieces that he wrote f ...more
'Natural Acts' was the title of that Outside column and the title of a 1985 collection of pieces from that column. It's back, and it's bigger and better than before with the ad ...more
You can read the rest of my review at Natural Acts.