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Non-Fiction > Seasonal Non-Fiction Theme (July - September 2016) The Countryside and Nature'

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message 1: by Gill (last edited Jun 22, 2016 01:41PM) (new)

Gill | 5720 comments The seasonal non-fiction theme for July - September 2016 is 'The Countryside and Nature'.

Here is the place for you to discuss the books you read relating to this theme. It would also be good to know here, about any suggestions/recommendations you have.

Enjoy the theme for these next three months. There will be a new one starting in October 2016.


message 2: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Ooh, this is a good theme for me!

I think that I will try to finish up Gerald Durrell's Corfu trilogy with The Garden of the Gods if I can find a copy at my library.


message 3: by Chrissie (last edited Jun 20, 2016 09:48PM) (new)

Chrissie Leslie wrote: "Ooh, this is a good theme for me!

I think that I will try to finish up Gerald Durrell's Corfu trilogy with The Garden of the Gods if I can find a copy at my library."


I could read that one. Gerald Durrell is such a different writer form his brother Lawrence Durrell. I prefer Gerald's stuff. They are so funny. Leslie, let me know how it goes.


message 4: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie I will be reading Silent Spring. It is about time I read it! I wonder if it will feel dated.


message 5: by Paulfozz (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments Chrissie wrote: "I will be reading Silent Spring. It is about time I read it! I wonder if it will feel dated."

I could tell it was from the 1960s but it felt VERY relevant still when I read it a few years ago. Even with how pesticides are discussed these days it was still really eye-opening to read.


message 6: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Paulfozz, thanks for letting me know your thoughts. I just went and looked at your review. 5 stars - that bodes well.


message 7: by Pink (new)

Pink Chrissie wrote: "I will be reading Silent Spring. It is about time I read it! I wonder if it will feel dated."

I've just reserved this at the library as well.


message 9: by Gill (new)

Gill | 5720 comments My first book for this topic will be Mountains of the Mind: A History of a Fascination.


message 10: by Paulfozz (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments Chrissie wrote: "Paulfozz, thanks for letting me know your thoughts. I just went and looked at your review. 5 stars - that bodes well."

I tend to be cautious these days about five star ratings (I used it perhaps over-eagerly in the past) but I think it really does deserve it. It really is a landmark book and incredibly important as it formed one of the foundations of the environmental movement. Many say it was THE beginning of environmental awareness in the US. It's still shocking now.

I have two early 1950's editions of her other books, The Sea Around Us and Under the Sea-Wind, so I may well read one of those for the Seasonal theme, though I'm reading a lot of nature books anyway.


message 11: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Pink wrote: "Chrissie wrote: "I will be reading Silent Spring. It is about time I read it! I wonder if it will feel dated."

I've just reserved this at the library as well."


This is certainly one of the iconic books on environmental impact. Perhaps I will join you all...


message 12: by Chrissie (last edited Jun 21, 2016 07:35AM) (new)

Chrissie Paulfozz wrote: "Chrissie wrote: "Paulfozz, thanks for letting me know your thoughts. I just went and looked at your review. 5 stars - that bodes well."

I tend to be cautious these days about five star ratings (I ..."


In the beginning I think all of were more liberal with our ratings.

Fun that you have her other books.


message 13: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie It is great that so many of us want to read Silent Spring.


message 14: by katie (new)

katie | 74 comments Chrissie wrote: "It is great that so many of us want to read Silent Spring."

I have a copy on my shelf and I have never read it, so I might try to join you all as well!


message 15: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie katie, great. I love discussing a book with several people. Everyone has different thoughts. I am glad you spke up.


message 16: by Beholderess (new)

Beholderess | 17 comments Leslie wrote: "Ooh, this is a good theme for me!

I think that I will try to finish up Gerald Durrell's Corfu trilogy with The Garden of the Gods if I can find a copy at my library."


I love Gerald Durrell's books. So warm and funny


message 17: by Paul (new)

Paul (halfmanhalfbook) I read a lot of natural history books, and can recommend all of the books on the Wainwright Prize longlist:

http://wainwrightprize.com

In particular Landmarks and The Shepherd's Life: A Tale of the Lake District, both of which were excellent


message 18: by Chrissie (last edited Jun 26, 2016 10:59PM) (new)

Chrissie Paul, Landmarks looks fabulous. Words when you hear you want to remember b/c yo need them if you walk in nature to describe what you see. My problm is how to spell these words. I'll have to check and see if I can discover them on internet. I loved "amil" and "afruk". The first being the sparkle of morning sunlight in hoarfrost and the second the reflex of waves on shore.

This may drive me crazy; I cannot find the correct spellings on the web! Maybe I must get the book and the audio. I could look up the spellings with a magnifying glass. I wonder if it has a glossary at the end. Paul do you happen to know?

I am happy to know of the book but now I am annoyed at the same time.


message 19: by Paul (new)

Paul (halfmanhalfbook) Inbetween each chapter is a list of words, their meaning and their origin. I think it works better than having a huge list at the end of the book.


message 20: by Chrissie (last edited Jun 27, 2016 09:44PM) (new)

Chrissie OK, I think I may have to buy both the paper and audible version. with the words listed between each chapter it will be easy to find them. Thanks, Paul.


message 21: by Sherry (new)

Sherry Elmer I just started reading Wendell Berry's The Art of the Commonplace. It's wonderful so far.


message 22: by Karin (last edited Jun 29, 2016 04:41PM) (new)

Karin | 1940 comments It's summer, so I have no idea what I'll read for this, if anything as so far I don't have many nonfiction books selected for summer yet.


message 23: by Karin (last edited Jul 01, 2016 06:55PM) (new)

Karin | 1940 comments Back to say, "duh!" I already have a library book at home in my tbr that fits this bill!!! Sex in the Sea Our Intimate Connection with Sex-Changing Fish, Romantic Lobsters, Kinky Squid, and Other Salty Erotica of the Deep by Marah Hardt Sex in the Sea: Our Intimate Connection with Sex-Changing Fish, Romantic Lobsters, Kinky Squid, and Other Salty Erotica of the Deep by Marah Hardt

Where I grew up, the ocean borders the countryside, and it is definitely nature.


message 24: by Pink (new)

Pink I have my copy of Silent Spring now, so I'll start in the next couple of days.


message 25: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7496 comments Mod
Chrissie wrote: "It is great that so many of us want to read Silent Spring."

I might join in on this too! Is someone creating a readalong thread, or is this just an unofficial convergence? :)


message 26: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Pink, I can start in a day or two; I have to finish the book I am on.

Greg, you and Pink can decide. I had first assumed we could talk here in this thread. Maybe your suggestion is better???


message 27: by Diane S ☔ (new)

Diane S ☔ If I can find my copy, I would like to join in too. Read this years ago but curious to see how I feel about it now.


message 28: by Pink (new)

Pink Yes perhaps we need a dedicated discussion thread if there's a few of us reading. I'm looking forward to it :)


message 29: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Pink wrote: "I have my copy of Silent Spring now, so I'll start in the next couple of days."

I have checked it out from the library. As for whether we should have a separate thread, I am willing to go with whatever you all prefer.


message 30: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie I will start Silent Spring today or tomorrow, i.e. 6-7 of July.


message 31: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7496 comments Mod
Still need to pick up my copy from the library - hopefully can pick it up tomorrow.


message 32: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Greg, you suggested another thread. It doesn't matter to me, but I don't want to comment here on the book if I shouldn't.


message 33: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7496 comments Mod
Chrissie wrote: "Greg, you suggested another thread. It doesn't matter to me, but I don't want to comment here on the book if I shouldn't."

I think it's fine to comment here Chrissie! I was just trying to figure out what everyone was doing so I commented in the right place. :)


message 34: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Greg, exactly. Same for me!


message 35: by Pink (last edited Jul 06, 2016 12:36AM) (new)

Pink Hehe, we're all so considerate trying to figure where to comment. So I'll comment here. I've only read the introductions and the first 2 chapters, but it feels incredibly relevant to today, I have to remind myself that it was written such a long time ago. I'll post again when I've read some more.


message 36: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie OK, I will be starting Silent Spring in a few minutes. Pink, good to hear that you find it still relevant today. Gosh I have put this off too long!


message 37: by Paulfozz (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments That's good Pink; confirms my thoughts when I read it. I'm still working my way through 'Quiet' (about halfway there) so it'll be a little while yet before I start a themed book.


message 38: by Chrissie (last edited Jul 07, 2016 01:26AM) (new)

Chrissie Re: Silent Spring some of my thoughts:

I agree with Pink and Paul, relevant still today. Relevant and moving and a real eye-opener. Scary reading. What do you need horror books for if you have books like this?

On a personal level, I know I am certainly going to be more diligent in washing my vegetables and wearing protective gloves. My behavior has been very lax. I had reasoned a little dirt will only make you stronger, build up your resistance! I am not so sure about that anymore. Yet....... being scared gets you nowhere. I am no chemist. How do you set a reasonable level of caution? The book is so scary that I almost want to throw in the towel and give up.

What can be done concretely? It is important that national and international restrictions on chemicals are brought into force. It is just that you don't know where the dangers lie. You cannot test everything. We need research. MORE research. I have a nagging suspicion that contamination rather than being diminished is increased instead.

Washing your hands and what you eat does seem wise. How do you wash iceberg lettuce? I eat lots of this. While doing this seems wise, at the same time it seems almost a waste of time given the complexity and enormity of the problem.

So for me this reads as a horror book. Sure I knew all of this. It is not a big surprise, but the evidence supplied in the book makes you open your eyes in a way I have not done before. What makes it a horror book for me is that I lack adequate knowledge, The problem seems so big and I don't know where the real dangers lie.

Disturbing.

I am in chapter four.

ETA: Another thought. It is not profit/capitalism that is the culprit. The same phenomenon has occurred in communist countries.

Which of these chemicals are still allowed/produced/used today????? what new terrible pollutants have been added? My conclusion is the need for extensive research and global agreements. .....that are followed, not just written and agreed upon! do you hear my skepticism? It is intentional.


message 39: by Pink (new)

Pink Chrissie, it does feel overwhelming doesn't it. It makes you think that everything you eat is contaminated and it probably is to a certain degree. While I'm not someone who uses bug sprays, I became more recently aware of chemical cleaners in the home that go back into our water supply. Just the everyday stuff like washing powder seems quite harmful once you start looking into it, never mind the more abrasive sprays. I use about half Eco products in my home, as the companies have excellent track records of working to make their products safer for animals at all levels, from animal testing to water contaminants that build up in the environment. However I still buy whatever product is to hand when I'm my local shop and I rarely buy organic food, other than what I grow, simply because it's too expensive. Although this is probably an expense that I should pay. It just feels like you can't win all of the battles.

I'm thinking that not much has really changed with companies and governments ignoring expert advice. I'm thinking specifically of the UK's recent decision to allow crop spraying with EU blacklisted pesticides, which are known to kill bee populations, among other insects. It's just what is being described in Silent Spring and it's still happening.


message 40: by Chrissie (last edited Jul 07, 2016 03:46AM) (new)

Chrissie Yeah,Pink, it is exactly that - overwhelming. I too think contamination continues. If everyone is making an effort some improvement is mayby possible........but when you read this book it feels pretty darn hopeless.

I do think everyone should read it because you cannot help but realize how important each individual's behavior is.

So often less abrasive products work just as well as the chemical ones.

Here in Sweden almost ALL products have eco labels. Skeptic that I am I question if I can trust that they are any better,


Pink, how far have your read.?

Is anybody else reading it now?


message 41: by Chrissie (last edited Jul 07, 2016 04:00AM) (new)

Chrissie It is interesting the discussion of whether plants along roads "should" be mowed or killed using chemicals..... The answer is obvious. Here in Sweden the roads around us are mowed, but I live out in the country in an agricultural spot with farms.

What is done where you live? I was thinking about this just the other day after they had chopped the vegetation down.

I am wondering what fertilizers are used where I live. I know cow manure is used, but is something else put in too? We have cows all around us, even in the forests.


message 42: by Paulfozz (last edited Jul 07, 2016 04:18AM) (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments I remember feeling the same when I first read the book too. It was quite overwhelming. The picture today is very different to that at the start of the 1960s though. Regulation has made a big impact on what chemicals can be used; it is ignorance of the impact that these chemicals had, and a desire to improve yields that drove the development or more and more toxic substances.

I think the importance of the book today is that it opens your eyes to something that it is easy to overlook but which can have a huge impact on both us and the environment at large; there have been great leaps forward in preventing dangerous chemicals being used, but there are still huge issues with the use (and misuse) of fertilisers and pesticides/poisons, but with tighter regulation the effects are frequently more subtle and hidden, as with neonicotinoids affecting pollinating insects.


message 43: by Paulfozz (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments Chrissie wrote: "It is interesting the discussion of whether plants along roads "should" be mowed or killed using chemicals..... The answer is obvious. Here in Sweden the roads around us are mowed, but I live out i..."

There are some places where weeds are sprayed (my local water meadow in previous years was sprayed to remove 'unwanted' weeds, which created something of a monoculture and the wildlife diversity on the meadows crashed), but here in southern England on verges and the like mowing is used, and in recent years there has been a move to part-mow, to leave some patches untouched so that they are mini wildlife habitats.


message 44: by Diane S ☔ (new)

Diane S ☔ I read this in high school, and it made me so conscious of what I was putting in my mouth and using in our house and on my body. Real Horror for sure. Am rereading parts of it but actually I still have my notes on the sides of the pages. I use mostly organic, even my laundry detergent and soap, deodorant. I wash everything, all vegetables, dry rice which contains arsenic. But skeptic that I am, I believe big money wins every time. What should be standard for food, organic products, food without hormones are often not affordable for those raising family.


message 45: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie That is great they are experimenting with mowing only parts, Paul.

Diane, I love it when you can read old notes written in books.


message 46: by Pink (new)

Pink Paul, I suppose they employ the same tactics of cutting back rather than spraying here too. I've certainly never seen road verges being sprayed, but I wonder if it is different alongside railway lines etc.

I think we've come a long way in our knowledge of pesticides/ herbicides and for the most part I think they've eliminated the more aggressive chemicals from being used. Unfortunately it isn't possible to spray anything without there being some some of residue or build up, but it's certainly better than it used to be. Though we can all go and buy weed killer from any shop and happily spray away not really thinking of the harm it might be doing, even in a low level of preventing diversity in our garden habitats.

I've also been thinking about nature that I encounter in my locality. Some species seem a rare occurrence for me, when I'm sure they were abundant in my childhood, though I guess this is part of living in a built up area. For instance it's been years since I saw a hedgehog or even a caterpillar in my garden and there seem few and far between butterflies. I get a lot of birds, but mainly starlings, not that I want to attract more as I have 4 cats. I have been planting more flowers this year to attract butterflies and bees, but I'm not very green fingered so it's a miracle when they survive.


message 47: by Chrissie (last edited Jul 07, 2016 10:35PM) (new)

Chrissie In Belgium, sparrows have disappeared.

There is a whole chapter on birds which is spooky reading.


message 48: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Pink wrote: "Hehe, we're all so considerate trying to figure where to comment. So I'll comment here. I've only read the introductions and the first 2 chapters, but it feels incredibly relevant to today, I have ..."

I skipped the introduction (is yours by Linda Lear?) Do you think it is worth going back and reading it?

I finished Chapter 3 today -- I think that Carson does a good job of giving enough science but not too much.

Chrissie wrote: "On a personal level, I know I am certainly going to be more diligent in washing my vegetables and wearing protective gloves. My behavior has been very lax. I had reasoned a little dirt will only make you stronger, build up your resistance! I am not so sure about that anymore...."

lol -- I had that same reaction!! I have been munching on some cherries and started wondering what pesticides where on them. I also reasoned that a little dirt wouldn't hurt me but what I hadn't thought about was the other things that might be on the fruits and veggies I eat.


message 49: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments One thing I noticed was her discussion that much use of pesticides of any kind could be avoided if farmers weren't so focused on a single crop. This advice seems to be one that didn't get implemented (though I could well be mistaken as I know very little about farming!).

I am happy that some of the evils of DDT in the United States are now clearly past or on the way to becoming so, with a recovery of certain insects (for example, what I call fireflies) and birds such as peregrine falcons and pelicans that had been severely impacted. But with the recent scares with Zika virus and cases of encephalitus, I worry that local communities will begin to want blanket spraying again.


message 50: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7496 comments Mod
How sad that Carson didn't get to witness the effect of Silent Spring (having died of breast cancer before it took off). From the introduction in my copy, it sounds like this book was one of the major things that led JFK to create the EPA. How many people can have such a wonderful impact as that!! What an impressive woman! Also there were apparently very few women biologists at the time; so it says that at first in her career, she had to struggle to be taken seriously.


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