These essays, whose opening paragraphs give little clue to where the author is going, are dense, surprising pieces that...

From an essayist and poet whose forays into the natural world are also journeys into literature, linguistics, history, science and philosophy comes a collection of lyrical pieces.

Dodd (English/Kansas State Univ.; In the Mind's Eye: Essays across the Animate World, 2008, etc.) moves through landscapes equipped with a keen sense of time and place and a perceptive eye. In Chaco Canyon, N.M., which she visited at the winter solstice, she paid attention not just to the sky and to light and shadow, but also to the ruins and the petroglyphs, subjects that led naturally to the minds of the people who once lived there. She noticed the birds, the most minute plant life, the snakes and the mammals. During her visit to Chimney Rock Pueblo to witness a lunar standstill, her thoughts turned to the biochemistry of time, the ways in which human bodies keep track of the seasons. Although Dodd traveled widely in the American West, hiking and camping in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming and collecting pollen samples and counting bison at a Midwestern prairie research station, she also includes chronicles of her trips to the Orkneys and the Hebrides along the coast of Scotland. The megaliths she sees there inspire musings about the region’s medieval inhabitants, and a visit to the Yucatan Peninsula leads to an essay on the language and the numbering system of the Mayans. Throughout, Dodd entwines the details of her camping life—cold nights, hard beds, basic food—with her ruminations on culture, anthropology, geography, time and many other subjects.

These essays, whose opening paragraphs give little clue to where the author is going, are dense, surprising pieces that demand to be read and then reread with care.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8032-4078-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Univ. of Nebraska

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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