Reece’s insightful, witty, and reflective essays offer up new ways of thinking about spirituality, culture, and the...

READ REVIEW

PRACTICE RESURRECTION

AND OTHER ESSAYS

Religion, ecology, literature, family, and ideas all commingle in this collection.

The shadow of the prolific writer Guy Davenport (1927-2005) quietly hovers over these sharp, incisive, and opinionated pieces by Reece (Writer in Residence/Univ. of Kentucky; Utopia Drive: A Road Trip Through America’s Most Radical Idea, 2016, etc.), who’s also Davenport’s literary executor. In form, some echo Davenport’s favorite “assemblages” or metafictive gatherings. “Nine Drafts of a Suicide Note” beautifully weaves together reflections on the Tate Gallery’s Rothko Room, with its nine massive canvases of “corpuscular hues of blood and wine,” Nietzsche, James Baldwin, and the suicide of Reece’s father. “Maxims and Errors” offers up bits of wisdom like: “Take the gods out of the sky. Put them back in the forest. Now we are getting somewhere.” Many channel the works of Thoreau, Whitman, and Wendell Berry. The longest piece is about Reece building a wooden boat and canoeing the Kentucky River for a week while daily reading a book he turns to frequently, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, a “fascinating,” “maddening” and “unclassifiable text.” “Instead of the Ten Commandments” takes on some calls for them being prominently posted in public spaces. Reece has an alternative: Whitman’s poem “Laws for Creations.” It’s “shorter” and it “never mentions the word not.” One essay about a birding adventure with Berry considers the “possibility that a broken world can be made whole” with imagination. A lovely piece on Davenport honors the “master artificer” whose “writing was a high wire act in every sense.” Reece calls him the “greatest prose stylist of his generation.” Here are the Wright brothers viewed in the light of the French poet Blaise Cendrars or talking lions joining forces with Wittgenstein and Jesus. Despite occasional repetitions, these are delightful and illuminating.

Reece’s insightful, witty, and reflective essays offer up new ways of thinking about spirituality, culture, and the environment.

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-61902-608-7

Page Count: 220

Publisher: Counterpoint

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

NO ONE IS TOO SMALL TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

A collection of articulate, forceful speeches made from September 2018 to September 2019 by the Swedish climate activist who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Speaking in such venues as the European and British Parliaments, the French National Assembly, the Austrian World Summit, and the U.N. General Assembly, Thunberg has always been refreshingly—and necessarily—blunt in her demands for action from world leaders who refuse to address climate change. With clarity and unbridled passion, she presents her message that climate change is an emergency that must be addressed immediately, and she fills her speeches with punchy sound bites delivered in her characteristic pull-no-punches style: “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.” In speech after speech, to persuade her listeners, she cites uncomfortable, even alarming statistics about global temperature rise and carbon dioxide emissions. Although this inevitably makes the text rather repetitive, the repetition itself has an impact, driving home her point so that no one can fail to understand its importance. Thunberg varies her style for different audiences. Sometimes it is the rousing “our house is on fire” approach; other times she speaks more quietly about herself and her hopes and her dreams. When addressing the U.S. Congress, she knowingly calls to mind the words and deeds of Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy. The last speech in the book ends on a note that is both challenging and upbeat: “We are the change and change is coming.” The edition published in Britain earlier this year contained 11 speeches; this updated edition has 16, all worth reading.

A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-14-313356-8

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2019

Did you like this book?

An authoritative, engaging study of plant life, accessible to younger readers as well as adults.

THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY OF PLANTS

A neurobiologist reveals the interconnectedness of the natural world through stories of plant migration.

In this slim but well-packed book, Mancuso (Plant Science/Univ. of Florence; The Revolutionary Genius of Plants: A New Understanding of Plant Intelligence and Behavior, 2018, etc.) presents an illuminating and surprisingly lively study of plant life. He smoothly balances expansive historical exploration with recent scientific research through stories of how various plant species are capable of migrating to locations throughout the world by means of air, water, and even via animals. They often continue to thrive in spite of dire obstacles and environments. One example is the response of plants following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Three decades later, the abandoned “Exclusion Zone” is now entirely covered by an enormous assortment of thriving plants. Mancuso also tracks the journeys of several species that might be regarded as invasive. “Why…do we insist on labeling as ‘invasive’ all those plants that, with great success, have managed to occupy new territories?” asks the author. “On a closer look, the invasive plants of today are the native flora of the future, just as the invasive species of the past are a fundamental part of our ecosystem today.” Throughout, Mancuso persuasively articulates why an understanding and appreciation of how nature is interconnected is vital to the future of our planet. “In nature everything is connected,” he writes. “This simple law that humans don’t seem to understand has a corollary: the extinction of a species, besides being a calamity in and of itself, has unforeseeable consequences for the system to which the species belongs.” The book is not without flaws. The loosely imagined watercolor renderings are vague and fail to effectively complement Mancuso’s richly descriptive prose or satisfy readers’ curiosity. Even without actual photos and maps, it would have been beneficial to readers to include more finely detailed plant and map renderings.

An authoritative, engaging study of plant life, accessible to younger readers as well as adults.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63542-991-6

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Other Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more