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NIGHT MAGIC

ADVENTURES AMONG GLOWWORMS, MOON GARDENS, AND OTHER MARVELS OF THE DARK

Henion writes with poetic grace, blending her journey of discovery with the natural wonders in our own backyards.

A lyrical, fascinating story about exploring the secret world of darkness and the remarkable creatures within it.

In today’s hectic, digitally focused world, writes Henion, we have become too used to an excess of illumination: the unblinking screen, the persistent streetlight, the overbright room. Furthermore, we have lost a sense of the presence of darkness and an understanding of what happens there. The author explored this idea in her 2016 book Phenomenal: A Hesitant Adventurer’s Search for Wonder in the Natural World, but in her latest, she dives deeply into a world that is unknown to most readers. She begins with fireflies, which are plentiful in the mountains of North Carolina, where she lives, as well as glowworms and night-traveling salamanders. She chronicles her travels through her area and further afield, encountering guides and naturalists who are studying nighttime creatures. The animals and birds that come out at night can be difficult to spot, but Henion finds that her eyes and spirit can slowly adapt to the darker, more natural world. She also describes the plants that bloom under the moonlight, often with strange structures and rich perfume to attract moths and insects. In a striking chapter, the author examines the luminous fungi known as foxfire, which has a beauty all its own. She recounts her experience of making fire from natural materials as evening gathered and how she felt connected to the long line of humanity. There is a sense of renewal throughout, and she realizes the importance of occasionally escaping from the world of unrelenting, artificial light: “It is only by the power of light and the grace of darkness that we’re able to rest and rise, then rest and rise again.”

Henion writes with poetic grace, blending her journey of discovery with the natural wonders in our own backyards.

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2024

ISBN: 9781643753362

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2024

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ELON MUSK

Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

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A warts-and-all portrait of the famed techno-entrepreneur—and the warts are nearly beyond counting.

To call Elon Musk (b. 1971) “mercurial” is to undervalue the term; to call him a genius is incorrect. Instead, Musk has a gift for leveraging the genius of others in order to make things work. When they don’t, writes eminent biographer Isaacson, it’s because the notoriously headstrong Musk is so sure of himself that he charges ahead against the advice of others: “He does not like to share power.” In this sharp-edged biography, the author likens Musk to an earlier biographical subject, Steve Jobs. Given Musk’s recent political turn, born of the me-first libertarianism of the very rich, however, Henry Ford also comes to mind. What emerges clearly is that Musk, who may or may not have Asperger’s syndrome (“Empathy did not come naturally”), has nurtured several obsessions for years, apart from a passion for the letter X as both a brand and personal name. He firmly believes that “all requirements should be treated as recommendations”; that it is his destiny to make humankind a multi-planetary civilization through innovations in space travel; that government is generally an impediment and that “the thought police are gaining power”; and that “a maniacal sense of urgency” should guide his businesses. That need for speed has led to undeniable successes in beating schedules and competitors, but it has also wrought disaster: One of the most telling anecdotes in the book concerns Musk’s “demon mode” order to relocate thousands of Twitter servers from Sacramento to Portland at breakneck speed, which trashed big parts of the system for months. To judge by Isaacson’s account, that may have been by design, for Musk’s idea of creative destruction seems to mean mostly chaos.

Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9781982181284

Page Count: 688

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023

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THE ELEPHANTS OF THULA THULA

A heartwarming and inspiring story for animal lovers.

The third volume in the Elephant Whisperer series.

In this follow-up to An Elephant in My Kitchen, Malby-Anthony continues her loving portrait of the Thula Thula wildlife reserve, which she co-founded in 1998 with her late husband, South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony, who published the first book in the series, The Elephant Whisperer, in 2009. Following his death in 2012, Malby-Anthony sought to honor his legacy by continuing his vision “to create a massive conservancy in Zululand, incorporating our land and other small farms and community land into one great big game park.” At the same time, the elephants gave her “a sense of purpose and direction.” In the Zulu language, thula means quiet, and though the author consistently seeks to provide that calm to her charges, peace and tranquility are not always easy to come by at Thula Thula. In this installment, Malby-Anthony discusses many of the challenges faced by her and her staff, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. These included an aggressive, 2-ton rhino named Thabo; the profound loss felt by all upon the death of their elephant matriarch, Frankie; difficulty obtaining permits and the related risk of having to relocate or cull some of their animals; the fear of looting and fire due to civil unrest in the region; and the ongoing and potentially deadly struggles with poachers. Throughout, the author also shares many warm, lighthearted moments, demonstrating the deep bond felt among the humans and animals at the reserve and the powerful effects of the kindness of strangers. “We are all working in unity for the greater good, for the betterment of Thula Thula and all our wildlife….We are humbled by the generosity and love, both from our guests and friends, and from strangers all around the world,” writes the author. “People’s open-hearted support kept us alive in the darkest times.”

A heartwarming and inspiring story for animal lovers.

Pub Date: April 25, 2023

ISBN: 9781250284259

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

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