A lucidly informative tour of the natural world’s astonishing complexity, cheerfully conveyed.



A collection of short essays reflecting on the surprising majesty of the natural world that surrounds us.

Debut author Sura Jeselsohn routinely marvels at the hidden wonders of the natural environment, spectacles that can be enjoyed without the fuss of exotic travel. In a series of brief essays that originally appeared in the Riverdale Press in her regular column, “Green Scene,” the author recounts adventures big and small in encountering the ecological gems hiding in plain sight: “It always amazes me what you do not see when your eye is not sensitized.” Jeselsohn takes the reader on a guided tour of these barely concealed delights, many of which she finds around her home in Riverdale, New York: She goes beachcombing on Coney Island, searches for fossils in nearby streams, and explains how midtown Manhattan can be seen as a “geological opportunity.” She also makes grander excursions, too, to Israel, Uganda, London, and the Red Sea, among others. The book is organized thematically; for example, there are sections that collect essays on marine biology, plants, insects, and birds, and a few others. As the collection’s title suggests, she returns repeatedly to the notion of noticing and enjoying the natural beauty accessible to all with the patience to look for it—all that is “happening beneath the radar”: “I have always thought that I was reasonably aware of the natural world around me; yet as I am repeatedly reminded, a whole lot goes on out there, right under my nose, that I’m completely unaware of.” She vividly describes her often fascinating findings, like the “extraordinary structural complexity and surprising coloration” of flowers. Jeselsohn writes with great clarity and informal unpretentiousness; her expertise is undeniable, but she expresses it without a hint of professional arrogance. In fact, quite the contrary, she infectiously invites the reader to share the experiences she believes are open to all, given a heightened attentiveness. And while there is a more urgent lesson that lurks beneath her explorations—that nature is precious and we “ignore it at our peril”—this is not a work of activism but a quietly inviting paean to the infinite beauty of the Earth.

A lucidly informative tour of the natural world’s astonishing complexity, cheerfully conveyed. 

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946989-30-7

Page Count: 234

Publisher: Full Court Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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