Spring clean: Five more books

This is the second group of books to be donated. I ‘ll miss some of them more than others, of course. I hope they all find happy homes. There is no theme. The books are arranged by alphabetic order on the shelf, so they’ll be going to donation in alphabetical order.

This is sort of my way of saying goodbye to all these books. I won’t be reading any of these again. It’s time to get rid of some of them.

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Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt is a children’s novel originally published in 1975. Ten-year-old protagonist Winifred (“Winnie”) Foster’s family lives outside the village of Treegap. Winnie runs away into the woods where she meets a man by a spring who at first tells her his age is 104, then tells her, no, he’s seventeen. She wants a drink from the spring. He prevents her and tells her how drinking from the spring made his family immortal.

Bio: Natalie Babbitt (1932-2016) was an author and illustrator of children’s books. Among the picture books she wrote and illustrated are Nellie: A Cat on Her Own (1989) Bub; or, The Very Best Thing (1994), and Elsie Times Eight (2001). She was originally from Dayton, Ohio, but spent much of her adult life in Connecticut, where she passed away.

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Slaves in the Family by Edward Ball is the result of the author’s search into his family history to discover his ancestors were large slaveholders and slave traders. Using estate records, he finds and interviews the descendants of those who were enslaved, among others, even traveling to Africa to interview the descendants of those who ran the slave trade there.

Bio: Edward Ball (b. 1958) is a native of Savannah, Georgia. He earned a B.A. from Brown University and an M.A. from the University of Iowa. In addition to Slaves in the Family, he’s written The Sweet Hell Inside (2001), The Genetic Strand (2007), and The Inventor and the Tycoon: A Gilded Age Murder and the Birth of Moving Pictures (2013).

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The Line Between: Stories by Peter S. Beagle (b. 1939) is a collection of short stories by this author of The Last Unicorn. The line between is, in the author’s words,“the invisible boundary between conscious and not, between reality and fantasy, between here (whatever ‘here’ is) and there (whatever ‘there’ might be)”

The stories are:

“Gordon, the Self-Made Cat”
“Two Hearts” (the sequel to The Last Unicorn)
Four Fables
“El Regalo”
“Salt Wine”
“Mr. Sigerson”
“A Dance for Emilia”

Bio: Peter S. Beagle is an American writer and screenwriter, particularly of fantasy. His best-known work is The Last Unicorn (1968). Other works include A Fine and Private Place (1960) and Lila the Werewolf (1974).

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Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: A Basic Guide to the Facts in the Evolution Debate by Tim M. Berra is a primer on the basics of what evolution is and a description of some creationist arguments against it. Since the latter change and the book was published in 1990, it may be dated in some respects, but it still is good in explaining the basics of evolution with a lot of pictures.

Bio: According to his profile at Ohio State University, where he is Professor Emeritus of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, Tim Berra (b. 1943) has written more than eighty-five scientific publications and nine books, including Evolution and the Myth of Creationism (1990), A Natural History of Australia (1998), Freshwater Fish Distribution (2007), Charles Darwin: The Concise Story of an Extraordinary Man (2009), Darwin & His Children: His Other Legacy (2013) and Bourbon: What the Educated Drinker Should Know (2019).

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The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2014 ed. Deborah Blum is a collection of some twenty-six science and nature articles written over the calendar year 2013 and pulled from periodicals as diverse as National Geographic, Audubon, and The Atlantic. The article authors include scientists like E.O. Wilson (“The Rebirth of Gorongos”), science writers like Robin Marantz Henig (“A Life-or-Death Situation”), and novelists Barbara Kingsolver (“Where it Begins”).

The writing is often beautiful, heartbreakingly so, as is Pippa Goldschmidts’ “What our Telescopes Couldn’t See.” Much of it deals with important issues, particularly climate change, but overall, the articles in the book are incredibly pessimistic. “We’ll all going to die!” they seem to be screaming.

Indeed, one is actually titled “Learning to Die in the Anthropocene.” In it, author Roy Scranton, an Iraq war veteran, draws on his war experience and the philosophy used then as well as from study. In addressing the current climate crisis, he writes:

The biggest problem we face is a philosophical one: understanding that this civilization is already dead. The soon we confront this problem, and the sooner we realize there’s nothing we can do to save ourselves, the sooner we can get down to the hard work of adapting with mortal humility to our new reality.

Yeah, cheery. And this is long before Covid.

Bio: Editor Deborah Blum (b. 1954) is a science journalist who grew up with an entomologist for a father and a freelance writer for a mother. Among the books she’s written are The Ghost Hunters (2006) and The Poisoner’s Handbook (2010).

Published by 9siduri

I have written book and movie reviews for the late and lamented sites Epinions and Examiner. I have book of reviews of speculative fiction from before 1900, and short works in publications such Mobius, Protea Poetry Journal, and, most recently, Wisconsin Review and Drunken Pen Writing. I'm busily working away on a book of reviews pulp science fiction stories from the 1930s-1960s. It's a lot of fun. I am the author of the short story "Always Coming Home," a chapbook of poetry titled "Sotto Voce," and a collection of reviews of pre-1900 speculative fiction, "By Firelight."

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