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I, Michael Gäbler, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
"One breath of juniper smoke, like the perfume of sagebrush after rain, evokes in magical catalysis, like certain music, the space and light and clarity and piercing strangeness of the American West.”
Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout by
Call Number: SW 634.9618 C7521f 2011
Publication Date: 2011-04-05
"Fire Season both evokes and honors the great hermit celebrants of nature, from Dillard to Kerouac to Thoreau--and I loved it." --J.R. Moehringer, author of The Tender Bar "[Connors's] adventures in radical solitude make for profoundly absorbing, restorative reading." --Walter Kirn, author of Up in the Air Phillip Connors is a major new voice in American nonfiction, and his remarkable debut, Fire Season, is destined to become a modern classic. An absorbing chronicle of the days and nights of one of the last fire lookouts in the American West, Fire Season is a marvel of a book, as rugged and soulful as Matthew Crawford's bestselling Shop Class as Soulcraft, and it immediately places Connors in the august company of Edward Abbey, Annie Dillard, Aldo Leopold, Barry Lopez, and others in the respected fraternity of hard-boiled nature writers.
Desert Cabal: A New Season in the Wilderness by
Call Number: SW 813.54 A124i 2018
Publication Date: 2018-11-06
"A grief-stricken, heart-hopeful, soul song to the American Desert." --PAM HOUSTON, author ofDeep Creek As Ed Abbey'sDesert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness turns fifty, its iconic author, who has inspired generations of rebel-rousing advocacy on behalf of the American West, is due for a tribute as well as a talking to. InDesert Cabal: A New Season in the Wilderness, Amy Irvine admires the man who influenced her life and work while challenging all that is dated--offensive, even--between the covers of Abbey's environmental classic. Irvine names and questions the "lone male" narrative--white and privileged as it is--that still has its boots planted firmly at the center of today's wilderness movement, even as she celebrates the lens through which Abbey taught so many to love the wild remains of the nation. From Abbey's quiet notion of solitude to Irvine's roaring cabal, the desert just got hotter, and its defenders more nuanced and numerous. AMY IRVINE is a sixth-generation Utahn and longtime public lands activist. Her work has been published inOrion,Pacific Standard,High Desert Journal,Climbing,Triquarterly, and other publications. Her memoir,Trespass: Living at the Edge of the Promised Land, received the Orion Book Award, the Ellen Meloy Desert Writers Award, and Colorado Book Award. Her essay "Spectral Light," which appeared inOrion andThe Best American Science and Nature Writing, was a finalist for the Pen Award in Journalism, and her recent essay, "Conflagrations: Motherhood, Madness and a Planet on Fire" appeared among the 2017 Best American Essays' list of Notables. Irvine teaches in the Mountainview Low-Residency MFA Program of Southern New Hampshire University--in the White Mountains of New England. She lives and writes off the grid in southwest Colorado, just spitting distance from her Utah homeland.
Of Rock and Rivers: Seeking a Sense of Place in the American West by
Call Number: SW 508.78 W8461 2009
Publication Date: 2009-06-08
This beautifully written and deeply personal collection of essays paints a progressive view of the American West as seen by a geologist. Ellen Wohl traces her twenty years of living and conducting research in the natural landscapes of the West as she investigates the conflict between environmental history and widely held romanticized views of the region. Wohl grew up in Ohio, subscribing to a common perception of the American West as an unchanged frontier. Moving to Arizona, she became enthralled with how the landscapes and ecosystems of the West have undergone change, both through geologic time and during the historical era of European settlement. These essays tell of her early training as a geomorphologist and provide a memorable account of her research in the rivers of the West. As the lessons accrue, Wohl gives us the benefit of her experience and shows how years of studying and living in the Colorado Rockies have enhanced her understanding of landscape change through time. Building on the literary tradition of Joseph Wood Krutch, Terry Tempest Williams, and John McPhee, Wohl provides an up-to-date portrait of the West and brings a new urgency to the call for conservation of the region's land, water, and resources.
Thinking Like a Watershed: Voices from the West by
Call Number: SW 304.2 T4438L 2012
Publication Date: 2012-10-15
Thinking Like a Watershed points our understanding of our relationship to the land in new directions. It is shaped by the bioregional visions of the great explorer John Wesley Powell, who articulated the notion that the arid American West should be seen as a mosaic of watersheds, and the pioneering ecologist Aldo Leopold, who put forward the concept of bringing conscience to bear within the realm of "the land ethic." Produced in conjunction with the documentary radio series entitled Watersheds as Commons, this book comprises essays and interviews from a diverse group of southwesterners including members of Tewa, Tohono O'odham, Hopi, Navajo, Hispano, and Anglo cultures. Their varied cultural perspectives are shaped by consciousness and resilience through having successfully endured the aridity and harshness of southwestern environments over time.
Seasons in the Desert: A Naturalist's Notebook by
Call Number: SW 578.754 T971
Publication Date: 1998-02-01
Esteemed nature writer Susan J. Tweit reveals the hidden life thriving in the deserts of the American Southwest. Her witty, factual, and heartfelt reflections combine with beautiful illustrations to illuminate the ways and mythologies of 40 eccentric plants and animals.
Mesquite: An Arboreal Love Affair by
Call Number: SW 583.633 N115 2018
Publication Date: 2018-09-14
Winner of a 2019 Southwest Book Award (BRLA) An homage to the useful and idiosyncratic mesquite tree In his latest book, Mesquite, Gary Paul Nabhan employs humor and contemplative reflection to convince readers that they have never really glimpsed the essence of what he calls "arboreality." As a Franciscan brother and ethnobotanist who has often mixed mirth with earth, laughter with landscape, food with frolic, Nabhan now takes on a large, many-branched question: What does it means to be a tree, or, accordingly, to be in a deep and intimate relationship with one? To answer this question, Nabhan does not disappear into a forest but exposes himself to some of the most austere hyper-arid terrain on the planet--the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts along the US/Mexico border--where even the most ancient perennial plants are not tall and thin, but stunted and squat. There, in desert regions that cover more than a third of our continent, mesquite trees have become the staff of life, not just for indigenous cultures, but for myriad creatures, many of which respond to these "nurse plants" in wildly intelligent and symbiotic ways. In this landscape, where Nabhan claims that nearly every surviving being either sticks, stinks, stings, or sings, he finds more lives thriving than you could ever shake a stick at. As he weaves his arid yarns, we suddenly realize that our normal view of the world has been turned on its head: where we once saw scarcity, there is abundance; where we once perceived severity, there is whimsy. Desert cultures that we once assumed lived in "food deserts" are secretly savoring a most delicious world. Drawing on his half-century of immersion in desert ethnobotany, ecology, linguistics, agroforestry, and eco-gastronomy, Nabhan opens up for us a hidden world that we had never glimpsed before. Along the way, he explores the sensuous reality surrounding this most useful and generous tree. Mesquite is a book that will delight mystics and foresters, naturalists and foodies. It combines cutting-edge science with a generous sprinkling of humor and folk wisdom, even including traditional recipes for cooking with mesquite.
Seasons: Desert Sketches by
Call Number: SW 917.92 M5284 2019
Publication Date: 2019-04-16
"Sharp as the needles on a pinyon pine, these essays will make you rethink your view of the American West. Meloy's wise and unexpected observations are a pure delight." --MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE The late writer and naturalist Ellen Meloy wrote and recorded a series of audio essays for KUER, NPR Utah in the 1990s. Every few months, she would travel to their Salt Lake City studios from her red rock home of Bluff to read an essay or two. With understated humor and sharp insight, Meloy would illuminate facets of human connection to nature and challenge listeners to examine the world anew.Seasons: Desert Sketches is a compilation of these essays, transcribed from their original cassette tape recordings. Whether Meloy is pondering geese in Desolation Canyon or people at the local post office, readers will delight in her signature wit and charm--and feel the pull of the desert she loves and defends. With a foreword by Annie Proulx. ELLEN MELOY was a native of the West and lived in California, Montana, and Utah. Her bookThe Anthropology of Turquoise (2002) was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and won the Utah Book Award and the Banff Mountain Book Festival Award in the adventure and travel category. She is also the author ofRaven's Exile: A Season on the Green River (1994),The Last Cheater's Waltz: Beauty and Violence in the Desert Southwest (2001), andEating Stone: Imagination and the Loss of the Wild (2005). Meloy spent most of her life in wild, remote places; at the time of her sudden death in November 2004 (three months after completingEating Stone), she and her husband were living in southern Utah.
Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness by
Call Number: SW 818.5403 A124d
When Desert Solitaire was first published in 1968, it became the focus of a nationwide cult. Rude and sensitive. Thought-provoking and mystical. Angry and loving. Both Abbey and this book are all of these and more. Here, the legendary author of The Monkey Wrench Gang, Abbey's Road and many other critically acclaimed books vividly captures the essence of his life during three seasons as a park ranger in southeastern Utah. This is a rare view of a quest to experience nature in its purest form -- the silence, the struggle, the overwhelming beauty. But this is also the gripping, anguished cry of a man of character who challenges the growing exploitation of the wilderness by oil and mining interests, as well as by the tourist industry.
Abbey's observations and challenges remain as relevant now as the day he wrote them. Today, Desert Solitaire asks if any of our incalculable natural treasures can be saved before the bulldozers strike again.