Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild, by Craig Childs

Title:

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The Animal Dialogues:
Uncommon Encounters in the Wild

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Author:
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Craig Childs

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(Author of House of Rain and The Secret Knowledge of Water.)
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Nonfiction book released as hardcover edition December, 2007.
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ISBN number:
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ISBN-10: 0-316-06632-x
ISBN-13: 978-0-316-06632-7
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Published by:
Little, Brown and Company
Hachette Book Group USA
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10169
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Price:
$24.99 US / $28.99 CAN
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"I have heard people tell me that at times they wish to get in touch with the animal spirit. I will tell you this about the animal spirit: it will tear you in two as quickly as it will bring you wholeness. It is not a thing of value or judgement. It is a thing of purity, and it will not take ussue with either death or ecstacy." -- Craig Childs

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In nature is truth -- and it pulls no punches for the unwary, the weak, or the outright stupid. Mr. Childs is clearly an experienced outdoorsman; this is becomes more obvious as one absorbs his spiritual yet practical essays of the wild.

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In this collection of essays (not in chronological order, but rather organized in nature's own forms), we are given songs of the wilderness, an earthy view of the animal spirit itself -- and that of a man who claims "all [my] relations" in his own way, in his own words. From the fiery sands of the desert to high mountain blizzard encounters, Mr. Childs takes us on a naturalist's tour of a world otherwise invisible to the majority of humanity. His feeling of kinship and joy in all of the aspects of nature, light and dark, are clear. Clear as a spring sunrise, just before a rain. His 'skies' are colorful and full of surprises.

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I opened this book thinking it would be yet another pitiful collection of backyard adventures dabbled in by some poor soul who thinks such a thing is the ultimate in contact with nature. Nothing could have been farther from the truth. This book was written by someone who is deep into the wild even when sitting on his own residence's front porch, yet has seen firsthand the haunts of mountain goats, grizzly, cougar, deer, who has seen the dance of life and death done in the sky itself by experts of flight in many colors and wing-styles. Mr. Childs gets his hands into nature long before he gets ink on them!

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If you like first-hand accounts of the wild and its denizens, dig deep into this book. It's a nice collection of tales. (In fact, it makes me wonder who Mr. Childs' agent is...ahem.)

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Special thanks to Hachette Book Group for the chance to review this collection of nature essays by Craig Childs. For information on other books offered or soon to be offered by HBGUSA, please visit their website.

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... Comments? Questions?

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-- The Fireside Reader

1 comment:

Pepa said...

Craig is definitely a man after your own heart. :)