The world's top authors and critics join host John Williams and editors at The New York Times Book Review to talk about the week's top books, what we're reading and what's going on in the literary world.
Manage episode 337985209 series 1324105
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Chris and Emily sit down for a good old fashioned book chat. There’s no interview this episode, just us. Emily is reading an advance copy of Elizabeth Strout’s forthcoming novel, LUCY BY THE SEA (9/20/2022), and Katherine May’s memoir, THE ELECTRICITY OF EVERY LIVING THING: ONE WOMAN’S WALK WITH ASPERGER’S. Chris is deep into MANSFIELD PARK by Jane Austen (#AustenInAugustRBR) and getting back into THE WARMTH OF OTHER SUNS by Isabel Wilkerson. We’ve read some good stuff since our last episode! THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (issue 4) by Sarah Gailey, THE WOMAN COULD FLY by Megan Giddings, A LOST LADY by Willa Cather (for the Mookse and The Gripes Podcast summer book club), THE MANY DAUGHTERS OF AFONG MAY by Jamie Ford, and NATURE’S BEST HOPE: A NEW APPROACH TO CONSERVATION THAT STARTS IN YOUR YARD by Douglas W. Tallamy. Emily headed north to Maine for a two-day event with Katherine May and Elissa Altman at The Barn Swallow Book Shop in Rockport. Chris braked hard for a historic marker in Newport, New Hampshire honoring editor, writer, and women’s rights advocate Sarah Josepha Buell Hale (1788-1879). She also attended an online event hosted by Bank Square Books/Savoy Bookshop & Cafe with Dr. Mark Haper, author of CHILL: THE COLD WATER CURE. We also had a Biblio Adventure together to see the movie adaptation of WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING. We gave it two thumbs/paws up! We love marshland and all the critters therein except mosquitos and flies which were noticeably absent from the movie. But as conservationist Douglas Tallamy explains, bugs are an integral part of our survival on earth so we will work on our attitudes towards insects. Tallamy writes in NATURE’S BEST HOPE: “As insane as our war against insects may seem, and as effective as it has been, I am nevertheless optimistic that we can form a new relationship with insects and treat them like the good fairies they are. Why am I willing to put a smiley face on this? Two reasons: First, our response to insects is, in part, an oversimplified, innate reaction to things that hurt or annoy us now and in our distant past. If bees sting and mosquitoes bite, it is easy to group all small flying things into one category we label enemy. But we now have knowledge on our side, and with that, we have the capacity to be a bit more discriminating. We can easily learn to distinguish the good from the bad, the helpful from the irritating. By numbers, nearly all insects are harmless and beneficial, and we can learn to appreciate rather than kill the insects that we rely on just as easily as we can learn that dogs, through genetically identical to wolves, can be our loving pets rather than our predators. I am also confident that we can form a new relationship with insects, because we have done it many times before with other creatures. Whales still swim in the sea because we have learned to value the earth’s largest species as majestic living beings instead of as mere providers of lamp oil. Wolfes hunt in Yellowstone again because we now know they are essential to the long-term persistence of the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. Puffins, auklets, and murres have returned to many Aleutian Islands because we have decided not to let the rats we introduced to those islands eat their brains as they sleep. Fish breed again in the ocean sea kelp beds off California because we now prefer that our sea otters keep sea urchins in check rather than become our fur coats. Egrets fly once more over the Everglades because we value their showy feathers more in flight than on ladies’ hats. And we are well on our way to forming a new relationship with bees, even though they sting, because we have finally realized we cannot exist without their pollination services. These and many more examples of how we have come to appreciate rather than destroy nature have convinced me that we can also learn to share the earth with the most essential of all creatures, the little insect fairies at our feet” (127-128). To see all of the books and events mentioned in this episode, check out the show notes at: https://www.bookcougars.com/blog-1/2022/episode162