From New York Times opinion writer Margaret Renkl comes an unusual, captivating portrait of a family—and of the cycles of joy and grief that inscribe human lives within the natural world.
Growing up in Alabama, Renkl was a devoted reader, an explorer of riverbeds and red-dirt roads, and a fiercely loved daughter. Here, in brief essays, she traces a tender and honest portrait of her complicated parents—her exuberant, creative mother; her steady, supportive father—and of the bittersweet moments that accompany a child’s transition to caregiver.
And here, braided into the overall narrative, Renkl offers observations on the world surrounding her suburban Nashville home.
Fanny Bullock Workman was a complicated and restless woman who defied the rigid Victorian morals she found as restrictive as a corset. With her frizzy brown hair tucked under a helmet, Workman was a force on and off the mountain.
Instrumental in breaking the British stranglehold on Himalayan mountain climbing, this American woman climbed more peaks than any of her peers and became the first woman to map the far reaches of the Himalayas and the second to address the Royal Geographical Society of London, whose past members included Charles Darwin, Richard Francis Burton, and David Livingstone. Her books—replete with photographs,
In Eager, environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb reveals that our modern idea of what a healthy landscape looks like and how it functions is wrong, distorted by the fur trade that once trapped out millions of beavers from North America’s lakes and rivers. The consequences of losing beavers were profound: streams eroded, wetlands dried up, and species from salmon to swans lost vital habitat. Today, a growing coalition of “Beaver Believers”—including scientists, ranchers, and passionate citizens—recognizes that ecosystems with beavers are far healthier, for humans and non-humans alike, than those without them. From the Nevada deserts to the Scottish highlands,
The river that runs through the wilderness opens his heart: the mountains burn, friends die, and green shoots sprout from the ashes.
The Gila River and Wilderness are the heart and soul of A Song for the River. Every summer since 2002, Connors has been perched in a tower 50 feet above the Gila Wilderness, watching for fire. His first book, Fire Season (30,000 sold), recounted the deep lessons learned about mountains, wilderness, fire, and solitude. A Song for the River, its sequel, updates and deepens the story: the mountain he loves goes up in flames;
Stacey Haney’s family has lived in the towns of Amity and Prosperity for 150 years. Struggling to support her children, in 2008 she agreed to let frackers extract natural gas from deep beneath her tiny, eight-acre farm. The initial royalty checks covered her mortgage, but she felt anything but relief: her animals had started developing mysterious illnesses, and her children became chronically sick too. Patches of grass were dying. The air and water smelled foul. Yet the energy company insisted that nothing was wrong—until Stacey and her neighbors enlisted a shrewd, relentless husband-and-wife attorney team. The ensuing investigation revealed deep rifts in Stacey’s rural community,
“A tour de force” —Kirkus (starred review)
Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. After losing yet another job, he impulsively decides to move his family off the grid to Alaska, America’s last true frontier.
Thirteen-year-old Leni is coming of age caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship and hopes that a new land will lead to a better future. Her mother, Cora, will do anything for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown.