Finding a Place for Monstrous Nature in the Environmental Movement

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Joe Heumann & Robin Murray

Even though we grew up in different regions we have always loved the natural world, hiking and camping with scouts and climbing neighbors’ trees as children. But the books we read promoted respect for animals more than a broader vision of the environment. We both fell in love with monkeys after reading Toby Tyler, or Ten Weeks with the Circus, horses after reading The Black Stallion and wild animals after discovering Wild Animals of North America. But as researchers, two books stood out as guides for real interdependent relationships with nonhuman nature: Ellen Swallow Richards’ Sanitation in Daily Life (1907) and Aldo Leopold’s Sand County Almanac, and Sketches Here and There (1949). Continue Reading ›

Bookshop of the Month: March

In the beginning, Clarke’s Bookshop, Cape Town, started out with a shelf of new books on South Africa or published in South Africa – now that’s the main focus. Spread over two storeys are new books either published in South Africa, written by South Africans or about South Africa, as well as a second hand mix of general stuff – not just about South Africa.

Find out more about our bookshop of the month for March 

Bookshop of the Month: February

The 1853 Gallery at Salts Mill opened in 1987 just over a year after the textile mill closed and started selling an ever-expanding range of books from 1988. It was renovated by a handful of people including the owner Jonathan Silver, scouring the walls, repainting, restoring and filling it with beautiful furniture, Burmantoftsceramics and, of course, David Hockney’s pictures.

Salts Mill is an intriguing blend of both gallery and retail space; we play beautiful music down there, and keep the space full of vases of lilies. I’m not sure there is anywhere else that carries this off as well as we do. It’s a wonderful building to work in with, I think, the best views of any bookshop in the world, out on to the Moors. It’s hard on your shoes though, with all the stairs and stone floors, basically we work in a castle! Check out February’s bookshop of the month, Salts Mill, Saltaire.

“I can’t believe I’m on this road again”

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Jennifer Murray

Two works of fiction have had a strong and lasting effect on me: Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing, and Alice Munro’s Lives of Girls and Women. While many other books have given me pleasure, intrigued me, provoked my admiration, these two resonated in me in a way that is personal, but at the place where the personal takes you outside yourself and connects you to the world. Continue Reading ›

How Can We Write about the Experience of Violence?

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Rita Kesselring

In my childhood, books had always been the stuff that you spend your weekends with, your holidays and the hours after homework. They came from the public library, where I hoped not to be asked embarrassing questions when I showed up at the loan desk a second time in a day (one load was limited to four books). Books had always been friendly company. They would speak to you, but not speak back to you. They opened up worlds and thoughts, but never appeared assertive or dominating. Continue Reading ›

Lessons from a Rabbit, a Cat and an Otter

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Margaret Somerville

Three books that nurtured my respect for and love of animals and Nature

I still have the first book I ever owned: The Wonderful Tar Baby, adapted from the original Uncle Remus Story by Joel Chandler Harris. My father gave it to me on my sixth birthday. I had just started school and was learning to read. I’d follow the words and startling illustrations, as Dad read it to me. Continue Reading ›