Jomon Reflections


A review by Anita Sullivan from Writing Nature 2010:

Jomon Reflections: Forager Life and Culture in the Prehistoric Japanese Archipelago by Tatsuo Kobayashi

It might be hard to justify as a “must read,” a book on prehistoric Japanese society, even one that lasted over 10,000 years. But I would put this book into that rare class of writings in which the author is able to recognize important patterns within a specialized scientific field, to articulate these patterns clearly, and to connect them to much larger, vital human concerns. What Kobayashi has done is to document the development of the symbolic and artistic mind, as evidenced in the oldest pottery tradition in the world. We can observe humans developing their “practical art” over thousands of years in the relative absence of the huge environmental and social disruptions that have shaped and often distorted daily life in so many other societies. Besides which, the pots themselves are achingly gorgeous.

Thanks to Anita Sullivan for highlighting a book we otherwise would have missed. Anita is definitely on to something with this recommendation. Coincidentally (?), two of the Land Library’s recent acquisitions share common themes with Jomon Reflections:

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Just Enough: Lessons in Living Green from Traditional Japan by Azby Brown, A Different Kind of Luxury: Japanese Lessons in Simple Living and Inner Abundance by Andy Couturier

For more book recommendations (plus a whole lot more) take a look at Writing Nature 2010!

The Blue Plateau

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A review by Carolyn Servid, from
Writing Nature 2010

The Blue Plateau: An Australian Pastoral by Mark Tredinnick

This book is an exquisitely crafted tapestry of an extraordinary landscape and a few dozen characters who are shaped by it. The Australian edition’s subtitle, A Landscape Memoir, is more telling. Mark Tredinnick has evocatively captured a place, its geological history, and its profound role in human lives rooted in it. Australia’s Blue Plateau was Tredinnick’s home at a significant time in his life. The place itself commands his respect and love, and both of those deepen as he comes to know the plateau, its steep valleys and its sometimes-trickling-sometimes-raging rivers through the eyes and lives and stories of the book’s cast of characters: generations of long-time settlers who wear the landscape like their own clothes; others learning and making their way; still others lost to the country’s wildness. Most striking is Tredinnick’s lyrical prose — not only his painterly descriptions and his telling of stories, but his refections on the language of landscape, how it can shape our hearts, our very being.

Thanks to Carolyn Servid for steering us to a beautifully written study of landscape from down under. The Land Library can also recommend these well-crafted works by Mark Tredinnick:

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The Land’s Wild Music: Encounters with Barry Lopez, Peter Matthiessen, Terry Tempest Williams, and James Galvin, A Place on Earth: An Anthology of Nature Writing from North America and Australia, plus Writing Well: The Essential Guide (not pictured).

For more book recommendations (plus a whole lot more), take a look at Writing Nature 2010!

Writing Nature 2010

Writing Nature 2010 has just been published on line. This 36-page collection of art, essays, poetry, book reviews & recommendations is produced annually by members of the Glenbrook, Crestone, Blue River, and Rocky Mountain Land Library communities — a loose coalition of artists, writers, naturalists, and lovers of the land.

Founded in 1991, Writing Nature was for many years guided and edited by J. Parker Huber. This year’s edition was expertly edited by Kathleen Dean Moore and Charles Goodrich of the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature & the Written Word at Oregon State University. And many thanks to Sherrie York for providing a wonderful cover for Writing Nature 2010. We hope you enjoy it!

Please click on the Writing Nature 2010 link, and to view last year’s edition, you can click on Writing Nature 2009.

Feel free to spread these issues of Writing Nature far and wide!

Notes of an Abject Reptile

from Writing Nature 2009

Having read this slender book once, I am already anxious to read it again, and I doubt that will be the end of it. If you haven’t already, take a chance on Verlyn Klinkenborg’s Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile. Klinkenborg’s novel is told through the words of a real life tortoise, made famous in Gilbert White’s The Natural History of Selbourne (1789). Among many unexpected revelations, you’ll learn about Gilbert White’s admirable and quirky ways, along with Timothy’s low, slow, and ultimately wise existence. You will also come away with a profound admiration for the audacity and vision of White’s classic work of natural history. Verlyn Klinkenborg’s prose is pitch perfect, warm, sensual, ironic, funny — and if truly funny, then tragic too.

for a rich collection of art, nature journals, poems, essays, and book reviews, please browse through the pages of Writing Nature 2009. The 2010 edition will be coming soon!