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  1. 7.5 hrs • 6/21/2016 • Unabridged

    A passionate naturalist explores what it’s really like to be an animal―by living like them.How can we ever be sure that we really know the other? To test the limits of our ability to inhabit lives that are not our own, Charles Foster set out to know the ultimate other: the non-humans, the beasts. And to do that, he tried to be like them, choosing a badger, an otter, a fox, a deer, and a swift. He lived alongside badgers for weeks, sleeping in a sett in a Welsh hillside and eating earthworms, learning to sense the landscape through his nose rather than his eyes. He caught fish in his teeth while swimming like an otter; rooted through London garbage cans as an urban fox; was hunted by bloodhounds as a red deer, nearly dying in the snow. And he followed the swifts on their migration route over the Strait of Gibraltar, discovering himself to be strangely connected to the birds.A lyrical, intimate, and completely radical look at the life of animals―human and other―Being a Beast mingles neuroscience and psychology, nature writing and memoir to cross the boundaries separating the species. It is an extraordinary journey full of thrills and surprises, humor and joy. And, ultimately, it is an inquiry into the human experience in our world, carried out by exploring the full range of the life around us.

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    Being a Beast

    7.5 hrs • 6/21/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 8.0 hrs • 3/15/2016 • Unabridged

    From Pulitzer Prize–winning author Annie Dillard, in recognition of her long and lauded career as a master essayist, a landmark collection including her most beloved pieces and some rarely seen work, rigorously curated by the author herself “A writer who never seems tired, who has never plodded her way through a page or sentence, Dillard can only be enjoyed by a wide-awake reader,” warns Geoff Dyer in his introduction to this stellar collection. Carefully culled from her past work, The Abundance is quintessential Annie Dillard, delivered in her fierce and undeniably singular voice, filled with fascinating detail and metaphysical fact. The pieces within will exhilarate both admiring fans and a new generation of readers, having been “reframed and rehung,” with fresh editing and reordering by the author, to situate these now seminal works within her larger canon. The Abundance reminds us that Dillard’s brand of “novelized nonfiction” pioneered the form long before it came to be widely appreciated. Intense, vivid, and fearless, her work endows the true and seemingly ordinary aspects of life—a commuter chases snowball-throwing children through neighborhood streets, a teenager memorizes Rimbaud’s poetry—with beauty and irony, inviting readers onto sweeping landscapes, to join her in exploring the complexities of time and death, with a sense of humor: on one page, an eagle falls from the sky with a weasel attached to its throat; on another, a man walks into a bar. Reminding us of the indelible contributions of this formative figure in contemporary nonfiction, The Abundance exquisitely showcases Annie Dillard’s enigmatic, enduring genius, as Dillard herself wishes it to be marked.

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    The Abundance

    Foreword by Geoff Dyer
    8.0 hrs • 3/15/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 5.0 hrs • 6/16/2015 • Unabridged

    The predecessor to Helen Macdonald’s H Is for Hawk, T. H. White’s nature-writing classic, The Goshawk, asks the age-old question: What is it that binds human beings to other animals? White, author of The Once and Future King and Mistress Masham’s Repose, was a young writer who found himself rifling through old handbooks of falconry. A particular sentence—“the bird reverted to a feral state”—seized his imagination, and, White later wrote, “A longing came to my mind that I should be able to do this myself. The word ‘feral’ has a kind of magical potency which allied itself to two other words, ‘ferocious’ and ‘free.’” Immediately White wrote to Germany to acquire a young goshawk. Gos, as White named the bird, was ferocious and Gos was free, and White had no idea how to break him in beyond the ancient (and, as it happened, long superseded) practice of depriving him of sleep, which meant that he, White, also went without rest. Slowly man and bird entered a state of delirium and intoxication, of attraction and repulsion that looks very much like love. White kept a daybook describing his volatile relationship with Gos—at once a tale of obsession, a comedy of errors, and a hymn to the hawk. It was this that became The Goshawk, one of modern literature’s most memorable and surprising encounters with the wilderness—as it exists both within us and without.

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    The Goshawk by T. H. White

    The Goshawk

    5.0 hrs • 6/16/15 • Unabridged
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  4. 3 reviews 0 5 4.4 4 out of 5 stars 4.4/5 (3)
    11.1 hrs • 3/3/2015 • Unabridged

    When Helen Macdonald’s father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer captivated by hawks since childhood, she’d never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators: the goshawk. But in her grief, she saw that the goshawk’s fierce and feral anger mirrored her own. Resolving to purchase and raise the deadly creature as a means to cope with her loss, she adopted Mabel and turned to the guidance of The Once and Future King author T. H. White’s chronicle The Goshawk to begin her journey into Mabel’s world. Projecting herself “in the hawk’s wild mind to tame her” tested the limits of Macdonald’s humanity. By turns heartbreaking and hilarious, this book is an unflinching account of bereavement, a unique look at the magnetism of an extraordinary beast, and the story of an eccentric falconer and legendary writer. Weaving together obsession, madness, memory, myth, and history, H Is for Hawk is a distinctive, surprising blend of nature writing and memoir from a very gifted writer.

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    H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

    H Is for Hawk

    11.1 hrs • 3/3/15 • Unabridged
    3 reviews 0 5 4.4 4 out of 5 stars 4.4/5 (3)
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  5. 7.9 hrs • 4/8/2014 • Abridged

    An unforgettable spiritual journey through the Himalayas In 1973, Peter Matthiessen and field biologist George Schaller traveled high into the remote mountains of Nepal to study the Himalayan blue sheep and possibly glimpse the rare and beautiful snow leopard. Matthiessen, a student of Zen Buddhism, was also on a spiritual quest to find the Lama of Shey at the ancient shrine on Crystal Mountain. As the climb proceeds, Matthiessen charts his inner path as well as his outer one, with a deepening Buddhist understanding of reality, suffering, impermanence, and beauty.

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    The Snow Leopard

    Introduction by Pico Iyer
    7.9 hrs • 4/8/14 • Abridged
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  6. 12.4 hrs • 2/25/2014 • Unabridged

    An experiment. A declaration. A spiritual awakening.  Noted transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau spent two years, two months, and two days chronicling his near-isolation in a small cabin he built in the woods near Walden Pond, on land owned by his mentor and the father of transcendentalism, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Immersing himself in nature and solitude, Thoreau sought to develop a greater understanding of society amidst a life of self-reliance and simplicity. Originally published in 1854, Walden remains one of the most celebrated works in American literature. Also includes Thoreau’s essay, “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience.”

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  7. 0.5 hrs • 6/7/2013 • Unabridged

    Richard Jefferies remains one of the most thoughtful and most lyrical writers on the English countryside. Best known for his articles and stories published in the Live Stock Journal, he draws from a wealth of knowledge of the rural community into which he had been born. Here he examines the habitats of the Downs and the birds and animals that live there. Written in Jefferies’ highly descriptive style, the essay conveys a sense of wonder evoked by the natural world. Proceeds from sale of this title go to Reach Out and Read, an innovative literacy advocacy organization.

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  8. 11.5 hrs • 12/19/2011 • Unabridged

    When Desert Solitaire was first published in 1968, it became the focus of a nationwide cult. Rude and sensitive, thought-provoking and mystical, angry and loving—both Abbey and this book are all of these things and more. Here, the legendary author of The Monkey Wrench Gang, Abbey’s Road, and many other critically acclaimed books vividly captures the essence of his life during three seasons as a park ranger in southeastern Utah. This is a rare view of a quest to experience nature in its purest form—the silence, the struggle, the overwhelming beauty. But this is also the gripping, anguished cry of a man of character who challenges the growing exploitation of the wilderness by oil and mining interests, as well as by the tourist industry. Abbey’s observations and challenges remain as relevant now as the day he wrote them. Today, Desert Solitaire asks if any of our incalculable natural treasures can be saved before the bulldozers strike again.

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    Desert Solitaire

    11.5 hrs • 12/19/11 • Unabridged
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  9. 6.7 hrs • 7/12/2010 • Unabridged

    The special mystery and beauty of the sea is the setting for Rachel Carson’s memorable portrait of the sea birds and sea creatures that inhabit the eastern coasts of North America. In a sequence of riveting adventures along the shore, within the open sea, and down in the twilight depths, Rachel Carson introduces us to the winds and currents of the ocean as revealed in the lives of Scomber the mackerel and Anguilla the eel. Life for them is a continuous miracle, a series of life-and-death victories played out among strange and often terrifying life forms far below the surface of the sea. Under the Sea Wind is a classic wilderness adventure to which all nature writing is compared. The hero of Under the Sea Wind is soon seen to be life itself, that quicksilver prize granted, for a brief time only, to the clever and the fortunate.

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    Under the Sea Wind by Rachel L. Carson

    Under the Sea Wind

    6.7 hrs • 7/12/10 • Unabridged
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  10. 13.8 hrs • 6/11/2009 • Unabridged

    In the early spring of 1845, Henry David Thoreau built and lived in a cabin near the shore of Walden Pond in rural Massachusetts. For the next two years, he enacted his own Transcendentalist experiment, living a simple life based on self-reliance, individualism, and harmony with nature. The journal he kept at that time evolved into his masterwork, Walden, an eloquent expression of a uniquely American philosophy. During the same period, Thoreau endured a one-day imprisonment for his refusal to pay a poll tax, an act of protest against the government for supporting the Mexican War, to which he was morally opposed. In his essay “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience,” he defends the principles of such nonviolent protest, setting an example that has influenced such figures as Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., and that endures to this day. Henry David Thoreau is today considered one of the most influential figures in American thought and literature. 

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    Walden and On the Duty of Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau
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  11. 8.2 hrs • 4/20/2009 • Unabridged

    As the snow melts and the spring approaches, the animal kingdom awakens. In Summer World, Bernd Heinrich, the bestselling author of Winter World, brings us an up-close and personal view of that awakening and rebirth.  Almost all life on the surface of the earth derives its energy from the sun, either directly through photosynthesis or indirectly by consuming plants, making summer the time when nature is most active—feeding, fighting, mating, and nesting. From frogs, wasps, and caterpillars to hummingbirds and woodpeckers, Heinrich explores these animals’ adaptations for surviving and procreating during the short window of summer, and he delights in the seemingly infinite feats of animal inventiveness he discovers there.  Infused with his inexhaustible enchantment with nature, Summer World encourages a sense of wonder and discovery for the natural world and its busiest season.         

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    Summer World

    8.2 hrs • 4/20/09 • Unabridged
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  12. 10.2 hrs • 3/1/2009 • Unabridged

    In this classic of literary nonfiction, Annie Dillard takes us through a year of on-foot explorations through her own landscape, bringing anecdotes, curiosities, and insights about all she observes and experiences. In the summer, she stalks muskrats in the creek and thinks about wave mechanics; in the fall, she watches a monarch butterfly migration and dreams of Arctic caribou. She tries to con a coot, unties a snakeskin, witnesses a flood, and plays “King of the Meadow” with a field of grasshoppers. Throughout her wanderings, Annie Dillard’s keen observations, poetic sensibilities, introspective reflections, and reverence for her surroundings show us the world outside as we have never seen it before.

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    Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    10.2 hrs • 3/1/09 • Unabridged
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  13. 11.7 hrs • 5/19/2008 • Unabridged

    Walden is the classic account of two years spent by Henry David Thoreau living at Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts. The story is detailed in its accounts of Thoreau’s day-to-day activities, observations, and undertakings to survive out in the wilderness for two years. Thoreau’s journal is an exquisite account of a man seeking a more simple life by living in harmony with nature. In today’s fast-paced consumer-driven society, the austere lifestyle endorsed by Thoreau is as relevant and refreshing as ever.

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    Walden

    11.7 hrs • 5/19/08 • Unabridged
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  14. 0.6 hrs • 8/1/2007 • Unabridged

    “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in…If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life.”—Rachel Carson First published more than three decades ago, this award-winning classic brings Rachel Carson’s unique vision to a new generation of readers. The Sense of Wonder relates Carson’s intimate account of adventures with her young nephew, Roger, as they enjoy walks along the rocky coast of Maine and through dense forests and open fields, observing wildlife, strange plants, moonlight, and storm clouds and listening to the living music of insects in the underbrush. It is a refreshing antidote to indifference and a guide to capturing the simple power of discovery that Carson views as essential to life. The Sense of Wonder is a timeless volume that will be passed on from parent to child to grandchild, as treasured as the memory of an early morning walk when the song of a bird was heard as if for the first time.

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    The Sense of Wonder by Rachel L. Carson

    The Sense of Wonder

    0.6 hrs • 8/1/07 • Unabridged
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  15. 2.7 hrs • 3/1/2007 • Abridged

    Once again, the author uses his strong observations of nature to reflect on the links human beings have to the land. In traveling through the American Southwest and Alaska, Lopez finds new, once hidden, meanings in natural phenomenon—flocks of geese and Arctic fox tracks—and remnants of lost human cultures. The land and humans, he concludes, share a strong spiritual bond that echoes and impacts the universe's great rhyme of life.Elegantly told against a haunting and beautiful melodic backdrop, Crossing Open Ground propels us into a new posture—indeed a whole new relationship—with the world around us.

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    Crossing Open Ground

    2.7 hrs • 3/1/07 • Abridged
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  16. 2.8 hrs • 3/1/2007 • Abridged

    Field Notes completes Barry Lopez’s trilogy that includes Desert Notes and River Notes. In these fictional stories, Lopez’s characters must rediscover the wisdom and spiritual strength found in nature. Many of Lopez’s vignettes are mystical and magical—a reckless desert sojourner is saved by birds; a botanist is led back to his family by wildflowers; a hunter is given a trapping lesson by wolverines. Field Notes once again proves that Barry Lopez has a special talent for presenting the natural world as a responsive, emotional being and a sacred place—offering those attuned to its tempo the grace and hope needed to carry on.

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    Field Notes

    2.8 hrs • 3/1/07 • Abridged
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