Friday, November 26, 2010

What is Jay Kirk reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Jay Kirk, author of Kingdom Under Glass: A Tale of Obsession, Adventure, and One Man's Quest to Preserve the World's Great Animals.

His entry begins:
Ideally I would have some kind of machine that decides what I read each night. Like a vending machine where I put in a coin, and a book comes out, and I can’t put in another slug for another book. Such a machine might make me a more committed reader. Instead, what often happens is, I’ll read ten pages of something, dislike it, and then read three more things, dislike that too, or just not get into the groove, and then I have to go search my bookshelves, which I’ve been doing for fifteen years or so now. It’s a really bad habit. It’s not like this always happens to me though. I’ll go for months happily reading, loving everything I pick up, gaining momentum. But then I find myself back in this purgatory of indecision, caught between a history, a novel, or a how-to. Sometimes, on especially bad nights, I’ll just read the dictionary. It drives my wife, a librarian, crazy. However, lately, I did re-subscribe to the New York Times, to the paper version that actually arrives at my door, and in a way this has temporarily solved the problem. I also recently began reading War and Peace on...[read on]
Among the early praise for Kingdom Under Glass:
"One might say that an author who stumbles across the story of a man who wrestles a leopard to death, stuffs the first Jumbo for Barnum & Bailey, and perfects the art of mounting dead gorillas really can't go wrong. But Jay Kirk has created such a boisterously good-natured account of the life of the great taxidermist and conservationist Carl Akeley that a tale already well-nigh-incredible becomes in his hands just wonderfully sensational. This is a true gem of a book, well worthy of its extraordinary subject."
—Simon Winchester, author of The Professor and the Madman and Atlantic: a Biography of the Ocean

"A beguiling, novelistic portrait of a man and an era straining to hear the call of the wild."
Publishers Weekly

"A genuinely rip-roaring read!"

"Kirk skillfully illuminates an era that saw ‘a dawning of sensitivity to the plight of wildlife’... The author shines in his reanimation of Africa’s inherent dangers as Akeley risked his life on safari battling ravenous leopards, charging elephants, five-hour hikes without rations and debilitating fevers—including the one that would take his life in 1926. The feral escapades of a creative wunderkind stitched together with novelistic zeal."
Kirkus Reviews
Read an excerpt from Kingdom Under Glass, and learn more about the book and author at Jay Kirk's website.

The Page 99 Test: Kingdom Under Glass.

Writers Read: Jay Kirk.

--Marshal Zeringue