Monday, August 22, 2011

Five best dispatches from the natural world

Brad Leithauser was born in Detroit and graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He is a poet and novelist. Among his many awards and honors are a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and, in 2005, the induction by the president of Iceland into the Order of the Falcon for his writings about Nordic literature. He is a professor in the writing seminars at Johns Hopkins University.

For the Wall Street Journal, he named a five best list of nature books, including:
Deadly Kingdom
by Gordon Grice (2010)

In 'Deadly Kingdom,' Gordon Grice eagerly seeks encounters that most of us would gladly avoid. ("I once spent fifteen minutes handling a parson spider in an effort to get bitten.") The book is good when describing creatures that are patently murderous—sharks, crocodiles, bears—but even better when recounting the hazards of those regarded as cuddly and benign. Grice gives us bunnies that have taken off fingertips, swans that with a blow of their beak have killed children. The author clearly adores the fearsome creatures he corrals here, even if they might make Thoreau reconsider his observation that the natural world is filled with "an infinite and unaccountable friendliness."
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue