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Letters From Eden: A Year at Home, in the…

Letters From Eden: A Year at Home, in the Woods

by Julie Zickefoose

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Zickefoose is a watercolorist who leads an enviable life in Southern Ohio. She's got 80 acres which she roams and sketches. She's a birder, so most of her anecdotes and paintings concern either birds or her young kids or both. She's a bit more anthropomorphic than I'm comfortable with, but a here crafts a solid set of interesting essays just the same. Zickefoose is a keen observer and a good writer as well. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
This is a wonderful collection of 33 essays by author Michael C. Hurley which covers several years of wilderness canoe journeys. Least the reader be misled, it should be noted that these are not your typical canoe adventure stories, filled with danger, excitement, hardship, et al that we seem to have a plethora of these days. The high adventure type of books is fine; goodness knows I read enough of them and have enjoyed most that I have read. Every so often though (not often enough I’m feeling), we need a work that combines the privilege we have of being able to venture out into still relatively untamed areas, with what most of us do it for; that being peace.

The author has actually given us a collection of essays on life, as he sees and has experienced it along with his reflections and lessons learned. This is a mellow book; a book where a writer, an author, a rather average sort of fellow has chosen to share his feeling and opinions over a wide range of subjects with us, the reader. His writing style is pleasing and intimate and it is obvious that the writer of this work is quite familiar with the pen. It is a pure and simple joy to read his words.

Mr. Hurley is obviously a man of faith, of strong faith who is quite dedicated to his family and his passion which is canoeing. All of the essays here are based and pinned on various canoe trips he has taken, either alone, with friend, or best of all, with family. Some of the author’s observations are quite serious, others general in nature and many quite light hearted. I love the ending of one of his essays which addresses his relationship to the cell phone. I could identify with this perfectly.

Of course a big draw for me as to the work is the passion the author shows for the natural world around him. Some of his observations are absolutely delightful, while others rather disturbing yet thought provoking. Most of these deal with what mankind is doing to his natural environment and the price we are paying and will ultimately pay. Now I am an avowed “tree hugger,” something that many of our politicians, talk show bellowers and religious freaks have somehow turned into a horrid thing to be, but that is okay. It is nice to know that we have voices of reason out there, this author being one of them.

For a relaxing and well written work, one that is nice to have handy to read off and on and now and again, this is a wonderful choice. I do recommend this one highly. ( )
  theancientreader | May 3, 2009 |
The drawings are worth the price of admission. The relaxing, informative essays a delight! ( )
  dianaleez | Feb 27, 2009 |
It will be difficult to adequately explain just how much I enjoyed this book. The artwork is amazing. Julie shares her sketches and field notes but also her finished paintings. Her writing is wonderful. She is able to manage a polished essay with a message that still feels as if you are getting a glimpse into her heart and soul. I have read Julie's blog for about 9 months now and even so I'm impressed with her writing ability. But more than anything, I'm impressed with the content. I can give no finer tribute to her writing and her message except to say that upon finishing her book in a marathon reading session in front of a warm fire on a cold, windy day with no power in the house, I got up cleaned my kitchen and made suet dough for the birds, cleaned the hummer feeders and refilled them, cleaned the tube feeder and refilled it. Julie is one of those people who urges us by her own example to strive for a little better in our own lives. Not a Martha Stewart intimidating kind of perfection but an "Oh, wouldn't it be nice to live in her world" kind of inspiration. A glorious read and one I know I'll come back to again and again. Thank you, Julie Zickefoose! ( )
  readingraven | Dec 28, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618573089, Hardcover)

A frequent commentator on NPR's All Things Considered, Julie Zickefoose has painted nature virtually all her life. At the age of seven she knew that she wanted to paint birds for a living, and her lifelong dedication shows in her paintings, which are meticulously accurate as well as beautiful. The paintings used here, of scenes from her beloved home in southern Ohio, illuminate well-crafted essays based on her daily walks and observations. Wild turkeys, coyotes, box turtles, and a bird-eating bullfrog flap, lope, and leap through her prose. She excels at describing and exploring interactions between people and animals, bringing her subjects to life in just a few lines. Her husband and young children make appearances, presenting their own challenges and pleasures. The essays are arranged by season, starting with winter, providing a sense of movement through the year.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:55 -0400)

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