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The Anthropology of Turquoise: Reflections…
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The Anthropology of Turquoise: Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone, and Sky

by Ellen Meloy

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Did not finish. I really, really wanted to love this one. Turquoise is my color, it's my birthstone. Half my wardrobe, sandals and nail polishes are Turquoise. It needles its way more and more into my decorating accents in my house. I love it. But I did not love the book. More then a hundred pages in and we have barely any mention of the color or the stone. I was so tired of reading about the author's childhood, all the pools she had swam in, the porn she found in her hotel room and her love for the California of years gone by. I just could not go on.
  VictoriaPL | Aug 1, 2016 |
This is a book to be read slowly and savored. When you love the Southwest and cannot be there, read this book and she will take you. ( )
  ginger.hewitt | Jan 20, 2015 |
Lyrical, dense, rewarding of a slow read. These essays use a rich and self-consciously literary voice - not what I expected of a book set primarily in the severe desert southwest (of the US), with excursions to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico and the islands of Barbados. Meloy writes with lush and devout love for her chosen place, and a clear-eyed awareness of the ways we have used the environment and one another unsustainably. Yet, she also writes with a lighter touch than some of the region's better known writers - Edward Abbey, Terry Tempest Williams. Meloy invokes a rainbow of precisely identified colors. If you can summon colors to the mind's eye by name, the book dances with them.

Some of the essays are especially poignant - for example, 'The Silk That Hurls Us Down Its Spine', describing a life-threatening circumstance during a solo trip down the Colorado River - when you know that Meloy died, relatively young and unexpectedly, just two years after this book was published. It's impossible to read these deeply personal essays without feeling that loss, but I'm grateful for images and insights she shares here. ( )
  bezoar44 | Apr 6, 2014 |
A lovely, to be savored read about how color (naturally she focuses on turquoise) and light affect culture. She has a wonderful way with words and I enjoyed the memoir-essay-musing feel of this natural history book. I experienced many emotions while reading this and isn't that a good enough reason to read anything?? ( )
  jlparent | Apr 6, 2011 |
I love writers who can write eloquently of place. Think Barry Lopez or John McPhee. Ellen Meloy can be put in the same category, with the added bonus of living and writing about the desert southwest United States that I grew up in and know a little about. Her turns of phase, her thinking about ordinary things in extraordinary ways, her love of language and the land around her, make her an absolute delight to read and savor. This is one of those books that earn a place on a special shelf next to my bed, where it can be read over and over again. ( )
  co_coyote | Jun 4, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375708138, Paperback)

In this invigorating mix of natural history and adventure, artist-naturalist Ellen Meloy uses turquoise—the color and the gem—to probe deeper into our profound human attachment to landscape.

From the Sierra Nevada, the Mojave Desert, the Yucatan Peninsula, and the Bahamas to her home ground on the high plateaus and deep canyons of the Southwest, we journey with Meloy through vistas of both great beauty and great desecration. Her keen vision makes us look anew at ancestral mountains, turquoise seas, and even motel swimming pools. She introduces us to Navajo “velvet grandmothers” whose attire and aesthetics absorb the vivid palette of their homeland, as well as to Persians who consider turquoise the life-saving equivalent of a bullet-proof vest. Throughout, Meloy invites us to appreciate along with her the endless surprises in all of life and celebrates the seduction to be found in our visual surroundings.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:51 -0400)

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