The Sense of Wonder by Rachel Carson (1965)

The Sense of Wonder by Rachel Carson, best known for the environmental classic Silent Spring (1962) was published in 1965, a year after her death.

This widely praised book was intended to be enjoyed by children and parents together, was expanded from an essay Carson wrote in the 1950s. It’s designed to inspire families to explore and appreciate the wonders of nature together.

The book was originally embellished with black & white as well as color photographs by Charles Pratt, many of which were taken along the Maine coast, where Carson enjoyed spending summers. Read More→

The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson (1951)

The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson2

Rachel Carson’s long-term legacy rests on her environmental classic, Silent Spring (1962), so it’s surprising to learn that a decade earlier, she had another smash bestseller. The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson (1951) is a gracefully written, meticulously researched work of nonfiction making the case for the primacy of the oceans, a plea that has gone unheeded.

In 1948, she completed the first chapter of The Sea Around Us. Marie Rodell, a fledgling agent, took Carson on as her first client. Portions of the book were first published as a series of long articles for The New Yorker.

By July of 1951, the entire book had been published and made its appearance on The New York Times’ bestseller list, where it stayed for 86 weeks. It won the National Book Award, in January 1952. Read More→

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (1962): An Environmental Classic

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

Silent Spring (1962) is the most enduring work of nonfiction by Rachel Carson (1907–1964), the noted American marine biologist and groundbreaking environmentalist.

In this book, Carson made a passionate argument for protecting the environment from manmade pesticides. Written with grace as well as passion, it’s an indictment of the pesticide industry that arose in the late 1950s. It lays out a disturbing view of the damage these chemicals can cause to birds, bees, wildlife, and plant life. Read More→

“Oho, What Next?” Stella Benson’s Edit of Pull Devil, Pull Baker (1933)

In the third chapter of Pull Devil, Pull Baker, “Oho, What Next? …” Stella Benson questions her role in this book: “Sometimes, I wonder whether I am editing the Count de Savine or he me. What seems to me the extreme remoteness of his point of view makes me quite giddy.”

This excerpt is from Nicola Darwood’s Afterword to Pull Devil, Pull Baker, originally published in 1933 and reissued by Boiler House Press (2022). All quotations come from the latter edition. Reprinted by permission of the publisher. Read More→

Love, Resistance, & Hope: 25 quotes by bell hooks

All about love by bell hooks

The selection of quotes by bell hooks presented here are arranged by her favored themes of a new vision of love; the intersection of race, patriarchy, feminism, and capitalism, demonstrate how these elements determine lives and the hope that comes with resistance.

When the extraordinarily prolific and brilliant writer bell hooks passed away in December 2021, she left behind a tremendous gift for her countless readers: a legacy of thirty adult non-fiction works that will satisfy every reader of this deep thinker and cultural commentator.

While researching the life of bell hooks, I discovered the wisdom in her work that provides the potential to change every reader’s life and perspective. Read More→

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (1814) — Plot summary and analysis

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen2

Jane Austen by Sarah Fanny Malden (1889) offers a 19th-century view of Jane Austen’s works. The following analysis and plot summary of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (1814) focuses on her third published novel, and the one considered most controversial.

Mansfield Park is the story of Fanny Price, sent by her impoverished family to be raised in the household of a wealthy aunt and uncle. The story follows her into adulthood and is a commentary on class, family ties, marriage, and the status of women. Read More→

South Riding by Winifred Holtby (1936)

South Riding was the last published novel of Winifred Holtby (1898 – 1935), released the year after her untimely death at the age of thirty-six. It remains her best-known work and has been adapted several times for various media.

Winifred Holtby was an accomplished British author, journalist, and activist. According to this site’s biography of Holtby:

She also had a successful career in journalism and wrote the first critical study of Virginia Woolf in English. During her lifetime, her fame derived from her work for prominent newspapers and magazines, including the feminist publication Time and Tide. She wrote about democracy and social welfare, feminism and pacifism, education and responsibility, racism and injustice. Read More→

Elizabeth X, or The Secret of Elizabeth by Vera Caspary

Prolific American author Vera Caspary’s last published novel, Elizabeth X, was released first in the U.K. in 1978, the year before her autobiography, The Secrets of Grown-ups. It was reissued in the U.S. the following year as The Secret of Elizabeth.

This analysis of Elizabeth X, or The Secret of Elizabeth by Vera Caspary is excerpted from A Girl Named Vera Can Never Tell a Lie: The Fiction of Vera Caspary by Francis Booth ©2022. Reprinted by permission. Read More→