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World of Wonders por Aimee Nezhukumatathil
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World of Wonders (2020)

por Aimee Nezhukumatathil

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
207499,400 (3.96)12
Título:World of Wonders
Autores:Aimee Nezhukumatathil
Colecções:Lista de desejos
Etiquetas:Nature, Essays

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World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments por Aimee Nezhukumatathil (2020)

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Seventeen of Aimee Nezhukumatathil's twenty-two students had never seen-- or even heard of-- fireflies. Instead of exploring the world around them, they spend their free time indoors in front of the screens of televisions, computers, and phones. This series of essays tells of Aimee's love of the natural world, how it has sustained her and inspired her throughout the years.

The author has lived in a variety of places in the United States: on the grounds of a mental institution in Kansas, in the mountains of Arizona, and in the colder climes of Ohio and western New York. Daughter of a Filipino mother and an Indian father, Aimee and her sister often lived in areas where there were extremely few people of color, and people could be hurtful. Many are the times that something in the natural world, be it a tree, an insect, or any other living thing sustained Aimee and helped her cope.

Having explored the natural world and become acquainted with its balm and solace, I enjoyed this series of essays, in particular one entitled "Questions While Searching for Birds with My Two Half-White Sons, Aged Six and Nine, National Audubon Bird Count Day, Oxford, MS." While simple in form, this essay was so vivid that I could easily picture it and enjoy all it had to say.

If you would like to spend an afternoon in the natural world learning about some of its wonders and becoming acquainted with a very talented writer, pick up a copy of World of Wonders. Afterward, go outside to appreciate the flowers, the sky, and the birdsong. ( )
  cathyskye | Apr 19, 2021 |
A memoir formed by a series of essays, each taking a (beautifully illustrated) animal or other manifestation of nature as metaphor for some aspect of her life: the love of her Indian/Filipina family; the racist and misogynist society around them; forming her own family and career; concern about humanity's effect on the environment and on itself. ( )
  zeborah | Apr 4, 2021 |
Summary: A combination of memoir and nature writing describing the variety of living creatures encountered by the author in the different places where she lived and her own lived experience in these places.

Great nature writing enables the reader to envision at least in the mind’s eye, the landscape the writer is describing with fresh and wondrous eyes. Such writing is very simply, great writing. There is also something of the writer in the narrative, whether we think of Aldo Leopold, Wendell Berry, or Henry David Thoreau. This work has all these elements. Little wonder it has won numerous awards including Barnes and Noble’s 2020 Book of the Year.

Aimee Nezhukumatathil has lived in a number of places growing up and in her adult life, from the grounds of a mental institution in Kansas where her mother worked to the lake effect winters of upstate New York to the lush landscape of northern Mississippi. She caught my attention from the opening words:

“A catalpa can give two brown girls in western Kansas a green umbrella from the sun. Don’t get too dark, too dark, our mother would remind us as we ambled out into the relentless mid-western light”


From these opening words, we discover that this book is both about the wonders of the natural world like a catalpa’s big leaves or long seed pods, but also the experience of growing up a brown-skinned Filipina in many white-skinned contexts. Yet this comes through with a strong sense of her own uniqueness, her own wonder amid the wonders she sees in the natural world.

She goes on to write of both common and uncommon creatures. She evoked my own memories of catching and releasing fireflies, which sadly, because of pesticides, seem to be declining.

“I know I will search for fireflies all the rest of my days, even though they dwindle a little bit more each. I can’t help it. They blink on and off, a lime glow to the summer night air, as if to say: I am still here, you are still here, I am still here, you are still here, I am, you are, over and over again. Perhaps I can will it to be true. Perhaps I can keep those summer nights with my family inside an empty jam jar, with holes poked in the lid, a twig, and a few strands of grass tucked inside. And for those nights in the future, when I know I’ll miss my mother the most, I will let that jar’s sweet glow serve as a night-light to cool and cut the air for me.”


I am searching, at least in memory with her.

In subsequent chapters, she writes of peacocks, comb jellies, narwhals, the curious looking axolotl, the putrid smelling but impressive corpse flower, dragon fruit, flamingoes, doing a bird census with her children, and the Southern Cassowary, one of the only birds who can kill a human being with a swipe of its knife-like talon.

She describes being the new girl in high school in Beavercreek, Ohio, a toney suburb of Dayton. She wished she were like the vampire squid, who ejects a mucous luminescent cloud to evade pursuers. Thankfully, things got much better for her!

What is most surprising is that this woman teaches creative writing but spent one sabbatical studying whale sharks, allowing one to swim just beneath her stomach. She offers both biologically accurate descriptions of the various species of which she writes and her own sense of wonder in her encounters, and the life situations they recall.

All this made me want to pay closer attention to the things I see on my walks, whether bird calls, the bark of trees, the flow of sap in my maples, the skunks that occasionally visit my suburban neighborhood (but not too close), the squirrels racing up and down our lindens, and the fireflies that light up when we sit out on a summer evening. I think this would gladden the author, who laments that 17 of her 21 students had never seen a firefly, not because they are extinct, but because they were indoors on their videogames. She makes me wonder how we will care enough to act to preserve the creation when we do not attend to its wonders enough to not want to lose them. ( )
  BobonBooks | Mar 24, 2021 |
From its gorgeous cover, to the wonderful excerpts within, this book was a delight. What a unique way to tell parts of one's life while enlightening the reader to so many unique parts of nature. The dancing frog, I can just imagine this tiny frog dancing on a rock to attract a mate, to the hardy cactus wren, the largest wren at seven inches. Cara cara oranges, with pink insides, the giving of citrus a token of love. Glass jangling bracelets and the cute axolotl. The magic of fireflies and butterflies. The stinky, unusual corpse flower. Nature in all it's glory and uniqueness.

Each tied to a part of the authors life, memories entwined with nature and the things she sees, admires. Her family moved alot, starting over as a child she read much, noticed much. Nature became her friend, a constant, in all parts of our country and other countries as well. Short chapters each illuminating a particular subject with ties to herself. I loved when she said that she learned to be still by watching birds. To find the tranquility and tenderness in your quietness.

This last year of Covid seclusion, my trips to my river have provided me with a keen sense of just how much nature can give back. We really need to notice, take care of and cherish it more than we do. ( )
  Beamis12 | Mar 14, 2021 |
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Aimee Nezhukumatathilautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculated
Nakamura, Fumi MiniIlustradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Informação do Conhecimento Comum em russo. Edite para a localizar na sua língua.
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The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. —Rabindranath Tagore
The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.--Rabindranath Tagore
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For my parents—Paz and Matthew, my first wonders
For my parents -
Paz and Mathew, my first onders
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A catalpa can give two brown girls in western Kansas a green umbrella from the sun.
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