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Month: December 2014

Historic Waterways

Historic Waterways by Reuben Gold Thwaites

Historic Waterways by Reuben Gold Thwaites

This volume is the record of six hundred miles of canoeing experiences on historic waterways in Wisconsin and Illinois during the summer of 1887. There has been no attempt at exaggeration, to color its homely incidents, or to picture charms where none exist. It is intended to be a simple, truthful narrative of what was seen and done upon a series of novel outings through the heart of the Northwest. If it may induce others to undertake similar excursions, and thus increase the little navy of healthy and self-satisfied canoeists, the object of the publication will have been attained.

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A Little Swiss Sojourn

A Little Swiss Sojourn by William Dean Howells

A Little Swiss Sojourn by William Dean Howells

A charming brief account of a two months’ autumnal stay on the shores of the Lake of Geneva. Howells, who was there with his family traveling from England to Italy, has a sharp eye not only for scenery and architecture, but for people and customs, both Swiss and foreign.

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My First Summer in the Sierra

My First Summer in the Sierra by John Muir

My First Summer in the Sierra by John Muir

The journal of nature-lover John Muir who spent the summer walking California’s Sierra Nevada range. From French Bar to Mono Lake and the Yosemite Valley, Muir was awestruck by everything he saw. The antics of the smallest “insect people” amazed him as much as stunted thousand-year old Juniper trees growing with inconceivable tenacity from tiny cracks in the stone. Muir spent the rest of his life working to preserve the high Sierra, believing that “the clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”

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The Mountains of California

The Mountains of California by John Muir

The Mountains of California by John Muir

John Muir was one of the first modern preservationists. His letters, essays, and books telling of his adventures in nature, and wildlife, especially in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, were read by millions and are still popular today. His direct activism helped to save the Yosemite Valley and other wilderness areas. The Sierra Club, which he founded, is now one of the most important conservation organizations in the United States. His writings and philosophy strongly influenced the formation of the modern environmental movement.

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Life in the Clearings versus the Bush

Life in the Clearings versus the Bush by Susanna Moodie

Life in the Clearings versus the Bush by Susanna Moodie

As a middle class Englishwoman Moodie did not particularly enjoy “the bush”, as she called it. She and her husband moved to Belleville in 1840, which she referred to as “the clearings”. Here she described urban life, including religion, art, and education, especially as compared to relative lack of these things in “the bush”. She studied the Family Compact and became sympathetic to the moderate reformers led by Robert Baldwin, while remaining critical of radical reformers such as William Lyon Mackenzie. This caused problems for her husband, who shared her views, but, as sheriff of Belleville, had to work with members and supporters of the Family Compact. (Summary from Wikipedia)

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Letters on Sweden, Norway, and Denmark

Letters on Sweden, Norway, and Denmark by Mary Wollstonecraft

Letters on Sweden, Norway, and Denmark by Mary Wollstonecraft

Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark is a personal travel narrative by the eighteenth-century British feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft. The twenty-five letters cover a wide range of topics, from sociological reflections on Scandinavia and its peoples to philosophical questions regarding identity. Published by Wollstonecraft’s career-long publisher, Joseph Johnson, it was the last work issued during her lifetime.

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