Observation note 68: The best laid plans of mice and men. Today, I ended up returning three books to the library that I had borrowed twice, each time for a three month period (this is inclusive of two automatic renewals). I managed to read Vivian Gornick’s Unfinished Business (see Reading Notes 17-21), however I returned Gornick’s Fierce Attachments as well as Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust: A History of Walking without even starting them. I still have an overdue book – I am half way through Vivian Gornick’s The Odd Woman in the City and I am going to try to finish it tonight and return it tomorrow. Thankfully, my library system doesn’t have overdue fines and to allay any worry warts, if the book had been recalled for a reservation I would return it unfinished. However, it is overdue only because time has run out. It is just going to sit on the shelf until I feel a decent amount of time has passed and I can reborrow it. Though I am enjoying Vivian Gornick’s writing so much that I might even go out and buy a copy instead. As for Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust, I kept it on hold as I was trying to finish all three Gornick books before I started it. I had seen Solnit’s name pop up here and there over the years – from Twitter mentions to mansplaining stories to Goodreads listing as well as references in other books.
Reading Note 28: Nature. I have very little interest in going walking/trekking/rambling through the bush/countryside/forest/[insert here your environmental Nirvana]. I embrace my love for city walking and the urban environment. I’m of the opinion that for the environment to stay intact, we should keep far far far away from it. I don’t need to experience nature myself to value it and my endeavour to preserve it is by not setting foot int it. Treading lightly by not treading at all. That said, I do love reading about environmental adventures. Perhaps it is born out of my childhood reading of Johanna Spyri’s Heidi and L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. I happily read about other people’s travels through nature’s best which is what makes Kathryn Aalto’s collection of women in nature biographies so great. Kathryn Aalto includes Rebecca Solnit in her book Writing Wild: Women poets, ramblers, and mavericks who shape how we see the natural world. This is an excellent book of essays focusing on women who have written about nature over the past couple of centuries and their unique perspectives. 25 essays of about 6-8 pages focusing on each woman’s oeuvre was written in such an engaging way that I found myself going down rabbit holes to search online maps and animal and flower names, further researching each author, either finding the 19th century author’s work either on Project Gutenberg, the Poetry Foundation, or simply reserving library copies of the contemporary authors’ works (hello Rebecca Solnit!!!!). This book serves as a gateway to further explorations of the body of women scientists, novelists, conservationists, poets and more all writing about nature, the changes that have occurred over the centuries, the ecological impact of the industrial and modern ages, and the engagement with the urban and rural landscape. I just loved this book.Though I borrowed this book from the library, I will definitely be buying my own copy. It is a keeper.