Saturday, December 13, 2008

Our morning with Joel!

Joel Greenberg, author and raconteur, joined us at Thursday’s gathering of Leafing Through the Pages, the book discussion group of the Sterling Morton Library. The group had selected his recently published Of prairie, woods, & water : two centuries of Chicago nature writing for our final discussion of the year. Happily, Joel agreed to join us and share his unique insight/stories/color about nature writing and nature writers of our region.

The Sterling Morton Library has an extensive collection of works by and about many of these writers including May T. Watts, Donald Culross Peattie, Henry Chandler Cowles, Edwin Way Teale, Jens Jensen, and a host of others! This is a sampling of some of the works on display during our discussion:

  • Angle, Paul M. Prairie State: impressions of Illinois, 1673-1967, 1968.
  • Bailey, Eli Stillman. The sand dunes of Indiana : the story of an American wonderland told by camera and pen, 1924, c1917.
  • Cowles, Henry Chandler. A spring flora for high schools, 1915.
  • Grese, Robert E. Jens Jensen : maker of natural parks and gardens, 1992.
  • Long, Judith Reick. Gene Stratton-Porter : novelist and naturalist, 1990.
  • Pepoon, Herman Silas. An annotated flora of the Chicago area : with maps and many illustrations from photographs of topographic and plant features, 1927.
  • Quaife, Milo Milton. Checagou : from Indian wigwam to modern city, 1673-1835, 1933.
  • Swink, Floyd and Gerould Wilhelm. Plants of the Chicago region, 1994.
  • Tillson, Christiana Holmes. A woman's story of pioneer Illinois, 1919.
  • Watts, May Theilgaard. Reading the landscape : an adventure in ecology,1957.
  • Woods, John. Two years' residence in the settlement on the English Prairie, 1968.

During Joel’s meeting with us, he described some interesting natural areas in our region to visit. Since our gathering, a sharp-eyed group member found and forwarded this article by Joel -- A Naturalist's Tour of Southern Lake Michigan. If you weren't able to join us for Thursday’s discussion, there is a terrific WBEZ interview by Donna Seaman with Joel (appropriately presented on Earth Day) on Open Books Radio. Scroll through the page to Non-Fiction, select Joel's interview - and share in their remarkable conversation!

1 comment:

Bridget Watts said...

Thanks to this blog entry, I discovered the existence of Joel Greenberg's book, in which he reproduces (without permission and with incorrect attribution) the chapter on bogs ("History Book with a Flexible Cover"), from Reading the Landscape of America by May Theilgaard Watts. (Greenberg incorrectly refers to this book as Reading America's Landscape.)
Reading the Landscape of America, an expanded version of her original 1957 work Reading the Landscape: An Adventure in Ecology, was orginally published by MacMillan in 1975, and is currently in print, published by Nature Study Guild Publishers, the press founded by May and Raymond Watts.
The Sterling library owns copies of both the 1957 ed. and the 1999 reprint ed. (which I donated), if you would like to read the article accompanied by May T. Watts illustrations.