Read The Flight of the Iguana: A Sidelong View of Science and Nature by David Quammen Free Online
Book Title: The Flight of the Iguana: A Sidelong View of Science and Nature|
The author of the book: David Quammen
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 843 KB
Date of issue: October 16th 2012
ISBN 13: 9781476728735
Read full description of the books The Flight of the Iguana: A Sidelong View of Science and Nature:It was spattered with small, orange spots of damp and priced at 780 yen. Not cheap for a second hand book. And yet, in that used books shop in Kyoto, Green e Books, there was something that stopped me from putting ‘The Flight of the Iguana’ back on the shelf.
The title was intriguing. How could an iguana fly? Why would it even try? But there on the cover was an iguana, rich in red and green detail, set against an exotic sunset as if captured in mid-flight. And then there was the subtitle: ‘A Sidelong View of Science and Nature’. Why sidelong? To see things differently or doubtfully? The blurb on the back of the book described the author, David Quammen, as wise, witty and insightful. I needed some wisdom and wit and insight.
I bought the book and I’m glad I did. It was my first reading experience of modern natural history writing, of the possibilities of nature writing.
Quammen sets out his aims for the book in the introduction. He wants to provide intimate, intricate portraits of nature and raise ‘questions about our relations with nature and with each other’. The book contains twenty-nine essays that range far, wide and sometimes circuitously across land and sea, over time and in subject matter. In no other book had I come across a suggestion to make eye contact with a black widow spider, to consider cross-species communication, definitions of personhood and the reactions of beluga whales to classical music, to ponder the life of a lone, urban street tree and, of course, why Charles Darwin would hurl an iguana into the sea, not once but repeatedly.
Quammen’s writing has an effortless, conversational style. It’s writing about nature that’s sensuous and swampy, perceptive and irreverent, factual and opinionated, personal and universal. Quammen offers not so much a sidelong view of nature but a full-on, familiar, feet of scorpion, stomach of starfish view. Through the varied essays, he urges the reader to pay attention to nature, to appreciate and understand, to look closer and think more deeply. As he writes, ‘it’s the little things that turn the world inside out’.
Reading ‘The Flight of the Iguana’ for the first time may not have turned my world completely inside out, but it inspired me to search out more of Quammen’s books, as well as those of other nature writers. Most importantly, it showed me the power of great nature writing.
Read information about the authorDavid Quammen (born February 1948) is an award-winning science, nature and travel writer whose work has appeared in publications such as National Geographic, Outside, Harper's, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times Book Review; he has also written fiction. He wrote a column called "Natural Acts" for Outside magazine for fifteen years. Quammen lives in Bozeman, Montana.
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