Seed to Dust, by Marc Hamer

Staff Pick

“In the end, all we are is our attention, there is nothing else,” Hamer notes. As his rich second book moves month by month through the year of a working gardener, his attention is alternately on the mechanics of how ferns unfurl; the process of sowing cosmos seeds; the whys, whens, and hows of pruning and deadheading; issues of class and masculinity; the lives of poets and stoic philosophers; thoughts on his long, warm, marriage; and observations of the well-heeled, kind, but often opaque Miss Cashmere, whose garden he tends. As readers of Hamer’s unforgettable How to Catch a Mole know, he’s a real character, and the journal format here allows full-play for his humor, wisdom, irrepressible childlike wonder, and (mostly faux) curmudgeonliness. There is much to savor and treasure on every page, from hard-won lessons such as how “nature doesn’t require individuals; they are disposable as long as there are enough of them,” to vivid descriptions of the natural and human lives of “this ever changing here and now,” where “twilight lets the shadows out and transforms the mundane into the magical.”  

Seed to Dust: Life, Nature, and a Country Garden By Marc Hamer Cover Image
ISBN: 9781771647687
Availability: Backordered
Published: Greystone Books - May 4th, 2021

Dark, Salt, Clear, by Lamorna Ash

Staff Pick

Ash takes her title from an Elizabeth Bishop poem, and the literary—with references to Sebald, Didion, Barry Lopez, and others—is one angle she uses in her rich exploration of the Cornish fishing village of Newlyn. Others are history, natural history, interviews, folklore, and, most of all, reports of her own adventures at sea. Flouting superstitions about women on boats (not to mention braving severe sea sickness), Ash joins the crews of trawlers and day boats, not just observing the different techniques for hauling in pilchards and eels, for instance, but jumping into the frenzy of a fresh catch and learning to gut the fish herself. In calmer moments, Ash proves a lyrical and meditative writer. Her prose vividly conveys the ocean’s beauty and mystery as she probes both the economic and the deeper, more spiritual needs that drive people to sea and compel them to keep returning despite the heavy emotional and physical toll of this difficult life. 

Dark, Salt, Clear: The Life of a Fishing Town By Lamorna Ash Cover Image
ISBN: 9781635576153
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - December 1st, 2020

Earth Keeper, by N. Scott Momaday

Staff Pick

Holding an eagle feather, Momaday notes that though it may seem a small thing, it shares the tremendous power of the creature it came from. The same is true for this deceptively slight collection of Kiowa wisdom literature. Though barely a paragraph long, each entry partakes of the greater wonder and beauty of the earth that has “nourish[ed]” the hearts of countless generations. In considering elements of the natural world ranging from grasshoppers and butterflies to horses and the Northern Lights, these stories and memories affirm the ancient connection between humans and the planet, one grounded in mutual belief and trust. They also look hard at the “terrible wounds” our “disease of indifference” to life has caused, and show that healing is a matter not of shame, but of learning to look and listen to the Earth.


Earth Keeper: Reflections on the American Land By N. Scott Momaday Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063009332
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - November 3rd, 2020