Thoreau, Henry David
Walden by Henry David Thoreau is one of the best-known non-fiction books written by an American. Published in 1854, it details Thoreau’s life for two years, two months, and two days around the shores of Walden Pond. Walden is neither a novel nor a true autobiography, but a social critique of the Western World, with each chapter heralding some aspect of humanity that needed to be either renounced or praised. Along with his critique of the civilized world, Thoreau examines other issues afflicting man in society, ranging from economy and reading to solitude and higher laws. He also takes time to talk about the experience at Walden Pond itself, commenting on the animals and the way people treated him for living there, using those experiences to bring out his philosophical positions. This extended commentary on nature has often been interpreted as a strong statement to the natural religion that transcendentalists like Thoreau and Emerson were preaching.
Buck is living a happy life in California until he is sold to pay a gambling debt. Taken to the Klondike to become a sled dog, Buck must toughen up and learn the harsher rules of survival in the North. One of the first of these is how to deal with being harnessed in the same team as a dog that wants to kill him.
Large, strong and smart, Buck toughens to his new life. But even the toughest dog can be worn down by constant work, and after 3,000 miles of pulling sleds, Buck nears the end of his rope.
Cast away as no longer useful, Buck is acquired by greenhorns whose inexperience nearly kills him, but after being saved by John Thornton, he at last finds a man he can love.
Then on a remote gold-hunting expedition, Buck hears a call emanating from the woods and speaking to the wild heart of his distant ancestors. The lure of it almost balances the great love he bears for Thornton, but events take him away from his old life... and into legend.
Jerome, Jerome K.
Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), published in 1889, is a humorous account by Jerome K. Jerome of a boating holiday on the Thames between Kingston and Oxford.The book was intended initially to be a serious travel guide, with accounts of local history of places along the route, but the humorous elements eventually took over, to the point where the serious and somewhat sentimental passages now seem like an unnecessary distraction to the essentially comic novel. One of the most praised things about Three Men in a Boat is how undated it appears to modern readers. The jokes seem fresh and witty even today.The three men were based on Jerome himself and two real-life friends, George, and Harris. The dog, Montmorency, however, was entirely fictional, but, as Jerome had remarked, "had much of me in it."
Burnett, Frances Hodgson
Orphaned Mary Lennox is sent to live with her uncle in Yorkshire, and finds herself in a house full of secrets and mysteries.
Burnett, Frances Hodgson
When Mary Lennox, who has been brought up in India in a spoiled manner, is orphaned she has to move to Yorkshire, England, to live with her uncle in Misselthwaite Manor. Here she is treated much differently than she was in India - she is able to make friends with children her own age, one of these being her sickly cousin, Colin Craven
American poet Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, is a collection of poems notable for its frank delight in and praise of the senses, during a time when such candid displays were considered immoral. Where much previous poetry, especially English, relied on symbolism, allegory, and meditation on the religious and spiritual, Leaves of Grass exalted the body and the material world.
Whitman was inspired to begin Leaves of Grass after reading an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson which expressed a need for a uniquely American poet. When the book was first published, Whitman sent a copy to Emerson, whose praiseful letter of response helped launch the book to success. Whitman’s hero, Abraham Lincoln, read and enjoyed an early version of Leaves of Grass. Despite such high recommendations, Whitman faced charges of obscenity and immorality for his work, but this only led to increased popularity of the book.
Whitman continually revised and republished Leaves of Grass throughout his lifetime, notably adding the “Drum-Taps” section after Lincoln’s assassination. The book grew from 12 poems in its first publication, which Whitman paid for and typeset himself, to nearly 400 poems in its final, “Death Bed Edition.” This recording is of the final edition.
The stories, first published in 1902, are fantastic accounts of how various natural phenomena came about. The original editions of Just So Stories were illustrated with woodcuts by Kipling himself. Read along online and see the illustrations at mainlesson.com. Each story is accompanied by a poem, in a somewhat ballad style. Many of the stories are addressed to "Best Beloved" (they were first written for Kipling's eldest daughter, Josephine, who had died during an outbreak of influenza in 1899), and throughout they use a comically elevated style inspired by the formal speech of India, full of long and improbable-sounding words, some of them made up. As a result, it is a delight to read them aloud, and easy to memorise passages from them.
Life on the Mississippi is a memoir by Mark Twain detailing his days as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River before the American Civil War.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Nature is a short essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson published anonymously in 1836. It is in this essay that the foundation of transcendentalism is put forth, a belief system that espouses a non-traditional appreciation of nature. Recent advances in zoology, botany, and geology confirmed Emerson's intuitions about the intricate relationships of Nature at large. The publication of Nature is usually taken to be the watershed moment at which transcendentalism became a major cultural movement.
Henry David Thoreau had read "Nature" as a senior at Harvard College and took it to heart. It eventually became an essential influence for Thoreau's later writings, including his seminal Walden. (Summary excerpted from Wikipedia by Neeru Iyer)
Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species (publ. 1859) is a pivotal work in scientific literature and arguably the pivotal work in evolutionary biology. The book’s full title is On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. It introduced the theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. It was controversial because it contradicted religious beliefs which underlay the then current theories of biology. Darwin’s book was the culmination of evidence he had accumulated on the voyage of the Beagle in the 1830s and added to through continuing investigations and experiments since his return.
Volunteers bring you 8 recordings of To Autumn by John Keats. This was the Fortnightly Poetry project for November 21st, 2010.
To Autumn" is the final work in a group of poems known as Keats's "1819 odes".
He composed "To Autumn" after a walk near Winchester one autumnal evening. The work marks the end of his poetic career as he needed to earn money and could no longer devote himself to the lifestyle of a poet. A little over a year following the publication of "To Autumn", Keats died in Rome.
"To Autumn" has been regarded by critics as one of the most perfect short poems in the English language and it is one of the most anthologised English lyric poems.
Bryant, William Cullen
Volunteers bring you 14 recordings of The Journey of Life by William Cullen Bryant. This was the Weekly Poetry project for December 23, 2012.
William Cullen Bryant was an American romantic poet, journalist, and long-time editor of the New York Evening Post. His poetry has been described as being "of a thoughtful, meditative character, and makes but slight appeal to the mass of readers."
Rossetti, Christina G.
Volunteers bring you 13 recordings of Spring by Christina Georgina Rossetti. This was the Fortnightly Poetry Poetry project for March 25, 2012.
Christina Georgina Rossetti was an English poet who wrote a variety of romantic, devotional, and children's poems. She is best known for her long poem Goblin Market, her love poem Remember, and for the words of the Christmas carol In the Bleak Midwinter.
Service, Robert W.
Volunteers bring you 13 recordings of The Spell of the Yukon by Robert W. Service. This was the Fortnightly Poetry project for December 27th, 2009.
Gilbert, W. S.
Volunteers bring you 17 recordings of O Hollow Hollow Hollow by W.S. Gilbert. This was the Weekly Poetry project for January 8, 2012.
Here is a poem by the "fleshly" poet, Bunthorne, from the opera Patience, by Gilbert and Sullivan. Who better to introduce it than the poet himself:
BUNTHORNE. It is a wild, weird, fleshy thing; yet very tender, very yearning, very precious. It is called, "Oh, Hollow! Hollow! Hollow!"
PATIENCE Is it a hunting song?
BUNTHORNE. A hunting song? No, it is not a hunting song. It is the wail of the poet's heart on discovering that everything is commonplace. To understand it, cling passionately to one another and think of faint lilies.
Bunthorne was considered to have been modelled on Oscar Wilde, but more recent reseach has suggested that this claim is not correct.
Volunteers bring you 7 recordings of A Selection from Peter Piper's Practical Principles of Plain and Perfect Pronunciation by Anonymous. This was the Weekly Poetry project for November 20, 2011.
'Peter Piper's Practical Principles of Plain and Perfect Pronunciation' contains the famous 'Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper's' tongue twister, although this twister was tripping tongues for many years before it first appeared in print. The book also contains a tongue twister of a similar style for every letter of the alphabet. This selection contains the verses for C, F and K.
In 1879 John Muir went to Alaska for the first time. Its stupendous living glaciers aroused his unbounded interest, for they enabled him to verify his theories of glacial action. Again and again he returned to this continental laboratory of landscapes. The greatest of the tide-water glaciers appropriately commemorates his name. Upon this book of Alaska travels, all but finished before his unforeseen departure, John Muir expended the last months of his life.
Volunteers bring you 12 recordings of Birches by Robert Frost. This was the Fortnightly Poetry project for February 21st, 2010.
Freckles is a young man who has been raised since infancy in a Chicago orphanage. His one dream is to find a job, a place to belong and people who accept him despite his youth and the disability of having only one hand.
He finds this place in the Limberlost Swamp, as a Limberlost guard of precious timber.
In the process, he discovers a love for the wilderness and animals he encounters every day on his rounds and a burning desire to learn about all the new birds and plants he sees on his rounds every day. He also finds and falls in love with a girl he calls the "Swamp Angel." This is the story of his plucky courage in sticking to his job in the swamp, and his adventures in learning about the natural world he finds himself in every day. He is befriended by the "Bird Woman" and with her help learns to love the Limberlost he has been hired to guard.
Volunteers bring you 11 recordings of The Consolation by Anne Brontë. This was the Weekly Poetry project for March 14th, 2010.
Dunbar, Paul Laurence
Volunteers bring you 14 recordings of Merry Autumn by Paul Laurence Dunbar. This was the Fortnightly Poetry project for October 10th, 2010.
Dunbar, Paul Laurence
Volunteers bring you 20 recordings of The Pool by Paul Laurence Dunbar. This was the Weekly Poetry project for May 20, 2012.
Paul Laurence Dunbar (June 27, 1872 – February 9, 1906) was an African American poet, novelist, and playwright of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Much of his popular work in his lifetime used a Negro dialect, which helped him become one of the first nationally-accepted African American writers. Much of his writing, however, does not use dialect; these more traditional poems have become of greater interest to scholars.
Stevenson, Robert Louis
Volunteers bring you 20 recordings of Winter by Robert Louis Stevenson. This was the Weekly Poetry project for November 22nd, 2009.
Burgess, Thornton W.
The Adventures of Buster Bear is another set of children’s stories by the conservationist, Thornton W. Burgess. Buster Bear has many adventures and misadventures as he meets the different characters in the Green Forest near the Laughing Brook. Along the way, we learn about the habits of Buster and his friends and we learn little lessons about life such as the importance of sharing, not stealing, making friends and not sticking one's head into tin pails.
Volunteers bring you 15 recordings of The Hill by Rupert Brooke. This was the Weekly Poetry project for May 15, 2011.
Rupert Chawner Brooke was an English poet known for his idealistic war sonnets written during the First World War (especially The Soldier). He was also known for his boyish good looks, which prompted the Irish poet William Butler Yeats to describe him as "the handsomest young man in England".
The Englishman Harrison Weir organized the first cat show in England in 1871. In 1887 he founded the National Cat Club and was its first President and Show Manager until his resignation in 1890.
Our Cats and all about them is concerned with cats and all about them. It describes numerous breeds of cats and what to look for in a cat show champion, and deals with the general management and common diseases of cats, as well as how to raise healthy kittens.
But there is also a hodge podge of cat related stories, games, nursery rhymes, superstitions, as well as a list of cat lovers and a chapter of "The Cat in Shakespeare".
Eastman, Charles Alexander (Ohiyesa)
"We also have a religion which was given to our forefathers, and has been handed down to us their children. It teaches us to be thankful, to be united, and to love one another! We never quarrel about religion."
The title of this book quotes its object. To tell something of night hunting, and especially to suggest how the ever necessary dog can best be selected, trained, maintained and utilized, is the consideration of first importance. To round out the subject all forms of hunting will receive some notice, and the various breeds of dogs will be so far dealt with, that their value and usefulness in their given fields may be determined. Best of all, the contents of this volume are based on the opinions and declarations of men who have had years of experience in the matters on which they presume to write.(Extracted from the Introduction)
Volunteers bring you 15 recordings of Petals by Amy Lowell. This was the Weekly Poetry project for November 27, 2011.
Amy Lawrence Lowell (February 9, 1874 – May 12, 1925) was an American poet of the imagist school from Brookline, Massachusetts who posthumously won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1926. Lowell was born into Brookline's prominent Lowell family, sister to astronomer Percival Lowell and Harvard president Abbott Lawrence Lowell.
She never attended college because her family did not consider that proper for a woman, but she compensated with avid reading and near-obsessive book collecting. She lived as a socialite and travelled widely, turning to poetry in 1902 after being inspired by a performance of Eleonora Duse in Europe. In the post-World War II years, Lowell, like other women writers, was largely forgotten, but with the renaissance of the women's movement in the 1970s, women's studies brought her back to light. According to Heywood Broun, however, Lowell personally argued against feminism. Her poem, “Petals” is published in her collection A Dome of Many-Colored Glass (1912).
Gardening expert Steve Solomon has written extensively on gardening techniques for the home gardener. Water conservation is the focus of this work, along with more information on how to have the healthiest plants in your garden through "fertigation", appropriate plant rotation, and soil preparation.
A series of lectures on landscape painting delivered at Oxford in 1871, by artist, critic, and social commentator, John Ruskin.
Wood and Garden reads like a walk through the garden with reknowned garden designer Gertrude Jekyll as she discusses her plant choices and placement, how she integrates nature into her design, and how she maintains and enjoys the garden.
Volunteers bring you 14 recordings of Cheese Curd for Bait by James McIntyre. This was the Weekly Poetry project for September 23, 2012.
James McIntyre, born in Scotland, came to Canada in 1841. He finally settled in Ingersoll (a town in central Ontario on the banks of the Thames River), the then-heart of Canadian dairy country.
He was well loved in the community, from which he often received aid in hard times, due in part to his poesy and oratorical skills — he was called on to speak at every kind of social gathering in Ingersoll. The region seems to have inspired him, and it was in celebration of the proud history of Canada, the natural beauty and industry of the region, and especially its cheese, that the majority of his oeuvre was written.
Volunteers bring you 15 recordings of Stupidity by Amy Lowell. This was the Weekly Poetry project for October 31st, 2010.
Volunteers bring you 17 recordings of My Comforter by anonymous. This was the Weekly Poetry project for November 25, 2012.
Burgess, Thornton W.
The Adventures of Jimmy Skunk is another in the long list children's books by the conservationist, Thornton W. Burgess. In this book, Jimmy Skunk has encounters with Reddy Fox, Peter Rabbit, Unc’ Billy Possum and other acquaintances of his in the Green Meadows and Green Forest. Along the way, we learn some of the habits of Jimmy and his friends and we learn little lessons about life such as the importance of always keeping one's temper, keeping promises and not playing practical jokes. We are also treated to a philosophical discussion by Jimmy Skunk on the advantages of defensive weaponry.
Volunteers bring you 16 recordings of In Harmony with Nature. by Matthew Arnold. This was the Weekly Poetry project for July 8, 2012.
Matthew Arnold was a British poet and cultural critic who worked as an inspector of schools. He was the son of Thomas Arnold, the famed headmaster of Rugby School, and brother to both Tom Arnold, literary professor, and William Delafield Arnold, novelist and colonial administrator. Matthew Arnold has been characterized as a sage writer, a type of writer who chastises and instructs the reader on contemporary social issues.
Arnold is sometimes called the third great Victorian poet, along with Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Robert Browning.
Burgess, Thornton W.
The Adventures of Paddy Beaver is another in the long list of children’s books by the conservationist, Thornton W. Burgess. In this book, the industrious and clever Paddy Beaver, a newcomer to the Green Forest, has encounters with Sammy Jay, Jerry Muskrat, Ol’ Man Coyote and other inhabitants of the Green Forest. Along the way, we learn how Paddy builds his dam and his house, and how he stores his food. We also learn little lessons about life, such as the importance of planning before doing, caring for Nature, trusting others, the benefits of working together and how wonderful it is to have a job one can sink one’s teeth into.
Adams, H. S.
A short look at building a rock garden, right from the rocks themselves and how to arrange them, to choosing and placing the plants, touching wall and bog gardens, too. In this little monograph, the author is trying to draw the eyes of U.S. gardeners in to the intimate beauty of this neglected hobby.
Whittier, John Greenleaf
Volunteers bring you 11 recordings of The Frost Spirit by John Greenleaf Whittier. This was the Fortnightly Poetry project for October 28, 2012.
John Greenleaf Whittier was an influential American Quaker poet. He is considered one of the Fireside Poets and was influenced by Roberet Burns.
Seton, Ernest Thompson
I first read this little book when I was in the fifth grade, and now more than fifty years later, I still find it fascinating. Ernest Thompson Seton was a man with a concern for nature her creatures and an excellent story teller. I could almost feel Wahb, the great grizzly’s pain and frustration as he tried to avoid contact with humans and just be left alone to carry out his bear business. Listening to this audio book will be an hour and a half well spent.Summary by Mike Vendetti, Narrator.
An account given of the lives of five great naturalists (Hippocrates, Aristotle, Galen, Vesalius and Harvey) will not be found devoid of interest. The work of each one of them marked a definite advance in the science of Biology.
There is often among students of anatomy and physiology a tendency to imagine that the facts with which they are now being made familiar have all been established by recent observation and experiment. But even the slight knowledge of the history of Biology, which may be obtained from a perusal of this little book, will show that, so far from such being the case, this branch of science is of venerable antiquity. And, further, if in the place of this misconception a desire is aroused in the reader for a fuller acquaintance with the writings of the early anatomists the chief aim of the author will have been fulfilled.
Service, Robert W.
Volunteers bring you 5 recordings of To the Man of the High North by Robert Service. This was the Fortnightly Poetry project for November 28, 2010.
Robert William Service (January 16, 1874 – September 11, 1958) was a poet and writer, sometimes referred to as "the Bard of the Yukon".
His writing was so expressive that his readers took him for a hard-bitten old Klondike prospector, not the later-arriving bank clerk he actually was.
In addition to his Yukon works, Service also wrote poetry set in locales as diverse as South Africa, Afghanistan, and New Zealand.
Jackson, Helen Hunt
Volunteers bring you 8 recordings of January by Helen Hunt Jackson. This was the Weekly Poetry project for January 13, 2013.
Helen Maria Hunt Jackson, born Helen Fiske was an Amewrican writer and activist for the improvement of treatment of the Native Americans by the U.S. government. Her books A Century of Dishonor and Ramona both attracted considerable attention to her cause.
White, Stewart Edward
Stewart Edward White wrote fiction and non-fiction about adventure and travel, with an emphasis on natural history and outdoor living. White's books were popular at a time when America was losing its vanishing wilderness and many are based on his experiences in mining and lumber camps. The Blazed Trail is the story of early lumbermen in the northern woods of Michigan. The novel portrays the challenges faced by the workers focusing on one, Harry Thorpe, as he endeavors to be successful though completely unskilled when he enters the woods. The author mixes the splendor of nature with suspense, danger, and romance and provides glimpses into corrupt practices in the lumber industry at the time.
Volunteers bring you 10 recordings of The Christmas Tree by Anonymous. This was the Weekly Poetry project for December 19, 2010
This poem taken from Christmas Entertainments by Alice Maude Kellogg, contianing fancy drills, acrostics, motion songs, tableaux, short plays, recitations in costume for children of five to fifteen years. (from book introduction)
The Lure Of The Labrador Wild is a account of a expedition by Leonidas Hubbard, an adventurer and journalist to canoe the system Naskaupi River - Lake Michikamau in Labrador and George River in Quebec. His companions on this journey were his friend, New York lawyer Dillon Wallace and an Indian guide from Missannabie, George Elson. From the start, the expedition was beset with mistakes and problems. Instead of ascending the Naskaupi River, by mistake they followed the shallow Susan Brook. After hard long portaging and almost reaching Lake Michikamau, with food supplies running out, on September 15 at Windbound lake, they decided to turn back. On October 18, Wallace and Elson went in a search of cached store of flour, leaving Hubbard behind in a tent. Hubbard died of exhaustion and starvation on either same or next day. Wallace got lost in the snowstorm, while Elson, after a week of bushwhacking, building raft to cross swollen rivers (with no ax), reached the nearest occupied cabin. A search party found Wallace alive on October 30, 1903.
This is a series of late-19th Century essays about Florida's flora and fauna written by a Massachusetts-based naturalist.
United States Rubber Company
This pamphlet was published in the early 20th century by the United States Rubber Company so that "coming generations of our country ... have some understanding of the importance of rubber in our every day life... We believe the rubber industry will be better off if the future citizens of our country know more about it." Learn about Christopher Columbus's discovery of rubber, how the crafty British entrepreneur, Wickham, managed to smuggle rubber seedlings out of Brazil, and how rubber manufacturing came to be a "peculiarly American industry." The myriad uses of rubber from a century ago are also elaborated in considerable detail - everything from submarines to Keds to dentures.
Volunteers bring you 14 recordings of The Snowman in the Yard by Joyce Kilmer. This was the Fortnightly Poetry project for February 26, 2012.
Alfred Joyce Kilmer was an American journalist, poet, literary critic, lecturer, and editor. Though a prolific poet whose works celebrated the common beauty of the natural world as well as his religious faith, Kilmer is remembered most for a short poem titled "Trees" (1913), which was published in the collection Trees and Other Poems in 1914.
At the time of his deployment to Europe during World War I (1914–1918), Kilmer was considered the leading American Catholic poet and lecturer of his generation, whom critics often compared to British contemporaries G. K. Chesterton (1874–1936) and Hilaire Belloc (1870–1953). A sergeant in the 165th U.S. Infantry Regiment (better known as 'The Fighting 69th), Kilmer was killed at the Second Battle of the Marne in 1918 at the age of 31.
This book tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.