Feature

Also of interest…in nature studies

Life Everlasting; Zoobiquity; America’s Other Audubon; Life

Life Everlasting
by Bernd Heinrich
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25)
Bernd Heinrich’s observations “may not sit well” with some readers, said Steve Donoghue in OpenLettersMonthly.com. For his new book, the naturalist spent many hours watching what happens to the carcasses of animals as natural processes and scavengers set to work. His argument that vultures could do a better job on Granny’s remains than morticians do “bumps up hard against human sentimentality.” Still, his detailed descriptions qualify as “first-rate” nature writing.

Zoobiquity
by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers
(Knopf, $27) 
“It’s remarkable” how much we can learn about human health by paying more attention to animal health, said Carl Zimmer in TheDailyBeast.com. Cardiologist Barbara Natterson-Horowitz stumbled onto the subject a few years ago, and her new book with Kathryn Bowers shares “plenty of great stories” about curing anorexic pigs and whales’ mysterious ability to evade death by cancer. The author’s excitement proves infectious.

America’s Other Audubon
by Joy M. Kiser
(Princeton, $45) 
This new book tells the “tragic yet triumphant story” of Genevieve Jones, who in 1876 undertook a companion series to John James Audubon’s illustrations of American birds, said Liesl Bradner in the Los Angeles Times. Jones would die of typhoid before she could complete her lithograph series depicting birds’ nests and eggs, but her family worked tenaciously to complete the project in her honor. The family’s “unbridled devotion” to the cause is evident in every reproduction included here.

Life
by Frans Lanting
(Taschen, $30)
Frans Lanting’s photographs seem “like postcards from the earliest moments of life on earth,” said The Wall Street Journal. In this new collection, the Dutch wildlife photographer accentuates the “most primeval aspects” of diverse plants and animals, from herons in Botswana’s Okavango Delta to sea cucumbers on the Great Barrier Reef. In a photo of quiver trees set against Martian-red soil, Lanting’s “almost abstract deployment of color” seems to make the earth’s clock stand still. 

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