I’ve been doing a little work on a very high level history of the Natural Sciences in the west:
I continue to shamble along the cow path of inquiry. This morning I was surprised to connect the dots in the person of a writer named Kim Todd. Amazon suggested her while I was considering whether to buy Amazing Rare Things. (I did find a used copy of Plant Discoveries that was cheap & couldn’t resist. It’s coming.) Someone was practically giving away a used (new) hardcover of Todd’s biography of Maria Sibylla Merian. I couldn’t resist, since she was the only woman in any of the books I’ve seen so far, and was, by all accounts utterly fascinating.
I looked up the author, and she sounds absolutely amazing and delightful. She has degrees in writing & environmentalism, did her undergrad at Yale (English) and lives in Montana. Her first book looks really great too: Tinkering with Eden, a Natural History of Exotics in America. She had articles in Orion & the Sierra magazine. (Wonder if Stephanie has met her?) She’s been reviewed in the NYTimes & Kirkus, and made the 2007 booklists for the Library Journal & NYPublic Library & Booklist.
She won the Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award. ((I had not heard of him before, so I looked him up. He won the Burroughs Award in 1974 for Wilderness Days.)) i.e. I’ve not heard of the book before either, but I can squint and guess that it is beautiful, smart, sensitive, compassionate writing about the natural world.
Looking at him led me to a site where someone had posted a short overview of conservation writers by Susan Bray. I stumbled into a treasure trove presented by the Library of Congress: “The Evolution of the Conservation Movement: 1850-1920” .
THE PUNCH LINE:
This morning I glanced down through the postings below, and discovered that she wrote the short review of Amazing Rare Things for Orion!! (Hi Kim!!)
*her site – http://www.kimtodd.net/
**Chrysalis: Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis
She has a link to the Author’s Guild on her site. I looked at that and thought it was worth frequenting (business news from the publishing world): http://www.authorsguild.org/