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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Book Review: The Natural History of a Yard by Leonard Dubkin

This book is one of my mother's favorite books. She talked about it a lot for years and then forced it on me. And I was trying to come up with a book to fill the "a book your mom loves" slot of my reading challenge. So it was a natural fit.

I am so thrilled I had to read this! It was excellent! It is a quiet, meditative book that left me feeling peaceful and calm. The author, along with his daughter Pauline, hangs out in the small front yard of his Chicago apartment building, and he analyzes and tracks the natural history of that yard. He discusses the elm tree, the ants, the pigeons, and the squirrel. He studies them at length and over a period of three years. The building's super, Emil, occasionally helps or is simply a passing addition. The author notes that it would be weird for him, a grown man, to be laying in the grass all summer without a small child running around, so Pauline really allows him to be able to do this unencumbered by curiosity of neighbors.

This book was a delight, a gem. I don't know why it isn't considered a modern classic, except that it's likely too slow for many people. It is worth seeking out, as, to my knowledge, it is sadly out of print.

My mother loaned me this book.

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