Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Our selection for September 2013 is David Haskell's The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature.
Winner of 2013 Best Book Award from the National Academies
Finalist for 2013 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction
Runner-up for 2013 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
Winner of the 2013 Reed Environmental Writing Award
Winner of the 2012 National Outdoor Book Award for Natural History Literature

A biologist reveals the secret world hidden in a single square meter of forest
“…a welcome entry in the world of nature writers. He thinks like a biologist, writes like a poet, and gives the natural world the kind of open-minded attention one expects from a Zen monk rather than a hypothesis-driven scientist.” James Gorman, The New York Times

“Very much a contemporary biologist in his familiarity with genetics and population ecology, he also has the voracious synthetic imagination of a 19th-century naturalist. Most important, Mr. Haskell is a sensitive writer, conjuring with careful precision the worlds he observes and delighting the reader with insightful turns of phrase.” Hugh Raffles, The Wall Street Journal

“…focusing not on the showy megafauna but on the small and fundamental forest dwellers, from glimmering lichen to slow-moving slugs. He writes with a scientist’s meticulous attention to detail and a poet’s way with words. As he spins his tales of the tiny and the ordinary, we see the big picture issues, from evolution to climate change, unfold in the everyday world.” from the PEN/E. O. Wilson Judges’ Citation

“…a new genre of nature writing, located between science and poetry.” Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University

“David Haskell’s The Forest Unseen is a ‘nature book,’ and a great one, but it’s also and less obviously a book about human nature. You can’t read its lyrical, tactile prose without confronting the whole question of our place in the natural order, and of what we’re doing here. If we want to last much longer on this planet, we’ll have to learn to think differently and more deeply about those things, and Haskell can be one of our guides.” —John Jeremiah Sullivan, author of Pulphead
“An extraordinary, intimate view of life… Exceptional observations of the biological world…”
Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review for “books of remarkable merit.”

The Forest Unseen was published on March 15th, 2012, by The Viking Press, an imprint of Penguin USA. The Penguin paperback edition was published on March 26th, 2013. A short introductory video is available on YouTube.

David Haskell’s interviews on The Diane Rehm Show and  To The Best of our Knowledge are now available online. Links to full reviews are here.

Members of PVNWG will attend an open house at Adkins Aboretum on September 29 to hear the author speak!

NOTE: PVNWG has suspended regular monthly discussion meetings. Comments about books can be made online using the comment feature. Personal book reviews may be submitted to pvnaturewriters@gmail.com for consideration to be posted on the blog. Original nature writing based on personal experience may also be submitted for inclusion on the REFLECTIONS page of the blog.