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Book reviews for "Lopez,_Barry_Holstun" sorted by average review score:

River Notes: The Dance of Herons
Published in Hardcover by Andrews McMeel Publishing (October, 1979)
Author: Barry Holstun, Lopez
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Mystical Naturalist
Barry Lopez is a top-notch naturalist, but his writing is more mystical than scientific. His musings on the thoughts and dreams of herons are glorious, and he brings out the divine in nature like few can. You will want to join him at riverside after reading this book. River Notes is a mix of profound observations of nature and provocative human stories, united by the river that flows through it all in flood and drought.

Of Wolves and Men
Published in Library Binding by Bt Bound (March, 2001)
Author: Barry Holstun Lopez
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A final say on the history of the North American gray wolf.
Written with the sensitivity that is Mr. Lopez' trademark, this is a book for lovers (and haters) of wolves. It is extremely well-researched and well-written, and will teach you something (even if you believe you are an expert on wolves)

OF WOLVES AND MEN: As reviewed by Ace
Barry Lopez has certainly captured the very essence of the beautious creature, the wolf. As a great wolf enthusiast, I was extremely astonished at the extensive study and accurate information which Lopez has portrayed within this book. I recommend this written masterpiece to all wolf researchers, enthusiasts, or even animal lovers.

The best book on wolves I've ever read!
This is probably the most informative book on wolves I've read. It's divided into four sections--the first is about wolves, the animals; what they eat, where they can be found, breeding, socializing, etc., and contains some unusual facts about wolves. The second section is about Native Americans and wolves--how the wolf affects Native American society (symbolism, etc.) The third, and probably the most horrific part, is about North Americans and wolves. This section covers the "war on wolves" that started in the 1800's and still goes on today--it contains mortifying statistics and facts about this dark, little-known period in American history. Almost too informative, if you know what I mean... The last section is about the wolf in Europe; the wolf in the middle ages, its place in literature, and some facts on wolf mythology. Very informative--especially for an older book--and a real eye-opener.

About This Life: Journeys on the Threshold of Memory
Published in Hardcover by Knopf (June, 1998)
Author: Barry Lopez
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I Never Could Finish The Book, But Some Parts Are Good
I understand some people like this book very much, but I have a dissenting opinion. I did have the pleasure of hearing him read in person and he is indeed very captivating. But keep in mind what this book is about. It is basically a set of essays about places he has been and his insights and knowledge of those places. When it works, it works brilliantly. The essays I liked I could read several times over--he does some fascinating things (traveling on a cargo plane for several weeks comes to mind, or staying with a pottery community also comes to mind). However, when it doesn't work, you realize that not much is really happening and it feels very slow, maybe even unreadable. I just had to stop reading some of the essays after awhile. So it was really hit and miss with me.

What the other reviewers say about his attitude towards life and nature is right. He is very concerned with geography, not just the physical geography of a place, but also the emotional geography of a place. In a time when we don't always feel very connected to places, reading this book could help you feel connected again, to glimmer what it is like to really feel a part of the place in which you live.

Excells all
This book is full of beautiful imagry, a must for people who crave to go places and see things. His essays/memoirs excell above all others. The writing reflects his thoughts so vividly you would swear you were there. If you like reading about far away places and the experiences and adventures of a very cultrued and passionate writer, than this is the book for you.

Lopez is the champion storyteller
In an era where American storytelling is all but dead, Lopez may be the resurrection. Lopez gives us his sketches about life with the precision of a master craftsman but with the story telling skills of my grandmother. All essays are compelling, and the only disappointing moment is when the reader realizes that he or she is on the last page.

Field Notes: The Grace Note of the Canyon Wren
Published in Hardcover by Knopf (September, 1994)
Author: Barry Holstun Lopez
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Environmentalism through story
In this book Barry Lopez uses a novel approach to many of his stories: the short story written in the form if nature essays. Other nature writers--Edward Abbey, for example--have been known to take liberties with the exact details of the stories they tell, but Lopez actually creates new worlds in this collection of short fiction pieces. At his best, in stories such as "Teal Creek" and "Sonora," Lopez lets the story itself convey whatever larger purposes he might have. In his less successful pieces ("Conversation"), he beats the reader over the head with political psychobabble, almost to the point of sounding like propaganda. However, his ability to tell a story is undeniable, and it would be hard to argue with his place-based approach to environmentalism. And Lopez himself would be the first to say that it is the story itself, and not the moral of the story, that mattters.

Grace notes.
Barry Lopez's short stories are challenging in their simplicity. They are also challenging to describe to anyone who has never read any Lopez. Deceptively sparse, they are at the same time heavy with meaning, and rich with imagery from the natural world. This twelve-story collection opens with "the burbling call" (p. 10) of a cactus wren resonating through "the stony, cactus-strewn land" (p. 4) of desert arroyos, and ends with a run down the "really old trails, the Anasazi trails" (p. 154) of the Grand Canyon. In "Teal Creek," Lopez's narrator curiously witnesses a hermit living beside a creek in "complete stillness, a silence such as I had never heard out of another living thing, an unbbroken grace" (p. 22). In another story, a paleontologist discovers "phantoms" (p. 41), a black bear, a herd of deer, and a "tawny panther hunkered in the tawny grass" (p. 47) in an empty, city lot. I was even surprised to find a reference to my small hometown, Bisbee, Arizona in this collection.

Although some are stronger than others, each of these stories offers its protagonist a sacred encounter with the natural world we too often ignore. Each story has its own unique grace note that will leave you with a sense of wonder.

G. Merritt

Rich in images and introspection
Barry Lopez brings a unique voice to his work that is rich in observation of surroundings and living forms as well as a deeply sacred intellectual perspective. Each story in this book brings Lopez' voice to the ear of the reader as a deep intimation of experience. A writer who gives the reader a feeling of desire to listen to the storyteller as if he were speaking to you in the tradition of storytellers has transcended the special bridge from oral discourse or history to the written word. It makes me want to read all of Lopez books of which I now have four.

Giving Birth to Thunder, Sleeping With His Daughter: Coyote Builds North America
Published in Hardcover by Andrews McMeel Publishing (February, 1978)
Author: Barry Holstun Lopez
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Hairball "Roots"
Lopez heralds a message to our so-called "modern" Judeo-christian culture from the stone-age past: You can't separate the good from the bad. Coyote resembles nothing short of an agent of Bacchus, welding god-like powers of creation, with basal human desires and weaknesses.

In his anthology, Lopez has focused strictly on the Coyote of Native American lore, and thus has attempted to filter out most of the more modern interpretations and spin-offs, as well as removing any european influences. The observation that Lopez was not entirely successful in this effort shows the difficulty of such a task. The last story, "Coyote Finishes His Work", shows a distinctly "Euro-christian" influence. However, Lopez was at least successful enough to distinguish this piece from Bright's "Coyote Reader". Both are excellent works, and deserve your eye.

Best Coyote Mythology Book Ever
Of all the Coyote mythology collections I've read, this is the best. It features an assortment of styles from over 30 tribes, giving a broad sense of what the Coyote is. The author takes great pleasure in the introduction when he states that the greatest mistake is to generalize the Coyote, even to say he is a trickster is sometimes wrong. This book is just as if someone took all their favorite Coyote stories and put them in order (he starts the book at the creation of the Earth, and Man. Ending when "Coyote finishes his work.")

I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn about the Coyote.

A wonderful book full of adventures by coyote trickster
I know this book is out of print and hard to find, but if you can let search it out for you, it is worth the effort. Lopez is at his best form in telling these stories of the coyote trickster. Some of the stories can best be described as ribald versions of the Brer Fox and Brer Rabbit stories. However, these are fresh stories that will engage your imagination and tickle your funny bone. I once entertained a group of young men with these stories one evening around a campfire...young men who thought they were too old to be read to. They laughed and wouldn't let me stop reading until my throat was hoarse. Find a copy if you can!

Crow and Weasel
Published in Unknown Binding by North Point Press ()
Author: Barry Holstun Lopez
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A huge dissapointment for furry fans
This fable seems like a furry lover's dream - beautiful illustrations depicting two anthropomorphic tribesmen and their adventures in coming of age. However, when you read the text, it hits you: these characters are not furries at all. They are MEN with the names of animals. The story isn't bad, it's well written and inspirational, and the illustrations are worth a purchase for those interested in furry art. However, if you're interested in a good furry story, as opposed to a good story about men, look elsewhere as you won't get one, despite the illustrations. A major letdown for fans of the talking animal genre.

A Story to Share Again and Again
I have given more copies of Crow and Weasel away than any other book in recent years. It is the most beautiful portrait of male friendship available in any genre for children or adults. I most often give copies to young men facing some important transition in their own lives...graduation from high school or college when they too will be asked to go beyond what is familiar, and in doing so, will learn more about themselves. This is a story to share with those you love again and again. As Lopez says, "If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed..." This is just such a story.

Lessons learned from a weasel...
...and a crow, and many other insightful characters within "Crow and Weasel" have stayed with me since I first read it almost 10 years ago. The story itself is vibrant, almost to the point of actual narrative. Beautiful landscapes and dialogue throughout lend themselves to the imagination; I feel very much a part of what I'm reading-a true escape. And I like that it teaches me by surprise. Everytime I finish this book, I find that my joy in diversity, my desire to be kind, and my reverence for the natural world have grown. Tom Pohrt's illustrations are each works of art, and complement the story perfectly. I wish they were available as prints. Share this book with the young, and then go share it with everybody else.

Published in Hardcover by University of Georgia Press (November, 1998)
Authors: Barry Lopez and Robin Eschner
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Moving text, fine illustrations
Despite having lived with a variety of pets over the years, from tropical fish to canines (a dog and two cats currently), I do not believe I can say I have a great feeling for animals, especially wild ones. I think the one time I really connected emotionally with them -- at least in my mind -- was when an acid trip kept me up all night in the Oregon high desert and, walking down a dusty road at dawn, I noticed small creatures scurry out of my way and felt their stinging reproach: Your species has already overrun the planet, they seemed to say to me; can't you let us have this one quiet time of the day to ourselves?

Robin Eschner, a California artist, has executed woodcut prints to accompany an essay by nature writer Barry Lopez regarding his thoughts and actions in response to ... road killed animals.

If you've never read Lopez's wonderful nature writing, travel essays, or fiction, get moving! This book might not be such a good introduction, despite the author's customary elegant, rich but ever-precise prose. (For a fine and easily digested survey of his work, try the recent collection _About This Life: Journeys on the Threshold of Memory_, and for Lopez full out and leisurely, go for _Arctic Dreams_.)

The subject matter of _Apologia_ is perhaps a bit in-your-face, though Eschner's tasteful and evocative artwork never is. The pictures cast long, stark shadows, but are never creepy, disgusting, or manipulative.

If you have a strong feeling for animals, at least some ambivalence about the domination of the American landscape by the combustion-engine carriage, and the price the former pay for unsought violent encounters with the latter -- or if you know someone who feels that way -- this thin, coffee-table-style volume would be a lovely and appropriate purchase.

And if you ever get the chance to see Lopez speak or read from his work, GO! He is a truly sensitive and moral man, and a magnificent writer.

A Great Idea For A Book
Barry Lopez is great. He loves the outdoors so much that he makes us love the outdoors. And the woodcut illustrations makes this a book that stays with you long after you've read it.

A very beautiful book, beautifully illustrated.
I can not drive by a dead animal on the side of the road without thinking of Ms. Eschner's woodcuts. Thank you.

Winter Count
Published in Paperback by Avon Books (Pap Trd) (January, 1993)
Author: Barry Holstun Lopez
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Winter Count
The mood in Lopez's collection of short stories leaves one with this lingering which I cant quite put my finger on. The mood set in his writing is calm, but the vivid descriptions of his words force vibrant, elaborate pictures to be sketched into the much so, that, although my body fell into a cozy, drowsy, PEACEFUL serenity as I read, my brain was still trying to cope with the force of colorful images invading it. A truly magnificent writer, one who incorporates the views of those from all around the globe, those of different backgrounds and lifestyles, and snugly wraps their individual stories together to form one great one through nature.

For Two Stories...
It seems an earlier reviewer had the same feelings as I about this book; I would just say - buy it for 'The Woman Who Had Shells' and 'The Orrery'. Both are twists of simple, magical stuff.

Sheer Literary Magic!
There will be nothing in this brief review except my words tripping over my enthusiasm in an attempt to convey my love for this small collection of magical stories. This is one of the five books I would keep if I had to give up my entire library. When I first read the story, The Woman Who Had Shells, it felt as though the author shared a great unspoken truth about love that nobody can tell you about until you fall in love for yourself. The Orrery, another powerful story, became over time a coda for all things in my life. The last line of the story rang with church bell clarity. It was a hint of the elusive transcendence I would gradually come to understand later, however briefly. The wonder I read in Mr. Lopez's pared down words, almost twenty years ago now, have remained both a gift and guide to me long since since I first read them, and I continue to be amazed by them today.

Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape
Published in Hardcover by Scribner (February, 1986)
Author: Barry Holstun Lopez
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Arctic as Desert
It's been some years ago now that I read Arctic Dreams. I found Lopez's writing powerful and gripping; I had to read more of his work and soon did. His use of the desert as a metaphor for the arctic brought to mind not only human desire to experience and transform landscapes, but also the sense of mystery that we attach to the environment--mystery that compels us to make known the unknown, whether through myth or exploration, and mystery that drives us to wax nostalgic when those landscapes are already comprehended and inexorably altered. Before the U.S. Civil War, some maps showed the Great Plains as the "Great American Desert." Within a decade, that land and its peoples had been transfigured in popular imaginations from a mythology of mystery to one of discovery and settlement. There is much to be gained from Lopez's deeply personal engagement with the Arctic and the ways his experience informs his elucidation of others' attempts, successful and not, to imagine, discover, conquer, and finally yield to this austere geography. In doing so, Lopez manages not to lose track of the sense of wonder and myth that nearly wells up from the landscape itself.

Arctic Dreams
A must for the reader who appreciates the beauty of a suttle landscape and the adaptations animals and people make to be at home in such a place. Lopez displays a sort of intelligence and attention to detail in this book that challenges the reader to expand. Having visited the arctic before reading it, I had pictures in my mind that he explained. The local explanation of mountains "coming up for air" was breathless. Inuit comfort with that country is so astonishingly beautiful. Having worked for a local ivory sculptor in Anchorage gave me a great curiosity for this land and culture. It took a scientific explanation of the sort Lopez is so go at to feed at least some of that curiosity. If you loved this book, check out some of the works of Inuit art.

Science & Poetry ride together
I came across this book at a New York street vendor. As i like this kind of literature, i bought it, and read at once..Lopez presents not only facts,but indeed he describes the experience of arctic people in relation to landscape - like the fact of being able to distinguish various hues of white - but also describes his experience. A must!

Barry Lopez (Boise State University Western Writers Series, No. 64)
Published in Paperback by Boise State Univ (September, 1984)
Author: Peter Wild
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