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Suburban Safari : A Year on the Lawn - Hannah Holmes

Suburban Safari

A Year on the Lawn

Paperback Published: 1st March 2006
ISBN: 9781596910911
Number Of Pages: 262

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The suburban lawn sprouts a crop of contradictory myths. To some, it's a green oasis; to others, it's eco-purgatory. Science writer Hannah Holmes spent a year appraising the lawn through the eyes of the squirrels, crows, worms, and spiders who think of her backyard as their own. Suburban Safari is a fascinating and often hilarious record of her discoveries: that many animals adore the suburban environment, including bears and cougars venturing in from the woods; how plants, in their struggle for dominance, communicate with their own kind and battle other species; and that ways already exist for us to grow healthier, livelier lawns.
Hannah Holmes is the author of The Secret Life of Dust. Her science and travel writing has appeared in publications including the New York Times Magazine, Outside, Sierra, and the Los Angeles Times Magazine. She lives in South Portland, Maine. "Witty environmentalists are as rare as shy politicians. But in Suburban Safari, Hannah Holmes laughs at herself while celebrating the wild kingdom she explores...Holmes is a science writer who doesn't lecture. She shares the joy of discovery about the secret lives of ants, spiders and crows."-USA Today
"Holmes' backyard assumes strange, oversize proportions in the course of this fascinating book: the Bamboo Wilderness, the Insect Nation, the Freedom Lawn-who needs Mongolia?"-Los Angeles Times
"The writing is punchy and chock-full of strange and wonderful facts...Holmes makes it seem utterly commonplace to invite a chipmunk into one's home or spend the afternoon observing slugs."-Oregonian
"Holmes sends even the most jaded urbanite out into the yard with a magnifying glass and a newly forged sense of awe...One of the most unusual, entertaining, effortlessly educational homages to nature since Euell Gibbons ate a pine tree."-Mary Roach, author of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

"Holmes sends even the most jaded urbanite out into the yard with a magnifying glass and a newly forged sense of awe One of the most unusual, entertaining, effortlessly educational homages to nature since Euell Gibbons ate a pine tree." --Mary Roach, author of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers" "Witty environmentalists are as rare as shy politicians. But in "Suburban Safari," Hannah Holmes laughs at herself while celebrating the wild kingdom she explores...Holmes is a science writer who doesn't lecture. She shares the joy of discovery about the secret lives of ants, spiders and crows." "The writing is punchy and chock-full of strange and wonderful facts...Holmes makes it seem utterly commonplace to invite a chipmunk into one's home or spend the afternoon observing slugs." "Holmes' backyard assumes strange, oversize proportions in the course of this fascinating book: the Bamboo Wilderness, the Insect Nation, the Freedom Lawn--who needs Mongolia?" "Witty, imaginative, and powerful...Holmes is a Rachel Carson for 21st-century suburbia. A" "Witty, imaginative, and powerful.Holmes is a Rachel Carson for 21st-century suburbia. A"

ISBN: 9781596910911
ISBN-10: 1596910917
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 262
Published: 1st March 2006
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.9 x 14.1  x 1.8
Weight (kg): 0.25

Hannah Holmes


About the Author


I’m not a scientist. In college I majored in moldy English novels, which was the closest thing to a writing degree offered by the University of Southern Maine. I planned to be a rock star. Or an artist. I avoided the mandatory laboratory-science course until the eleventh hour, at which time I realized I should have spent the previous four years in the geology department. But it was a bit late.

After a stint as an editor at New York-based Garbage Magazine in the late 1980s, I returned to Maine to start a freelance writing career. I worked for oodles of magazines, traveled the world, and gathered a fascinating variety of fungal infections and other diseases.

In the late 1990s, I was recruited by the Discovery Channel Online for a grand experiment called live internet reporting. Under this model, Discovery detailed writers to distant and uncomfortable corners of the globe, from which we wrote daily dispatches on various subjects. I spent one unbathed month hunting dinosaurs in the depths of Mongolia’s Gobi desert, for instance. I spent another at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, where the fine volcanic ash made a ruin of my computer, fogged my contact lenses, and fixed my hair in the style of a ball of jute twine. Stuck for weeks on a research vessel in the Pacific, I endured low-grade harrassment from an unsavory researcher, but in the end found myself piloting the Alvin submarine around “black smokers” a mile and a half under the ocean. I also wrote a column called “The Skinny On…” [link] which dealt with weighty scientific issues like why your pee smells funny after you eat asparagus. It was a glorious era, until one fine day while covering an adventure race in New Zealand, when I was roused from my sleeping bag in a field of sheep doo, and pulled off the project. Discovery.com’s own plug had been pulled.

The magazine market was on the ropes, too, so I took to book-writing. My first effort, The Secret Life of Dust, was published in August, 2001. Dust had been a hard sell to publishers, but readers loved it. So did judges: It was a finalist for the prestigious Aventis Prize for Science Books in the UK. Most recently, The Secret Life of Dust has been published in Japan, where people read from right to left, and up to down. The beautiful Japanese cover is on the back, and the book has a built-in silk bookmark.

My last book, Suburban Safari: A Year on the Lawn, gave me some quality time at home. After bouncing around the world investigating the strange and exotic, I dug into the home turf – and found it every bit as weird as any other place I’ve been. All the creatures and plants we disregard on a daily basis proved to be utterly absorbing, once I observed the details of their behavior. (And make no mistake, plants behave. They also misbehave.) It was a great year, and the friendships I made continue on. At the urging of my squirrels and birds, I’ve allowed native sunflowers to take over a flower garden – the squirrels express their gratitude by decapitating the plants, leaving ugly green stalks. The latest batch of young crows are so verbal that I’m trying to teach one to talk a bit. This takes patience.

To read hannah’s revealing answers to the Booktopia Book Guru’s TEN TERRIFYING QUESTIONS…and to leave a comment - CLICK HERE

Visit Hannah Holmes's Booktopia Author Page


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