Cover Image: Earth Almanac

Earth Almanac

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Member Reviews

I’ve always loved observing nature, and watching nature shows, so this was right up my alley. In short articles (most originally written for Audubon magazine), the author teaches us about many flora and fauna around the United States, nicely organized by season. While many times the shortness of the articles left me wanting to know more (and, therefore, putting down the book to google things) I especially loved the author’s humor that is woven into many of the articles giving them a much more human touch than most science articles.
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I found Earth Almanac to be an extremely soothing, peaceful, and informative read. Williams deftly interlaces personal observation and experience with scientific fact, building a portrait of the natural world that's as convenient as stepping outside your front door. The narrative style makes this an extremely accessible book of science, so that you almost don't even notice the volume of knowledge you're absorbing through Williams' almost lyrical writing style. A wonderful read for nature lovers and those looking for a peaceful interlude in their day.
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These nature essays are outstanding for their brevity, poetic language and engaging content.  What a great way to stop and smell the flowers.
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When I requested Earth Almanac several months ago, it was mostly because I was trying to read more nonfiction and I like nature. But now, during the pandemic, my reason has changed slightly. If you read my April wrap-up, you know that I've been trying my hand at writing nature poetry. After reading this book, I think I might try my hand at nature prose.

When I was a young adult, I wanted to be a naturalist. Particularly after reading John Muir, Aldo Leopold, and Rachel Carson. But being a naturalist didn't seem realistic in the 1990s as these people were writing nearly 100 years before. I still got a degree in biology and I went to work with native wildlife at a local zoo. Fast forward many years and now I'm writing about science. As I get closer to my 30 years and will soon retire from the day job, it has me thinking about other science I could write about. Enter Ted Williams's Earth Almanac

Williams writes a column for Audobon and this book is a collection of those essays. It is arranged by the seasons, and in short essays, he describes the wild flora and fauna that you might encounter during that season.

It starts off in winter and I didn't enjoy these essays as much as some of the other seasons. I think mostly it is because most are focused on snow and ice. As someone that lives in the deep south, we don't get much in the way of snow and ice. While Williams does mention other regions from time to time, his focus seems mostly on species found in the northern parts of the country or are widely distributed across North America. It was pretty evident that he wasn't taking into account that winter looks a lot different in the southern states when he mentioned the first rains of late winter. When it rains all winter long how to do you distinguish between the last rain of mid-winter and the first rain of late winter?

I found some of the essays boring. Either the descriptions were lacking for me or nothing new was being revealed to me. I enjoyed the essays that revealed new facts about the wildlife or plants that were the focus. Like in the essay about the plant Jack-in-the-Pulpit. My parents have them on their property, and as one of the few plants, I remember from my plant taxonomy class I have a particular fondness for the plant. In the essay, he mentions Jill-in-the-Pulpit. I don't remember this little fact about the plant from my plant classes so it made the essay more interesting. 

Williams does state up front that he tries to stay away from heavy science in the essays and while there are some fun sciency facts sprinkled it, the essays do keep away from the more in-depth science surrounding the topics. The essays are more just short observations.

As I said in the beginning of this review, my reason for reading Earth Almanac has changed slightly from when I first requested it. I've been working from home for the past 8 weeks and during that time I've been taking a 3-mile walk every afternoon. Without all the to-do lists tasks to crowd my mind, I'm trying to notice my surroundings more. This was taken up a notch when my local library asked patrons to submit their nature writings. I wrote a poem because I couldn't seem to get anything down in prose. But after reading Earth Almanac, I think I might be inspired to try an essay again. I observed some vultures on Friday that I think might be a good start.

Hey, I'm living my dream of being a recluse so maybe I can also live my dream of being a modern-day naturalist. 

If you want to up your observation skills of what you might see on a hike, or even in your backyard, then I recommend checking out this book. 

My review is published at Girl Who Reads -
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I thought this was a well written book about the various flora and fauna through the seasons. Nice pictures supported the author's narrative about the plants and animals he saw during this travels.
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I received an arc of this title from NetGalley for an honest review. This is an interesting book about flora and fauna and other nature-related things throughout one full year.
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Very personal anecdotes intersperse with a year's relating of the lifecycles of animals, plants, fungi and other events in the natural world. Lovely in its writing style, I didn't connect with the book as much as I'd hoped to.
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The Earth Almanac by Ted Williams

This a study of plants, animals, insects, birds, and water life in the United States. The Earth Almanac takes you through the seasons and how the life in the land interacts with each other. There are many biological terms so be prepared with your dictionary. There were many forms of life that I could identify with as well as many I had never heard of. Williams spends equal space on little known insects as well as a porcupine and a butterfly. 

Take your time, sit by the fire or on the porch swing with a cup of tea and delve into the tiny world under your feet or the stream behind the house or a trail in the forest. Spend time with the young ones or a friend out in nature. There is so much to learn in this book. Enjoy!
I received this copy from NetGalley and the publisher.
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Earth Almanac by Ted Williams is a free NetGalley ebook that I read into early April.

Seasonal paragraph-sized observations of nature from North America framed by extremely detailed sketches of flora and fauna. … Yup, that’s pretty much it.
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This collection of short, seasonal essays, explores a wide selection of the flora and fauna of North America. 

The essays are beautifully written, mixing amazing facts with poignant observations. There are many more types of plant and animal in America than I ever realised, and as different species are found in different parts of the vast continent, this is a fascinating book for Americans and non-Americans alike. I enjoyed the lyrical descriptions of plants, trees and various creatures and their habitats. I also liked how the essays included personal insights and experiences of the writer. 

There are some lovely mono-colour sketches to accompany some of the essays. I thought it was a shame that there were not more sketches or photos as many of the species were unfamiliar to me and probably would be to many readers outside, and possibly inside, North America. And while the essays are written in a lovely style, it wasn’t always clear from the title or introductory paragraph whether an animal, bird, insect or plant was being described and I had to read on to discover the species in question. In these cases, pictures would have helped to avoid confusion.

This is a lovely book and I recommend it to anyone who loves nature writing and the outdoors.

Thank you to NetGalley and Storey Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this title.
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Williams does a great job of capturing the natural markers and milestones of the seasons. However, the paragraphs felt disjointed when topics changed from fungi to fish to birds.
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A well written and fascinating book about the Earth and its inhabitants. It a great book and it make me reflects on the world we are living in.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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America has got plenty of interesting flora and fauna that I wanted to learn more about, and while this was my initial goal for picking up the Earth Almanac, I discovered that this book offers more than what I expected. 

The Earth Almanac is a wonderful compendium of essays grouped according to each season - a bundle of interesting facts, lore, insights, quotes and personal observations, all well-organized. And unlike scientific articles which tend to be impersonal, this book delivers facts in an evocative manner, making the essays seem rather poetic. 

There's also a certain charm to it. I'm not sure how to put it but I find the vintage-looking sketches work really well together with the poetic essays. It's absolutely riveting and calming. Not only that, each entry rouses you to become aware of all the biodiversity around you, to appreciate it and show us why conservation should be prioritized. 

It's really hard to find fault with this book except for the fact that it takes a lot of time to absorb every new piece of information. However fascinating, it would  be unrealistic for any person to read these all in one sitting. Doesn't matter anyway since I'll get a physical copy once the book comes out later this month! 

All in all, the Earth Almanac is an amazing read. I can't wait to share it with other peeps, especially my biologist friends. I know they'll be wishing to get their hands on this too. Thanks a lot to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to review an early copy of this highly informative yet evocative book! 

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I loved this!  It's a series of short essays- perfect to be read one at a time, before bed, in the morning, any time you need a lift.  I learned about birds, trees, whales, spiders- basically flora and fauna.  It's sectioned into the four seasons.  Accordingly, while I've already read the whole book, I fully intend to refer back to various essays as we move through the year.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  Just the thing to take you on an unexpected and delightful journey.
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Beautifully written, this book describes the plants, animals, insects, and inhabitants of the earth in a way that is both poetic and educational. Divided into seasons, the Earth Almanac tells in beautiful detail  many interesting facts about the plants and creatures you might encounter during each season. If love animals, plants, or just love good writing, you will love this book.

I received a free copy of this book from Storey Publishing and Netgalley. My review is voluntary.
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Thank you NetGalley and Storey Publishing for allowing me to read and review this eArc. This book is picturesquely written and covers many different plants, mammals, insects, and sea life. It is split into the four seasons and focused on imagery that can be used to see and hear the subject animals and plants. Many essays were accompanied by wonderful sketches. Where the book fell short for me was the brevity of essay. Often the introductory paragraph used colorful language to set the scene. This was followed by one to two more paragraphs that described the animal or plant. Sometimes these short essays left you wanting to learn more (which was great!); however, at other times the essays were so brief that I could not grasp what was being discussed. 

Many will enjoy this book as a guidebook, which it succeeds at being.
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FTC disclosure: I would like to thank Storey Publishing for providing me with an advance reader copy via access to the galley for free through the NetGalley program.

This was such a relaxing read that gave me a sort of feeling of gratitude and peace. I'd recommend it to anyone, especially nature lovers and anyone looking to unwind and learn a bit about plants, insects, and animals in the process. 

The cover and title drew me in, piquing my interest by bringing back memories of reading the Farmer’s Almanac on my grandparents coffee table. I loved learning about the life cycle of species and their contribution to the circle of life, even folklore, superstitions, the rationales behind them, and it was all well-suited to bring such awesome wonder contained in this book.

The writing was steady, poetic at times. It read like I was a nature observer on the ideal expedition where time was not pressed, allowing me to take it all in. With the organizational divide into seasons, the descriptions of critters, plant life, and their habitats allowed the content to really highlight the most interesting and sometimes humorous attributes that made each one stand out in the environment.

And I really appreciated that the author did not dwell on perilous, doomsday, global warming issues, but rather pointed out species that have since dwindled in number and celebrated ones that have made a comeback.

Loved the delicate sketches. I would have loved even more, even just simple schematics. 

I would like to see another one like this, even a series, perhaps specific to region.
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When he was a child, my youngest son was very  inquisitive about everything to do with animals and insects. Because of him, I developed an interest and love for these things too and was thrilled by the opportunity to read this.

In this book, the author, Ted Williams, shares beautifully written details  about animals, insects, and plants. He groups them according to the season:  Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn. This is also beautifully illustrated and would be a treasured addition to any nature lovers bookcase or coffee table.
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The author wrote nature articles for a magazine.  He has had a keen eye for the Beaty of nature from spiders to American Goldfinches.  It is an eye opening book of how much one can miss when going out on a hike through nature.  There is so much one can see in nature if we look instead of just glancing.  There is beauty throughout the forest, yet it is not easily seen.  There is such a diversity to be found in nature.  It made me think of how precious nature — what a wealth of well-being it gives us.   

The author drew me into his view of nature which I had not thought about for some time.  I found it to be a delightful experience.  The illustration included added to his writing.  It’s a book I truly enjoyed.
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A beautiful book about the seasons and the wonders that nature has to offer if you only take a moment to stop and enjoy the world around you.
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