I didn’t know what to expect when I picked up The Tiger by John Vaillant. My friend John-Fred Pope told me it was about a man hunting a tiger, and this is true. But I also got real encounters with the tiger and all the people whose lives were tied up with its own. I got a better understanding of Russian conservation and economic difficulties. Perhaps most far-reaching was the author’s ability to receive reality and to pass it along. At the risk of backseat editing, a better title might have been The Tiger: A True Story of Russia and Everything Else.
I helped a friend get a new bookshelf a few Saturdays ago. While he set it up, I sat on the floor of a his room looking at his books. When we got to John R. Trimble’s Writing with Style, my friend told me it was the best book on writing he had ever read. I’d never heard of it before, but I borrowed it from him the same day.
Trimble writes in a preface to the book that he wanted it to be “short, fun and genuinely useful.” He hits all three targets.
Walker Percy’s The Message in the Bottle is a grouping of essays he’s written over the years about “how queer man is, how queer language is, and what one has to do with the other.” I’m not sure I’m qualified to discuss it, because I don’t really know enough about semiotics or man’s strange state. But here goes!