My blog earlier today was already long, so I refrained from chatting about another thought I had about reading on the plane—until now. Reading (but not loving) “Pigeons” at least 20,000 feet above my bookshelf made me nostalgic for similar books that I liked more. The first one that popped in mind was Mark Kurlansky’s The Big Oyster (2006, Ballantine). It’s a delicious mix of social, cultural, and natural history, focusing on how one small bivalve helped shape New York City. You’ll find archaeology (Lenape oyster midden research), ecology (explication of the oyster’s distribution & role in water filtration), gastronomy (including historic recipes from Delmonico’s) and much more from this talented author of “Cod” (a highly-acclaimed book from 1998 that I haven’t read yet).
And by cosmic coincidence, the pile of mail that greeted me on return from my trip included a Daedalus Books catalog, complete with a “What We’re Reading” listing for The Big Oyster . Daedalus sells lots of books & music at excellent discounts, so check out all of their nature & science listings while you’re at the site. When I find an especially good bargain, I buy an extra to donate to my nature center or somewhere to spread the word.