Monday, May 9, 2011

"Wild North Carolina: Discovering the wonders of our state's natural communities" by David Blevins and Michael P. Schafale

Working in a small library in North Carolina, I thought we should definitely have a book like this. It's one of those that may not circulate overly often, but it's got a lot of very important information relevant to our state, just as the book's subtitle indicates. It's packed full of information on the "natural communities" (wilderness areas that are untouched by man in any way), giving you places you can find each community, what sort of vegetation you can expect and why, how they were formed, etc. The authors have an obvious love for the subject and have done extensive research. The book moves from the western part of the state to the coastline on the eastern side, a natural progression in itself.

Probably the most wonderful thing about this work are the numerous photos included. If you want a good look at North Carolina, the beauty of our state, this is definitely a book to pick up. There's a picture of some sort on nearly every page, including scenic views of the natural community, specific vegetation in a community, and even some fauna/birds/insects native to that community. I learned a good deal just from the lovely pictures!

My problem with this book boils down to the writing: it's dry as toast. For two men who love nature and want to protect these places, they don't translate that into writing that made me want to go out and save them. I realize this isn't a thriller or romantic adventure, but there's no reason that non-fiction has to be presented in such a factual way, either. Facts are good, but if you're trying to rally support for a cause, you need more active dialogue. By the end of the book, I was skimming the text and looking more at the pictures, not the response I'm sure the authors had in mind.

Overall, I'm still glad we picked it up for our library system. It's what I consider solid information, something that we need on our shelves along with the James Patterson and John Grisham and such.

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