The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2022, Ed by Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

(finished 3/31)
The Forward and Introduction to this book of essays/articles are both quite good,  enjoyable, and informative. But it still took me some time to “get into” the whole and I was cautious for a long time even after I did.  The reader was told about the selection process and the organization by theme, but there was nothing to warn me about the organization by mood.  Actually the Editor plainly states that you can read it in any order you want.  I’m just a literal thinker and like things organized – 

The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2022,
Ed by Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson
11/2022 / 324 pages
read by a cast
Rating: 8 / nature anthology

I found the first two or three Sections of this year’s anthology so depressing I almost gave up on the whole book. But Section 4, “Humans Are a Part of Nature” showed real promise so I continued. And by then I was half-way through and as I progressed the tone got more and more promising, lighter. and the theme more solution oriented.  

Okay – but I’m also a very literal and organized type of person and I read books from front to back. That makes most sense to me and that’s what I did. I may go back and read a few I particularly appreciated and skip others. We’ll see.

Some thoughts:

Overall there seemed to me to be a few more Native American essays than one usually finds in these anthologies and there were definitely more women authors this time, but I’ve only read 2 or 3 of the Science and Nature anthologies. One Amazon reviewer commented that 28 of the 33 essays were written by women. Ronin

I also have to mention that one of my favorite nonfiction writers has a story here- “How We Drained California” by Mark Arax. It’s new – not from a book he’s published previously although this is his usual topic. I’m really glad he’s still going – maybe he’ll do another book. I’ve read 3 of his 4 books.

I think the best essay of the book was in  Section 4 “Ways of Knowing.”  I actually stopped putting my digital puzzle together and read with listening going back to catch something which maybe wasn’t quite clear.  “It’s Not Your Face” Page 205  Section 4, “Ways of Knowing\

The following line, from the last essay in the first section, was just kind of curious because of how often my reading group has come across Humboldt in our readings of the past year or so.  

“The nineteenth-century naturalist Alexander von Humboldt dismissed the birds as parasites.”
“How Far Does Wildlife Roam? Ask the Internet of Animals.”
  p 33
by Sonia Shah From The New York Times Magazine

Maybe we are progressing.

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2 Responses to The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2022, Ed by Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

  1. I love our Australian version of this though have only managed to read a couple of annuals but I learn so much. And wonder of wonders some of term stock in my brain!

    I think these sort of anthologies are meant to be read in order. Editors put a lot of thought into ordering these things.


  2. Yes, Sue, I’ve convinced myself to put next year’s edition on my Wish List already. 🙂 And I agree with reading them in order – after I read her introduction the Sections certainly work together.


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