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Manual A Short, Short Bit of a Long, Long Life

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Original Title. Other Editions 2. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Even as I look out of my office window I can see five trees in the immediate vicinity. Two are apple trees in my front garden and there are three small trees across the road on the public space.

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Along with our feather friends, they are still a part of the natural world that you can still see every day, even in a city; hence why we still feel a deep connection to them and the responses to them being removed in Sheffield from the streets. It is these connections that are deep within our subconscio Even as I look out of my office window I can see five trees in the immediate vicinity.

It is these connections that are deep within our subconscious that Stafford is celebrating. Through seventeen species of trees, including apple, poplar, ash, elm and of course oak, we will learn a little about the folklore, history and use of these trees through the ages. There is a lot to like about this book, Stafford writes well and has filled it with lots of fascinating facts and snippets about her chosen trees. On top of that, there is lots of art and photos scattered throughout the book.

Whilst it was an interesting read, for me though I felt that it lacked depth, but it is a good overview of a number of varieties of trees. View 1 comment. Nov 29, Melora rated it liked it Shelves: essays , science-ish. A catalog of trees, each entry detailing folklore, myth, science, history, and social custom related to each tree. Seventeen trees are covered, beginning with Yew and ending with Apple they were not arranged in any order I could discern , and generous black and white illustrations added much to my enjoyment. Stafford's style is appealing, and the stories of each tree are sprinkled with amusing anecdotes and selections from literature and poetry.

One minor problem for me was that there is a cert A catalog of trees, each entry detailing folklore, myth, science, history, and social custom related to each tree. One minor problem for me was that there is a certain repetitiveness involved in many of the explanations of why different trees have the cultural values that they do — either they are intimidatingly or, conversely, comfortingly long-lived, or they are inspiringly resilient, or they are reassuring symbols of seasonal rebirth, etc.

Still, as intimately intertwined in human culture as trees are, and Stafford ably illustrates this, I suppose a lot of overlap in cultural significance among various species is to be expected. The other point I would note is that this is a very British book — the trees are British trees, the references are to British traditions, locations, writers, current events, etc. As an American reader, this focus made the book a bit less engaging than it would have been had more of the references been familiar, but, still, most of it was clear and accessible.

Three stars, but I expect I'd give four if I were a British reader. Sep 30, Jason rated it really liked it Shelves: read-in I love looking at trees they can be so majestic at times. I'm quite lucky in that my place at work has some nice grounds with a wide range of trees available to see, some are hundreds of years old, we even have a couple of oaks where the trunks are nearly 2m in diameter.

I'm always checking them out looking for places to build a treehouse We have one tree, I've no idea what type it is but it's in the middle of a meadow on it I love looking at trees they can be so majestic at times. We have one tree, I've no idea what type it is but it's in the middle of a meadow on it's own, the meadow has always been there but for some reason the tree has huge metal bars sticking out of it, at some point in the past, this metal was bolted to the tree and the tree just grew around it.

This amazing book has really opened my eyes, i never realised just how much trees are ingrained in our life, from religion to place names and even flags they are always there in some form or other. The number of places and roads with names originating from trees in the UK alone is impressive. In this book Fiona Stafford gives us a nice intro into each tree, you get the basic info, the shape of leaves, the flowers and the berries.

Seneca — On the Shortness of Life

You also get a bit of history on the more famous trees and those who loved them and either wrote about or painted them. You get given an idea of how long they live and the sort of events in history they have witnessed, this is something that always blows my mind. Then she explains some of the uses that the trees have been used for, making a type of tar to catch thrushes and other small birds and the number of trees you can get drunk from, makes me all the more prepared for the apocalypse. The writing, on a topic many would get bored by, is almost poetic at times.

Even though there are many pictures included I was always popping onto my phone to google a fact, and each time it wasn't wrong True fact! I only have one issue with this book and that stops it from getting 5 stars, the book just suddenly ends, no epilogue, no final thoughts, just the last sentence about apple trees and that's it, just a long list of references. Suffering from misleading blurb syndrome In her short introduction Stafford tells us of her life-long love for trees, and discusses the place they have held through the generations in myth and art.

She points to the ambivalence of our attitude towards trees: our love, occasionally even worship, of them contrasting with our continuing destruction of forests. Some of the language she uses is lovely - evocative, lyrical even. The book then takes the format of a short chapter per species of tree. W Suffering from misleading blurb syndrome While many of the trees discussed grow in various places around the world, Stafford sticks for the most part to trees that are native to Britain.

Each chapter tells us some facts about the species — its lifespan, how it propagates, etc. There are snippets from poems and literature, showing how the tree has been seen symbolically over time — again, largely British literature. Stafford discusses how the trees have been used by humanity — what uses the wood of a particular species has been put to, whether the tree produces food or has been used for medicinal purposes and so on.

She looks at the impact of our activities on the environment and discusses threats to the species' survival where relevant. Yew wood imported from French forests might well return home to launch deadly arrows at the very people who had felled it. And where species have great longevity, such as the yew, she tells of specific trees that have found their own place in history — or perhaps legend would be more accurate — like the yew tree at Fortingall in Perthshire, still surviving today, under which, it is said, the young Pontius Pilate played when visiting Britain with his father.

So there is plenty of interest in this book. However, apart from the introduction, it is written in a workmanlike style, almost like reading entries from a well written and researched encyclopaedia. It's fact-filled and clearly well researched, but impersonal and with little or no emotional content. It has many pencil drawings, but rarely of the trees under discussion.

So there can be an entire chapter, such as the holly, for example, where there is no picture of a holly tree at all, nor even a drawing of one. Unfortunately it was the promise of lyricism and beautiful illustrations that drew me to the book, meaning that I found it disappointing.

I feel it's a victim of misleading blurb syndrome — had it been described more accurately, my expectations would have been quite different going in — in truth, I probably wouldn't have been attracted enough to read it. And yet it does what it does very well indeed — it provides a lot of interesting facts about trees and man's relationship to them over the centuries.

But for me nature writing is more about the beauty of the language and the author's personal, emotional relationship with her subject, and I didn't find that here. Hence my rather low and possibly unfair three star rating for a book that probably deserves more — the blurb in this case having led to a mismatch between book and reader. Oct 06, Kirsty rated it really liked it Shelves: kindle , october Each chapter focuses on one particular species of tree, from the yew and oak to the cherry and apple.

The historically rich pasts of the trees, and how they have been treated by humans throughout the ages, was striking. All of the photographs and illustrations which accompany each chapter were a lovely touch, and made for quite a delightful read. The Long, Long Life of Trees is not a book which I absolutely adored and will find invaluable for the rest of my life, as I am sure others will, but I feel as though I have learnt a lot, and would definitely recommend it to green-fingered friends.

Jul 29, Jennifer Rundlett rated it it was amazing. I'm loving this book. Every chapter is filled with a treasure trove of wonderful little tidbits that you can explore further. A myriad of facts, along with historical connections to how these magnificent trees influence our lives. A perfect gift for those who love literary connections to the garden.

May 07, Juliet Wilson rated it really liked it Shelves: nature. This is a beautifully produced book that focuses on a selection of tree species and looks at how we have used them and represented them in art through the years.

Drake - Nice For What

The trees are: yew, cherry, rowan, olive, cypress, oak, ash, poplar, holly, sycamore, birch, horse chestnut, elm, willow, hawthorn, pine, apple. The long introduction to the volume gives an overview of the human relationship with trees, with this very timely and relevant paragraph catching my eye: 'It is often only when local trees are This is a beautifully produced book that focuses on a selection of tree species and looks at how we have used them and represented them in art through the years.

The long introduction to the volume gives an overview of the human relationship with trees, with this very timely and relevant paragraph catching my eye: 'It is often only when local trees are on the verge of disappearance that people begin to realise just how much them mean The sense of loss prompted by treee felling has been echoing through British culture for centuries. Plans for new building projects that are known to put green sites at risk provoke passionate protests. Whether the threat comes from new roads, High Speed rail, supermarkets or plant pathogens, the urge to defend the environment, to stand up for ancient rights and save the trees for future generations is widely felt.

It also explores the cultural impact of the mass loss of trees to disease, including describing a notable feature of Edinburgh's Botanic Gardens: 'Elms have now become incontrovertible figures of loss The Aeolian Pavilion in Edinburgh Botanic Gardens is a memorial to the species, but instead of relying on a small plaque The tree is gone and the garden emptier, as the wind plays over the Ossianic harp strings, creating a plaintive requiem. Dec 14, Ryan Williams rated it it was amazing.

“Three Short Moments in a Long Life” by John L’Heureux | The New Yorker

A pity this book is published by a University Press. It is the direct opposite of too many books these days: it makes ordinary things interesting and imparts much wisdom without any apparent effort. John McPhee would have been proud of this book. Nov 29, Mary Alice rated it did not like it.

The library classification number, placing this book in mythology, is more informative than the title. This book is disappointingly more about myths than about trees. It is more about what people think of particular trees than about the trees themselves. Pseudoplatanus means false sycamore. A maple has never been an animal. Day length, and the increase or decrease in daylight hours, also affect plants and how they grow. Soil is another influence. Also, perhaps some entomology would have been useful here.

Language Questions

She might also have looked into how Steve Jobs selected Apple for his computer brand. If I had seen this book first in a library instead of a bookstore, which is more randomly arranged, I would have skipped it entirely. Dec 27, Karen rated it really liked it. I picked up this book because I have a friend who is very interested in trees, thinking it might be a good thing to give him as a gift.

It is a collection of short pieces, essays really, each covering the natural and social history of a specific tree. I didn't read every chapter, but only the ones that particularly interested me. The author is British, so many of the stories focus on trees found in Britain, but she does a good job describing trees from all over the world. It is well written and I picked up this book because I have a friend who is very interested in trees, thinking it might be a good thing to give him as a gift.

It is well written and nicely illustrated, and even the paper is a very high quality. It was a pleasure to read and will be a pleasure to gift. Oct 24, Ben rated it really liked it. Mastering even a few of the elements of fiction while learning the craft will prove to be quick wins for you as you gain momentum as a writer. In the publishing world, short story always refers to fiction.

And short stories come varying shapes and sizes:. Is there really a market for a short story of 5, words roughly 20 double-spaced manuscript pages?

Word Lists

Well, sort of. They are really more gimmicks, but they exist. He wrote: For sale: baby shoes. Never worn. Writing a compelling short story is an art, despite that they are so much more concise than novels. Which is why I created this complete guide:. Read hundreds of them—especially the classics. You learn this genre by familiarizing yourself with the best. See yourself as an apprentice. Watch, evaluate, analyze the experts, then try to emulate their work. A lot of the skills you need can be learned through osmosis. Where to start? Read Bret Lott , a modern-day master.

He chose one of my short stories for one of his collections. Reading two or three dozen short stories should give you an idea of their structure and style.

That should spur you to try one of your own while continuing to read dozens more. One can accommodate an epic sweep of a story and cover decades with an extensive cast of characters. Naturally, that dramatically restricts your number of characters, scenes, and even plot points. Your goal is to get to a resounding ending by portraying a poignant incident that tell a story in itself and represents a bigger picture. Yes, it might get changed by editors, but it must grab their attention first. As you might imagine, this is as crucial in a short story as it is in a novel.

So use the same basic approach:. Tell your reader just enough to make her care about your main character, then get to the the problem, the quest, the challenge, the danger—whatever it is that drives your story. Rather than recite how a Frenchman got to America, merely mention the accent he had hoped to leave behind when he emigrated to the U. Short stories are, by definition, short.


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Every sentence must count. If even one word seems extraneous, it has to go. In a short story this can often be accomplished quickly, as long as it resounds with the reader and makes her nod. The rest of the story is him telling the cabbie how deeply his life choices have hurt his family. The story ends with the taxi pulling into view of his childhood home, only to find not only the porch light on, but also every light in the house and more out in the yard. That ending needed no elaboration. The lights say it all. All writing is rewriting. And remember, tightening nearly always adds power. Omit needless words.

Jim walked in through the open door and sat down in a chair. The crowd clapped their hands and stomped their feet. Learn to tighten and give yourself the best chance to write short stories that captivate your reader. Writing contests are great because the winners usually get published in either a magazine or online—which means instant visibility for your name. Such publications cater to audiences who love stories written in their particular literary category.