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Small Wonder Format Kindle

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Format Kindle, 13 octobre 2009
EUR 9,67

Longueur : 300 pages Composition améliorée: Activé Langue : Anglais

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Descriptions du produit

From AudioFile

Those familiar with Barbara Kingsolver's work are aware of her distinctive literary voice. In the audiobook version of her most recent collection of essays, listeners are also treated to her actual voice, and the result is pleasing. With beautiful language and heartbreaking turns of phrase, Kingsolver reflects on the world community and one's individual role in it. The author's actual voice is as thoughtful and quietly strong as her written voice, lending a certain calm to her thought-provoking commentary. Hearing a brilliant author read her own work is rewarding in this case. No matter what one thinks about Kingsolver's worldviews--she loves her country and sees its flaws as well--this audiobook is timely and interesting. L.B.F. © AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

Revue de presse

“Observant, imaginative, and both lucid and impassioned.” (Book Magazine)

“This book of essays by Barbara Kingsolver is like a visit from a cherished old friend.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“Kingsolver possesses a rare depth of understanding of nature’s complex mechanisms.” (San Francisco Chronicle Book Review)

“A delightful, challenging, and wonderfully informative book.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

“Essays … [of] great skill and wisdom.” (Booklist)

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1154 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 300 pages
  • Editeur : HarperCollins e-books; Édition : Reprint (13 octobre 2009)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) HASH(0x95b6eb4c) étoiles sur 5 127 commentaires
63 internautes sur 64 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x95b8d888) étoiles sur 5 A thought-provoking collection of personal/political essays 21 août 2002
Par davisite - Publié sur
Format: Relié
I am a long-time fan of all of Barbara Kingsolver's novels (The Bean Trees, Pigs in Heaven, Animal Dreams, The Poisonwood Bible, Prodigal Summers), so I was interested to hear more about the person and the views behind the stories. Small Wonders did not disappoint. Kingsolver makes it clear that for her, the personal is political, meaning that the choices that we make as individuals have political impact. So, the essays are wide-ranging, from her family life and her garden, to her concerns about the natural environment and thoughts about the U.S.'s reaction to Sept. 11. The essays are well-written, interesting, and thought provoking. I found myself agreeing with most of the points that she makes, and many of her ideas linger afterward; for example, she asks us to consider the environmental costs of shipping food all over the world, instead of eating what is grown locally. Or what it means to have TV streaming into your home every day. Or what the consquences of genetically engineering food might be, not just for our health, but for the environment. I recommend the book highly to fans of her novels as well as to people interested in a thoughtful read.
Some may disagree with her post-Sept. 11 analysis -- her concern about our country's agressive response. To those I would say, all the more reason to read the book, and hear her side of it, even if you ultimately disagree, exactly because voices such has hers have received little airplay. Here, her own words say it better than I could:
"Questioning our government's actions does not violate the principles of liberty, equality, and freedom of speech; it exercises them, and by exercise we grow stronger. I have read enough of Thomas Jefferson to feel sure he would back me up on this. Our founding fathers, those vocal critics of imperalism, were among the first leaders to understand that to a democratic people, freedom of speech and belief are not just nice luxuries, they're as necessary as breathing. The authors of our Constituion knew, from experience with King George and company, tha governments don't remain benevolent to the interests of all, including their less powerful members, without constant vigilance and reasoned criticism. And so the founding fathers guarenteed the right of reasoned criticism in our citizenship contract--for always. No emergency shutdowns allowed. However desperate things may get, there are to be no historical moments when beliefs can be abridged, vegetarians required to praise meat, Christians forced to pray as Muslims, or vice versa. Angry critics have said to me in stressful periods, "Don't you understand it's wartime?" As if this were just such a moment of emergency shutdown. Yes, we all know it's wartime. It's easy to speak up for peace in peacetime--anybody can do that. Now is when it gets hard. But our flag is not just a logo for wars; it's the flag of American pacificists, too. It's the flag of all of us who love our country enough to do the hard work of living up to its highest ideals."
28 internautes sur 29 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x95b8d8dc) étoiles sur 5 Powerful! 28 septembre 2002
Par Niki Collins-queen, Author - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Barbara Kingsolver, a biology graduate and author, ends her first story in "Small Wonder" by writing, "I'd like to speak of small wonders and the possibility of taking heart."
Instead of having a dangerous nationalistic attitude by saying, "Hey, America's the best!" she shows her patriotism for her country by celebrating the good and shining light on the bad so that we as a country might heal.
With great insight and compassion Kingsolver gently helps us become more knowledgeable about our country's challenges and eloquently puts into words what many of us think and feel.
About conservation she says the U.S. citizen's compromise 5% of the world's people and uses a quarter of its fuel. The U.S. belongs to the 20% of the world's population that generates 75% of its pollution. Although we are the world's biggest contributors to global warming we walked away from ratifying the Kyoto agreement with the 178 other nations in 2001. Instead of eating local produce the average American's food travels 5 million miles by land, sea and air. Yet our country possesses the resources to bring solar technology, energy independence and sustainable living to our planet.
About the Government she says we live in the only rich country in the world that still tolerates poverty. In Japan, some European countries and Canada the state assumes the duty of providing all its citizens with good education, good health and shelter. These nations believe that homelessness simply isn't an option. The citizens pay higher taxes than the U.S. and so they have smaller homes, smaller cars, and appetites for consumer goods. They realize true peace is not the absence of tension but the presence of justice.
About wars she says, "The losers of all wars are largely the innocent." Seventy thousand people died in one minute when we bombed Japan in World War II. Then twice that many died slowly from the inside. "Vengeance does not subtract any numbers from the equation of murder, it only adds them." In the last 30 years our government has helped finance air assaults in Afghanistan, Chile, El Salvador, Grenada, Iran, Libya, Lebanon, Nicaragua, Panama, the Sudan, Vietnam and Yugoslavia. Most wars and campaigns are to maintain our fossil-fuel dependency and our wasteful consumption of unnecessary things. We need to stop being a nation who solves problems by killing people and to "aspire to waste not and want less."
About global commerce she says we have a history of overtaking the autonomy and economy of small countries with our large corporations. For example, U.S. corporations and the World Trade Organization are placing pressure on farmers of other countries to buy genetically altered seeds that kill their own embryos. This means the farmers will always have to buy new seeds and pesticides from these companies. The pesticides and insecticides not only kill the unwanted bugs but also the beneficial insects and microbes that sustain, pollinate or cull different species. Kingsolver does not advocate the transfer of DNA genes between species to form genetically altered seeds. We need the checks and balances of genetic variability-it's nature's sole insurance policy. Without genetic variability entire crops are wiped out when environments change or crop strains succumb to disease. Our canceling the insurance policy of genetic variability is "a fist in the eye of God!" A few large American agricultural corporations control these genetically altered seeds and crops.
Kingsover's essays are parables for a gentler, kinder country and world.
22 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x95b8dd14) étoiles sur 5 A thought-provoking book......a place for reflection and solace. 9 août 2006
Par monbaby - Publié sur
Format: Broché
I agree with the reviewer who cautioned to take this book in small doses. I was moved to tears by the second page, and realized I needed to pace myself. On that second page, Kingsolver was describing the story of a lost child in Iraq (who was found)....her point of view was from the parents of this child, and the heart-wrenching terror they must have felt as the babysitter came running towards them in tears, without their son. This story has an incredible ending, and an incredible does each essay. Some essays are heavy and may provoke thoughts or ideology that makes you uncomfortable, or disagreeable. That is okay.....that is the point of these essays. (As for the reviewer who noted the author's "sexist" remarks - tell me how many women have started a war. Hello? Open your eyes. That is not a sexist statement, it's a fact). If more people would take Kingsolver's gentle, thoughtful manner of considering how our actions affect the global community and our future generations, maybe we could really improve upon our reputation as uncooperative, self-serving, greedy and over-consumptive Americans. Maybe.

As for reviewers who likened this to an anti-Bush or post-9/11 rant, they obviously didn't read the entire book. There are beautiful essays detailing a trip to the heart of Mexico, gardening with her daughters, and the long-term effects of the food choices we make - among many others.

All in all, I did find myself coming to this book on my lunch hour for a good dose of hope and solace. Sometimes taking time to acknowledge one small wonder in this hectic world can make your mood a little bit lighter.
15 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x95b8f0fc) étoiles sur 5 My Review From Southwest BookViews Summer 2002 26 janvier 2005
Par Kim Messier - Publié sur
Format: Broché
After Barbara Kingsolver accumulated a number of editorial pieces in response to the September 11 attacks, friends pointed out that she had a book in the making. As she writes in her forward, "These and other essays that began as short op-ed or magazine pieces inhaled and expanded to new girths when I offered them the chance to appear in a book."

Small Wonder is novelist Kingsolver's second collection of essays following High Tide in Tucson published in 1995. This volume consists of twenty-three thoughtful (and thought-provoking) works on a variety of subjects including the value of short stories and poetry, why television is not watched in her household, homelessness, culture shock in Japan, and the dangers of genetic engineering.

Conservatives and right-wingers,according to Kingsolver, seem to consider her political views naïve and wrong-headed. In "Small Wonder" she answers, "I find it insufferable to bear silent witness to the flesh-and-bone devastations of war, and bitterly painful to be cast sometimes as a traitor to the homeland I love, simply because I raise questions."

Still, others (myself included) view her as valiant for speaking out about what she believes. I may not always agree with Kingsolver's views, but I always enjoy reading them and respect her for raising hard questions Americans simply do not want to face. "...Everybody in the world, Turkestanis included, already knows global warming is the most important news on every possible agenda-except here in the United States, where that info has been successfully suppressed," she asserts in "The One-Eyed Monster, and Why I Don't Let Him In."

She seems to perceive her role as a canary in the coal mine of the world we will pass down to our grandchildren. "This is the lot I was cast, to sit here on this sharp, jagged point between two centuries when so much of everything hangs in the balance." Issuing a wake-up call to those readers who may otherwise be unaware of the serious issues facing the globe, she presents them in as pleasant and entertaining a manner as possible.

The first half of this collection may feel more didactic than Kingsolver's earlier works. Much of her time and energy in these first works is taken up with issues of conservation, environmentalism, biodiversity and "irresponsible agriculture." With the repetition of environmental themes the reader may feel as if they are being hammered over the head as the author drives home her point.

The title piece and "Saying Grace," especially, don't flow well, feeling forced. Don't let that daunt you. "Knowing our Place," about her sense of where she lives and works, and "The Patience of a Saint," co-authored with husband Steven Hopp, exploring the endangered San Pedro River, are two less heavy-handed works in this section.

The last half of this volume is simply a joy. "Marking a Passage" is an elegy to the closing of the Book Mark, Tucson's landmark independent bookstore. The companion pieces of "Letter to a Daughter at Thirteen" and the stunning "Letter to My Mother" are achingly heartfelt Kingsolver classics. She creates fluid and lyrical prose that draws the reader into her world, assembling words more gracefully than most accomplished writers.

Take this passage from "Setting Free the Crabs" for example: "The deliberate, monotonous call and response of the waves-assail, retreat-could have held me here forever in a sunlight that felt languid as warm honey on my skin." I am always amazed, amused, enlightened and enthralled by her words and am engrossed by her perspective on the human condition. This collection is no exception.

My initial reading of Barbara Kingsolver was shortly after the publication of her debut novel The Bean Trees. That book was forced into my I-don't-read-fiction hands by a number of my Haunted Bookshop coworkers. Until then I did not know writing could be so eloquent. My devotion for Kingsolver and her work has not waned. I have become a champion of her words, recommending them to anyone who will listen.

Kingsolver also is a grand ambassador of Tucson and Southern Arizona, shining an inspiring light on the desert Southwest. Tucsonans are mighty proud to call her one of their own: she is a genuinely warm, caring and generous individual. I have seen her patiently sign books and chat with her fans for hours on end, treating the very last person at the table with the same cheerfulness and gratitude as the first to stand in line.

In Small Wonder it is evident she cares more about the world than herself. Kingsolver is a person (and writer) I strive to be more like. She thinks globally and acts locally. Some of her readers, upon meeting her in person, have simply said, "Thank you. Keep writing." I add my voice to that chorus.
15 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x95b8f1e0) étoiles sur 5 Not brilliant, but worth reading 14 mai 2003
Par Joe Sherry - Publié sur
Format: Relié
For all the outcry about Barbara Kingsolver's anti-American, anti-war stance in this book, I was expecting some sort of long winded, rant of a diatribe against U.S. policy in the wake of September 11, 2001. That is what I was expecting. That is what some readers of the book had claimed, that it was ultra-left wing, too preachy, too mired in politics, and riddled with hypocrisy.
I disagree. I thought that this was a well written and interesting collection of essays. Also, the collection was not the amount of politicized essays that I had expected and was led to believe. Most of the essays reflect Kingsolver's ecological interests and themes that we see in her novels (most notably in Prodigal Summer). While some essays skirt around the reality of September 11, most deal with the day to day living that Kingsolver experiences and how she tries to live her life in the most environmentally friendly way possible. She writes about independent booksellers are going out of business and how her first novel "The Bean Trees" was heavily pushed through independent stores and this is how the word of mouth spread. And yes, Barbara Kingsolver does write about September 11. She refuses to accept that the attack was at all justified but does acknowledge that there was an explanation for how the hatred for the United States has probably come in part from our foreign policy. To me, this does not seem like it such a radical opinion. While she does spend a little bit of time (one or two essays, really) on some of the political aspects of 9/11, the other times she addresses the subject is in the impact that it has had in her life and her family, and in communities. She grounds most of her writing in the commonplace that is the focus of her fiction.
I don't agree with everything that Kingsolver believes in and writes about, but she is eloquent in her essays and I am glad to have read them. As she provides an alternate viewpoint to that which is normally presented in the media/society/government today, it is even more important read such dissident voices. Disagree as we may on a given subject, one of the most important freedoms in America is the right to speak against what one believes is wrong. Barbara Kingsolver is a small voice, but a well spoken one. We should at least listen before dismissing out of hand.
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