Ireland 590 A.D. A woman is found by a track, nearly dead from appalling wounds and remembers nothing. Her terror and her injuries are so great that she is given sanctuary in Mother Gobnait's unusual community of nuns, while all around her a war is being waged in which she is a pawn. The women name her Aine. Disturbing fragments of Aine's memory begin to surface, and in desperation she asks to remain in the safety of the community, but is it really safe for her anywhere? It is only after events take another terrible turn that Aine is forced to discover who she really is and make life-changing choices - but will they prove to be her undoing? A literary novel inspired by real women - complex female characters who strain against the cruel chains and crippling prejudices of a society where no woman has power. Except, perhaps, one... Kristin Gleeson has performed with admirable deftness the difficult trick of sweeping the reader back in time to the distant emotional and physical landscapes of 6th century Ireland. The result is a highly readable and continuously rewarding novel that the reader does not want to end--Tim Weed, author of Will Poole's Island I found in this well-told story, the first strokes of paint on the huge, mostly blank, canvas that is our image and perception of our Irish or Gaelic past - the canvas of our increasingly dispossessed native culture. I found myself drawn into a realm that felt oddly familiar and full of cultural touchstones of the indigenous Irish past, faint echoes of which still linger in parts of this island today.In Praise of the Bees is a good read. GuIm faoi scAth is dIdean Gobnait is AbAin tU - go mairir--Peadar O Riada
This fascinating and comprehensive book explores the bee's place in human society from prehistoric cave paintings and inscribed clay tablets through to our contemporary world - a cabinet whose drawers are filled with nuggets of bee science and practical beekeeping, myth, religion, politics, philosophy and folklore. There is a selection of verse and a rich variety of illustrations ranging from Old Masters and scientific etchings to modern photographs. An in-depth look at bees' complex society and their present plight, the ongoing political and scientific to and fro regarding pesticides and other threats are also discussed, given the bee's importance as plant pollinator in agriculture and the wild.
About 16 centuries ago, an unknown Indian author or authors gathered together the diverse threads of already ancient traditions and wove them into a verbal tapestry that today is still the central text for worshippers of the Hindu Devi, the Divine Mother. This spiritual classic, the Devimahatmya, addresses the perennial questions of the nature of the universe, humankind, and divinity. How are they related, how do we live in a world torn between good and evil, and how do we find lasting satisfaction and inner peace? These questions and their answers form the substance of the Devimahatmya. Its narrative of a dispossessed king, a merchant betrayed by the family he loves, and a seer whose teaching leads beyond existential suffering sets the stage for a trilogy of myths concerning the all-powerful Divine Mother, Durga, and the fierce battles she wages against throngs of demonic foes. In these allegories, her adversaries represent our all-too-human impulses toward power, possessions, and pleasure. The battlefields symbolize the field of human consciousness on which our livesâ€™ dramas play out in joy and sorrow, in wisdom and folly. The Devimahatmya speaks to us across the ages of the experiences and beliefs of our ancient ancestors. We sense their enchantment at nature's bounty and their terror before its destructive fury, their recognition of the good and evil in the human heart, and their understanding that everything in our experience is the expression of a greater reality, personified as the Divine Mother.
The Secret Virtues, Astonishing History, and Dangerous Lore of the World's Most Hated Plant
Author: Anita Sanchez
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Deadly. Powerful. Beautiful. The much-hated plant called poison ivy is all of these—and more. Poison ivy has long irritated humans, but the astounding paradox is that poison ivy is a plant of immense ecological value. In Praise of Poison Ivy explores the vices and virtues of a plant with a dramatic history and a rosy future. Once planted in gardens from Versailles to Monticello, poison ivy now has a crucial role in the American landscape. The detested plant is a lens through which to observe the changes and challenges that face our planet. For centuries, poison ivy has bedeviled, inconvenienced, and downright tortured the human race. This book covers the unique history of the plant, starting with the brash and adventurous explorer Captain John Smith, who “discovered” poison ivy the hard way in 1607. Despite its irritating qualities, the magnificent scarlet-and-gold autumn foliage lured Virginia entrepreneurs to export the vine to Europe, making it one of the earliest documented New World plants to cross the Atlantic, and its meteoric rise to fame as–of all unlikely things—a garden plant. Showcased in the pleasure grounds of emperors and kings, poison ivy was displayed like a captive tiger, admired by Thomas Jefferson, Marie Antoinette, and Josephine Bonaparte. Today, poison ivy is valued by environmentalists and native plant enthusiasts who name it one of our most important plants for wildlife as well as for soil conservation. In Praise of Poison Ivy will reveal why, in its native American habitat, poison ivy is a plant of astonishing ecological value. Poison ivy leaves are an important wildlife food, and the berries are a crucial source of winter nutrition for beloved bird species like robins, bluebirds and cardinals. On a national listing of hundreds of native plants that are of value to wildlife, poison ivy ranks seventh in importance. InPraise of Poison Ivy also explores the question of why this plant is apparently on a mission to give us humans grief, from itchy ankles to life-threatening medical emergencies. The book will examine why poison ivy targets humans, but no other species, and explain the mystery of why a privileged few are immune to its itchy consequences. Since the time of John Smith and Pocahontas, the American landscape has changed in countless ways—many obvious, some subtle. This book will reveal why there is far more poison ivy on the planet now than there was in 1607, with lots more on its way. It examines the ecological reasons for poison ivy’s rosy future, note the effects of climate change on native plants, and investigate the valuable role that poison ivy could play in our changing world.
This is the first book to explore in detail the world history of humankind's use of bees from prehistoric times to the present day. Both rock art and recent field studies have shown how honey hunters obtained their harvest from bees' nests. Honey has always been the chief prize, but bee brood has been eaten as meat, and beeswax has been utilized in many technologies. Bees, honey, and wax have special symbolic significance in both early beliefs and later world religions. But perhaps bees' greatest benefit has been their pollination of crops.
Nepotism is one of those social habits we all claim to deplore in America; it offends our sense of fair play and our pride in living in a meritocracy. But somehow nepotism prevails; we all want to help our own and a quick glance around reveals any number of successful families whose sons and daughters have gone on to accomplish objectively great things, even if they got a little help from their parents. In this wide-ranging, surprising, and eloquently argued book, Adam Bellow takes a pragmatic and erudite look at the innate human inclination toward nepotism. From ancient Chinese clans to the papal lineages of the Renaissance, to American families like the Gores, Kennedys, and Bushes, Bellow explores how nepotism has produced both positive and negative effects throughout history. As he argues, nepotism practiced badly or haphazardly is an embarrassment to all (including the incompetent beneficiary), but nepotism practiced well can satisfy a deep biological urge to provide for our children and even benefit society as a whole. In Praise of Nepotism is a judicious look at a controversial but timeless subject that has never been explored with such depth or candor, and a fascinating natural history of how families work.