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Mountain Nature: A Seasonal Natural History of the Southern Appalachians Hardcover – April 15, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (April 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080783386X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807833865
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,733,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A lively and engaging account of the ecology of this remarkable region. . . . Stories of the animals and plants of the Southern Appalachians are intertwined with descriptions of the seasons, giving readers a glimpse into the interlinked rhythms of nature, from daily and yearly cycles to long-term geological changes. . . . Residents and visitors . . . within the region will welcome this appealing introduction to its ecological wonders.--Southeastern Naturalist

Deeply engaging and well written and should be required reading for scholars of the environmental humanities. . . . Nature enthusiasts seeking an accessible entry-point into the dazzling natural diversity of Appalachia will find Mountain Nature to be an excellent source as well; and because it covers such a wide array of subjects, even the lifelong Appalachian local will learn something new about his or her home region.--H-Net Reviews

This is a volume that can be read straight through, but it is perhaps best savored section by section as each season unfolds." --Virginia Wildlife

Fun and engaging. . . . This very accessible work will be of interest to a wide audience of readers, especially those who wish to enhance their enjoyment of the flora and fauna while exploring this major natural area of the US. . . . Highly recommended.--Choice

An homage as much as a guide, a model of regional studies and a noteworthy event.--The Read on WNC

Review

This book captured my attention immediately with the sleep patterns (or lack thereof) of animals and plants. I remained captivated by all the intricacies of nature and how interdependent we are with all species on this earth. As I look at my orchids, I know now why I have such difficulty growing them. Thanks for this wonderful insight into Mother Nature.--Katherine Skinner, North Carolina Nature Conservancy

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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See all 9 customer reviews
It's very interestingly written.
Sammy Davis
The books is also furnished with some pretty good photographs to help the reader identify these animals and plants.
Howard
I ended up starting the book in the Autumn section as that is when I started reading it.
habanero

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By andrea on August 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
When I was a child I was fortunate enough to be sent to a nature study class one summer. I was eight years old, and while the only things I remember from that class were watching Disney nature movies and learning how to identify the ginko biloba (something I was very proud of), it helped create a lifelong interest in the natural world. Dr. Frick-Ruppert's book is like having a nature study class in your hands. If you have even a passing interest in nature and the Southern Appalachians, this is the book for you.
Every sentence is packed with information. But let me be honest: when I first bought the book after a week-long vacation in the mountains, I attempted to sit down and read it straight through. Somehow that wasn't working for me and I set it aside. The book is wisely organized by seasons, and I've since found it best to read each season as you are experiencing it. So in summer, for example, I read the section on summer. Maybe no one else will need this tip, but it worked for me.
Some surprising tidbits I learned include: how (and why) squirrels handle the acorns of red oaks differently than white oaks, reasons why salamanders are more diverse in the Southern Appalachians than anywhere else on earth, why skunks are beneficial and why possums are so often the victims of cars. There's lots of information about plant life too, and life cycles in general, interspersed with little personal scenes such as the author's examination of the gargoyle's at Biltmore House (with the faces and wings of bats) or the time she was startled by an owl.
I am buying another copy of this book for a newly-engaged couple who hope to move to Transylvania County, where the author teaches. But this is not just for those who live in the Southern Appalachians or even those who visit. It's for anyone who, like me, loves nature and all the fascinating little tidbits there are to learn about it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By 5/0 on March 3, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The reviewer "Howie" provides a very excellent and accurate description of what this book is on paper.
So I will speak to what the reading experience is - or was to me, at least.
Jennifer Frick-Ruppert's prose and subject quickly leads one into a sort of serenity - almost an intimate conversation that is so engrossing it transports the reader into some semi-mystical world somewhere between the fog of the Smokies and the laugh of the New River. And like the wee wildflowers and busy little lives she describes, she leaves myriad anecdotes of ecological knowledge strewn about like tiny gems for the reader to find and put in their pocket. Somehow she makes the smallest tidbits of natural knowledge about the most humble things seem incredibly and delightfully important. I would have to describe "Mountain Nature" as either "wonderfully relaxing and delightfully refreshing" or as "wonderfully refreshing and delightfully relaxing". Either one would fit it like a suede glove.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Howard on February 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the definitive guide to Southern Appalachian ecology.

The book is kind of a hybrid between popular science (on ecology) and field guide. It is divided into four sections -- one for each season, and the author describes in detail the animals and plants that are most often observed in each season. The books is also furnished with some pretty good photographs to help the reader identify these animals and plants. I only wish more animals and plants (especially the latter) were documented and more photographs were included; however, I understand that could increase the volume and price of the book to impractical levels. As is, it is a keeper on my shelf that I can consult with every now and then, probably especially before and after my hiking trips.

If I could complain about one thing, it is the author's liberal use of exclamation marks -- many a paragraph ends with one! (I am borrowing one here too :-)). But this is rather minor and more like a humorous silliness than an annoyance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By habanero on January 21, 2014
Format: Paperback
I've been hiking Shenandoah National Park 25 years. This book described many, many things that left my mouth hanging open, my mind racing, and my eyes wide. Things I thought simple and not worth too much thought while wandering the woods were revealed as complex, sometimes magical, and a few times unimaginable. When surprising details about individual life forms or events weren't popping up, the broad and deep descriptions about hidden, interwoven, and long term processes took me on jouneys of discovery and added appreciation of the environment in which I've spent so much time. Other times she just described something I'd seen a thousand times and put a name to it (and often some delightful facts). I loved this book. I would have liked more pictures. There were a few spots that went into detail about things I cared less about and caused it to drag. But then I'd turn a page and discover something that filled me with a child's wonder. This book is now a prized possesion and I will recommend it to everyone I know with an appreciation for nature and an interest in this area and the outdoors. I ended up starting the book in the Autumn section as that is when I started reading it. I was sorry when I finished it. It would be interesting if the author wrote another..I'm sure she could find another four seasons' material. The amount of material in the current book is about right. I'll probably reread it in the spring.
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