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on September 5, 1999
Possibly the best yet of Raymo's wonderful expositions on the natural world. He waxes as poetic as Annie Dillard on the mystical quality of nature, but as a scientist by trade, also includes Lewis Thomas-like passages that could slip into a mini-science-textbook; thoughtful, beguiling commentary and questions on the cosmos and our place in it. Superb! Leaves this reader craving for more.
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on August 20, 2003
How does he get science to sound beautiful? To me Natural Prayers is a science book, but in the way children like science. Through the senses. A mindful book, Chet Raymo takes natural science and important literary contibutions and comfortably delivers a number of short, easy to read discussions, for us to absorb effortlessly. This is a book I will keep at hand.
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on November 10, 2012
I really enjoy Chet Raymo's writing style. However this book was not what I expected. I was anticipating a collection of nature inspired 'prayers' that would not require the idea of a 'God', but would be inspired by a reverence for nature powerful enough to stand on their own. The collection was enjoyable to read, but was really more a collection of thoughtful essays.
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on March 11, 2009
I took my time to carefully read each chapter of this book and plan to purchase it in the future (I found it at my local library). Raymo is a gifted writer who makes science and nature approachable and awesome at the same time. For those of you who prefer a rational (non-religious) approach to appreciating nature, you will love this book. If you are from or just enjoy the New England area, this book has much to explain about the region. Broken down into moon cycles, earth 'holidays' and cross-quarter days, each section takes you on a journey into the natural world.
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VINE VOICEon December 5, 2014
I enjoy reading books filled with nature writing. Several volumes by Chet Raymo already sit on my shelves. I thought it was time to add another one. I'm glad I did.

"Natural Prayers" is a collection of 48 seasonal nature observations and ruminations. Raymo follows one full year, from Spring to Winter, and offers one piece for each phase of the moon within each season. This is a quiet but meaningful arrangement and progression. And the writing is not prayer-like, or at least not in a traditional sense. Yet the text could be a prompting toward spirituality, if you consider Nature to be your church.

Here we find encounters with scenes and species that we could and should be grateful for. There are some casual views from Ireland and New England, near the author's residences. And Raymo also addresses a few typical environmental or nature topics, including some of heaviest hitters toward the end: animal rights, human intrusions, and the definition of Wildness. It's all here.

He's a man of science. But this is not an overly complex scientific treatise. We do figure out quickly that he has affinity for astronomy and for the beauties and wonders of the night-time sky. This book also provides the best tribute to wooly bear caterpillars that I've ever read. (In Autumn Equinox, First Quarter Moon, pp. 179-183.)

Fans of Henry David Thoreau will find enough references here to appease them. Those who may not be Thoreau-inclined can gloss over those quotes or choose to be freshly inspired by them.

The more Chet Raymo I read, the more I like. My favorite book to date is The Path: A One-Mile Walk Through the Universe. In it, Raymo examines every possible aspect of the route he walks each day to his teaching job at Stonehill College in North Easton, Massachusetts. It's an amazing slice-of-life representation of the make-up of our entire world.

I highly recommend "Natural Prayers" to lovers of nature and also to anyone in the mood for a quiet and literary escape to interesting natural places. Who knows? Readers may be prodded to go outside and to find some nifty scenes in their own neighborhoods as a result.
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on September 6, 2014
I read this following Raymo's earlier awesome, "When God Is Gone Everything Is Holy."
Seeing the natural world as cathedral, Raymo, in "Natural Prayers," makes the case in this series of essays, that one's attention to and appreciation of details in the plant and animal kingdoms is the noblest form of praise.
And contrary to popular wisdom that science and spirituality are pitted against each other, he claims that scientific research reveals even more just how awesome nature is.
As with his other books, the writing is beautiful, a joy to savor and to read again and again.
Joe Mc Kay, author, "Crazy About Words: toasting our language since 2003!"
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on January 25, 2016
Spiritually and scientifically superb
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