A Field Guide to Getting Lost Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0143037248
ISBN-10: 0143037242
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  • Length: 236 pages
  • Word Wise: Enabled
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Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
The bestselling author of "Encyclopedia an Ordinary Life" returns with a literary experience that is unprecedented, unforgettable, and explosively human. Hardcover | Kindle book
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Product Details

  • File Size: 347 KB
  • Print Length: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (June 27, 2006)
  • Publication Date: June 27, 2006
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002GOP9FY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195,271 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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By Anna Mills on June 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
The first question is, what is a field guide to getting lost? Field guides help us with finding, not losing or getting lost. We use them to classify the unfamiliar and figure out what surrounds us. They reassure us that the bewildering array of natural phenomena has an underlying order. Solnit's title suggests we might also want our schemas to break down. Can we catalogue the various ways of getting lost as we might catalogue songbirds? The paradox feels whimsical, mocking, alluring. Like the title, the tone of the book will hover between the urge to know and the urge not to know, between rationality and mystery.

In the middle of the first chapter, Solnit gives us a manifesto: "Never to get lost is not to live, not to know how to get lost brings you to destruction." "Lost," for her, means we lack a narrative for what we are experiencing. Getting lost is a kind of Zen rebirth because "to be lost is to be fully present, and to be fully present is to be capable of being in uncertainty." Getting lost also has connotations of spiritual longing. Solnit titles every other chapter "The Blue of Distance." Blue "represents the spirit, the sky, and water, the immaterial and the remote, so that however tactile ansd close-up it is, it is always about distance and disembodiment." Voila the tone of the book--grand, abstract, sensual, yearning and inexorably aloof.

With a topic like the beauty of longing and loss, it is surprising how rarely Solnit lapses into cliché. Her prose is as smooth and bare as polished stone. It creates the feeling of waking from a dream and encountering the world, dazed and receptive. If Thoreau is the most cerebral of the philosopher-poets and Whitman the most sensual, Rebecca Solnit belongs at the midpoint.
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Format: Hardcover
Solnit's book is as the title suggests--a discursive reflectoin on the many nuances of the idea of 'getting lost.' You find out that 'lost' is from the Norse meaning 'the dispersal of armies,' and that early Renaissance painters use blue to designate distance, that children are better (i.e., less likely to die) at getting lost because they don't rationalize the way adults do--all in just a few pages where the insight garnered is both spun out by the author, but left to the reader to stop and pursue in his/her own reflections. Of the twenty or so books of all genres which I've read in the last few weeks--and of those I will read in the next several I suspect--this book incarnates why I read: erudite, entertaining, entrancing. Solnit's book reaches out toward Wordsworth, Dillard, Thoreau--and the Clash, Plato, Robert Hass. The voice and perspective, though, are her own. The essays here can not be read in great, long gulps; switching metaphors, there is hearty sustenance here--you take in only so much, and you are sated with good things which you must digest before moving on. Side note: whoever edited the book did a disservice--occasional glaring errors, such as 'form' being spelled out 'from' and 'good' repeated a second time in a context where the repetition makes no sense (and when you know the author would have easily used another expression to capture the nuance intended over against using something as clunky as redundancy of such a limited word).
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Format: Hardcover
With a prodigious breadth and fearless depth, she takes the segue to a high art. Anything can be the occasion for connection. Any sentence can break your mind or heart wide open. Her most personal, and my personal favorite. Reading this book makes me feel alive.
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Format: Hardcover
Rebecca Solnit has created what is in my mind what we all seek. Peace. In the notion of accepting that we are all "Lost", and that is where we are meant to be she has captured what the human condition is. Her prose is exceptional and thick. Her attachment to the natural world is a beacon of light in a society that is truly hopelessly lost. Lost from what is real. Brilliant work

Ken Wylie

Calgary Canada
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Format: Paperback
In this ‚field guide’ Rebecca Solnit - activist, poet, philosopher, polymath - ruminates on a question that rankles our solution-obsessed and risk-averse society: how to get lost? At the least to get lost enough to offer yourself the opportunity to discover the truly transformative things in life. The leading question emerged at some point from a Plato dialogue: „How will you go about finding that thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you?” Solnit argues that there is no sure-fire method to find an answer to that question. The motto is: school yourself in Keats’ ‚Negative Capability’ to be in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after truth and reason.

Obviously this is not a self-help book, far from it. It is an echo of a most adventurous and idiosyncratic life journey. Solnit merely redraws her own maps, re-opening sore wounds, reassessing facts, revisiting places, revitalizing relationships. In that process possible meanings of ‚getting lost’ are holographically revealed and refracted. Impressive how the narrative doesn’t cease to change register. Seemingly effortlessly it traverses a motley of topographies, human pursuits and intellectual disciplines. The prose is, as always, accessible, limpid and infused with a genuine poetic sensibility. At heart, Solnit is a naturalist. Many of her stories and similes are drawn from the natural world. As, for instance, here where she dwells on our inability to predict the future: „People look into the future and expect that the forces of the present will unfold in a coherent and predictable way, but any examination of the past reveals that the circuitous routes of change are unimaginably strange.
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