Title: World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments
Author: Aimee Nezhukumatathil
Published August 3rd 2020 by Milkweed Editions
Genre: Non-fiction, Enviornment, Essays
“From beloved, award-winning poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil comes a debut work of nonfiction–a collection of essays about the natural world, and the way its inhabitants can teach, support, and inspire us.
As a child, Nezhukumatathil called many places home: the grounds of a Kansas mental institution, where her Filipina mother was a doctor; the open skies and tall mountains of Arizona, where she hiked with her Indian father; and the chillier climes of western New York and Ohio. But no matter where she was transplanted–no matter how awkward the fit or forbidding the landscape–she was able to turn to our world’s fierce and funny creatures for guidance.
“What the peacock can do,” she tells us, “is remind you of a home you will run away from and run back to all your life.” The axolotl teaches us to smile, even in the face of unkindness; the touch-me-not plant shows us how to shake off unwanted advances; the narwhal demonstrates how to survive in hostile environments. Even in the strange and the unlovely, Nezhukumatathil finds beauty and kinship. For it is this way with wonder: it requires that we are curious enough to look past the distractions in order to fully appreciate the world’s gifts.
Warm, lyrical, and gorgeously illustrated by Fumi Nakamura, World of Wonders is a book of sustenance and joy.” –Goodreads
I read this book for a class this quarter. I also read Nezhukumatathil’s other book Oceanic. They were both amazing.
But this one was superb.
I loved it.
It is 165 pages of pure bliss. The book takes you on a journey through Nezhukumatathil’s life and how she relates it to nature.
Environmental creative non-fiction is a field dominated by white men, so seeing an Asian-American woman’s writing in this genre is refreshing. She writes about racism and how she healed from it in nature.
Nezhukumatathil has such a unique relationship with nature. She has traveled to places to see flowers bloom. She has swam with whale sharks. She talks to cardinals in her backyard. This is all illustrated throughout her writing.
The writing brought me into the story. I was able to experience what she felt like in each chapter of her life. I experienced everything because she wrote so beautifully.
Nezhukumatathil typically writes poetry, but her essay format gave her even more of a storytelling ability. It is so alluring to read and I could not put this down.
I also loved the illustrations done in this book. Most of the species talked about are illustrated at the beginning of the chapter which helps pulls you into the story even more. You are able to visualize every creature or plant she talks about.
I love this books so much. If you are into poetry, please go check out Nezhukumatathil. She is amazing and has something in her collections for everyone.
As always, thanks for reading,
Star Rating: 5