Lives of the Trees: An Uncommon History

Algonquin Books
6
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Diana Wells, author of 100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names now turns her attention to something bigger—our deep-rooted relationship with trees. As she investigates the names and meanings of trees, telling their legends and lore, she reminds us of just how innately bound we are to these protectors of our planet. Since the human race began, we have depended on them for food, shade, shelter and fuel, not to mention furniture, musical instruments, medicine utensils and more.

Wells has a remarkable ability to dig up the curious and the captivating: At one time, a worm found in a hazelnut prognosticated ill fortune. Rowan trees were planted in churchyards to prevent the dead from rising from their graves. Greek arrows were soaked in deadly yew, and Shakespeare’s witches in Macbeth used “Gall of goat and slips of Yew” to make their lethal brew. One bristlecone pine, at about 4,700 years old, is thought to be the oldest living plant on earth. All this and more can be found in the beautifully illustrated pages (themselves born of birch bark!) of 100 Trees.
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About the author

Diana Wells is the author of 100 Birds and How They Got Their Names and 100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names, has written for Friends Journal, and is contributing editor of the journal Greenprints. Born in Jerusalem, she has lived in England and Italy and holds an honors degree in history from Oxford University. She now lives with her husband on a farm in Pennsylvania.

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Reviews

4.5
6 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Algonquin Books
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Published on
Jan 19, 2010
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9781565129696
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Language
English
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Genres
Gardening / Essays & Narratives
Gardening / Trees
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Diana Wells
Diana Wells's intriguing exploration into the rewards of relationships--both the canine and human varieties--begins when she reluctantly starts seeing a psychologist, Beth, during a difficult time in her life. With no insurance to pay for counseling, a barter is arranged in which the client becomes part-time caretaker to the therapist's dog, Luggs, a sweet, clumsy black Labrador retriever.

As Wells examines her past--her peripatetic childhood, her eccentric family, her grief over the deaths of loved ones--Luggs provides a bridge between therapist and patient. Dog lover by nature, historian by trade, Wells finds herself curious about the connections that dogs and humans have shared for centuries--and what these bonds tell us about our own psyches.

Wells observes that training a dog has much in common with the therapeutic techniques her psychologist employs. Looking into recent experiments that have proved dogs better at interpreting human behavior than chimps or wolves, Wells explores the subtleties of her own relationship with dogs. Increasingly she finds herself agreeing with Diogenes, the original Greek cynic (the word cynic comes from the greek kuon, meaning "dog"), who said that unless we think like dogs, happiness will elude us.

Wells analyzes what we name our dogs, how we breed them, how we've explored the wilderness with them, the kinds of literature we write about them, why we love them, and, most important, what we can learn from them.

When an unexpected illness befalls Beth, Luggs comforts the two women, and his devotion helps Wells come to accept that relationships--despite the possibility of hurt and pain--are what life is all about.
Diana Wells
Diana Wells's intriguing exploration into the rewards of relationships--both the canine and human varieties--begins when she reluctantly starts seeing a psychologist, Beth, during a difficult time in her life. With no insurance to pay for counseling, a barter is arranged in which the client becomes part-time caretaker to the therapist's dog, Luggs, a sweet, clumsy black Labrador retriever.

As Wells examines her past--her peripatetic childhood, her eccentric family, her grief over the deaths of loved ones--Luggs provides a bridge between therapist and patient. Dog lover by nature, historian by trade, Wells finds herself curious about the connections that dogs and humans have shared for centuries--and what these bonds tell us about our own psyches.

Wells observes that training a dog has much in common with the therapeutic techniques her psychologist employs. Looking into recent experiments that have proved dogs better at interpreting human behavior than chimps or wolves, Wells explores the subtleties of her own relationship with dogs. Increasingly she finds herself agreeing with Diogenes, the original Greek cynic (the word cynic comes from the greek kuon, meaning "dog"), who said that unless we think like dogs, happiness will elude us.

Wells analyzes what we name our dogs, how we breed them, how we've explored the wilderness with them, the kinds of literature we write about them, why we love them, and, most important, what we can learn from them.

When an unexpected illness befalls Beth, Luggs comforts the two women, and his devotion helps Wells come to accept that relationships--despite the possibility of hurt and pain--are what life is all about.
Diana Wells
Diana Wells's intriguing exploration into the rewards of relationships--both the canine and human varieties--begins when she reluctantly starts seeing a psychologist, Beth, during a difficult time in her life. With no insurance to pay for counseling, a barter is arranged in which the client becomes part-time caretaker to the therapist's dog, Luggs, a sweet, clumsy black Labrador retriever.

As Wells examines her past--her peripatetic childhood, her eccentric family, her grief over the deaths of loved ones--Luggs provides a bridge between therapist and patient. Dog lover by nature, historian by trade, Wells finds herself curious about the connections that dogs and humans have shared for centuries--and what these bonds tell us about our own psyches.

Wells observes that training a dog has much in common with the therapeutic techniques her psychologist employs. Looking into recent experiments that have proved dogs better at interpreting human behavior than chimps or wolves, Wells explores the subtleties of her own relationship with dogs. Increasingly she finds herself agreeing with Diogenes, the original Greek cynic (the word cynic comes from the greek kuon, meaning "dog"), who said that unless we think like dogs, happiness will elude us.

Wells analyzes what we name our dogs, how we breed them, how we've explored the wilderness with them, the kinds of literature we write about them, why we love them, and, most important, what we can learn from them.

When an unexpected illness befalls Beth, Luggs comforts the two women, and his devotion helps Wells come to accept that relationships--despite the possibility of hurt and pain--are what life is all about.
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