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Reviews: Nonfiction

Review: The Invention of Clouds by Richard Hamblyn

Naming things is a powerful activity—it was man’s first task in Genesis—and this power is explored in Richard Hamblyn’s brilliant book The Invention of Clouds: How an Amateur Meteorologist Forged the Language of the Skies. I do not think I have ever read such a satisfying, lyrical, information-packed science history book before, although I have […]

Review: Of Dikes and Windmills by Peter Spier

In the southern Netherlands many years ago, my father commuted to school on a little ferry.   He experienced the terrible flood of 1953. Eventually his family moved to one of the modern polders which had just been reclaimed from the sea.  His life, like that of many Dutch people, was defined by the sea. In […]

Review: The Girl Who Drew Butterflies by Joyce Sidman

In 17th century Europe, young Maria Merian was fascinated by butterflies. ‘Summer birds’, they were called, and no one really knew where they came from. Raised first in an engraver’s house and then an illustrator’s, Maria learned both the technical details of her craft and how to observe nature. She combined the two to become […]

Review: Once We Were Strangers by Shawn Smucker

Shawn Smucker, a middle-aged father of six who drove for Uber and Lyft when writing was slow, wanted to help the Syrian refugees. Writing a book about their situation was a way he was uniquely equipped to help them, so Lancaster’s Church World Service arranged for him to meet a Syrian refugee named Mohammed. When […]

Review: Broken Pieces and the God Who Mends Them by Simonetta Carr

Simonetta Carr, beloved author of the Christian Biographies for Young Readers series, was confused and apprehensive when her eighteen year old son Jonathan asked her, out of the blue,  “Mom, is this a game?”  She answered him nervously.  A bit later he still seemed perplexed and told her, “I don’t understand this extension.” Thus began […]

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