Silk Parachute (free) ✓ John McPhee – eBook, Kindle eBook or Book Read
Although they re making visual art language as McPhee observes is ey to their collaboration He writes Neither one is hesitant with words In the span of their work together words by the tens of thousands in every conceivable category have been muffled by the dark cloth 7 My life list 9320078 checkpoints 2920099 rip van golfer List 9320078 Checkpoints 2920099 Rip Van Golfer Nowheres A touching and brief concluding essay on the beauty of New Jersy McPhee s homeAnyway you can read 610 of essays and probably 810 of the text directly from the New Yorker if you don t run out of free views I did just checking for this essay or you can subscribe I will next year or you can just buy the damn book from FSG It really was a delight on a day of delights Thanksgiving I am grateful every year for John McPhee I just love McPhee I found myself reading a long essay on lacrosse with deep almost emotional interest And lacrosse has never appealed to me before That s what great writing can doBut my favorite pieces are two short memoir type essays one on canoeing and one the title essayI fervently hope Mr McPhee never dies Two delightful long essays and 8 short ones that simply tantalize Season on the Chalk compresses history and geology of chalk in England and continental Europe in a fine thread with surprising people and events from the Romans who build much with chalk to modern champaign arbors which depend on chalk holding water Spin Right and Shoot Left is a fun ride on the history of lacrosse Like a good chef McPhee makes a reliably good dish out of available ingredients at hand making a lie out of any initial perspective that you now nothing about and care little about lacrosse Started by the Iriuois Nations in the 19th century how was it that it was adopted first by Ivy League and prep schools then moved to hotbeds Balti Long Island and Colorado then grew exponentially Between 2007 and 2009 600 new public high schools adopted the sport Read and learn about how it has affinity with basketball than any other sport This is the cool stuff that they don t teach in school Rattlesnakes for all their evolutionary perfection are not the brightest creatures If a line of people walks past a rattlesnake it aims at the first person strikes at the second and hits the third In the way that a placer miner can look at a nugget and say what stream it came from a lacrosse coach can watch an unknown player for a while and write down his home address The performance enhancing food for Olympic marathoners and such is Vespa mandarinia japonica actually synthetic hornet juice but what our author calls bee spit The Japanese giant hornet flies about a hundred ilometers a day ingesting but not digesting small insects which it carries home in globular form to feed its larvae The juice that goes for the gold is in the larvae While the adult feeds the larvae the larvae reciprocate with fresh juice a blend of seventeen amino acids If you re not a marathoner or such you can sit on the sofa drink the bee spit and are guaranteed to lose weight The worst checking error for a magazine fact checker is calling people dead who are not dead It really annoys them McPhee uotes one fact checker He tells the story of one reader in a nursing home who read in The New Yorker that he was the the late reader in a nursing home He called demanding a correction The magazine complied of course in its next issue inadvertently doubling the error because the reader died over the weekend while the magazine was being printed Glaciation has replaced an asteroid or volcano as the leading theory for the cause of the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaursYou would have thought that McPhee s essay about the US Open played at Oakmont Country Club would be my favorite but I preferred reading about exotic foods lacrosse the tunnels in the Maastrichtian chalk where Rembrandt s The Night Watch sat out World War II I liked reading about the fact checkers the most This is something you either get or you don t Like if an author writes the phrase Penn s daughter Margaret the fact checker s challenge becomes whether to put commas around Margaret or not put commas around Margaret In other words did William Penn have one or daughters Margaret one of Penn s several daughters went into the book without commasWith every essay I thought He would like this or She has to read this Let me scroll down my list of GR friends and look and see if there s anyone who would be as delighted as I wasreading an essay about commas. Is mother deliberately overturns canoes in a learning process at a summer camp and germinates a future book while riding on a jump seat to away games as a basketball player But each piece on whatever theme contains somewhere a personal aspect in which McPhee suggests why he was attracted to write about the subject and each opens like a silk parachute lofted skyward and suddenly blossoming with color and for. ,
teaching you something i didn t give thisyou something I didn t give this a high rating because unlike Coming INTO THE COUNTRY IT HAD NO THEMATIC THROUGH LINE the Country it had no thematic through line Parachute is a collection of random essays from the New Yorker and they are each insularly delightful but do not really make an impression as a whole unless you are student of McPhee s style But for this alone I would recommend the book McPhee is a good reminder that you don t have to do anything fancy to write with poise and beauty A friend mentioned this book back in March saying she d read a review of it that made her think she d like it and wondering if I d heard of McPhee Since he writes for the New Yorker and I m one of those New Yorker subscribers who reads every single article even if it doesn t immediately seem to be about something I m interested in I figured I must have read his work but still couldn t place his name Then I looked in the New Yorker s digital archive and realized he d written a 2007 piece called Season on the Chalk about the chalk landscapes of Europe including bits about geology and wine making and WWII history which I d entirely forgotten about until I saw it there But once I heard the title I remembered liking it so much I tore the whole thing out of the magazine and ept it for a while because it was just so good Here s the start of that essay which is included in this bookThe massive chalk of Europe lies below the English Channel under much of northern France under bits of Germany and Scandinavia under the Limburg Province of the Netherlands and from Erith Reach to Gravesend under fifteen miles of the lower Thames My grandson Tommaso appears out of somewhere and picks up a cobble from the bottom of the Thames The tide is out The flats are broad between the bank and the water Small boats canted are at rest on the riverbed Others farther out on the wide river are moored boats canted are at rest on the riverbed Others farther out on the wide river are moored skiffs sloops a yawl or two Tommaso is ten The rock in his hand is large but light He breaks it against the revetment bordering the Gordon Promenade in the Riverside Leisure Area with benches and lawns under oaks and chestnuts prams and children picnics under way newspapers spread like sails and far up the bank a stall selling ice cream He cracks the cobble into jagged pieces which are whiter than snow Chalked graffiti line the revetment and have attracted the attention of Tommaso who now starts his own with the letter R p 9I love that so much the pace of it the way it sets the scene I love this whole essay for the way it s about landscapeplace the way it mingles broad historical fact with personal experience I love how wonderfully precise McPhee can be with sentences like this An armada of swans in single file swims out from near the shore and toward the center of the river thirty eight swans p 10 And while others of McPhee s essays don t excite me uite as much I still admire the way he writes the care and pleasure it seems he takes in it whether he s writing about his mother or canoeing or eating unusual meats puffin weasel bear or lacrosseYes I sometimes wished that particular essay which is 58 pages would hurry up and be done al The amazing thing about John McPhee is that he can hold one s attention even when the subject matter is not otherwise interesting The longest essays in Silk Parachute are about lacrosse and golf neither of which sports is to my taste Yet the great mass of details he presents somehow make the reader wonder what s next That is no me My first complete McPhee and this was fun Narrative non fiction slowly meticulously almost wondrously crafted You can feel it in the rhythm of the words sometimes A couple of pieces in Silk Parachute are suibs but the two long pieces on Lacrosse and Golf than make up for them Anyway there s a lot of him to read and this one may be a good start Not as good as the best McPhee but still better than most writing fictio. A WONDROUS NEW BOOK OF MCPHEE'S PROSE PIECES IN MANY ASPECTS HIS MOST PERSONAL IN FOUR DECADES The brief brilliant essay Silk Parachute which first appeared in The New Yorker a decade ago has become John McPhee's most anthologized piece of writing In the nine other pieces here highly varied in length and theme McPhee ranges with his characteristic humor and intensity through lacrosse long exposure view came.