Tag Archives: nature

Tickling the Bear: How to Stay Safe in the Universe by David Wann (Book Review and Author Interview)

TICKLING THE BEAR: HOW TO STAY ALIVE IN THE UNIVERSE by David Wann
 
 
Anthropology professor Marc Blake is on a “hero’s journey.” His challenge is to overcome a troubling medical diagnosis –a virus from a tick bite. Along the way he shares his deepest thoughts as the reader follows his courageous efforts to survive. May, an attractive Danish woman, also endures setbacks with resilience, gradually coming center stage in the story. Her husband Kai has a passion for growing herbs and healthy vegetables, marveling how gardening provides a sense of purpose, good health, direct contact with nature, and companionship. Marc’s niece, a natural beauty and ex-model, offers readers a comical, on-again, off-again romantic episode with a Silicon Valley genius she fears might outshine her. Will she prove to be his equal?
 
Quirky humor injects both lightness and conflict into a 30-year marriage. A six-year old’s “best summer ever” is a reminder that life’s an absolute miracle. Collectively this extended family contests a widespread belief that life is happening to us – that we are passive consumers. On the contrary, each character in this upbeat book is actively self-guided, perfecting their passions and offering generous support to family and friends.
 

​Though author David Wann has previously written non-fiction books about sensible, sustainable lifestyles, in his first-novel these themes are woven right into a compelling story. “Our lives don’t look much different than most Americans,” the characters might say. “Really, we are not ‘doing without,’ more like doing within.” Kai enjoys investing in regional businesses, and also loves to travel effortlessly on Denver’s bike paths. Meatless Mondays or grilled-salmon Sundays are a great way for the outgoing May to bring friends together for active conversation. Each character would insist that kindness and gratitude are encoded in our genes and are far more powerful than anger. In a world that’s currently so full of disruption and confusion, they offer both a sense of direction and grounded hope.

 
 
Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ B&N ~ BAM ~ IndieBound
 
 
 
 
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Marcus Blake has been given a year to live due to the Q virus. David Wann (the author) states the virus steadily destroys white blood cells, is transferred from insects to people, and has a 5% survival rate. The odds are against Marc, but he decides to beat the odds.


While this is a story about a man’s quest to survive, we gain much insight into the lives of Marc’s friends and family. For example: Rocket, his brother, lives off the land and is a talented woodworker. Kai was taught the power of plants/herbs/flowers by his father.


David Wann spoke passionately about nature, his disgust for Trump and pulling out of The Paris Agreement, and even discussed gun rights and taxes. These might be problem areas for those who don’t want a book with political topics. However, if you don’t like the former president, you’ll have no issue with David condemning Trump’s actions. 🙂

Marc faced death head-on. At one point, literally (skydiving scene).
In the end, I won’t disclose if he lived or died. The journey to discovering Marc’s fate will be filled with love, laughter, tears, and some drugs. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of pot between brothers. 🙂
 
 
 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
Author David Wann

 
David Wann has been a self-acknowledged author since second grade. He’s written hundreds of articles and columns; ten books – one a best seller; and produced five TV documentaries viewed by 20 million. He’s lived in a cooperative neighborhood (cohousing) for 26 years where he has been the organic gardener for 27 households. He’s an amateur musician and the proud father of two. His greatest ambition is to make a difference in a world that urgently requires “all hands on deck.” His books include Affluenza; Biologic; Superbia; Simple Prosperity; The Zen of Gardening; The New Normal, Reinventing Community and others.
 
 

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: KAM’S PLACE

 
What are some of your personal interests, and how do they shape the plot and characters in Tickling the Bear?

(David Wann)  Throughout my adult life, I’ve focused on several passions: my relationships; writing; playing guitar; being in nature, and gardening. Through thick and thin, these are what I relied on to keep me sane (though some might question if it worked!)
 
 
Would you say that one particular character is more like you than the others?

(David Wann)  I suppose all the characters resemble me in one way or another, but the protagonist, Marc Blake, is kind of an avatar for me. I wish I had his courage. He’s been diagnosed with a life threatening virus he got from a tick bite in Borneo. His journey in the book takes him from Denver to California and back in his quest to heal himself by spending time with family and close friends. Like me, he is interested in creating a future that works. He’s a professor of Future Studies, and admittedly, some of his words could very easily come from my mouth.
 
 
Are you a professor, too?

(David Wann)  No, but I’ve given many keynote talks and presentations at universities about sustainable lifestyles and designs. If I said some of the pointed things Marc says about life in America, people might think I was being overly critical, so I let Marc say them.
 
 
What about Marc’s brother, Rocket, who’s kind of a joyful dropout from mainstream America, making a living on a small organic farm and with his woodworking? Does that come from your experience?

(David Wann)  Partially. I’ve been an organic gardener for forty years, and I did dream the dream that Rocket and his family bring to “life,” but I have to say that I’m lucky I chose an easier path. Farming in California and most other places takes a lot of guts and also requires that a person loves being home. I enjoyed portraying Rocket as a man rooted in his community, carving two large totem poles that celebrate the indigenous people, plants and animals of the region.
 
 
Say something about your own home. You live in an intentional community, right?

(David Wann)  Yes, about thirty years ago I joined eight or ten others to buy ten acres of land and create a “cohousing” village – not a commune – that now has 27 houses. The idea is to provide support for each other and to follow our convictions collectively. We each own our homes but share common assets like a community house, a large garden, and a people-friendly landscape, perfect for the kids who build forts and give performances for enthusiastic neighbors. I’ve been the village organic gardener for 25 years, which is a great match with writing. I focus at my desk and un-focus in the garden. In terms of writing, one of my characters plays the role of an author who makes it to the “big tent” with science fiction and fantasy novels. (I should be so lucky). She jokes about her poor characters feeling lost when she’s taking a break from writing. “What are we supposed to do now?” She compares launching a new novel to launching a probe to Jupiter: it’s impossible to know if the mission will succeed, but there’s only one way to find out.
 
 
What do your other characters do for a living?

(David Wann)  The Sakata family runs an herbal business and also designs Zen-inspired landscapes. Two generations of the family live next door to each other with a large, shared backyard. The son, Kai, is a Wall Street dropout, and his wife May is an environmental activist and aspiring state senator. Solar panels on the roof their small home provide power and everything they really need is within walking or bicycling distance. There are always jars of canned and pickled produce on the pantry shelves and herbs hanging from kitchen beams to dry- a little like my own family’s kitchen. So yes, I guess my own passions and experiences made their way into the book, but I’ll confess that some of the romantic encounters are wishful thinking. I still get kind of choked up when one of the romances comes full circle, just like readers were hoping, though another attempt doesn’t quite make it.
 
 
It sounds very true to life!  Thanks for your comments, and thanks for writing the book.

(David Wann)  It really was my pleasure. My characters carried me through some difficult times. I hope they’ll do the same for the book’s readers.
 

connect with the author: 
website twitter facebook instagram goodreads
 
 
 
 
 
 
Disclaimer: All questions and answers were constructed by the author and/or their representative. 
 

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Popper and Friends: Popper Finds a New Home by IL Ritchie (Book Review)

POPPER FINDS A NEW HOME by IL Ritchie
 
 
Popper is a sweet little woodpecker who is trying to find a new home. Now that he is grown, it’s time for him to leave the nest and find a home of his own. The first book in the Popper and Friends series, follow along as Popper explores different options and gets helpful advice from his friends.
 
 
Buy Links:
Amazon ~ B&N
add to goodreads
 
 
 
 
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Story: Like most parents, we hope that when our kiddos leave the nest, they don’t “fly” too far away from home. We want them (our children) to spread their wings and soar but still be close to us (parents) as well. 


I loved following Popper’s search for a new home & reading which ones were not ideal and why. When parents or educators read Popper and Friends: Popper Finds a New Homaloud, I’s suggest asking your children or students if they know why certain places would be the wrong home for Popper before you divulge the answer. 


 
Illustrations: Yulia Potts seemed to tap into a child’s mind when they drew up the animals and people. For example, Popper’s color scheme was full of color and nothing like a realistic woodpecker, which is spectacular, in my opinion. I think children will love the character even more because of it. My youngest laughed at Filbert the squirrel’s plump cheeks and the dizzy-looking kitty, who appeared to be eating a sausage link. She even thought Webster the spider was cute, and she never finds them adorable. 


Popper and Friends: Popper Finds a New Home by IL Ritchie is appropriate for various ages. Non-readers can point out and name the animals and make their sounds, while experienced reads will have little to no trouble with the text. It’s also a great story to read in a classroom or by a librarian. 


Craft idea: Build a birdhouse. Draw your version of a woodpecker and its home. 
 

 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤
 
 
add to goodreads
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
Author IL Ritchie
A California native, IL Ritchie lives in San Francisco, where he is creating new adventures for Popper and his friends.
 
connect with the author: goodreads

 
 
 
 
 
 

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Children’s Book Author Showcase – Joe Spraga

Welcome to Moonwood! The Snitch, the Witch, and The One Who Was Rich, and other quirky townsfolk, seek wisdom from the town elder in this classical tale. A new and modern day nursery rhyme! What will they discover?! 

 

Find out in this beautiful 13″ X 10.5″ full color 120 page hardcover book! Please allow 7-10 days for delivery. (There will be a shipping charge if located outside of the United States.) We will send you an email with the additional charge after we receive your order. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Purchase Link

 

 

 

The 1st book of the series, Phrebbel The Phrongol from planet Phrongolia recently took many pictures while vacationing on planet Earth. He needs help identifying the pictures in his photo album because he has never seen these things before. Can you help him? This is a full color picture book designed to inspire critical thinking in CHILDREN. The pictures are of everyday things like people and animals you would see in nature and on planet Earth in general. The pictures allow the reader to come up with answers to help the main character Phrebbel, identify things he has never seen on planet Earth before. A brain teaser for kids that makes learning fun!

Purchase Link

 

 

 

The 2nd book in the series, Phrebbel The Phrongol from planet Phrongolia has come back to Earth on another vacation. He needs help identifying the pictures in his photo album because he has never seen these things before. Can you help him again? This is a full color picture book designed to inspire critical thinking in CHILDREN. The pictures are of everyday things like people and animals you would see in nature and on planet Earth in general. The pictures allow the reader to come up with answers to help the main character Phrebbel, identify things he has never seen on planet Earth before. A brain teaser for kids that makes learning fun!

Purchase Link

 

 

— About the Author —

Joe is a graduate of Western Michigan University, with a Bachelor’s of Arts in English and a Minor in Philosophy. Becoming legally disabled in 2015 due to health problems, Joe hopes that this book can give all of you as much joy and hope as it has given him!

Amazon Author Page Link
Twitter Link
Website Link

 

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Apples & Snail Trails by Russell Smeaton (Book Showcase)

Apples is a tale of a father and daughter finding themselves; Apples is a short dive into the horrors to be found in the English Countryside

In Snail Trails, Dave and the love of his life―Walter the dog―out on a walk one day discover all the snails, slugs and worms heading towards the hills. Dave and his faithful friend investigate. So begins the apocalypse…

(cover by Adrian Baldwin)

Kindle Purchase Link

 

 

Excerpt from Apples

The end of summer saw the beginning of the change. Fresh winds raced across the fields, scattering brown leaves as it went. Mike negotiated with Lucy’s school, allowing for a temporary home-schooling period. After a day of working outside, they would sit together to do  school work, television chattering away in the background.

As autumn crept closer, the evenings began darkening quicker, bringing with it a damp chill. Mike would get a fire going as Lucy closed the old-fashioned shutters, shutting out the world. As the wind sighed its lullabies, they felt warm and cosy inside the house.

Autumn marched on and the weather continued to turn. The wind gathered momentum, roaring down the chimney as it whipped the trees into a frenzy. The rusted aerial on the roof creaked and groaned as tiles clung on for dear life, reducing TV reception to grey static. Switching it off, they could make out the distant clanging of a neighbour’s wind chime over the howling wind. They spent the night reading and listening to the wind moan.

The next day Mike got up with the dawn. The morning was fresh and crisp with a ground mist rising to meet the pale-yellow sun. The smell of damp leaves mingled with bonfire smoke. A pheasant crowed out unseen. He walked around, assessing the damage the wind had delivered. The strawberries had escaped the ravages. The same could not be said for the dead birds that lay around the base of the old apple tree. He frowned. Counting about six, the carcasses were all withered and dried out. He picked up the birds and tossed them into the garbage before Lucy awoke, not wanting his daughter to see the strange corpses.


Kindle Purchase Link

 

 

 

Born from an egg on a mountain top, Russell has spent the past 40 something years doing stuff and things. After spending a decade travelling around the world he has now settled down in the North of England. He lives with his lovely family and a few errant cats, who know far more than they should. Luckily they’re not telling.
 
 

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