Friday, May 16, 2014

A peak into On the Organic Law of Change and Nightmare of the Iguana

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City Reader.

Finals ended yesterday. Now I have about a thousand pounds of grading to do. So am procrastinating and doing this instead.

I am going to go backwards today - with nonfiction first since I got a cool book yesterday, a copy of On the Organic Law of Change: A Facsimile Edition and Annotated Transcription of Alfred Russel Wallace's Species Notebook of 1885-1859 annotated by James T. Costa and signed by the annotator. Without the threat of Wallace scooping him, Darwin might never have pulled himself together and published On the Origin of Species.

Since this book a facsimile of Wallace's notebook, I will go with the first bit that is coherent for an outside reader than the first page. The notebook starts with newspaper clips, random notes and a plan that sketches out for a "cheap inset cabinet" for displaying butterflies.

On March the 12th. 1885 I arrived at the landing place in the Si Munjon river. Here I found a thatch house erected by Mr. Coulson the superintendent of the Coal Mines at the neighbuoring mountain. A rough jungle path on logs & fallen trees leads from this point to the hill through a swampy forest - for about a mile & a half - On the road I found a magnificent Orchideous plant a species of Celogyne in flower, but saw very few insects till I arrived at the hill.

Celogyne is a genus consisting of more than 200 species of epiphytic orchids, so I have no idea which one he saw but here is an example ...

Now just for fun I am going to offer you the beginning bit of Nightmare of the Iguana (Dragonbreath #8) by Ursula Vernon ...

They were after him. 

The monsters were going to find him any minute now. 

There were different kinds, and they carried papers in their long claws. 

It was the quiz he hadn't studied for ! 

For The Friday 56 hosted at Freda's Voice
from page 56 of On the Organic Law of Change we have ...

Along this footpath we now walked listening for the slightest sound that might betray the presence of the monster till we came to the place where Charley has seen him going down the road. I felt sure he would be somewhere near as there were Chinamen working in the road, & he would have to come down on the ground to cross it which he would not do in their neighborhood, and as he has evidently come down from the hill he would probably not return there, but most likely remain stay til night ...  

The "monster" they are searching for is an orangutang BTW. 

And from page 56 of Nightmare of the Iguana:

"Suki also helps weed the tomatoes," said Great-Grandfather Dragonbreath, plonking down the teacups. "You'd think the mythopoetic influences could keep out the weeds, but nooooo . . . " He slid a cup towards Wendell. "Here Wanda, you look like something that's been living under the refrigerator for a week. Have some tea." 

"Is this the kind that tells your future in the tea leaves?"

"Sure. It says you're about to drink a cup of tea. Don't fight it." 


  1. On the Organic Law of Change sounds like a really interesting book. I love the 56 from Nightmare of the Iguana. The last line made me laugh.

  2. Sounds like your reading interests are eclectic. I enjoyed the excerpts from both books, especially the dialogue between Great-Grandfather Dragonbreath (what a name!) and Wanda.
    Here's the link to my Friday post: DARLIN' IRISH.

  3. Reading that beginning, I would keep reading.....

    Here is my Book Beginning post!!

    What a 56!!

    Here is my Friday 56post!!

  4. They both look like great books but in different ways... obviously...

    Happy weekend!

  5. I really think Nightmare of the Iguana sounds good, I like that you have two very different reads featured :)

    Here's my Friday 56
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

  6. I love the sound of this book. I would love to find a thatch house. :)

    ENJOY your reading weekend and week.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Book Beginnings

  7. Nightmare of the Iguana. Good title!


Hi! I do read all of the comments and want to let you know that I really appreciate your stopping by and taking the time to leave a note. Work has fallen in on me and I have not had enough time to reply coherently lately so I apologize preemptively but still want to assure you that your comments are valued. I am using comment moderation to avoid using more annoying spam avoidance. Thanks for your patience.