Back of a Business Card Blurb

Redbuds only appear when we reach the limestone-derived soils of the Ridge and Valley
Redbuds only appear in our travels after we reach the limestone-derived soils of the Ridge and Valley

I’ve mentioned this here before (starting to think I’ve mentioned about everything there is to be mentioned–here before) that I was once told you don’t really know what your book is ABOUT until you can write it on the back of a business card or explain it to someone between floors in the elevator.

Well, it would be hard to answer “what’s that book about” if it were a Reader’s Digest or encyclopedia you were holding because those books are about a lot of different things. So it is with Slow Road Home and What We Hold.

Nevertheless, it is what the book is about that most folks want to know and that is how they often phrase question–so here in draft, longish yet and third-person, is my elevator pitch between the mezzanine and, oh, maybe the 15th floor.

What We Hold in Our Hands is a wry-but-reverent natural history of one man’s habitat that encompasses both the human and plant-animal community he shares it with. This diverse “reader” looks at the physical and ethical challenges of living in balance with nature in a remote country setting and examines what it means to belong to a Blue Ridge landscape where “simple living” offers new stories of victory and defeat as the years roll by. It is, if not a memoir, a very personal book in which a naturalist-photographer shares his view of the world’s relative order with humor, wonder and appreciation. From the author’s archives, the book is illustrated with more than 50 black and white images that enhance or embellish the writing.

Note the new STUFF page above the header image up top here–you’ll find how-to-order info there. Books arrive May 6! And both books together make a very thoughtful gift!

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. ooh, a candy floss bush!
    I knew they existed in my dreams but…

    ah yes, books
    mine began as a whinge about The Beast and then the characters appeared and took over and I merely write their stories now