Author Says We’ve Lost Some Sense Of Wonder, And He Has The Cure

Gordon Grice was asked to help with a practical problem: An acquaintance’s kid kept bringing home crab shells from the beach.

“And she wished there were a book to teach him how to preserve them without stinking up the house,” Grice told The Huffington Post by email.

Now there is. It’s called Cabinet of Curiosities, and it’s more than just a how-to guide to de-smellifying marine samples.

The book extols the connections between all the intriguing critters, plants and animals that live on Earth — an awareness of which will hopefully help shift readers’ perspectives, Grice says.

He said he hopes the compendium inspires others to take a tactile interest in the environments’ beauty, stories and interconnectedness — and our role, as cataloguers, participants and stewards.

“I do see nature as wondrous, and I admit that’s a pretty old-fashioned attitude,” said Grice. “I’m afraid we’ve lost some of the sense of wonder, partly because we don’t spend as much time as our ancestors did getting out hands dirty outdoors.”

The book begins with a history of exploring — warning: a strong sense of wanderlust might ensue — followed by descriptions of different kinds of natural history collections.

A reviewer on BoingBoing laments that Cabinet of Curiosities doesn’t emphasize collecting in ways that minimize harm, but Grice tells HuffPost he does intend to “steer folks toward an environmentally friendly kind of collecting.”

Then come the facts, photos and illustrations about fascinating bits and pieces of nature like claws, owl pellets or horseshoe crabs — which aren’t actually crabs at all.

“They get their name from what they look like,” Grice writes in the book. “They are actually related to scorpions and spiders, although they are in a separate class. A horseshoe crab has a round shell, nine eyes, ten left, and a long tail. It —> Read More