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Two Critically Acclaimed Authors: Maria Mudd Ruth and Adrienne Ross Scanlan

Two critically acclaimed authors Maria Mudd Ruth, author of A Sideways Look at Clouds and Adrienne Ross Scanlan, author of Turnning Homeward: Restoring Hope and Nature in the Urban Wild (2017 Washington State Book Award Finalist) will be discussing and signing their latest books at BookTree.

Turning Homeward remains one of BookTree's most popular titles. Chris recommended the book to Seattle Arts and Lectures here (scroll down)

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About the Books:

A Sideways Look At Clouds by Maria Mudd Ruth

Written by a critically-acclaimed natural-history author
• Shares author’s fun journey to understanding clouds
• Written for the curious—but non-science—minded

Author Maria Mudd Ruth fell in love with clouds the same way she stumbles into most passions: madly and unexpectedly. A Sideways Look at Clouds is the story of her quite accidental infatuation with and education about the clouds above.

When she moved to the soggy Northwest a decade ago, Maria assumed that locals would know everything there was to know about clouds, in the same way they talk about salmon, tides, and the Seahawks. Yet in her first two years of living in Olympia, Washington, she never heard anyone talk about clouds—only the rain. Puzzled by this lack of cloud savvy, she decided to create a 10-question online survey and sent it to everyone she knew. Her sample size of 67 people included men and women, new friends in Olympia, family on the East Coast, outdoorsy and indoorsy types, professional scientists, and liberal arts majors like herself. The results showed that while people knew a little bit about clouds, most were like her—they had a hard time identifying clouds or remembering their names. As adults, they had lost their curiosity and sense of wonder about clouds and were, essentially, not in the habit of looking up.

A Sideways Look at Clouds acknowledges the challenges of understanding clouds and so uses a very steep and bumpy learning curve—the author’s—as its plot line. The book is structured around the ten words used in most definitions of a cloud: “a visible mass of water droplets or ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere above the earth.” A captivating story teller, Maria blends science, wonder, and humor to take the scenic route through the clouds and encourages readers to chart their own rambling, idiosyncratic course.

Whether you are outside under the clouds, inside planning your next adventure, or curled up anywhere with a good book, A Sideways Look at Clouds will engage, inform, and inspire.

Turning Homeward: Restoring Hope and Nature in the Urban Wild by Adrienne Ross Scanlan

Shortlisted for the current Washington State Book Award.

“…this book exudes humility and hope.” – The Kitsap Herald

“Turning Homeward is a work of thoughtful atonement. Scanlan writes honestly and tenderly about what has not worked in mending her life, and the lives of salmon and urban streams, as well as what has. And out of despair at the havoc we have wreaked on this earth and each other, a quiet sense of hope grows in her words, the kind of active expectation of the results of conscious work that can in fact, lead to mending the wounds of the world and we humans.” – Story Circle Book Reviews

• A beautifully rendered natural history of the Puget Sound region

Turning Homeward: Restoring Hope and Nature in the Urban Wild is the journey of a newcomer to the Pacific Northwest who learns that home isn’t simply where you live, but where you create belonging. 

Set in Seattle and Western Washington's urban and suburban “altered” landscapes, Turning Homeward creates an accessible narrative of the complicated joys of rolling up one’s sleeves to help repair our beautiful, broken world. Adrienne Scanlan's personal story blends into the natural history of Puget Sound and the tangled issues around urban renewal and river restoration. In the process, readers move with her into a meaningful, hope-filled engagement with place and another understanding of the idea of home. 

Adrienne explores how seasons spent restoring the city’s salmon runs help her make peace with her father's death and build a new marriage. Turning Homeward speaks to a simple truth spreading through our society: The nature we cherish lives alongside us, and by restoring it we heal both home and heart.

The Authors:
MARIA MUDD RUTH has written more than a dozen books on natural history topics, including volumes on butterflies, beetles, snakes, rain forests, deserts, and oceans. Her work has appeared in publications produced by the National Geographic Society, where she worked as a researcher and editor for seven years. She grew up in the Washington, D.C., area and moved to Southern California in pursuit of the marbled murrelet. In 2006, Maria moved with her family to Olympia, Washington.

For over twenty years, Adrienne Ross Scanlan has immersed herself as a volunteer in all things nature, as a citizen scientist monitoring salmon runs for county and local agencies, a restoration volunteer salvaging native plants and removing invasive weeds, and as a docent at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle and Wolf Haven in Tenino, Washington. She’s tracked Seattle’s urban peregrines for the Falcon Research Group and spent more than a few full moon nights with a “howling brigade” surveying Washington’s Cascade Mountains for wolves. These and many other adventures in the near-wild form the basis of her writing life. 

Scanlan’s work has appeared in a variety of literary publications, including City Creatures, Pilgrimage, The Fourth River, Tikkun, Under the Sun, LabLit, and Tiny Lights—alongside such renowned writers as Barry Lopez, Edward O. Wilson, Marge Piercy, Ursula K. LeGuin, Adrienne Rich, and Scott Russell Sanders. She received a Seattle Arts Commission award (1996) and an Artist Trust Washington State Literature Fellowship (2001), and her essays have been included in the Best American Science and Nature Writing 2002 (Natalie Angier, guest editor), the American Nature Writing anthology series, and the Prentice Hall Reader. She also is the nonfiction editor of the online magazine, Blue Lyra Review (