Northwest College

NWC Reads!


Eric Atkinson, Spring 2016


Moby Dick the Whale
In part, this classic is the story of an eerily compelling madman pursuing an unholy war against a creature as vast and dangerous and unknowable as the sea itself. But more than just a novel of adventure, more than an encyclopedia of whaling lore and legend, Moby-Dick is a haunting, mesmerizing, and important social commentary populated with several of the most unforgettable and enduring characters in literature. Written with wonderfully redemptive humor, Moby-Dick is a profound and timeless inquiry into character, faith, and the nature of perception. Written by Herman Melville.
Bartleby the Scrivener In this book of selected tales and poems by Herman Melville, Bartleby is a kind of clerk, a copyist, "who obstinately refuses to go on doing the sort of writing demanded of him." Bartleby can be seen to represent Melville's frustration with his own situation as a writer, and the story itself is "about a writer who forsakes conventional modes because of an irresistible preoccupation with the most baffling philosophical questions." Other Civil War poetry can be found here.
Robert Frost Poems, Prose, Plays Never before has there been a more comprehensive collection of Frost in a single volume. Included are all of the plays, a generous selection of prose, all collected poems, and 94 uncollected poems, as well as 17 poems that were previously unpublished. Robert Frost, a favorite!
That Distant Land Includes twenty-three stories from Wendell Berry's Port William membership. This book offers rest for the weary, hope for the beleaguered, and strength for the rest of us.
Bad Land: An American Romance Seduced by the government's offer of 320 acres per homesteader, Americans and Europeans rushed to Montana and the Dakotas to fulfill their own American dream in the first decade of this century. Raban's stunning evocation of the harrowing, desperate reality behind the homesteader's dream strips away the myth--while preserving the romance--that has shrouded our understanding of our own heartland.
Voyage of the Beagle In 1831, Darwin embarked on the HMS Beagle for his second expedition surveying the world’s remarkable biological diversity. Not only would the expedition last five years and take the biologist to the farthest reaches of the globe, it would also inspire Darwin’s celebrated theory of evolution by natural selection. The Voyage of the Beagle details and catalogs Darwin’s incredible observations and theories and affords the reader the unique opportunity to witness the natural world unfold through his eyes.
Dancing at the Rascal Fair Second in his trilogy, Ivan Doig brings us this authentic saga of the American experience at the turn of this century and a passionate, portrayal of the immigrants who dared to try new lives in the imposing Rocky Mountains.
Making It Certain It Goes On These poems written by Richard Hugo over twenty years deal with nature, travel, art, the past, mortality, friendship, marriage, and memory.

Eagles: Very Best of [sound recording]
Classic Eagles. Includes special limited edition bonus DVD: "Hole in the world" video, making the video, backstage pass to Farewell 1.
Come On Mary Chapin Carpenter [sound recording] Country singer Mary Chapin Carpenter produced this award winning album in 1992. A Classic.
American Landmarks: Appalachian Spring, Aaron Copland Aaron Copland's score of this famous work was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1945. This music depicts a springtime wedding celebration in a Puritan farming community in 19th century Pennsylvania.
Corelli: Ten Top Tenors 1 [sound recordings] This recording of ten top tenors includes Franco Corelli, who was the last genuine "tenore di forza" to come out of Italy. The exciting quality of his singing is fully demonstrated in Cavaradossi's two arias from "Tosca."
Purcell: Hail! Bright Cecilia [sound recording] In London, St. Cecilia's Day was celebrated in great style in the latter 1600s. This symphony was the fourth and last St. Cecelia's Day ode commissioned from Purcell and it sets an evocative text by Nicholas Brady. Universal applause for its grandeur.
Fanfare for the Common Man [sound recording] This symphonic work by Aaron Copland was inspired in part by a famous speech made earlier in 1942 where vice president Henry A. Wallace proclaimed the dawning of the "Century of the Common Man".

Singin' in the Rain DVD
With fame, fortune and fans galore, silent screen idol Don Lockwood thought he had it all. But one look at aspiring actress Kathy Seldon, and he knew exactly what he was missing. With talking pictures on the rise, Don sets out to make musical with the woman of his dreams, but one thing stands in his way, his jealous co-star who wants Don - and the leading role - all to herself. A Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds musical masterpiece.
Fiddler on the Roof DVD Just like Tevye, Eric Atkinson relates to this film because he has three daughters! Tevye is a poor Jewish milkman with five unmarried daughters to support in a village in Czarist Russia. With a sharp tongued wife at home and growing anti-Semitism in the village, Tevye talks to God about his troubles. His people's traditions keep him strong when his existence is as precariously balanced as a fiddler on the roof.
Star Wars IV: a new hope DVD Even though part IV, this is the first film produced by George Lucas in the Star Wars saga. A SciFi classic--there is always a new hope.

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Eric $content.LastName Reads!


Eric Atkinson is a biologist and ecologist. He applies these knowledge areas to his farming, but he also believes he’s a better scientist because he farms.

The unpredictability of raising livestock is behind Eric’s observation: “I’m a better ecologist because as a farmer, I realize how little we know.”

In addition to Herman Melville and Charles Darwin, some of Eric’s favorite reads are Dancing at the Rascal Fair by fellow Montanan Ivan Doig, plus anything by Wendell Berry, Robert Frost or Richard Hugo.

Probably no surprise he likes to listen to Aaron Copeland’s Fanfare for the Common Man and Appalachian Spring. But this farmer/scientist also gets into classic Eagles and Mary Chapin Carpenter.  Check out his favorite reads, videos and music at the left.

So, what bird is Eric's favorite? What a question for a biologist! Eric has researched this bird extensively and in his words:

"My favorite bird is Lanius excubitor invictus.  The Northern Shrike; the 'watchful butcher'. "  Look carefully at the photo above.  You'll have to ask Eric about his favorite insectivore, favorite nymphalid, favorite coleopteran,  favorite salmonid,  favorite buteo,  favorite falcon,  favorite sciurid, etc.

Northern Shrike

Hark--hark--from out of the thickest fog
Warbles with might and main
The fearless shrike, as all agog
To find in fog his gain.

His steady sail he never furls
At any time o' year,
And perched now on winter's curls,
He whistles in his ear.

-- Henry David Thoreau

From Bright Wings: an illustrated anthology of poems about birds edited by Billy Collins, paintings by David Allen Sibley

Photo Credits

  • Eric Atkinson, Photograph by Daniel Baney, Public Relations Photography Specialist, Northwest College, Powell, WY, 2016.
  • Northern Shrike, Image provided by Eric Atkinson

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