Small Wonder

Narrated by: Barbara Kingsolver
Length: 10 hrs and 1 min
4.5 out of 5 stars (113 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In her new essay collection, the beloved author of High Tide in Tucson brings to us from one of history's darker moments an extended love song to the world we still have. From its opening parable gleaned from recent news about a lost child saved in an astonishing way, the book moves on to consider a world of surprising and hopeful prospects, ranging from an inventive conservation scheme in a remote jungle to the backyard flock of chickens tended by the author's small daughter.

These essays are grounded in the author's belief that our largest problems have grown from the earth's remotest corners as well as our own backyards, and that answers may lie in those places, too. In the voice Kingsolver's readers have come to rely on, sometimes grave, occasionally hilarious, and ultimately persuasive, Small Wonder is a hopeful examination of the people we seem to be, and what we might yet make of ourselves.

©2002 Barbara Kingsolver (P)2002 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"Soulful and soul searching....A passionate invitation to readers to be part of the crowd that cares about the environment, peace, and family....A tantalizing peek into Kingsolver's world." (San Francisco Chronicle Book Review)
"This book of essays by Barbara Kingsolver is like a visit from a cherished old friend." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Daring heart

Barbara opens her heart and lays it bare. Naysayers can easily take offence, but that is because they either don't want to face up to what is happening to us or don't care. I care, Barbara cares. Wonderful read with lots to think about. Her voice is mesmerizing.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Not much of a Wonder

This is a book of essays by Barbara Kingsolver in her attempt to come to terms with 9/11. There are several exceptional images and stories, including that of a missing child nursed by a bear in Iran and her own reflections on raising children in a hyper-consumer world at war. For those who love to garden, be a parent, or raise chickens, Kingsolver captures the beauty and importance of these passions poetically. The book can be a bit self-indulgent at times, with Kingsolver going on at length about her views of things. While some of the essays were repetitive and tedious in this regard, others made for excellent listening. If you are looking for a story, this is not the book for you. However, if you like Kingsolver's outlook and ethics about the world, you can hear her say it herself (she is the narrator) in her own erudite and passionate way.

12 people found this helpful

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Barbara's take on good global citizenship inspires

This beautiful collection of essays reads like instructions for living a reflective and just life. Her writing, as always, blends captivating imagery with moments of humour, alongside carefully dissected criticisms of our modern habits of over-consumption, war mongering, and reflexive intolerance of others different from us. I listened to this audio recording in July of 2017, and am amazed at her prescience and foresight from 16 years ago. Sadly her clarion calls have largely gone unnoticed or ignored, and loss of species biodiversity, perpetual war and conflict, and the destruction of the earth's natural resources remain large threats facing our species and others. I would love for her to revisit these issues today.

1 person found this helpful

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as relevant now as ever

I come to this collection for the first time, in early 2017, and find myself grateful for the truths it holds.
I hold these words in my heart, and on a loop in my head as each day seems to bring a new terror in our world. thank you for your grace and compassion

1 person found this helpful

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Just Beautiful

Barbara Kingsolver is like a favorite teacher: smart, funny, clear, serious in all the right moments, always engaging, passionate, and a GREAT story teller. She makes learning fun and living even funner.

Don't ever stop writing please.

1 person found this helpful

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Celebrating small wonders

Thank you Mrs. Kingsolver, your book inspired me, made me cry, made me smile, made me nod in agreement, made me angry. Most of all it made me recognize small wonders around me. My hope is that every person reading your essays would become a small wonder in themselves.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

beautiful book

Kingsolver reads this book herself, which is always a huge plus for me. She is a brilliant essayist, and this book actually made me feel better in the wake of 9-11 (especially since she reads with such a sweet and sincere voice). I enjoy her fiction, but this is the first book of hers that I truly loved. You will enjoy it much more if you're in the liberal/environmentalist camp- otherwise it will probably sound preachy.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Educators: please read

Barbara Kingsolver writes beautifully and movingly - particularly about the impact of the human race on our delicate environment.

1 person found this helpful

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Adore.

I absolutely adore this thoughtful, compelling collection of essays on topics familiar to Kingsolver fans: the environment, farming, parenting, and being a responsible, thoughtful human being. There is such delight in the way she words things...

2 people found this helpful

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Beautiful, poignant and heartfelt

Thank you for this sharing, it filled me with hope and joy! I recommend this book highly, especially now and truly, every year.

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  • Donna France
  • 03-20-20

Essential reading

So good and so thought provoking it has to be digested in small doses. Barbara raises critical issues in a beautiful and lyrical way. As she says herself (in a short story about short stories)... the key is to learn something - and you will learn so much from each and every articulate story.