“You might not expect unfettered passion on the topic of seaweed, but Shetterly is such a great storyteller that you find yourself following along eagerly.” —Mark Kurlansky
“Seaweed is ancient and basic, a testament to the tenacious beginnings of life on earth,” writes Susan Hand Shetterly in this elegant, fascinating book. “Why wouldn’t seaweeds be a protean life source for the lives that have evolved since?” On a planet facing environmental change and diminishing natural resources, seaweed is increasingly important as a source of food and as a fundamental part of our global ecosystem.
In Seaweed Chronicles, Shetterly takes readers deep into the world of this essential organism by providing an immersive, often poetic look at life on the rugged shores of her beloved Gulf of Maine, where the growth and harvesting of seaweed is becoming a major industry. While examining the life cycle of seaweed and its place in the environment, she tells the stories of the men and women who farm and harvest it—and who are fighting to protect this critical species against forces both natural and man-made. Ideal for readers of such books as The Hidden Life of Trees and How to Read Water, Seaweed Chronicles is a deeply informative look at a little understood and too often unappreciated part of our habitat.
“You might not expect unfettered passion on the topic of seaweed, but Shetterly is such a great storyteller that you find yourself following along eagerly.”
“After reading Susan Hand Shetterly’s Seaweed Chronicles, chances are that you’ll look at sushi rolls and the brackish tangles of seaweed washed up on beaches in a new light. Seaweed Chronicles is a fascinating portrait of this valuable, increasingly threatened resource and a passionate plea for its wise management. It’s a beautiful book, both educational and inspirational . . . Shetterly is a wise, attentive observer, open to the wonders of nature. Although generally more lyrical than didactic, she helpfully frontloads the book with important facts about seaweeds. Seaweed Chronicles adds up to a persuasive and loving argument for 'a new model of how to manage ocean resources that doesn’t edge them toward oblivion.'”
—Heller McAlpin, Washington Post
“Ms. Shetterly writes beautifully about the interconnectedness of humans and animals and the natural environment that we share. The twinned concepts of community and belonging are central to this story. By exploring the land where we live, we can begin to understand our place in the world. Seaweed Chronicles is an elegy to environmentalism and to the individuals in Ms. Shetterly’s local community who are committed to the stewardship of coastal Maine’s natural habitat. In the end, this is not about turning back the clock or calling for a global shift in behavior, but about a philosophy. Seaweed Chronicles is a local affair and, as such, gives more justice to Ms. Shetterly’s endeavor and closes in on something real. 'Attention,' Simone Weil once wrote, 'is the rarest and purest form of generosity.' Ms. Shetterly is simply urging us to pay attention to nature, to live deliberately, to take stock of the things around us that we don’t want to lose. There may be bigger challenges in the world today than the growing and harvesting of seaweed, but the responsibility and care—the paying attention—that the individuals in Ms. Shetterly’s seascape represent endow us with the fortitude to do the same.”
—Wall Street Journal
“Nature writer Shetterly details why this hardy alga deserves safeguarding. In evocative prose, she describes seaweed’s role in the environment, especially in her coastal home of “Downeast Maine,” and the people who study, harvest, sell, eat and protect it.”
“Riveting . . . a lyrical and timely chronicle.”
“A lovely, first-person consideration of the diaphanous organisms—and an evaluation of their environmental history and promise: a carbon-absorbing environmental superhero, macro-algae biofuel may fuel your VWs and Hondas in the future, to boot.”
“A measured, wise little book . . . [Shetterly] has a gift for description.”
—Portland Press Herald
Praise for Settled in the Wild by Susan Hand Shetterly:
“Shetterly is a writer whose precise eye is directly connected not just to a quicksilver mind but also a good, generous heart. Her prose is spare, elegant, rich in metaphor, and haunting.”—Richard Russo
“With this tender and tough book, Shetterly creates an offering of native awareness that deserves to be placed alongside Aldo Leopold, Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, and Noel Perrin, all writers of community, insight and resolve.”—Terry Tempest Williams
“There is magic in the way Shetterly has proceeded into her life—with daily awe and hunger—and there is generosity, eloquence, and great intelligence in this telling.”—Rick Bass
“With wisdom and leavening humor, Susan Hand Shetterly tells tales of a small town and the woods around it, of her family and neighbors, two-legged and four, of the sound of wind and the cacophony of silence.”—Richard Louv
“Settled in the Wild draws a beautiful portrait of life lived in utter harmony with the natural world—life as it ought to be lived.”—Alice Waters
“What a beautiful little book. It reads like you're listening to water flowing over stones. Shetterly writes with great detail and understanding, and you feel immersed in her world.”—Lynne Cox
Susan Hand Shetterly is the author of the essay collections Settled in the Wild and The New Year’s Owl, as well as several children’s books including Shelterwood, named an Outstanding Science Trade Book for Children by the Children’s Book Council. Shetterly has received a nonfiction writing grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and two grants from the Maine Arts Commission.