Book Review: Mono Lake Viewpoint
By David Carle, Park Ranger, Mono Lake
Tufa State Reserve
Now a Book!
Mono Lake Viewpoint is a collection of
essays on Mono Lake compiled from a regular column
in the Mammoth Times. Publisher Sally Gaines,
of Artemesia Press in Lee Vining, called the book,
"A sensitive and accurate description of
the natural history and moods of my favorite place,
Gaines adds that Carle, a state park ranger at
the Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve, " knows
his subject well enough to write entertainingly
and fondly of birds, brine shrimp, tufa, tourists,
hay fever and freezing fog. His humor is matched
by his knowledge of the natural world and his
skill with words."
Buell illustrated the book with exacting representations
of the landscape and wildlife. His other work ranges
from calendars to giant museum murals. Buell will soon
be a resident of Mammoth Lakes.
In the introductory chapter of Viewpoint, Carle
wrote, "This is not a guidebook (several excellent
ones are already available on the Mono Lake area). Many
of these essays do not fit the mold of traditional nature
"Yet I set out to inform. Environmental education
is part of my job as a ranger, after all. It's just
more fun to learn about brine shrimp from Merlin the
wizard in 'The Once and Future Shrimp,' to take one
Since 1990, Carle's somewhat different approach to
nature writing has appeared as a column in the Mammoth
Times. Readers of that column now have a chance
to reread the collection, organized here with a section
for each annual season.
Each chapter and each major section of the book have
been illustrated with Buell's detailed ink drawings.
Buell drew coyotes howling at the moon to appropriately
accompany a final, more philosophical section, titled
"In Search of Happily Ever After."
Mono Lake Viewpoint retails for $5.95. The publisher
and author were determined to keep the price low, despite
the exceptional quality of the illustrations. "We
wanted most of all to keep the essays available to new
readers. At this price, perhaps people will consider
them as stocking-stuffers for their friends and family,"
"I hope the book is entertaining," he added.
"But there are lessons lurking here too. I see
Mono Lake as a unique place of example and hope for
many other environmental problem-spots and issues."
< Back to Mono Lake