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Extended Audio Sample High Tide in Tucson: Essays from Now or Never Audiobook, by Barbara Kingsolver Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (6,538 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Barbara Kingsolver Narrator: Barbara Kingsolver Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2005 ISBN: 9780060894511
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Barbara Kingsolver has entertained and touched the lives of legions of readers with her critically acclaimed and bestselling novels The Bean Trees, Animal Dreams, and Pigs in Heaven.

In these twenty-five newly conceived essays, she returns once again to her favored literary terrain to explore the themes of family, community, and the natural world. With the eyes of a scientist and the vision of a poet, Kingsolver writes about notions as diverse as modern motherhood, the history of private property, and the suspended citizenship of humans in the animal kingdom. Her canny pursuit of meaning from an inscrutable world compels us to find instructions for life in surprising places: a museum of atomic bomb relics, a West African voodoo love charm, an iconographic family of paper dolls, the ethics of a wild pig who persistently invades a garden, a battle of wills with a two-year-old, or a troop of oysters who observe high tide in the middle of Illinois.

In sharing her thoughts about the urgent business of being alive, kingsolver the essayist employs the same keen eyes, persuasive tongue, and understanding heart that characterize her acclaimed fiction. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Kingsolver’s essays should be savored like quiet afternoons with a friend.... [She] speaks in a language rich with music and replete with good sense.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A delightful, challenging, and wonderfully informative book.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “A book full of discoveries.”  

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “Whether cultural, personal, or theoretical, Kingsolver’s nonfiction is a delight.”

    Seattle Times

  • “Ms. Kingsolver possesses the rare ability to see the natural world with the keenness of both the poet and the naturalist.” 

    Washington Times

  • “Brilliant...lucid, well thought-out, and remarkably sensitive. Kingsolver’s power will linger long after you’ve finished High Tide in Tucson.” 

    Kansas City Star

  • “Clever...magical...beautifully crafted. Kingsolver spins you around the philosophic world a dozen times.”

    Milwaukee Sentinel

  • “The acclaimed novelist’s extraordinary powers of observations and understanding of character serve her beautifully in this collection of essays.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Admirers of Kingsolver’s novels...will relish the vibrant self-portrait these frank, bright, funny, and generous essays present...Kingsolver also writes with great verve, honesty, and humor about motherhood, housework, fashion, sports, and travel to Africa, Hawaii, and the Canary Islands.”  

    Booklist

  • “Twenty-five essays...grace this collection; some have been previously published, and all have been revised for this book. The title essay uses the metaphor of a hermit crab displaced from the Bahamas to Tucson to express an analogous situation in the author’s life...In between, there are musings on life in the desert, feral pigs, libraries, fidelity, childrearing, and the like, all written with a keen sensitivity to Kingsolver’s surroundings and often bringing an unusual perspective on seemingly mundane subjects...Essential.”

    Library Journal

  • “Displaying a diverse background and multiple interests, Kingsolver has written about subjects as varied as the biological clock of hermit crabs, tourist wanderings in Benin, and visiting an obsolete Titan missile site. The recurring themes here are the wonder and excitement of parenting; the respect for all creatures, religions, and points of view; and the importance of the natural world in our lives. She weaves these themes throughout her essays and presents readers with a vision of beliefs too often undervalued in our modern world.”

    School Library Journal

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathy Capps | 2/20/2014

    " This is the first, and maybe only, book of essays that was so good I couldn't put it down. Barbara Kingsolver is one of my all time favorite authors. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leslie Hayes | 2/11/2014

    " Love, love, love this book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Al | 2/9/2014

    " Have you ever felt that you could have someone understand you if only they'd read a particular book? While this isn't my favorite book, or my favorite Kingsolver, the varied topics in it are so agreeable to me...I feel anyone reading it could then look at me and say "oh, I see why you feel so strongly about issue X"! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melinda | 2/8/2014

    " The essay about the crab has stayed in my mind for years "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deirdre Keating | 2/7/2014

    " Even more than Bean Trees, my favorite Kingsolver. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carmen | 2/6/2014

    " I had mixed feelings about this. Mostly, I thought Kingsolver was incredibly self-absorbed, pretentious, and a bit privilege-blind for a committed progressive. But then she had the occasional brilliant insight that made all the boring bits worth slogging through. And the essay on art's meaning and writing was pretty genius. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Loren | 2/6/2014

    " Good collection of the authors' essays. Some very insightful moments. Recommend. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kirsten | 2/3/2014

    " Reminds me how much I love Barbara Kingsolver. Need to dig through my shelves to see what else of hers I own that I haven't read yet. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leslie Kastner | 1/14/2014

    " A fabulous read for anyone - an eloquent voice and wonderful lessons. Highly readable, but easy enough to put down when you need to because it is a compliations of essays. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susabelle | 1/14/2014

    " I love Barbara Kingsolver, so anything she's written is fair game for me. This collection of essays was a wonderful way to spend small snatches of reading time waiting at the doctor's office, DMV, waiting to pick up a kid from work, etc. I love her style. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sue | 1/4/2014

    " I wanted fiction. I got this and was euphoric. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Connie Carter | 12/25/2013

    " I adore Barbara Kingsolver -- everything she has written. I know this is true for many people; however, some may have missed her essays, which are exquisite gems, and because of their length, lovely for read-alouds. Not-to-miss! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 melissa/missy | 12/20/2013

    " I love-love-loved the first essay in this book (and its message about responding gracefully to change was timely for me), but I thought the rest of the collection was a little uneven. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle Belle Hanks | 12/20/2013

    " Love her short stories, she has had an interesting life and since she was a biologists she tends to have a left brain idea. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca | 12/5/2013

    " I have just realized that I love the essay form, especially written by writers I like as well as Barbara Kingsolver. This is an older collection but still very interesting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 cat | 12/2/2013

    " she's just a genius with nature and wildlife descriptions and taking corollaries from the natural world and applying them to human thought and behavior. and she's really funny! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Clare Savage | 11/30/2013

    " A friend let me borrow this book. I enjoyed the short stories of Arizona and Kentucky. Kingsolver's two homes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathleen Wells | 11/11/2013

    " I liked this Barbara Kingsolver book almost as much as I like her fiction books. I find her to be a witty, engaging author, and her essays are no exception. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brandy clark | 5/24/2013

    " essays that make you stop and think about our environment and world. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aubrey | 1/6/2013

    " Wonderful! In these essays, Kingsolver gives you a huge variety of themes to dwell on: gardening, private property, family, war, voodoo, biology. Her writing is so personal and insightful; she has to be one of my favorite authors. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Martha | 11/27/2012

    " I felt like I was having a personal conversation with the author while reading this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Derek | 11/9/2012

    " Non-fiction essays by a scientist with a knack for words and a desire to incorporate all she knows into every day life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Samantha | 11/3/2012

    " I don't really like Kingsolver's fiction, but her essays are great. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dianna | 8/11/2012

    " this is one of those books on my shelf that has a broken binding because I have read it so many times. The only thing holding it together is love of her writing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Artemisia | 3/26/2012

    " This book is a mix of essays. Some of them were boring and I didn't finish them. However, many of the essays were so inspiring they made my heart sore, she speaks things I didn't even know I was achy to say and recognize. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephanie | 2/22/2012

    " Funny short stories and I felt like I wanted to meet the author after done reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan Lashomb | 10/19/2011

    " I love Kingsolver and this is no exception. This is the first non fiction that I have read of her's. I found the collection of short narratives interesting, well written, and with the author's opinion coming through strongly. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laurie | 10/10/2011

    " Very romantic story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sue Lipton | 7/10/2011

    " BK is my hero. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eric | 6/14/2011

    " I should probably mark this higher, since there were several times throughout the book where I felt like writing the author an appreciative note. But it was also annoying. I didn't want to be reminded about how effed up the US is. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 6/11/2011

    " The essay, High Tide is Tucson, is spectacular! Highly recommend.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debra | 6/1/2011

    " I love Barbara Kingsolver's fiction but these essays blew me away! I read this collection 15 years ago and recently re-read them and they were even more meaningful with a few more years under my belt. I hope she writes some more soon! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kyle | 5/15/2011

    " it was assigned in high school, and i hated the parts of it i actually read "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Florence | 4/18/2011

    " This author takes you into her own private, everyday world. I loved her essays on the natural world, Thoreau, the museum of nuclear silos, her temporary exile in the Canary islands. She makes all that catches her interest seem sharp and fresh. Now I want to reread her novesl. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda | 3/3/2011

    " This book changed my life. No joke. I would give it a million stars if that would convey to others just how much I think they should pick up this book and read it, then read it again. And again. Let the words wash over you. It's brilliant. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Patty | 2/27/2011

    " Enjoyed this one. I am almost ready to quit my job and become a writer. Would have to be less stressful than my current job. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 2/10/2011

    " The essay on her two year old had me laughing and crying within minutes of each other! I guess I didn't quite get it when I read it as a 20 something! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leah | 1/24/2011

    " All I can say is this is quite possibly the most moving and awesome book I have ever read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Pithee | 1/14/2011

    " I thought she sounded arrogant. I like her fiction much better. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katherine | 12/30/2010

    " Love Barbara Kingsolver. She writes uniquely and so beautifully. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sally | 12/8/2010

    " Barbara Kingsolver never disappoints me. Her essays range from funny to sad to really, really thought provoking. As always, I have to give her five stars. "

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About the Author
Author Barbara Kingsolver

Barbara Kingsolver’s twelve books of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction include the novels The Bean Trees and The Poisonwood Bible. Translated into nineteen languages, her work has won a devoted worldwide readership and many awards, including the National Humanities Medal.