|Daniel Minock writes about life in the country. His eighteen essays focus on a variety of subjects, including gardening, finding mushrooms, getting along with neighbors--human and otherwise--watching owls, reading, teaching, and contemplating landscapes and cyberscapes.
When asked to compare his book to the classics in the field, Minock responds modestly, "Thistle Journal, like Walden, is about a man building a house in the country and living in it year round, taking note of the lives to be observed in the area, considering how his own life is to be lived. But if I had tried to get too close to that great book, my little one would have been promptly eaten. Thistle Journal stands safely off from Walden, I believe. Thoreau was a philosopher and poet. Like an Old Testament prophet, he cries out in full voice against what he perceives to be the errors of his kind. I am a storyteller and poet who tries to embody ideas, but only rarely do I discuss them directly."
"So quickly did I fall in love with Daniel Minock's writing that I decided OG had to run a short extract from Thistle Journal, which you can read on page 90. Minock, I suppose, could be called a nature writer, but really he's a "life writer", at least one intimately connected with his piece of land in the country (Brighton, Michigan, USA). He writes about gardening, wildlife, foraging, building and just the pleasures of reading and being still. . . . He observes and then he connects."--Steve Payne, Organic Gardener (Australia)
"Eighteen essays explore the virtues of nature and self-reliance. Modest by design, like the house and life it chronicles, but constructed with great integrity and affection."--Kirkus Reviews
"Just when you think that the informal essay is dead, a guy like Minock comes along with beautifully crafted pieces that renew your faith in the creative spirit and inspire thanks."--Minneapolis Star Tribune
"A college instructor in Michigan, Minock has eclectic interests--poetry, birding, construction, gathering wild mushrooms--but his quiet observations will be familiar to anyone who has ever walked in the woods, argued with a family member or realized halfway through a project that hiring a trained professional would have been a good idea. [H]ere's proof of his writing ability--he's able to make even a nature-illiterate worry about the whereabouts of a baby owl."--Publishers Weekly
"Thistle Journal is a book I'll return to often. Whether his subject is owls or herons, thistles or gardens, tracking or housebuilding, Daniel Minock is a writer who makes luminous connections, whose lively engagement with the natural world tells us much we can use about life-building, and whose clear, beautifully written essays teach us not only what to look for but how to see."--Patricia Hooper
"Dan Minock built his own house, and he has lived there for the last twenty years. He is still not convinced it was a good idea. When he writes about what he has found on his acre and a half--about the birds, the plants, and the sense of place--and when he writes that he has found "a way of holding still," he convinces me."--Ann Arbor Observer
"Minock writes thoughtful essays that allow the reader to come to know and understand his cares and worries in the ways that an intimate friendship might progress, perhaps slowly at first, then, with the passing of time, forming a bond based upon common concerns and stewardship of the environment."--Booklist
"What I like best about Minock's work is the author's dedication to awareness. Awareness is a hard crop to harvest. Here, on an acre and a half, Minock raises a bumper crop."--Lansing Capital Times