MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Excerpt from The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Secret Wisdom of the Earth

by Christopher Scotton

The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton X
The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2015, 480 pages
    Jan 2016, 496 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

"Nope, I'll just take this one to go." He grabbed the center bun and poured coffee into a travel mug. "Call you when I get home, sport," he said as the screen door creaked and slammed on his exit.

With him gone I immediately began exploring Medgar and the surrounding mountains in expanding circles from my base on the front porch of 22 Chisold Street—a seething, spinning fury in my head and a pack of matches in my pocket.

On the first saddle of mountain outside of town, I gathered up a knee-high pile of tinder-dry leaves and threw a lit match into it. A pencil of smoke rose from the middle, then dissipated as the flames took. A moderate wind fed the fire and I watched impassively as the flames shot up three feet, consumed the fuel, then settled into smoldering embers. I wanted to feel something other than the stifling sadness and rage that had overcome me these past two months—guilt, excitement, brio, embarrassment, anything—but even the heat of the flame failed to penetrate.

I had started with fires in Redhill about a month after Josh died: first a small trash can in the backyard, then a pile of dried grass clippings in the woods behind my house; a stack of deadfall at a construction site, then three tires at the town dump; a few other minor lights around Redhill, until I set an old wooden shed ablaze on city park property. That one brought out fire engines, police cars, crime scene investigators, but nothing from me.

Farther up the mountain I pulled together another pile of leaves, larger this time, and finally felt the heat of the flames as they licked at the low branches of a maple sapling. Then two more fires, each bigger than before.

And so it was my first week in Medgar—a Dumpster fire in back of Hivey's Farm Supply; a grass fire on a clear hillside that got taken by the wind and nearly lost control; an old foam car seat that burned ugly black smoke and stung my lungs when the wind shifted.

It was on one of these burnings that I first met Buzzy Fink.

Excerpt from The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton. Copyright (c) 2015 by Christopher Scotton. Used with permission by Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Coal Mining: Basic Overview

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Follow Me to Ground
    Follow Me to Ground
    by Sue Rainsford
    Ada and her father are human-like beings who age slowly and possess the power to heal all illness. ...
  • Book Jacket: Children of the Land
    Children of the Land
    by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo
    In this exquisitely crafted memoir, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo describes coming of age as a young ...
  • Book Jacket: A Good Neighborhood
    A Good Neighborhood
    by Therese Anne Fowler
    After fictionalized biographies of Zelda Fitzgerald (Z, 2013) and Alva Vanderbilt (A Well-Behaved ...
  • Book Jacket: Little Gods
    Little Gods
    by Meng Jin
    Little Gods, Meng Jin's intricate, emotionally intelligent debut, opens with a scene in which ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Father of Lions
    by Louise Callaghan

    A true-to-life narrative of one man's remarkable quest to save the Mosul Zoo.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Sun Down Motel
    by Simone St. James

    The chilling new novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
American Dirt
by Jeanine Cummins

"American Dirt is a Grapes of Wrath for our times."
—Don Winslow

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The Lost Family

The Lost Family
by Libby Copeland

A deeply reported look at the rise of home genetic testing and the seismic shock it has had on individual lives.



Solve this clue:

A F I Need I A F I

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.