Wiki-Wednesday – Michael Sims

27 02 2008

Michael Sims (February 17, 1958 –) is a noted American nonfiction writer, author most recently of Apollo’s Fire: A Day on Earth in Nature and Imagination (Viking, 2007). He is the author of two other books, as well as editor of two collections of literary classics. Sims’s books have received critical acclaim in almost every English-speaking country, including a lead review in the New York Times Book Review, as well as in response to translations of his work.

Nonfiction author Michael Sims

Nonfiction author Michael Sims

Early life

Born in rural eastern Tennessee, near the small town of Crossville, Sims has described in interviews how he grew up in a household without a telephone, an automobile, or, at times, indoor plumbing. He spent his teenage years in a wheelchair because of rheumatic arthritis following an attack of rheumatic fever. [1] Although Robert Macfarlane in the Sunday Times (London) said that Sims “is clearly the beneficiary of a wide-ranging American liberal-arts education,” actually Sims did not attend university. But he developed in childhood a preoccupation with literature, art, and nature, themes that dominate his adult work.

Career

Sims published his first book, Darwin’s Orchestra, in 1997, about which Martin Gardner wrote, “Sims’s range is awesome.” But it was Sims’s second book, Adam’s Navel: A Natural and Cultural History of the Human Form, in 2003, that established his reputation as an original and witty observer of the natural world. Published simultaneously in the U.S. and England, it was chosen as a Library Journal Best Science Book and a New York Times Notable Book. In 2007 Viking published Apollo’s Fire: A Day on Earth in Nature and Imagination.

Sims’s writing has been published in many periodicals, including the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New Statesman, Chronicle of Higher Education, Health, and American Archaeology.

He has appeared on many radio and television programs, including a multi-part documentary about women’s bodies on BBC Radio 4’s popular program Woman’s Hour.

Books by Michael Sims

1997 – Darwin’s Orchestra: An Almanac of Nature in History and the Arts (Henry Holt)

2003 – Adam’s Navel: A Natural and Cultural History of the Human Form (Viking; published in England by Allen Lane/Penguin, with the subtitles “A Natural and Cultural History of the Human Body” and “The Weird and Wonderful Story of the Human Body”)

2007 – Apollo’s Fire: A Day on Earth in Nature and Imagination (Viking)

Collections Edited

2006 – The Annotated Archy and Mehitabel, by Don Marquis, Edited with Notes and Introduction by Michael Sims (Penguin Classics)

2007 – Arsene Lupin, Gentleman-Thief, by Maurice Leblanc, Edited with Notes and Introduction by Michael Sims (Penguin Classics)


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