Book Review: The Elephant of Belfast

The Elephant of Belfast, S. Kirk Walsh’s debut novel, reimagines the extraordinary relationship between an Irish zookeeper and a young Asian elephant during the Second World War. Twenty-year-old Hettie Quin works part-time at Bellevue Zoo and Gardens and is angling hard for a promotion. She wants to become a full-time zookeeper—a position traditionally held by …

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Culture is Home: Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace

Guest book review by Gene Helfman. MacArthur Fellow Carl Safina established himself among the legion of environmental journalists with his first book, the award-winning Song for the Blue Ocean. In Song, he detailed the causes of and solutions to declining fish populations, especially those overharvested in commercial fisheries. In (also award-winning) Eye of the Albatross, he lamented the …

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Beyond The Human Realm

Beyond the Human Realm, A Novel by Gene Helfman (Luminare Press, July, 2021 Review by JoeAnn Hart             It’s not an easy feat to write in an animal POV without the voice seeming weird or childish, but Gene Helfman pulls it off. Do I want to read an entire novel in an orca POV? Probably not. …

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Book Review: Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

Set on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi in the span of the twelve days before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina makes landfall, Salvage the Bones is the story of 14-year-old Esch and her family, who live on the outskirts of the fictional town of Bois Sauvage on a patch of land they call the “Pit.” …

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Book Review: Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy

Charlotte McConaghy’s Once There Were Wolves shares much in common with her previous novel, Migrations — the journey of a troubled young woman hoping to save the animals she loves, while also fighting the demons of her past. Yet despite these echoes, Once There Were Wolves is entirely unique in its story of biologist Inti Flynn, who …

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Book Review: The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery

Studies of animal intelligence have demonstrated the impressive cognitive abilities of certain animals: rhesus macaques, crows, bottlenose dolphins, border collies.  Recently, there is another animal gaining increasing recognition for its intelligence: the octopus. The Soul of an Octopus is, as its subtitle aptly describes, “a surprising exploration into the wonders of consciousness.”  Written by Sy …

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Book Review: HOMES by Moheb Soliman

In HOMES, interdisciplinary poet Moheb Soliman traces the intricate borders of the Great Lakes—Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior (HOMES)—and explores the meanings of home, place, and identity in the spaces where water meets land and nature meets industry.  This stunning collection of postmodern ecopoetry prods the ironies that live in these in-between spaces. Soliman excavates …

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Book Review: Waiting for the Night Song

Waiting for the Night Song review

Crimes against man and nature collide in Waiting for the Night Song, a vivid and compelling environmental thriller by Julie Carrick Dalton. Dalton is a journalist, writer, and frequent speaker on the topic of writing fiction in the age of climate crisis, an area of expertise that shines through in her debut novel.  Cadie Kessler …

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Bear Markets and Beyond: A Bestiary of Business Terms

Why do animals lend themselves to economic and financial jargon? Perhaps it’s because we need visual and tangible ways or relating to concepts that are so vague, confusing or downright opaque. Bear Markets and Beyond by Dhruti Shah and Dominic Bailey provides an A-Z compendium of animal financial jargon. From an “alligator spread” that has …

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