Book Review: Environment by Rolf Halden

If you were expecting a book called “Environment” to include an inspiring exploration of how trees communicate, poetic scenes of dolphins swimming gracefully through a blue ocean or an examination of sparkling lakes in gorgeous national parks, you’d be in for a downer surprise. The environmental overview that is Environment by Rolf Halden is instead—as the plastic …

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Life Between the Tides, by Adam Nicolson

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, February 2022 (Published in the UK as The Sea is Not Made of Water) Life Between the Tides is my kind of book. British author, Adam Nicolson, grandson of Vita Sackville-West, sets out to write about tide pools and the intertidal zone, but those subjects turn out to be just launching …

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Book Review: Julian Sancton’s MADHOUSE AT THE END OF THE EARTH

Julian Sancton’s Madhouse at the End of the Earth tells the riveting, page-turning story of the Belgica’s multinational expedition to Antarctica, led by Belgian commandant Adrien de Gerlache. This may be not be among the best-known stories of Antarctic exploration, but it is certainly among the most harrowing, as well as the most haunting, with an abundance of …

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Book Review: Ash Davidson’s DAMNATION SPRING

Living in Southern Oregon, not far north of where Ash Davidson’s Damnation Spring is set, I’ve grown used to passing trucks that are overloaded with timber, and mountainsides bare from clear-cuts. Knowing that this novel is about logging redwoods in the late 1970s, I wasn’t sure how biased I might be, as an reader who is decidedly …

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Book review: A Most Remarkable Creature

In A Most Remarkable Creature: The Hidden Life and Epic Journey of the World’s Smartest Bird of Prey Jonathan Meiburg has crafted an epic ode to the caracara, a long-overlooked (and often derided) group of birds who deserves more attention and more protection. There are about ten species of caracara and Meiburg takes us around …

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How to Be Animal: Lessons in evolution for the human animal

Perhaps it is human nature to rank things. We rank cities and states and countries. We have the best restaurants and best movies; we even have best friends. And when it comes to our relationships with animals we share this planet with, there is a fair amount of ranking there as well, with the human …

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2021 Siskiyou Prize submissions are open!

Submissions are now open for the Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature. This year’s award, sponsored by Ashland Creek Press and the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, will be judged by Deb Olin Unferth. The 2021 Siskiyou Prize is open to published books and unpublished book-length manuscripts in fiction and nonfiction, including novels, memoirs, and short …

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Book Review: We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge

Kaitlyn Greenidge’s stunning and unique novel, We Love You, Charlie Freeman, begins as the story of a family that moves into the The Toneybee Institute for Ape Research to teach an abandoned young chimpanzee sign language—yet while the novel is very much about language, its focus veers from chimpanzees and delves into the institute’s dark …

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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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