Maverick: A life among animals, reconsidered

At the opening of the essay collection Maverick, Laura Jean Schneider writes: I’m in the third generation of butchers in my family. As a family, we slaughtered and butchered most of the meat we eat ourselves. While this was not without conflict it seemed that once animals flesh was cooked, we were absolved of the …

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Book Review: World of Wonders; In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments

No one sees nature quite like a poet and Aimee Nezhukumatathil proves that in World of Wonders, her first book of prose. This collection of essays centers around Nezhukumatathil’s lifelong interactions with and observations of the natural world. Born to a Filipina mother and a father from South India, Nezhukumatathil grew up all over the United States due to the demands of her mother’s job as a psychiatrist, and was immersed in landscapes from New York to Arizona. She writes from both the poet’s perspective and as a person of color in a white-privileged world.

Writing for deer; writing for animals

Summer in Ashland, Oregon, means fawns following their mothers through the streets of our small town. The local deer are, sadly, a contentious issue. Many residents resent their appetites for rose bushes and other flora. Others have accused deer of assault (typically a mother deer’s instinct to protect her fawn). But a major reason we …

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In Animal City our painful past is still painfully present

If I asked you to picture a “cow town,” you would probably picture a small town, surrounded by pasture, set far away from the big city. Yet in the 1800s, cities such as New York, Chicago, San Francisco were also cow towns. It was not unusual to see herds of cows squeezed through downtown streets, …

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Book Review: Rescue Dogs: Where They Come From, Why They Act the Way They Do, and How to Love Them Well

Pete Paxton hesitated upon hearing the command, “Jump inside.” Inside the trench, which was more than one hundred feet long, six feet wide, and six feet deep, lay dogs in all stages of decomposition. Paxton could see skulls, organs, guts. He saw mosquitoes and maggots. The stench was so putrid, he nearly vomited. But it …

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Book Review: The Humane Gardener

What in the world could be inhumane about gardening? Plenty, it turns out, thanks to this beautifully produced and incredibly important book by Nancy Lawson: The Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife. The Humane Gardener makes a persuasive case for rethinking conventional knowledge about what a garden or yard should look like and …

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LitHub’s climate change library

If we lived on this planet only one day a year then perhaps celebrating one “Earth Day” a year would make more sense. But as LitHub points out, every day is earth day. And they are assembling an ambitious list of 365 books for your climate change library, beginning with the classics. It’s nice to …

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Happy World Penguin Day

Today is World Penguin Day— not that we need a reason to celebrate these amazing little creatures, but it’s great to have a designated day on which everyone thinks about these birds and how they’re faring in such a rapidly changing world. So, how exactly are the penguins doing? According to the International Union for Conservation of …

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