The best environmental books we’ve read in 2020

Not surprisingly, we’ve been doing quite a bit of reading this year. Here are some of our favorite books. And not all of them were new in 2020. We reviewed Braiding Sweetgrass back in 2019, and it’s comforting to see that book rise to the top of our collective consciousness (a seven-year old overnight success …

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Dark Emu: Rethinking Australian history (and our own)

Who were the first humans to bake bread? If you had asked me a few months ago, I would have probably guessed the Egyptians. But what if it was the Aboriginal Australians? And not by any small margin. There is evidence to suggest that Australians were cultivating grains and baking bread more than 30,000 years …

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Call for submissions: Turku Book Prize 2021

The European Society for Environmental History (ESEH) and the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society (RCC) are sponsoring the Turku Book Prize in environmental history. The winner will receive €3,000. To be eligible, books must be: By a single author Published in 2019 or 2020 About environmental history Written on a primarily European topic …

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New and upcoming book releases

Sadly, we cannot review everything we receive here at EcoLit Books — but I did want to highlight a few new and newly republished works… The Lives and Deaths of Shelter Animalsby Katy M. GuentherStanford University Press For the Birds: Protecting Wildlife through the Naturalist Gazeby Elizabeth CherryRutgers University Press Butterfly: Poems by Miriam Sorrel …

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New environmental journal: Ecocene

Always nice to see the emergence of a new environmental publication. This one is called Ecocene and is published by the Cappadocia University Environmental Humanities Center. The inaugural issue is free to download — see below: The idea with our first special issue is to inaugurate not just the journal but the kind of key …

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St. Louis Blues: The Broken Heart of America

The cover of The Broken Heart of America by Walter Johnson features a nearly complete St. Louis Arch, known as the Gateway to the West. It was completed about six years before my family moved to St. Louis and my memories of it consist of squeezing into an egg-shaped elevator and tilting our way up …

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Book Review: Phoenix Zones by Hope Ferdowsian

Phoenix Zones: Where Strength Is Born and Resilience Lives by Hope Ferdowsian, MD, is among the many compassionate, powerful, inspiring books the world needs now. This slender book about trauma and healing portrays the lives of human and nonhuman animals from myriad parts of the world, examining the ways in which suffering—and healing—is universal across  borders …

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Review: In The Art of Earth Architecture everything old is new again

As an architectural enthusiast, I have long admired Louis Khan. When I first visited San Diego years ago, I made sure to visit The Salk Institute. To see how concrete was used as both structure and frame, guiding my eyes toward the ocean. Kahn inspired me to dream about one day building a home made …

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Bird by Word: Two reviews of American Birds: A Literary Companion

As I finished reading American Birds: A Literary Companion I realized that there were two reviews I could write: the “typical American birder” review and the “atypical vegan birder” review. And that, in the end, I needed to write both reviews. Let’s begin with the “typical American birder” review. In this review, I admire the …

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