Book Review: Penguins: Natural History and Conservation

Let me preface this review by saying that I am a longtime fan of co-author Dee Boersma’s work. Years ago, I was part of a volunteer project at Punta Tombo, assisting Dee and her team with a penguin census. It was a week that changed the direction of my life in ways I couldn’t possibly …

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Book Review: The Hidden Life of Wolves

THE HIDDEN LIFE OF WOLVES  Jim and Jamie Dutcher National Geographic Press $25, 210 pages For six years they shared a 25-acre enclosure at the base of Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains with a pack of wolves. Their office was a Mongolian yurt; their sleeping quarters a canvas tent. The path to the outhouse required frequent snow-shoveling …

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Book Review: Beg: A Radical New Way of Regarding Animals by Rory Freedman

Rory Freedman’s new book, Beg: A Radical New Way of Regarding Animals, is a must-read for anyone who believes himself or herself to be an animal lover. The main idea behind this book is that many people who think they love animals in fact unknowingly participate in any number of things that do animals great …

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Diatoms & You

In a new book I’m just crazy about, The Book of Barely Imagined Beings, a 21st Century Bestiary by Caspar Henderson, given to me by Chris of the wonderful Longfellow Books in Portland, Maine, there is a shout-out to my favorite one-celled algae, the diatom. It is a crusty bit of plankton, a broad category …

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Celebrating eco-literature with ReadVeg stickers

If you love reading about environmental and animal-rights issues, you might want one of these ReadVeg stickers. We printed these up to celebrate all eco-literature, especially the great fiction we’re discovering that tackles these issues — and we decided that these stickers are a fun way to get the word out about eco-fiction and veg lit. Check …

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Writing for animals: Advice for writers of animal rights fiction

In mainstream fiction today, “normal” characters tend to be carnivores, or at least omnivores, and “fringe” characters tend to be vegetarian or vegan. Naturally, I disagree with this distinction. But I also understand that most writers are simply following convention, simply writing about the world as they see it today. But the world is changing. …

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Book Review: How Animals Grieve by Barbara J. King

Let me begin by saying I recommend this book to anyone who doubts that animals grieve. The evidence presented is overwhelming. Dolphins who try to keep their dead calves afloat. Elephants who seek out the remains of their dead years after their passing. A cat who wails inconsolably after losing a sibling. A turtle who …

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Earth Day in the Plasticene Era

  “It’s so hopeless,” a young friend said, tossing a plastic water bottle in the trash. “I don’t believe in recycling.” “Don’t believe?” I said, reaching into the garbage. “I didn’t know it was a religion.” “It’s a faith. A faith that you’re doing the right thing. A feel-good gesture that masks a larger problem.” …

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Book Review: Lapham’s Quarterly: Animals

The Lapham’s Quarterly has devoted its Spring 2013 issue to Animals. It’s a marvelous collection of historical essays and stories. Many of the stories included are in the public domain, such as this excerpt from Moby-Dick. What jumped out at me was this excerpt from the essay The Silent Majority by John Berger. The cultural …

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