Braiding Sweetgrass: Finding a way through environmental despair

At the ASLE conference earlier this summer I heard this book referenced in a number of sessions. And now, having read it, I realize why. Braiding Sweetgrass is a rich collection of essays about plants and animals, indigenous and scientific awareness, and our tenuous relationship with nature. But more than that, it is the story …

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Notes from the ASLE Conference in Davis, California

ASLE is the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment. Every other year, the organization hosts a conference; this year it was at the University of California at Davis, and we drove down to participate. I’m told there were more than 1,200 attendees, a conference record, and a sign that environmental literature is …

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Silent Spring & Other Writings on the Environment: And our irrational, insatiable, unsustainable desire to control nature

I feel ashamed to admit this, but until recently I had not read, end to end, Silent Spring. I had read parts of the book over the years and have been acutely aware of what the book is about — and perhaps this was the reason I avoided it for so long.  But when I saw …

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Book Review: The End of Ice by Dahr Jamail

Dahr Jamail’s The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption is at once a memoir of the author’s experiences in nature and a report of the state of the planet amid rapid climate change. This well-researched, passionate book is about the end of more than ice—Jamail takes us …

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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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The Overstory by Richard Powers wins the 2019 Pulitzer Prize

Congratulations to Richard Powers for a novel that captures the tragedy of what we have lost (and continue to lose) every time we cut down some of the oldest-living inhabitants of this planet. I reviewed the book here with my only criticism being the conspicuous lack of vegan characters. You don’t have to look very …

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The best environmental books we’ve read in 2018

This is our third year of recapping the best books we’ve read over the past year. Here are the 2017 and 2016 lists. We’re so glad that the number of both readers and reviewers of EcoLit Books have grown enough to now have an annual tradition of celebrating our favorite books of the year. And …

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Eager: The fall and rise of the North American beaver

Pity the keystone species. Those animals upon which the health of so many ecosystems depend — wolves and jaguars, sharks and sea otters, to name just a few. Due in large part to their outsized impact on our planet, they are often blamed for getting in our way. Wolves take our cows and sheep. Sea otters take our …

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The Overstory: An arboreal love story (and lament)

When we started EcoLit Books five years ago, this was the type of book I had in mind. A novel that places nature in its proper place in relation to people. That is, above us — in this case, both figuratively and literally. In The Overstory, Richard Powers has crafted an epic novel that stretches hundreds …

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