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Book Review: Galapagos at the Crossroads by Carol Ann Bassett

In Birds, Book Reviews, Climate Change, Conservation, Education, Endangered Species, Essays, Nonfiction, Oceans by Midge Raymond0 Comments

Galápagos at the Crossroads: Pirates, Biologists, Tourists, and Creationists Battle for Darwin’s Cradle of Evolution by Carol Ann Bassett should be on the reading list for anyone traveling to the archipelago, whether as a researcher or a tourist. This insightful essay collection, while offering deep dives into some of the islands’ flora and fauna, also covers the controversial history and present challenges of the human impact on the Galápagos in ways all visitors should see in order to truly understand this remarkable place. In these seventeen chapters, Bassett writes of her personal experiences in the Galápagos, the first time being 1990. …

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Announcing the winner & finalists of the 2016 Siskiyou Prize!

In Conservation, Fiction, For Writers, Writing Opportunities by Midge Raymond0 Comments

We are delighted to announce the winner of the 2016 Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature: Katy Yocom, for her novel THREE WAYS TO DISAPPEAR. Judge JoeAnn Hart writes, “THREE WAYS TO DISAPPEAR begins with a focused lens on the endangered Bengal tiger then expands its reach with every page to reveal the interconnectedness of the natural world and fragility of all life. Weaving together the worn threads of ecological balance, this ambitious and moving novel addresses scarcity, climate change, family dynamics, cultural conflict, human accountability, women’s economic autonomy, and most of all, love, in all its wondrous forms. This is a story not …

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Book Review: What a Fish Knows by Jonathan Balcombe

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Book Publishers, Nonfiction, Oceans by Midge Raymond0 Comments

It’s difficult to think of another title that is more important to the oceans—and therefore to the earth’s entire ecosystem—than What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins by Jonathan Balcombe. Not only does Balcombe introduce us to the fascinating, complex lives of these sentient creatures, he shows us how devastatingly we are treating them, to the point of endangerment and extinction. While fishes aren’t usually at the top of the list of animals that elicit human sympathy (“We hear no screams and see no tears when their mouths are impaled and their bodies pulled from the …

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Book Review: Even In My Dreams: A collection of vegan poems

In Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Poetry, Veganism by Midge Raymond0 Comments

“Why a book of vegan poetry?” asks editor Emma Letessier in the introduction to Even In My Dreams: A Collection of Vegan Poems. As a poet herself, Letessier has found writing poetry to be cathartic; like many vegans who live with the daily awareness of the suffering that inspired them to choose this way of life, she writes that “poetry allows us to take emotions that are raw and painful and transform them into something beautiful, powerful.” And the poems in this collection do just that. There are poems for every reader in this book, from the fun and the playful …

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Book Review: Marrow Island by Alexis M. Smith

In Book Reviews, Fiction, Oil, Pollution by Midge Raymond0 Comments

Alexis M. Smith’s lovely novel Marrow Island envisions environmental catastrophe on several levels, beginning with a devastating earthquake and the subsequent oil refinery accident whose effects, even though these events are backstory, linger on every page. The novel begins with a mysterious opening chapter, in which Lucie Bowen, twenty years after the earthquake, is again fleeing the island of her youth, this time under very different circumstances. Unlike during the earthquake, which Lucie and her best friend, Katie, survived together, Katie now is a suspicious presence (“I’m not leaving you alone with her,” says Lucie’s boyfriend, Carey); by the end of this …

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Book Review: The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf

In Book Reviews, Climate Change, Conservation, Nonfiction by Midge Raymond0 Comments

The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf examines the life of the oft-forgotten founder of the modern environmentalist movement. Alexander von Humboldt was a German naturalist and explorer who, despite having his name attached to natural wonders across the globe, is far less well known than those who drew their inspiration from him, including Charles Darwin, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Rachel Carson, and James Lovelock. Wulf’s fascinating book is thoroughly researched and annotated and includes drawings and portraits of Humboldt and his travels. Like so many naturalists, Humboldt was not a “people person” but …

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A Q&A with author Jennifer Longo

In Book Reviews, Children's Books, Fiction, Q&A by Midge Raymond0 Comments

Jennifer Longo is the author of the novel Up to this Pointe (learn more about the book here). Thanks to Jennifer for chatting with me about her wonderful book! Q: Your author bio refers to your “obsessive love of Antarctica” — what led to this obsession? A: Oh, my favorite topic! In 1998 I was in grad school doing research for a play about the history of photography, and I went to the Kodak website (on the new-fangled Interwebs). The entire site was devoted to Frank Hurley, Ernest Shackleton’s expedition photographer. All the plate glass negatives and photographs were there, and …

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Book Review: Up to this Pointe by Jennifer Longo

In Book Reviews, Children's Books, Climate Change, Conservation, Fiction, Oceans by Midge Raymond0 Comments

Jennifer Longo’s Up to This Pointe is a delightful, wholly original novel that brings YA readers to territory not often visited in this genre: Antarctica. Seventeen-year-old Harper Scott is a relative of Antarctica explorer Robert Falcon Scott (“He is our third cousin’s aunt’s great-grandfather. Or something.”), but she’s not interested in science. She and her best friend, Kate, have been planning their entire lives to graduate early from high school, join the San Francisco Ballet, and live together in the city. But when Harper’s dreams fall into jeopardy, turning her world upside down and leaving her with the desire to …

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Call for Submissions: Zoomorphic

In For Writers, Journals and Magazines, Oceans, Writing Opportunities by Midge Raymond0 Comments

The magazine Zoomorphic seeks submissions for its upcoming anthology of oceanic life. We are currently inviting submissions of poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, conservation journalism and art for our first printed anthology. The book will be launched on 2nd December at a Zoomorphic event hosted by ONCA as part of their “Do You Speak Seagull” season. The printed anthology will be themed around marine wildlife and will accompany our digital issue. Submissions are invited for both formats. The launch event will include a display of Zoomorphic graphics and art as well as audio poems and sound recordings.  The deadline for poetry is September 16; the deadline …

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Book Review: The Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Climate Change, Conservation, Nonfiction, Oceans, Oil, Pollution by Midge Raymond0 Comments

The Penguin Lessons is the story of a young Englishman who, on vacation in Uruguay from his teaching job at a boarding school in Argentina, rescues an oil-covered Magellanic penguin. This memoir will charm anyone who loves these tuxedo-feathered birds — and Neil Baker’s illustrations, on the cover and scattered throughout the book, are enchanting. Author Tom Michell first encounters the penguin on a beach among thousands of dead birds, and he manages to bring it back to his vacation apartment to clean its feathers of oil. “The penguin was filthy and very aggressive. Its beak snapped shut with a …