View Post

Living with Thunder: Exploring the Geologic Past, Present, and Future of Pacific Northwest Landscapes

In Book Reviews, Climate Change, Nonfiction, Oceans by John Yunker0 Comments

In Living with Thunder: Exploring the Geologic Past, Present, and Future of Pacific Northwest Landscapes, author Ellen Morris Bishop takes reader on a slow-moving journey across time and place. And by slow-moving I mean geologically speaking, as million and millions of years. This book does an admirable job of chronologically illustrating the evolution of the pacific northwest before there was a pacific northwest, as tectonic plates collided, submerged, and exploded, ending up hundreds of miles from where they began. You can’t live in this region and not see volcanic evidence pretty much everywhere you turn. Which is one reason I was curious to …

View Post

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

In Book Reviews, Conservation, Nonfiction, Trees by Jacki Skole0 Comments

I approached Hope Jahren’s memoir, Lab Girl, with a bit of trepidation. You see, Jahren is an award-winning geobiologist who studies plants, making her area of expertise one in which I’ve never had much interest. (Confession: I can’t tell an oak from a maple or a peony from a petunia.) So when The New York Times’ Michiko Kakutani wrote that Lab Girl “does for botany what Oliver Sacks’ essays did for neurology,” I was persuaded to pick up the book. I’m glad I did, for Lab Girl is as much a paean to self-discovery and enduring friendship as it is …

View Post

Engineering Eden: The True Story of a Violent Death, a Trial, and the Fight over Controlling Nature

In Animal Behavior, Book Reviews, Endangered Species, Nonfiction, Wolves by John Yunker0 Comments

The National Park Service is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. And while a century may seem like a long time, it’s safe to say, after reading Engineering Eden, that we’re only just beginning to understand how to best manage our lands. Fundamental to management is the question of how “wild” do we want our parks to be? Author Jordan Fisher Smith writes: There are two ways in which most people don’t wish to die: by being torn apart by a wild animal and by being roasted in flames. These two abject fears from deep in the ape-psyche, became, in the American …

View Post

New EcoLit Books: Spring/Summer 2016

In Book Publishers, Fiction, Nonfiction by John Yunker0 Comments

So many books, so little time! Because we can’t review every book that catches our eye I thought we should at least try to mention  new and upcoming books periodically. So here are the recent books that were mentioned to us. Cultivating Environmental Justice: A Literary History of U.S. Garden Writing by Robert S. Emmett UMass Press Enchanted Islands: A Novel by Allison Amend Nan A. Talese/Doubleday Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal Pia and the Skyman By Sue Parritt Perils of Payeto, Saving the Last Vaquita Porpoise by Tio Stib If you’re …

View Post

Book Review: The Dog Merchants

In Book Reviews, Nonfiction by Jacki Skole0 Comments

Most dog lovers consider their canines loyal companions, best friends, or beloved family members. (Count me in that last category.) The American legal system considers them property. Journalist Kim Kavin, in her new book, The Dog Merchants: Inside the Big Business of Breeders, Pet Stores, and Rescuers, suggests that we view dogs in a more provocative way—as products, not unlike the chicken and steak, veal and pork, that line “that big case of meat in the supermarket.” After all, she tells readers, some thirty million dogs are bought and sold each year, in what is estimated to be an $11 billion-a-year …

View Post

Holy Mōlī: Albatross and Other Ancestors

In Animal Behavior, Birds, Book Reviews, Conservation, Endangered Species, Nonfiction, Oceans by John Yunker0 Comments

The Laysan albatross is known as Mōlī in Hawaiian. It is difficult not to speak in superlatives when describing the albatross. The bird has a wingspan longer than most humans are tall. Albatross far outlive most other birds — with one active albatross now 64 years old. They spend most of their lives  at sea, gliding just a few inches above the waves. Only 5% of their lives are spent on land — and this is where they are particularly vulnerable, when they are breeding and caring for their chicks. Author Hob Osterlund is founder of the Kaua’i Albatross Network an organization that works to protect these birds. And through her writing you …

View Post

Introducing The Hopper

In Fiction, For Writers, Journals and Magazines, Nonfiction, Poetry, Writing Opportunities by John Yunker0 Comments

I’m pleased to introduce the new environmental literary journal The Hopper, along with a Q&A with the founders.   Tell us a bit about The Hopper and how it came to be. Green Writers Press (our mother organization) produced one issue of a more casual and smaller distribution magazine called Greenzine last April 2015. When Sierra Dickey got involved with GWP as a poetry editor, the previous editors of Greenzine had since left the press. She was interested in the periodical process and decided to revive the publication and bring it up to a place where it could compete with other regional …

View Post

Cloak and Jaguar: Following a Cat from Desert to Courtroom

In Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Conservation, Endangered Species, Nonfiction by John Yunker1 Comment

Living in Southern Oregon, we’ve followed the comings and goings of a gray wolf named OR-7. When it dipped into Northern California, it became the first documented wolf in that state in 100 years. But now that we have named this animal, we must live with the constant fear that it will be harmed by humans, such as ranchers or hunters. With this in mind, I was eager to read Cloak and Jaguar by Janay Brun. In 2011, Arizona saw its first documented jaguar in a decade. Jaguars once roamed widely through the Southwest US but have not been welcome in …

View Post

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 …