Aelian’s On the Nature of Animals

A toad can kill just by belching, and the lust of the octopus is blamed for its short lifespan. To produce a mule, the horse owner must give the mare a bad haircut to shame her into having sex with a donkey. The hedgehog is considered a spiteful animal because it urinates on itself when caught, unlike the lynx, who hides its urine until it forms a gem stone.

Such are a few of the many nuggets of animal lore recorded in Aelian’s On the Nature of Animals, a translation of De Natura Animalium by the third century Roman writer Claudius Aelianus, better know as Aelian.

Book Review: Vesper Flights

by Helen Macdonald Vesper flights is the name of the sunset behavior of swifts, who rise high into the air, out of sight, in order to reorient themselves to the world. Vesper Flights is also the name of a collection of essays by Helen Macdonald, and it, too, is a reorientation to the world, particularly …

Read more

Book Review: How To Be Animal, A New History of What it Means to Be Human

By Melanie Challenger, (Penguin Books, March, 2021) To call someone an animal is considered a grave insult, but it is also the truth. We, the humans, we are all animals. It’s not something we like to admit, but if Melanie Challenger is correct in her thinking, embracing our animalness will help humanity better deal with …

Read more

Book Review: The Stark Beauty of Last Things

by Céline  Keating Review by JoeAnn Hart The Stark Beauty of Last Things, a novel by Céline  Keating The driving force of this touching novel, The Stark Beauty of Last Things, is the question of what to do with the last unspoiled parcel of land in the coastal community of Montauk, Long Island. In Céline …

Read more

Book Review: The Nature Book, a novel

By Tom Comitta Coffee House Press, 2023 Reviewed by JoeAnn Hart  “No words of my own can be added anywhere in the novel,” writes The Nature Book’s author, Tom Comitta, with a nod to the Oulipo group[1] and a whiff of Sol LeWitt[2], as he defines the constraints and rules of this extraordinary novel. Every …

Read more

Book Review: The Nutmeg’s Curse

When the U.S. Army set out to eliminate Native Americans, they first “eradicated the web of life that sustained them,” most notably by slaughtering all the buffalo that they depended on, then depleting the land itself with herds of imported cattle. “The genocide of the Amerindian peoples was the beginning of the modern world for Europe – bringing vast wealth to those countries.”

Stay Cool: Why Dark Comedy Matters in the Fight Against Climate Change, by Aaron Sachs

(NYU Press— April 4th, 2023) Reviewed by JoeAnn Hart Q: How do you know when you’re in a room with environmentalists? A: Oh, they’ll let you know. Like feminists in the 70s, environmentalists are often portrayed as being too strident, too serious, and having no sense of humor. In the entertaining and informative Stay Cool: …

Read more

Eco-Fiction, Edited by John Stadler

The stories in Eco-Fiction, most written in the mid-20th century, are by very well-known authors. Some are sci-fi, some are dated, and others are sadly prescient, such as Ray Bradbury’s “A Sound of Thunder” which makes the connection between authoritarianism and ecological disaster.

DEFENSIBLE SPACES, stories by Alison Turner

DEFENSIBLE SPACES, stories by Alison Turner Torrey House Press February 2023 Fire! It’s everywhere in Alison Turner’s tightly knit collection of stories, from fireworks to a flaming ham, “a pink plastic hunk the size of a baby.” Everyone in the small post-mining community of Clayton, Colorado, elevation 8,236 feet, seems to have a lit cigarette …

Read more

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00