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Book Review: Wildlife Spectacles by Vladimir Dinets

In Animal Behavior, Birds, Book Reviews, Climate Change, Conservation, Endangered Species, Insects, Nonfiction, Oceans by Midge Raymond

  Wildlife Spectacles: Mass Migrations, Mating Rituals, and Other Fascinating Animal Behaviors by Vladimir Dinets is a gorgeous book that takes readers on an unforgettable journey into the lives of some of our planet’s most magnificent creatures, from muskoxen to moths, with spectacular photographs and incredible stories. Wildlife Spectacles is divided into three major sections: Great Migrations (migrating animals on land and in air and water), Spectacles of Love (breeding habits and mating rituals), and Everyday Spectacles (how animals hunt, play, and otherwise spend their days). Author and photographer Vladimir Dinets has focused Wildlife Spectacles on the wild animals of …

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Our 2017 Siskiyou Prize judge is Jonathan Balcombe

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Anthropocene, Birds, Climate Change, Conservation, Endangered Species, For Writers, Insects, Oceans, Oil, Organic Farming, Pollution, Trees, Veganism, Wolves, Writing Opportunities by Midge Raymond

We are thrilled to announce that our 2017 Siskiyou Prize judge is Jonathan Balcombe. Jonathan’s most recent book is the New York Times bestseller What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of our Underwater Cousins, an extraordinary journey underwater that reveals the vast capabilities of fishes. He is also the author of the books The Exultant Ark, Second Nature, Pleasurable Kingdom, and The Use of Animals in Higher Education. Jonathan has three biology degrees, including a PhD in ethology (the study of animal behavior) from the University of Tennessee, and has published more than 50 scientific papers on animal behavior …

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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 Raymond

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 Raymond

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 Raymond

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 Raymond

“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 Raymond

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 Raymond

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 Raymond

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 Raymond

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 …