Book Review: World of Wonders; In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments

No one sees nature quite like a poet and Aimee Nezhukumatathil proves that in World of Wonders, her first book of prose. This collection of essays centers around Nezhukumatathil’s lifelong interactions with and observations of the natural world. Born to a Filipina mother and a father from South India, Nezhukumatathil grew up all over the United States due to the demands of her mother’s job as a psychiatrist, and was immersed in landscapes from New York to Arizona. She writes from both the poet’s perspective and as a person of color in a white-privileged world.

Book Review: The Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-Eun

Eco-tourism has become increasingly popular in recent years, travel intended to help conserve and contribute to remote communities and delicate ecosystems, but…disaster tourism? We’re all familiar with rubbernecking drivers, and South Korean novelist Yun Ko-Eun escalates our morbid curiosity with catastrophe into a full-blown industry in The Disaster Tourist. This is Yun’s second novel to …

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Book Review: Hot Season by Susan DeFreitas

Undergrads navigating a desert year during the Bush Administration frame this debut novel from Susan DeFreitas. Deep Canyon College is an environmentally-focused mecca in the historic Wild West town of Crest Top, Arizona where three roommates try to find their path. Jenna, the freshman soil science major, doesn’t know how to leave a stagnant high …

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Book Review: Rescued

Rescued, Eliot Schrefer’s third entry in his anticipated quartet of ape novels published by Scholastic, represents a departure in many ways from the first two books in the series. Endangered and Threatened both took place in Africa and featured early teen narrators fighting to survive alongside bonobos and chimpanzees. In Rescued, Schrefer brings his series to …

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Book Review: Steelies and Other Endangered Species: Stories on Water, by Rebecca Lawton

I began reading this short story collection during a stay at a tiny cabin on Minnesota’s Gull Lake and couldn’t have asked for a more perfect setting to enjoy Rebecca Lawton’s stories. Flipping pages to the soundtrack of the waves hitting the shore, I became effortlessly drawn in to the worlds of the Western whitewater …

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Book Review: Threatened by Eliot Schrefer

Eliot Schrefer’s Threatened reads like a thematic sequel to his 2012 National Book Award finalist Endangered. Both books tell the story of a teenager who leaves human society in Africa for the jungle and the company of other hominines. Where Endangered focused on a Congolese girl’s life changing journey with bonobos, Threatened moves east to Gabonese AIDS orphan, Luc, …

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Book Review: Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story by Dame Daphne Sheldrick

Let’s start with a friendly reviewer disclaimer. I usually read fiction because I enjoy stories about uncompromising people who do extraordinary things. Memoir, biography, and autobiography don’t typically interest me because I couldn’t care less about famous or political figures and, to be frank, most of my attention for someone’s struggles and triumphs through life …

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