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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: Hot Season by Susan DeFreitas

In Book Reviews, Conservation, Fiction by Mindy Mejia

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 school relationship. Katie, eager to escape the shadow of her pseudo-liberal politician mother, finds herself drawn to activism. The graduating senior of the house, Rell, tries to decide where her life will lead as she finishes her senior thesis on pyrophitic plants. Pyrophytes are native …

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Call for Submissions: Writing for Animals Nonfiction Anthology

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Conservation, Fiction, Nonfiction, Veganism, Writing Opportunities by John Yunker

Ashland Creek Press is currently accepting nonfiction submissions for a new anthology, Writing for Animals: An anthology for writers and instructors to educate and inspire. From Franz Kafka’s Report to the Academy to Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are Completely Beside Ourselves, animals have played a central role in literature. Increasingly, writers are playing a central role in advancing awareness of animal issues through the written word. And yet little has been written about the process of writing about animals—from crafting point of view to voice. Writers who hope to raise awareness face many questions and choices in their work, from …

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New EcoLit Books: Fall 2016

In Book Publishers, Climate Change, Conservation, Endangered Species, Fiction, Nonfiction, Trees by John Yunker

Here are some of the books that were submitted to us over the past few months that are recently published (or soon will be): The After Author: Melinda Mueller Publisher: Entre Ríos Books Book Description: An important new collaborative work by Northwest artists responding to the sixth extinction. The first book by Seattle poet, Melinda Mueller, since her award winning “What the Ice Gets”. “The After” is a single poem sorrowing the world we will alter and leave unseen. A meditation on extinction and the anthropocene, it blends science and poetry with an urgency of a heartbreak. Interspersed with the poem is …

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Barkskins by Annie Proulx: An epic (and ongoing) story of extraction

In Book Reviews, Climate Change, Conservation, Fiction, Trees by John Yunker

Barkskins: A Novel Barkskins tells the intertwined and intergenerational stories of the natives and immigrants of the North American territory once known as New France. Because this novel takes place over more than 300 years, there are quite a few stories to tell; I found myself frequently consulting the two lengthy family trees in the appendix to keep track of the many characters that come and go. But the primary (and most tragic) character of this novel is one with no dialogue at all. As Annie Proulx noted in a recent interview with  The New Yorker: For me, the chief character in the long story was the forest, the great …

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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 …

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New EcoLit Books: Summer 2016

In Book Publishers, Climate Change, Conservation, Endangered Species, Fiction, Insects, Nonfiction, Oceans, Poetry, Pollution by John Yunker

So little time; so many books! Here are some of the books that were submitted to us over the past few months that are now available (or soon will be): A Naturalist’s Guide to the Hidden World of Pacific Northwest Dunes Author: George Poinar Jr. Publisher: Oregon State University Press Description: From Northern California to British Columbia, coastal dunes and beaches provide a unique habitat for plants, animals, and insects. With A Naturalist’s Guide to the Hidden World of Pacific Northwest Dunes, hikers and beach walkers on the Pacific Coast will discover a teeming metropolis of life in what may …

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My Last Continent: A Novel by Midge Raymond

In Birds, Book Reviews, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Fiction, Oceans, Veganism by John Yunker

I’m happy to announce the publication of contributor Midge Raymond’s debut novel My Last Continent (Scribner). This novel wears the “eco-fiction” label quite well. The novel focuses on penguin researchers in Antarctica and their struggles to protect creatures who are at the mercy of changing climate and increased tourism. The book also has a plot element that has long been a concern from those who work in Antarctica: A tourist vessel hits ice and begins to sink, with rescuers more than half a day away. Here are a few reviews My Last Continent has received so far: “Atmospheric and adventurous…the story and vivid writing will …

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New EcoLit Books: Spring/Summer 2016

In Book Publishers, Fiction, Nonfiction by John Yunker

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 …