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Book Review: Whippoorwill

In Animal Rights, Children's Books, Fiction by Anna Monders

When sixteen-year-old Clair Taylor’s neighbors get a dog and leave him staked in the yard in freezing weather, she tries to ignore the whimpers and cries—the clear neglect—that is going on outside her window. The dog is none of her business, and Mr. Stewart, the neighbor, is a rude and abusive man. Eventually the dog’s suffering becomes too much for Clair, and she begins visiting him. His name is Wally. His neck is chafed raw. He’s covered in mud and poop. And he goes crazy for attention. Clair wishes she hadn’t closed her eyes to the situation for so long. Through …

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Introducing The Hopper

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

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 …

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Book Review: Rescued

In Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Children's Books, Endangered Species, Fiction by Mindy Mejia

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 the United States and introduces us to John, a sixteen-year-old football player who is the product of a broken home, and Raja, the orangutan his father smuggled into the country to become the family’s pet. We first meet these two as they are separated, Raja …

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Book Review: Only the Animals

In Book Reviews, Fiction by Jacki Skole

A Russian tortoise launched into space during the Cold War. A Lebanese parrot abandoned on the doorknob of a pet store during Israel’s 2006 bombing of Beirut. A US Navy-trained dolphin called to serve in the Second Gulf War. These are some of the protagonists in Only the Animals, Ceridwen Dovey’s captivating collection of short stories that explores the many expressions of the human-animal relationship. The narrators in Dovey’s fictional tales are animals—not their live selves, but their souls—and it’s this convention that sets up the tension in each story, along with the settings—human conflicts dating back to the late …

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Book Review: Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley by Ann Pancake

In Book Reviews, Climate Change, Conservation, Fiction by Midge Raymond

Ann Pancake’s new story collection, Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley, brings readers to the West Virginia territory of her extraordinary novel, Strange As This Weather Has Been. In these novellas and stories, the ravaged West Virginia landscape is such a deeply ingrained part of these characters’ lives that those who move away are lured back—even if they may not completely understand why. In “The Following,” a Seattle woman finds herself mysteriously drawn to animal bones, eventually using a job interview as an excuse to return to her homeland: “many days I felt so feral I’d choose homelessness …

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Orion book award winners: The Bees and Feral

In Animal Rights, Book Publishers, Book Reviews, Climate Change, Conservation, Endangered Species, Fiction, For Writers, Nonfiction by John Yunker

Orion Magazine has announced its 2015 Book Award winners: Non-fiction winner: Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea, and Human Life, by George Monbiot (University of Chicago Press), Finalists: A Country Called Childhood, by Jay Griffiths (Counterpoint) The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert (Henry Holt and Company) > See the EcoLit Books Review by Midge Raymond Windfall, by McKenzie Funk (The Penguin Press) Zoologies, by Alison Hawthorne Deming (Milkweed Editions) > See the EcoLit Books Review by JoeAnn Hart   Fiction winner: The Bees, by Laline Paull (Ecco Press) Finalists: Divine Animal, by Scott Russell Sanders (Earth Works Publishing) Invisible Beasts, by Sharona Muir …

Book Review: The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim by E.K. Johnston

In Book Reviews, Children's Books, Fiction, Oil by Anna Monders

Imagine a world that is just like our own—same countries, same technologies, same history—but with one major difference: dragons. The dragons in The Story of Owen don’t limit themselves to feeding on damsels in distress. They’ll eat anybody. And livestock, too. But if there’s one thing these low-intelligence beasts truly can’t resist, it’s carbon emissions. Fossil fuels are like candy (and of similar nutritional value) to all species of dragons. Dragons were a nuisance before the industrial revolution, but every small village had its dragon slayer. Now with increased carbon emissions, dragons are a major threat, and all dragon slayers …

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Book Review: Invisible Beasts by Sharona Muir

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Endangered Species, Fiction by Midge Raymond

Sharona Muir’s Invisible Beasts is an absolute delight, and not only for animal lovers. This smart, whimsical novel takes readers not only into a world of “invisible beasts” but into the mind of a charmingly quirky character. The novel is written in a nonfiction style, as a personal bestiary by a woman with a genetic gift (passed down from her granduncle and occurring again, she learns, in her nephew)—the ability to see invisible animals. “Why have I written a book that could expose me, and my family, to ridicule and imputations of lunacy?” Sophie asks in her introduction. The answer sets …

Book Review: We Are All Crew by Bill Landauer

In Book Reviews, Conservation, Fiction, Trees by Mindy Mejia

I have to make a confession. In writing circles, there are certain types of books one is supposed to hold dearer than all others. Important books. Literary books. Books that bravely ponder the desperate squalor of the human condition. I hate these books. The truth is I’m a complete plot junkie. I want to read a book that will keep me up until three in the morning because I have to know what comes next. If the book happens to be Dostoyevsky—awesome; I’ll stay up all night pondering that desperate squalor, but Fyodor better keep the blood pumping. Enter We …

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Book Review: Deep River Burning by Donelle Dreese

In Fiction, Pollution by Shel Graves

“Memory is an unfolding force tucked away in the leaves of summer trees. With the slightest breeze of provocation, memories stir and reveal themselves, become more wide open and exposed. The world, tight and locked from the grip of winter relaxes fully in the heat, sits still with its memory, almost stagnates, and when life slows down, the world becomes magnified.” A pleasant and soulful read lush with natural metaphor, the novel Deep River Burning (2015, WiDo Publishing) tells the coming of age story of Denver Oakley in a striking setting. Denver’s hometown, Adena, Pennsylvania, lies on top of an abandoned …