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 …

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Book Review: FIRE WEATHER by John Vaillant

John Vaillant’s Fire Weather: A True Story from a Hotter World is not only the story of the devastating 2016 Fort McMurray fire in Alberta, Canada, but also a history of fire, the oil industry, climate science, and where we go from here. In addition to the page-turning narrative of the fire that raged through Fort McMurray, Fire …

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Book Review: Entangled Encounters at the National Zoo

In Entangled Encounters at the National Zoo: Stories from the Animal Archive author Daniel Vandersommers explores the evolution of the National Zoo as well as the far more limited evolution of society’s empathy for the animals within its walls. The National Zoo opened in 1891, thanks in large part to the advocacy of William Temple …

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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 …

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Book Review: FOLLOWED BY THE LARK by Helen Humphreys

Henry David Thoreau’s words were my companion during the writing of this novel. I read through all of his journals and his voice guided mine. I appreciated his wise and witty counsel and hope that this book conveys some of his mercurial spirit. –Helen Humphreys In Followed by the Lark, a new book by Helen Humphreys, …

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Book Review: Vegan Minded: Becoming a Steward for Animals, People, and the Planet

It’s not often that I come across books with ‘vegan’ in the title — particularly now that ‘plant-based’ has become the less controversial, more mainstream alternative. Yet I still prefer vegan and probably always will. In Vegan Minded Christine Cook Mania has penned a heartfelt and inspiring account of her vegan journey, from the day …

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The best environmental books we’ve read in 2023

This is the eighth year that we’ve gathered together a list of our favorite books from the past 12 months. Seeing this list makes me appreciate what EcoLit Books has accomplished over the years — drawing attention to authors and presses you might not read about in the more mainstream publications. But that’s what we’re …

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New and forthcoming environmental books (December 2023)

We can’t review every book we receive. But that doesn’t stop us from highlighting them. Here is a selection of new titles worth checking out… Horse Show By Jess Bowers “From the tale of Lady, the mare who read a Duke University psychologist’ s mind, to television palomino Mr. Ed’ s hypnotic hold over Wilbur …

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Book Review: Skylab: The Nature of Building

What does it mean to be an architect in the Anthropocene? This is the question that attracts me to books about building reuse and earth architecture as well as writings by architects such as Tom Kundig, Weiss/Manfredi and Jeff Kovel of Skylab. Skylab is an architecture firm based in Portland that has designed some of …

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Book Review: THE HIDDEN LANGUAGE OF CATS by Sarah Brown

Sarah Brown’s The Hidden Language of Cats shares with readers the many varieties of cat communication, from vocalization to tail signals to gazes, and what studies have revealed cats are trying to say to us humans. Unlike dogs, who descended from wolves—a very social species—domestic cats descended from North African wildcats, who are quite solitary. So, says …

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Book Review: Picturing a Better World: The Climate Action Handbook

Willard Scott (for the young ones out there: America’s weather person) once said: “Everyone complains about the weather, but nobody ever seems to do anything about it.” You could say the same thing about climate change. There is no shortage of books about climate grief these days, and I empathize, but I also think we …

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Book Review: Sea Change: An Atlas of Islands in a Rising Ocean

Let me begin this review by saying that university presses and small presses have published some of the most creative and thought-provoking environmental literature I’ve read over the past few years. In this case, I want to praise the University of California Press for publishing the impressive work of author Christina Gerhardt and her collaborators, …

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Book Review: To get to the other side: Crossings

In Crossings: How Road Ecology Is Shaping the Future of Our Planet author Ben Goldfarb shines a light on the millions of animals who perish on our roads. There are four million miles of paved roads in the US on which a million animals die each year. Goldfarb notes the tragic irony of our road …

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Environmental Armageddon in Cannabis Country

“An ideological descendant of the Gold Rush, the green rush serves as yet another get-rich-quick fantasy founded on the erasure of Native People …aptly named the green rush, this surge in cannabis production evokes gold-rush era ideology of manifest destiny, resource extraction, and wealth accumulation.”  –Dr. Kaitlin Reed (p.123) Dr. Kaitlin Reed, a Yurok woman scholar, …

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