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Book Review: Moby-Dick; or The Whale by Herman Melville

In Animal Rights, Birds, Book Reviews, Endangered Species, Fiction, Oceans by John Yunker0 Comments

It is difficult to separate Moby-Dick, the book, from Moby-Dick, the whale. Both are epic in scale, and both have been met with wildly different perceptions and interpretations. You only need to browse Amazon reviews to get a taste. I’ve now read this book twice, and I can’t say that the second time around was any easier than the first, though the second time was a different experience. The first time I read the book, I was awed by the construction, the different styles of writing, and the numerous, mind-numbing asides that Ishmael takes with the reader. On my second time …

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Happy New Year from EcoLit Books

In Animal Rights, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Events, Fiction, Oceans by Midge Raymond0 Comments

Happy new year, readers and writers! We are looking forward to a new year of eco-literature and already have a great lineup of new reviews coming soon. For all of you who live in the Seattle area or who are attending AWP, we’d love to see you at our eco-lit panel on Saturday, March 1, at 12 noon: The Greening of Literature: Eco-fiction and poetry to enlighten and inspire. The panel will be moderated by John Yunker, who will be joined by eco-minded authors, essayists, and poets: JoeAnn Hart, Mindy Mejia, Ann Pancake, and Gretchen Primack. Authors on this panel discuss how their ecologically …

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Book Review: The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen

In Book Reviews, Endangered Species, Nonfiction by Shel Graves1 Comment

The Snow Leopard (1978), a beautiful true account of a wildlife research trek into the Himalayas, reads like a novel. It’s rich with sensory detail — capturing the sights, tastes, smells, sounds and textures of the author’s journey as well as his observations and feelings along the way. “It helps to pay minute attention to details — a shard of rose quartz, a cinnamon fern with spores, a companionable mound of pony dung. When one pays attention to the present, there is great pleasure in awareness of small things…” The reader travels along with author Peter Matthiessen and biologist George …

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Book Review — Collared: Politics and Personalities in Oregon’s Wolf Country

In Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Endangered Species, Nonfiction, Wolves by Beckie Elgin0 Comments

Wolves–will they ever cease to create controversy and incite emotion? After all, they are just another four-legged, fur-covered predator–powerful, but certainly not the “beast of waste and desolation,” that Teddy Roosevelt called them. Hopefully, the time will come when our biases become obsolete and people accept Canis lupus as the survivors they are. But we are still light years away from this understanding. Which, in a sense is OK, because if wolves weren’t such a love ‘em or loath ‘em species, people would probably stop writing about them. And we wouldn’t have books like Aime Lyn Eaton’s Collared: Politics and …

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Book Review: Countdown by Alan Weisman

In Book Reviews, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Nonfiction, Oceans, Pollution, Veganism by Midge Raymond0 Comments

Alan Weisman’s Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth? follows his fascinating book The World Without Us, this time asking the question: What will become of the world with us? And not only with us but with a whole lot more of us. As with his previous book, Countdown is wide-ranging work of journalism in which Weisman merges facts and projections about the world’s fate with real-life anecdotes and evidence from experts and citizens of more than twenty regions, from Italy to Uganda to Iran to the Philippines. It’s this balance of science and humanity, of hard …

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Book Review: MaddAddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood

In Book Reviews, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Fiction by Shel Graves0 Comments

How do you feel about lab grown meat? Glowing, green bunnies? Is our future weird, repulsive, curious, frightening and delightful? Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy — Oryx and Crake (2003), The Year of the Flood (2009), and MaddAddam (2013) — captures it all. It takes the reader into an apocalyptic future of genetically-modified, transgenic everything to explore the social implications of modern bioscience and extrapolate the horrors of our current environmental trajectory. It’s intriguing speculative EcoLit. “People need stories…because however dark, a darkness with voices in it is better than a silent void.” — MaddAddam Atwood’s trilogy offers useful insight. It …

Q&A with Barbara King, author of How Animals Grieve

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Birds, Endangered Species, Q&A by John Yunker0 Comments

 How Animals Grieve is an important book about the inner lives of animals. In April, author Barbara King was kind enough to answer of a few of my questions about the book and what inspired her to write it and how people have reacted to it so far. If you haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, please add it to your “must read” list. What inspired you to write this book? It was the animal themselves who inspired me, as I gradually began truly to see the grief that may sear a survivor when death steals a …

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Book Review: The Secret World of Red Wolves: The Fight To Save North America’s Other Wolf

In Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Endangered Species, Nonfiction by Beckie Elgin0 Comments

Considered functionally extinct in 1980, the much-misunderstood red wolf (Canis rufus) has made a tenuous but promising comeback. In The Secret World of Red Wolves, T. Delene Beeland relates the fascinating saga of the red wolf. In researching her book, Beeland followed Fish and Wildlife biologists into the field, crawling through blackberry thorns and dense stands of myrtle while swatting at mosquitoes and gnats in the hot, humid environment of North Carolina’s Albemarle Peninsula. Her interest and firsthand involvement in the project makes The Secret World of Red Wolves the wonderful book that it is. Beeland’s presence is on every …

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Book Review: Penguins: Natural History and Conservation

In Animal Behavior, Birds, Book Reviews, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Nonfiction, Oceans by John Yunker2 Comments

Let me preface this review by saying that I am a longtime fan of co-author Dee Boersma’s work. Years ago, I was part of a volunteer project at Punta Tombo, assisting Dee and her team with a penguin census. It was a week that changed the direction of my life in ways I couldn’t possibly imagine at the time. Dee has spent more than 20 years at Punta Tumbo researching Magellanic penguins — and helped to found the Penguin Sentinels organization. So now that you know of my affinity for penguins and those who work to protect them, on with …

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Book Review: The Hidden Life of Wolves

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Education, Endangered Species, Nonfiction by Beckie Elgin0 Comments

THE HIDDEN LIFE OF WOLVES  Jim and Jamie Dutcher National Geographic Press $25, 210 pages For six years they shared a 25-acre enclosure at the base of Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains with a pack of wolves. Their office was a Mongolian yurt; their sleeping quarters a canvas tent. The path to the outhouse required frequent snow-shoveling for below-zero excursions.This was the life of Jim and Jamie Dutcher, award-winning documentary filmmakers. Their new book, “The Hidden Life of Wolves,” is the culminating portrayal of their experiences. Although “The Hidden Life of Wolves” is an oversized book and contains hundreds of the Dutchers’ …