The best environmental books we’ve read in 2020

Not surprisingly, we’ve been doing quite a bit of reading this year. Here are some of our favorite books. And not all of them were new in 2020. We reviewed Braiding Sweetgrass back in 2019, and it’s comforting to see that book rise to the top of our collective consciousness (a seven-year old overnight success …

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Dark Emu: Rethinking Australian history (and our own)

Who were the first humans to bake bread? If you had asked me a few months ago, I would have probably guessed the Egyptians. But what if it was the Aboriginal Australians? And not by any small margin. There is evidence to suggest that Australians were cultivating grains and baking bread more than 30,000 years …

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Building Reuse: Why your old house may be more environmental than you think

I live in an old house. So old that it tilts off to one side and you can feel a winter breeze coming up through the floorboards. When we had it renovated several years ago, I wondered if it would have made more sense, environmentally, to tear it down and build a LEED-certified (whatever exactly …

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New and upcoming book releases

Sadly, we cannot review everything we receive here at EcoLit Books — but I did want to highlight a few new and newly republished works… The Lives and Deaths of Shelter Animalsby Katy M. GuentherStanford University Press For the Birds: Protecting Wildlife through the Naturalist Gazeby Elizabeth CherryRutgers University Press Butterfly: Poems by Miriam Sorrel …

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EcoLit Books is now on Bookshop.org

Bookshop.org is a new way to support local bookstores. Started less than a year ago, Bookshop has already raised more than five million dollars for local bookstores. Bookshop is an alternative to Amazon. Booksellers that refer you to the Bookshop site receive a percentage of revenues from each book you purchase. We’ve created a page …

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New environmental journal: Ecocene

Always nice to see the emergence of a new environmental publication. This one is called Ecocene and is published by the Cappadocia University Environmental Humanities Center. The inaugural issue is free to download — see below: The idea with our first special issue is to inaugurate not just the journal but the kind of key …

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Writing for deer; writing for animals

Summer in Ashland, Oregon, means fawns following their mothers through the streets of our small town. The local deer are, sadly, a contentious issue. Many residents resent their appetites for rose bushes and other flora. Others have accused deer of assault (typically a mother deer’s instinct to protect her fawn). But a major reason we …

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Learning to love weeds: Beyond the War on Invasive Species

Dandelions. Bull thistle. Kudzu. Japanese knotweed. Himalayan blackberry. From front lawns to woodlands, these are among the most despised of plant species. Species that, we are told, are hell-bent on taking over every square inch of soil, crowding out native species, ruining ecosystems, giving gardeners ulcers. But what if everything we know about weeds is …

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Announcing the winner of the Siskiyou Prize

We are delighted to announce that Athena E. Copenhaver is the winner of the 2019 Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature, for her novel MY DAYS OF DARK GREEN EUPHORIA.  The award’s final judge, Carol J. Adams (author of The Sexual Politics of Meat) writes: “Awareness of ecocide, environmental devastation, and animal suffering might not seem the likely content for …

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Review: In The Art of Earth Architecture everything old is new again

As an architectural enthusiast, I have long admired Louis Khan. When I first visited San Diego years ago, I made sure to visit The Salk Institute. To see how concrete was used as both structure and frame, guiding my eyes toward the ocean. Kahn inspired me to dream about one day building a home made …

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Book Review: The Great Derangement

With the future state of the planet in question, Amitav Ghosh explores the roles of literature and history in terms of their place in the climate crisis in his book The Great Derangement. Ghosh, a fiction writer who has experienced climate catastrophes in South Asia, structures his argument in three parts: Stories, History, and Politics. …

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Interview with BARN 8 author Deb Olin Unferth

Thanks so much to Deb Olin Unferth for chatting with us about her new novel, Barn 8, released last month from Graywolf Press. EcoLit Books: For your article “Cage Wars,” published by Harper’s in 2014, your research included visiting a commercial egg farm and watching unedited footage of undercover investigations. A lot of information portrayed in the article, …

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In Animal City our painful past is still painfully present

If I asked you to picture a “cow town,” you would probably picture a small town, surrounded by pasture, set far away from the big city. Yet in the 1800s, cities such as New York, Chicago, San Francisco were also cow towns. It was not unusual to see herds of cows squeezed through downtown streets, …

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