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Book Review: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

In Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Fiction by Shel Graves

If you managed not to hear about the animal rights theme before reading Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (2013), do comment with your experience of the novel. Or, it you haven’t yet read the book, maybe stop here, skip the cover blurbs, and go directly to your naked experience of this exquisite novel. The book is finely structured so that the identity of the protagonist’s sister may come as a revelation — it won’t spoil the novel to know ahead, but will it change your experience? Readers of EcoLit, however, might be enticed to read the …

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Book Review: The Monkey Wrench Gang

In Fiction by John Yunker

Whenever I speak to people about the eco-fiction, this book is the most commonly mentioned. And it should be. It’s the first book to put a name and face to the movement to protect the planet — or at least “throw a monkey wrench” in developments. Published in 1975, many aspects of the book are remarkably timely, which is quite sad, of course. As the book is about four people who join forces to throw a monkey wrench into developments that are destroying local environments. This ranges from burning billboards to torching a clear cutting operation, destroying bridges, and, ultimately, …

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Book Review: The Perfect Protein

In Book Reviews, Nonfiction by JoeAnn Hart

Be still my beating heart. A book that embraces the aquatic ape theory of evolution, and includes a recipe for jellyfish. My novel Float does too, but I was writing in the playing fields of fiction, and they are dead serious. “They” are Oceana, an international organization whose goal is to protect the world’s oceans, and in effect, feed the world. This is the organization behind the seafood fraud study

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Book Review: Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures

In Animal Behavior, Book Reviews, Nonfiction by Midge Raymond

It’s been wonderful to see new books about animal minds and emotions, from Barbara King’s How Animals Grieve to Virginia Morell’s Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures (Crown, 2013), which offers a fascinating look at the emotional lives of a wide range of animals. Morell writes that it was in part due to her dog Quincie that she began to think about writing Animal Wise—when Quincie created her own game to play, Morell realized the extent to which animals have imaginations. As a science writer, she’s reported on animal studies before, including the work of Jane Goodall, …

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A Q&A with Virginia Morell, author of Animal Wise

In Animal Behavior, Q&A by Midge Raymond

A Q&A with Virginia Morell, author of Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures   Q: One of my favorite stories from this book is about the archerfish—how they lined up in a row to look at everyone, and especially how they liked to spray water into the eyes (and noses, and gemstones) of researchers and visitors. Of all the research you did, what is your favorite animal story? A: This is a tough question because I loved meeting all the animals. The archerfish were some of my favorites because I had not expected them to be …

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Book Review: Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police

In Book Reviews, Nonfiction by John Yunker

So what is this book doing on EcoLit Books? Bear with me. Let me first back up about five years. I was researching my novel The Tourist Trail, wondering to what extent law enforcement agencies had tried to infiltrate animal rights groups. I had heard firsthand of an attempt of the FBI to infiltrate The Sea Shepherd Society, and I had come across several documented cases of the FBI “flipping” activists to turn on one another. But I came across little concrete evidence of undercover agents working for extended periods of time as activists. I felt confident this sort of thing …

Announcing the Bear Deluxe Magazine Doug Fir Fiction Award

In For Writers, Journals and Magazines, Writing Opportunities by Midge Raymond

Calling all fiction writers: Save the date (September 3 deadline) for submissions to the Bear Deluxe Magazine Doug Fir Fiction Award, co-sponsored by the Sitka Center for Art & Ecology, Ashland Creek Press, and Hawthorne Books. Please see below for complete guidelines, and you can also click here for details and more info. The Bear Deluxe Magazine welcomes submissions of previously unpublished short stories up to 5,000 words, relating to a sense of place or the natural world, interpreted as broadly or narrowly as the author defines. Entry Fee: $15 Word limit: 5,000 Deadline: September 3, 2013 Grand Prize: $1,000, …

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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 Yunker

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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The Earth Goddess and Fiction

In For Writers by JoeAnn Hart

  With the Summer Solistice upon us, it’s a good time to revisit the Earth Goddess and her literary legacy. In sync with the first Earth Day in 1970, when I was an impressionable 14 year-old, women were throwing off the shackles of patriarchy in the streets and in their homes, even in churches, chucking out any male god who lived on a cloud. Many turned to the Old Religion, governed by the Goddess, who once reigned over a peaceful, matrilineal world in harmony with Nature. Then, according to legend, the priests came, driving her and her followers underground where …