Category: Book Review

The Narrow Edge

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  The Narrow Edge By Deborah Cramer Yale University Press, 2015.  The “narrow edge” in the title of this engaging book by Deborah Cramer evokes the image of comedian Harold Lloyd, in the 1923 film Safety Last!, teetering on a skyscraper ledge, clinging for dear life to the hands of a clock. It is an apt […]

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Zoologies

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Zoologies, On Animals and the Human Spirit (Milkweed Editions)By Alison Hawthorne DemingEvery day, as I walk from house to barn, or go up the driveway to get the mail, I am closely monitored by the resident crows who glide from oak to oak, loudly discussing my movements amongst themselves. In a cacophony of caws and […]

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The Best American Science and Nature Writing, 2014

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Once a year, courtesy of Houghton Mifflin, we get to be wowed, disgusted, depressed, amazed, revolted, terrified, and sometimes even amused with the publication of The Best American Science and Nature Writing. This is not a book geared for science nerds, this is reading for anyone interested in life. I wish there was a different name […]

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Trash Animals

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How we live with nature’s filthy, feral, invasive, and unwanted species Kelsi Nagy and Phillip David Johnson II, editors University of Minnesota Press, 2013 In this collected cross-section of stories and essays about trash animals — the loathed species we deem dirty or dangerous nuisances, such as pigeons and coyotes — the authors differ in […]

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Home Ground, A Guide to the American Landscape

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Edited by Barry Lopez and Debra Gwartney (Trinity University Press, field edition 2013)   “What draws our attention?” Barry Lopez asks in his introduction of Home Ground, a surprisingly entertaining guide to the language of the American landscape. Humans are predisposed to pay attention to subtle changes in the natural world, harking back to our hunting/gathering […]

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Writing Wild

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Writing Wild Forming a Creative Partnership With Nature By Tina Welling New World Library, 2014   My favorite quote from Writing Wild is one Tina Welling borrows from Jesus, of all people: “If you bring forth what is within you, what is within you will save you.” This comes from the non-canonical Gospel of Thomas, which was […]

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The Human Shore, Seacoasts in History by John R. Gillis

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  The Human Shore, University of Chicago Press, 2012   The interior section of Cape Ann, which includes Gloucester and Rockport, is called Dogtown. It was the earliest part of the Cape to be settled, and was later abandoned, so that its only occupants for many years were dogs, witches, and other assorted outcasts. It is […]

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The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2013

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Edited by Siddhartha Mukherjee.Tim Folger, Series Editor. Science is a scary word. At least, it used to be for those of us who grew up messing around in the hazy world of literature and art, not empirical facts. Science was what made it possible to go to the moon, so science meant rocket science. […]

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Stung!

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  I read an entire book on jellyfish, and it was worth every gelatinous minute. Here is my review, originally published on ecolitbooks.com.   Stung! On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean, by Lisa-ann Gershwin (The University of Chicago Press, 2013)   They’re here, and we’ve not just cleared out the guest room for […]

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The Perfect Protein

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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. […]

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