BookShelf

“Diary of a Young Naturalist”

With the heart of a naturalist, the head of a scientist and the weary bones of someone watching the destruction of the natural world, a prize-winning writer shares insights into the environment … and into a mind shaped by autism. That writer, by the way, is just 16 years old. BookShelf’s Melody Kemp reviews “Diary of a Young Naturalist.” 

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“The Bird Way: A New Look at How Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent, and Think”

Bird brains, despite the dictum, are anything but deficient. In fact, a new book by science and nature writer Jennifer Ackerman reveals how scientists, driven by rising diversity in their own ranks and by the leverage of new technologies, are gaining a dramatically new understanding of the complexities of bird behavior. BookShelf has a review of “The Bird Way.”

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“Flight Lines: Across the Globe on a Journey With the Astonishing Ultramarathon Birds”

Weighing in at little more than a couple of pats of butter, the remarkable grey plover undergoes an epic migration of thousands of miles. A new volume captures the wonder of this tiny shorebird, as well as worries over its rapidly declining numbers and possible extinction. Melody Kemp reviews “Flight Lines” in this month’s BookShelf.

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“Billionaire Wilderness: The Ultra-Wealthy and the Remaking of the American West”

It’s a site of stunning natural beauty. It’s also the place with America’s worst income inequality. A new book details how Wyoming’s Teton County elite have, perhaps unwittingly, used their extreme wealth to remake the region through conservation easements and donations to environmental causes, but remain blind to the needs of the area’s poorer residents. The latest BookShelf review explains.

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“Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution”

To better grasp how COVID-19 is linked to the persistent problem of polluted air, our latest BookShelf review recommends going back to a prescient text, “Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution.” While the volume predates the pandemic, it makes painfully clear why, during this crisis, healthy air matters more than ever.

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Go-To Books for Understanding and Surviving a Pandemic

If you’re looking for perspective in your reporting connected with the coronavirus story, it might help to turn to the extensive library of non-fiction books offering insight into disease and epidemics. Our own Bob Wyss offers a helping hand, with a select list of the most useful texts. Plus, links to resource lists for many more, in the latest BookShelf.

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‘Last Days of the Mighty Mekong’ and ‘Dead in the Water’

The Mekong River is a lifeline for millions and a biodiversity hotspot. But massive hydropower projects have put the Southeast Asian body of water, as well as the lives of the people and natural world around it, in serious jeopardy. In the latest BookShelf, writer Melody Kemp, who lives alongside the legendary river, reviews two volumes that help explain what’s killing the Mekong.

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“Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle To Save the Florida Panther”

Sometimes in the face of bad news, it can help to laugh a little. That’s what award-winning environmental writer Craig Pittman may help readers do with his new dispatch from the Sunshine State. Our latest BookShelf reviews Pittman’s upcoming witty, truth-telling volume,“Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle To Save the Florida Panther.”

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“Whose Water Is It Anyway?: Taking Water Protection Into Public Hands”

Water rights activist Maude Barlow eschews sanitized language to take on what she calls the “lords of water,” fighting global and local battles to turn communities “blue.” Barlow’s new book, “Whose Water Is It Anyway?: Taking Water Protection Into Public Hands” is the subject of our latest BookShelf review.

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“Giants of the Monsoon Forest: Living and Working With Elephants”

A new book, “Giants of the Monsoon Forest,” offers an intimate look at the lives of working elephants in conflict-ridden Myanmar, where one of the planet’s most majestic animals faces increasing pressures. BookShelf reviewer Melody Kemp, based in Laos, describes her own experience with elephants, their surprising history with man and hopeful possibilities for their future.

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