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The Boilerplate Rhino

Author: David Quammen
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
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In 1981 David Quammen began what might be every freelance writer's dream: a monthly column for Outside magazine in which he was given free rein to write about anything that interested him in the natural world. His column was called "Natural Acts," and for the next fifteen years he delighted Outside's readers with his fascinating ruminations on the world around us. The Boilerplate Rhino brings together twenty-six of Quammen's most thoughtful and engaging essays from that column, none previously printed in any of his earlier books. In lucid, penetrating, and often quirkily idiosyncratic prose, David Quammen takes his readers with him as he explores the world. His travels lead him to rattlesnake handlers in Texas; a lizard specialist in Baja; the dinosaur museum in Jordan, Montana; and halfway across Indonesia in search of the perfect Durian fruit. He ponders the history of nutmeg in the southern Moluccas, meditates on bioluminescent beetles while soaking in the waters of the Amazon, and delivers "The Dope on Eggs" from a chicken ranch near his hometown in Montana. Quammen's travels are always jumping-off points to explore the rich and sometimes horrifying tension between humankind and the natural world, in all its complexity and ambivalence. The result is another irrepressible assortment of ideas to explore, conundrums to contemplate, and wondrous creatures to behold.


Writing Environments

Author: Sidney I. Dobrin
Publisher: SUNY Press
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"Writing Environments addresses the intersections between writing and nature through interviews with some of America's leading environmental writers. The interviews are followed by critical responses from writing scholars. This diverse range of voices speaks lucidly and captivatingly about topics such as place, writing, teaching, politics, race, and culture, and how these overlap in many complex ways."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Animals Strike Curious Poses

Author: Elena Passarello
Publisher: Sarabande Books
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“It might be the best book on animals I’ve ever read. It's also the only one that's made me laugh out loud.” —Helen Macdonald, The New York Times Book Review Beginning with Yuka, a 39,000-year-old mummified woolly mammoth recently found in the Siberian permafrost, each of the sixteen essays in Animals Strike Curious Poses investigates a different famous animal named and immortalized by humans. Modeled loosely after a medieval bestiary, these witty, playful, whip-smart essays, from a winner of a Whiting Award for nonfiction, traverse history, myth, science, and more, bringing each beast vibrantly to life. “Stunning . . . Passarello’s keen wit is on display throughout as she raises questions about the uniqueness of humans. . . . A feast of surprising juxtapositions and gorgeous prose.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review) “I’ve spent decades reading books on the roles animals play in human cultures, but none have ever made me think, and feel, as much as this one. It’s a devastating meditation on our relationship to the natural world.” —Helen Macdonald, The New York Times Book Review


Clara s Grand Tour

Author: Glynis Ridley
Publisher: Grove Press
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The author chronicles the adventures of Clara, a three-ton rhinoceros who became the toast of Europe, seen by royalty and ordinary folk alike on a spectacular series of tours across the continent during the mid-eighteenth century. Reprint.


A Short History of Nearly Everything

Author: Bill Bryson
Publisher: Random House
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Bill Bryson describes himself as a reluctant traveller, but even when he stays safely at home he can't contain his curiosity about the world around him. A Short History of Nearly Everything is his quest to understand everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization - how we got from there, being nothing at all, to here, being us. Bill Bryson's challenge is to take subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us, like geology, chemistry and particle physics, and see if there isn't some way to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science. The ultimate eye-opening journey through time and space, A Short History of Nearly Everything is the biggest-selling popular science book of the 21st century, and reveals the world in a way most of us have never seen it before.


Animals and Society

Author: Margo DeMello
Publisher: Columbia University Press
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Considering that much of human society is structured through its interaction with non-human animals, and since human society relies heavily on the exploitation of animals to serve human needs, human–animal studies has become a rapidly expanding field of research, featuring a number of distinct positions, perspectives, and theories that require nuanced explanation and contextualization. The first book to provide a full overview of human–animal studies, this volume focuses on the conceptual construction of animals in American culture and the way in which it reinforces and perpetuates hierarchical human relationships rooted in racism, sexism, and class privilege. Margo DeMello considers interactions between humans and animals within the family, the law, the religious and political system, and other major social institutions, and she unpacks the different identities humans fashion for themselves and for others through animals. Essays also cover speciesism and evolutionary continuities; the role and preservation of animals in the wild; the debate over zoos and the use of animals in sports; domestication; agricultural practices such as factory farming; vivisection; animal cruelty; animal activism; the representation of animals in literature and film; and animal ethics. Sidebars highlight contemporary controversies and issues, with recommendations for additional reading, educational films, and related websites. DeMello concludes with an analysis of major philosophical positions on human social policy and the future of human–animal relations.


Arkansas

Author: John Brandon
Publisher: Open Road + Grove/Atlantic
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“A tale of three young men who’ve taken one look at straight life and drop-kicked it . . . Picaresque, sly, bitterly funny, the novel hooks us at once” (San Francisco Chronicle). Met with wide acclaim, Arkansas is a darkly comic debut novel written by John Brandon about a pair of drug runners, Kyle and Swin, set in the rural southeast. Drawing comparisons to a striking range of storytellers, from Quentin Tarantino and Mark Twain to Flannery O’Connor and Cormac McCarthy, John Brandon—an MFA graduate of Washington University who worked an array of odd jobs while writing the novel, including at a rubber factory and a windshield warehouse—delivers a tightly written, bitterly funny story that chronicles the monochromatic landscape of the American southeast and gives a glimpse into the mindset of his wildly troubled yet seemingly real characters. “Brandon’s premier novel is a must for those who love the criminal and the stern yet dark optimism of the existential. His vision of Arkansas is unique, his wit is sharp, and the sympathy he has for his characters is genuine. For all the dark alleys Brandon explores, both physically and psychologically, Arkansas’s power rests in its redefining and restructuring of the criminal’s only hope: family.” —PopMatters