I Will Die in a Foreign Land, by Kalani Pickhart

Staff Pick

Pickhart’s kaleidoscopic novel is centered in Ukraine’s 2013-14 unrest but reaches back through the Soviet era and, most important, to the region’s ancient Kobzari: the itinerant bards who sang to the accompaniment of the single-stringed bandura. Though these “powerful, dangerous” musician/storytellers were all but wiped out under Stalin, Pickhart’s passionate writing shows that their spirit remains indomitable—a living presence for her own tensile, lyrical prose and multi-layered plot lines and for the Maidan protestors, four of whom she brings to vivid life. As she follows a young feminist activist, an American doctor of Ukrainian descent, a former miner who lost half his family to the Chernobyl explosion, and the cryptic pianist who plays for the demonstrators, she pays tribute to a strong, proud people who never lose faith in their homeland, however many times “Kyiv has fallen asleep in peace and woken up in war.”

I Will Die in a Foreign Land By Kalani Pickhart Cover Image
ISBN: 9781953387080
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Two Dollar Radio - October 19th, 2021

Aesop's Animals, by Jo Wimpenny

Staff Pick

Wimpenny, a zoologist, first learned about animals through reading Aesop’s fables as a child. But what did she learn: facts or fictions? Wondering how the ancient tales stack up against the modern science, she assesses the fabulist’s presentations of creatures from crows, wolves, and foxes, to dogs, lions, and grasshoppers. She finds his record mixed, with his depictions of lone wolves, for instance, missing the complex social nature of the packs, while his appreciation for the wiliness of foxes accurately conveys the adaptability that has allowed these cat-like creatures to thrive. Her lively and often surprising book (male lions are good fighters but poor hunters and can lie inert for 20 hours a day) is also a fascinating look at Man the Experimenter, detailing the work that has given us insight into animal behavior. And where popular, but misguided notions still prevail—that ants plan ahead (a skill more likely with corvids), or that donkeys are dumb brutes fit only to be beasts of burden (they are much more complex and interesting than they get credit for)—she lays out centuries of cultural history, tracing our fascinating and essential relationships with our fellow creatures.

Aesop’s Animals: The Science Behind the Fables By Jo Wimpenny Cover Image
ISBN: 9781472966919
Availability: Backordered
Published: Bloomsbury Sigma - November 2nd, 2021

Bird Brother, by Rodney Stotts

Staff Pick

The look exchanged between man and bird in the cover photo speaks of mutual trust, strength, and respect—and it says everything about Stott’s deeply insightful, compelling, and moving book. Part memoir (dual tracking the 1990s and 2004 to 2021) and part primer on raptors, it charts the evolution of a DC drug dealer into a Master Falconer. Stotts always enjoyed being outdoors, but nature took a backseat to his urban hustling, until he needed a legit job in order to rent an apartment. He signed on with the Earth Conservation Corps to help clean up the Anacostia, and as he saw the difference his activities could make, and as he bonded with the people and animals he worked with, his life turned around. He began taking an active role in nurturing wildlife, then used rehabilitated creatures to reach out to young people, showing them that “once we understand the wild things, we understand ourselves,” and founding several organizations devoted to conservation and youth mentoring.


Bird Brother: A Falconer's Journey and the Healing Power of Wildlife By Rodney Stotts, Kate Pipkin (Contributions by) Cover Image
By Rodney Stotts, Kate Pipkin (Contributions by)
ISBN: 9781642831740
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Island Press - February 3rd, 2022