Staff Pick

With its wild yellow eyes and outsize ear tufts, the Blakiston’s fish owl resembles a mad professor, and once Slaght caught sight of one as a teenager in Russia in the 1980s, he never forgot it. So when he needed a dissertation topic in 2006 he designed a five-year project to study the owls’ habits and develop a plan to rebuild its dwindling populations. His riveting account of these winter field studies in Russia’s far southeastern Primorye Province is written with both passion and scientific exactitude—and well leavened with humor and striking prose. Attentive to the owls’ entire ecosystem, Slaght interweaves detailed descriptions of the birds’ hunting prowess and haunting courtship duets with vivid portraits of the fish, insects, plants, and mammals they share the forests with. This last includes not only tigers and deer, but loggers, poachers, and all manner of colorful backwoods characters, both sober and not. Throughout, Slaght treats all his subjects with empathy and insight—reserving harsh judgment only for his own perceived failures to protect the owls from the disruption of capture and tagging his study imposes—evidence enough that, despite moments of stress, these birds are in good hands.


Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World's Largest Owl Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374228484
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - August 4th, 2020

Staff Pick

Holding an eagle feather, Momaday notes that though it may seem a small thing, it shares the tremendous power of the creature it came from. The same is true for this deceptively slight collection of Kiowa wisdom literature. Though barely a paragraph long, each entry partakes of the greater wonder and beauty of the earth that has “nourish[ed]” the hearts of countless generations. In considering elements of the natural world ranging from grasshoppers and butterflies to horses and the Northern Lights, these stories and memories affirm the ancient connection between humans and the planet, one grounded in mutual belief and trust. They also look hard at the “terrible wounds” our “disease of indifference” to life has caused, and show that healing is a matter not of shame, but of learning to look and listen to the Earth.


Earth Keeper: Reflections on the American Land Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063009332
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Harper - November 3rd, 2020

Staff Pick

For many years Quarmby, a cell biologist and single mother, paid little attention to climate change—until suddenly the magnitude of the losses hit her. Hard. She became an activist, got arrested at pipeline protests, and ran (unsuccessfully) for office on the Canadian Green Party ticket. Her deeply reflective book intertwines her participation in science and politics with vivid episodes from her 2017 trip to the High Arctic with a group of artists. There, “at the soft heart of global warming,” she witnessed the stunning beauty of the natural landscape and the shocking effects of the climate crisis, both of which she reports with a rare combination of precision—it takes just 12 seconds for a blue whale to breach and turn--and poignancy. In the end, if she can’t fully banish concerns that the expedition was an indulgence in “extinction tourism,” she renews her commitment to change by not just presenting the facts but, like the dancers, painters, photographers, and multi-media artists she traveled with,  by “address[ing] the emotional impacts of the science” and urging everyone to do what they can, both to reduce greenhouse emissions and to keep the crisis front and center: “the most important action we can take is to talk about climate change.” 

Watermelon Snow: Science, Art, and a Lone Polar Bear Cover Image
ISBN: 9780228003595
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: McGill-Queen's University Press - October 22nd, 2020