How Far the Light Reaches, by Sabrina Imbler

Staff Pick

Growing up as a biracial and Queer person, Imbler, a science journalist, always felt like a fish out of water—so it’s exactly right that they turned to the sea to understand their own life. Writing with a sure instinct for metaphor, Imbler sees their search for warmth in a cold city reflected in the Yeti crabs that engage in the “radical act of choosing what nourishes” them by living on undersea vents, where life was thought to be impossible; explores hybridity via the butterfly fish, a creature studied for its “difference” not for its own sake, much as they are dogged by the question “what are you?” as if they're an object; and examines their mother’s eating disorders and self-sacrifice in the light of a brooding octopus that goes years without food for the sake of her offspring. Each essay is grounded in deep empathy and studded with memorable phrases and vivid descriptions; they’re also remarkable for their balance, telling us as much about whales, salps, and immortal jellyfish as about Imbler’s relationships to men and women, family, the wider community of Queers, and their own body.



How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures By Sabrina Imbler Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316540537
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown and Company - December 6th, 2022

Fen, Bog and Swamp, by Annie Proulx

Staff Pick

If Proulx’s expansive Barkskins were stripped down to its nonfiction bones, it might be the kind of brief, deeply researched chronicle this one is. With different kinds of peatlands and the story of their use and abuse standing in for characters and plot, this book is as impassioned and immersive as any of Proulx’s fictions (and if we’re lucky is the basis for a future novel). Adroitly presenting tens of thousands of years of natural  history, including the development of peat and the special properties of sphagnum moss, then moving into the central role of wetlands in indigenous cultures, their destruction by Europeans, and surveying the range of objects they’ve preserved, Proulx writes with her usual literary flare, showing us “light softening to peach nectar,” enriching our estuary English with words including paludification and histol, speculating on the types of peatland in Dante’s Inferno, and reminding us of the beauty and wonder of that life-giving element, water, the “original shape shifter.”


Fen, Bog and Swamp: A Short History of Peatland Destruction and Its Role in the Climate Crisis By Annie Proulx Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982173357
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - September 27th, 2022

The River You Touch, by Chris Dombrowski

Staff Pick

When Dombrowski listens to a native storyteller, he’s transported by the sheer “elemental presence” of her words—they strike as viscerally as “pitched water running over a rock.” Readers of his almost preternaturally aware memoir/nature chronicle will feel a similar power in this poet’s own prose. He can see a moonlit salmon “on the pearl-colored gravel…lanky from territorial battles …tail shredded, misaligned kype jaw bulbous and scarred", or listen to a male meadowlark sing “a combination of notes that mimic the moving water’s unpredictability.” Being open to such experiences is the ideal life for this writer and fishing guide, his way of “becoming infused by the immensity” of Montana’s “infinitely wise landscape.” But even here, life is not ideal. Dombrowski worries about how he—and the planet—will afford his three children. But after a year teaching in Michigan, he returns to the mountains and a life that may be materially “threadbare,” but that allows him and his children the wisdom that comes only from knowing “places of deep resonant quietude.”

The River You Touch: Making a Life on Moving Water By Chris Dombrowski Cover Image
ISBN: 9781639550630
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Milkweed Editions - October 11th, 2022