Dark, Salt, Clear, by Lamorna Ash

Staff Pick

Ash takes her title from an Elizabeth Bishop poem, and the literary—with references to Sebald, Didion, Barry Lopez, and others—is one angle she uses in her rich exploration of the Cornish fishing village of Newlyn. Others are history, natural history, interviews, folklore, and, most of all, reports of her own adventures at sea. Flouting superstitions about women on boats (not to mention braving severe sea sickness), Ash joins the crews of trawlers and day boats, not just observing the different techniques for hauling in pilchards and eels, for instance, but jumping into the frenzy of a fresh catch and learning to gut the fish herself. In calmer moments, Ash proves a lyrical and meditative writer. Her prose vividly conveys the ocean’s beauty and mystery as she probes both the economic and the deeper, more spiritual needs that drive people to sea and compel them to keep returning despite the heavy emotional and physical toll of this difficult life. 

Dark, Salt, Clear: The Life of a Fishing Town By Lamorna Ash Cover Image
ISBN: 9781635576153
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - December 1st, 2020

Earth Keeper, by N. Scott Momaday

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 By N. Scott Momaday Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063009332
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - November 3rd, 2020

Watermelon Snow, by Lynne Quarmby

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 By Lynne Quarmby Cover Image
ISBN: 9780228003595
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: McGill-Queen's University Press - October 22nd, 2020