Breaking Down the Bad Science of Food and Diet Fads

Book review: The Angry Chef: Bad Science and the Truth About Healthy Eating, by Anthony Warner (Amazon / Book Depository) I am a chef with a passion for cooking, a background in biological science and a fascination with the way our diet affects our health. I have been down the rabbit hole, transported into a world of strange pseudoscience, arbitrary rejection of modernity and dangerous … Continue reading Breaking Down the Bad Science of Food and Diet Fads

The Man-Made Disaster of “The Deadliest Animal in History”

Book review: No Beast So Fierce, by Dane Huckelbridge (Amazon / Book Depository) Around 1900 in India and Nepal, a Royal Bengal tiger had gone “cannibal”. That’s the term author John Vaillant attributes to Russians in The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival, used for describing when a tiger preys on humans as its primary food source. The Champawat tiger would take 436 lives in … Continue reading The Man-Made Disaster of “The Deadliest Animal in History”

Nonfiction Classic: A “Young Writer’s Book” on the Natural World

Book review: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard (Amazon / Book Depository) I used to have a cat, an old fighting tom, who would jump through the open window by my bed in the middle of the night and land on my chest … And some mornings I’d wake in daylight to find my body covered with paw prints in blood; I looked as … Continue reading Nonfiction Classic: A “Young Writer’s Book” on the Natural World

The Obsessive, Expensive World of Arowana Collecting

Book review: The Dragon Behind the Glass, by Emily Voigt (Amazon / Book Depository) Once upon a time I had wanted to find out why a pet fish was so irresistible that people smuggled it into the United States, risking their very liberty. Three and a half years and fifteen countries later, I was now in Brazil (possibly illegally) pursuing the fish myself. At some … Continue reading The Obsessive, Expensive World of Arowana Collecting

The Strange and Sad History of Humans and Orcas

Book review: Orca, by Jason Colby (Amazon – Book Depository) Author Jason Colby’s father was one of the last orca hunters in Washington state, capturing the apex predator from its natural habitat to fill orders for aquariums worldwide. Colby writes this detailed, descriptive but very readable history of human-orca interactions from a place of lifelong personal interest, having witnessed his father’s deep regret over his … Continue reading The Strange and Sad History of Humans and Orcas

Tales from Yellowstone: Triumphs and Struggles of Wolf Reintroduction

Book review: American Wolf, by Nate Blakeslee (Amazon / Book Depository) Maybe you’ve seen this video that made the social media rounds awhile back, about the effects wolf reintroduction has had on Yellowstone National Park:   It’s a beautiful, almost heartwarming story of humans helping nature to right itself (after humans messed it up in the first place): a feared and misunderstood predator reintroduced to a park … Continue reading Tales from Yellowstone: Triumphs and Struggles of Wolf Reintroduction

The Bones of Bioarchaeology

Book review: Built on Bones, by Brenna Hassett Brenna Hassett is a bioarchaeologist. If, like me, you have no idea what that is, it means she studies human bones and remains, such as teeth found in archaeological sites, looking for clues to understanding more about human existence and how it’s evolved through the ages. Her book focuses especially on cities, or our earliest iterations of urban developments, asking … Continue reading The Bones of Bioarchaeology

What We Can Learn From Mozart’s Pet

Book review: Mozart’s Starling, by Lyanda Lynn Haupt (Amazon / Book Depository) When I set out to follow the story of Mozart and his starling, I saw at its center a shining, irresistible paradox: one of the greatest and most loved composers in all of history was inspired by a common, despised starling. Now I muse upon the many facets of this tale, and it is wonderful, yes, even more wonderful than … Continue reading What We Can Learn From Mozart’s Pet