The nominees for the National Book Award have been announced. In the non-fiction category, there is one environmental title of note: Alan Burdick's Out of Eden, which examimes the nagging question of invasive species and what to do about them. Richard Conniff reviewed the book for the New York Times. He liked it, but took issue with the authors conclusion that, rather than causing extinctions, "most successful invaders simply blend into the ecological woodwork." Conniff writes:
Henry David Thoreau once defined weeding as the business of ''making invidious distinctions with the hoe.'' But in the science of ''invasion biology,'' the distinctions about what to keep in and what to weed out sometimes really matter. Burdick's account of the researchers who struggle with this largely thankless work is graceful and inviting. He would have written a better book, though, if he had made a more cogent case for why, every now and then, we need to cough up the money to buy those workers a better hoe.