The Cli-fi/Environmental Non-Fiction square offers lots of good reading options! From visions of how the world might look after a climate apocalypse, to intensely personal stories of connection with the land; from accounts of how we got to this point in time, to examinations of the intersection of capitalism and climate; and much more. Check out a few suggestions below to get you started, and find many, many more on our Cli-fi or Environmental Non-fiction booklist.
The Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-eun
Yona works for a travel agency, Jungle, which arranges high-end vacations to areas ravaged by disasters: floods, avalanches, earthquakes, etc. Her most recent assignment is as an evaluator, joining four vacationers on an island off the coast of Vietnam with a somewhat lackluster sinkhole. With the local economy now entirely dependent on Jungle’s tourists, Yona discovers a plan to punch up the drama – and the danger. This is a fast-paced satire that interrogates issues of capitalism, tourism, and climate change.
Erosion: Essays of Undoing by Terry Tempest Williams
Erosion is a collection of essays, written from 2012 to 2019, which Writer-in-Residence at Harvard Divinity School, Tempest Williams, calls “her howl.” She recalls howling like a coyote to release pent-up energy after being subjected to a tedious lecture, in an emotional state many of us can relate to after the confounding silence and roar of the last several years. Essays on the erosion of home, democracy, and belief round out meditations on the environment and ecology in this deeply intimate collection.
Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh
Deen Datta, a Bengali American antique and rare-book dealer in Brooklyn, is on a semi-regular trip to Calcutta when he hears a Bengali folktale about a gun merchant, which reportedly has roots in the Sundarbans, a nearby area of dense mangrove forests at the mouth of the Ganges River. Datta’s pursuit of the origins and truth behind the myth take him from the Sundarbans, to Los Angeles, and to Venice; along the way meeting scholars and scientists who ground the story in past and future climate change, human migration and potential for catastrophe. Publishers Weekly called it “an intellectual romp.”
Inconspicuous Consumption: The Environmental Impact You Don’t Know You Have by Tatiana Schlossberg
When we think about turning the camera off during virtual meetings, we aren’t usually thinking about the climate, but you might be interested to know that according the June Harper’s Index, turning off your camera during Zoom meetings reduces the meeting’s carbon footprint by 96 percent. So, turn the camera off, and don’t bother with the dressy rayon Zoom shirt – we’ve reduced our consumption two ways already! In Inconspicuous Consumption, Tatiana Schlossberg shatters the assumptions we all have about the impact of our personal choices on the environment. Covering Technology, Food, Fashion, and Fuel, Schlossberg quantifies the environmental consequences of these sectors and more. We’re not hiding, we’re saving the planet – one Zoom call at a time!
The New Wilderness by Diane Cook
Bea and her daughter, Agnes, live in a world ravaged by climate change. Agnes is ailing in a crowded City full of toxic smog, so Bea and her husband sign the family up for an experiment in which they and 17 others will relocate to the Wilderness State, the only natural area remaining, to see if humans can still survive living a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Watched from afar by the Rangers, the participants follow strict rules such as never spending more than seven days in one location, and leaving no trace behind as they move around. As years pass and the original group is supplemented by new participants, the reader sees the experience from Bea’s perspective as well as that of Agnes, who quickly forgets about any other way of living.
Wilding: Returning Nature to Our Farm by Isabella Tree
In The Song of the Dodo, science writer David Quammen would have us imagine an antique Persian carpet, cut up into 36 individual pieces. Are we 35 rugs richer? The answer, is, of course, no – we are left with fraying fragments, and the beauty and viability of the undamaged rug are lost forever. Isabella Tree, who runs the Knepp Wildland Project in West Sussex, England with her husband Charlie Burrell, uses this metaphor to describe the unraveling of ecosystems, sliced into non-continuous sections, and no longer able to support native wildlife. Tree narrates a vivid description of the process of restoring the 3500 acres of what was once a farm to the wild, and the surprises along the way – including the reintroduction of hundreds of species of flora and fauna, many threatened or prioritized by the UK for conservation. Wilding is a lively, engaging, and informed tale of rejuvenation, countering assumptions we all make about the wilderness.
For more ideas for books to meet your Summer Book Bingo challenge, follow our Shelf Talk #BookBingoNW2021 series or check the hashtag #BookBingoNW2021 on social media. Still need a Bingo card? You can download and print your Bingo card and find some of our curated lists and related articles at our Book Bingo page, and find our Spanish-language Bingo card and lists here! Don’t forget you can ask for a personalized reading list from Your Next 5 Books! Book bingo is presented in partnership with Seattle Arts & Lectures.
~ posted by Alison D. and Andrea G.