#BookBingoNW2021 Cli-fi or Environmental Non-fiction

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.

Gardening in the New Normal



While the unprecedented heat wave that brought triple-digit temperatures to the Pacific Northwest has passed, it has left its mark on the region’s trees and plants. Fir trees with brown patches, rhododendrons with scorched leaves and grass the color of straw dot the landscape. Since we should expect wetter winters and drier summers in the future, it’s a good time to reconsider how we garden.

In Gardening for Summer-Dry Climates, Nora Harlow provides suggestions and solutions specific to Pacific Northwest gardeners. A large portion of the book is devoted to plants that can withstand hot, dry summers; and to preventative measures, such as ways to harvest rainwater and landscaping that minimizes the risk of forest fires, making this a must-read for serious gardeners. Continue reading “Gardening in the New Normal”

#BookBingoNW2021 Black Joy

A short list of good reads that can be applied to the Black Joy 2021 Book Bingo square. These are funny, romantic stories that follow Black characters whose best lives find them.

Girl Gurl Grrrl: On womanhood and belonging in the age of Black girl magic by Kenya Hunt, deputy editor of the fashion magazine Grazia UK, is an anthology of essays about her life and career, sharing the joys and trials of being a Black American in the UK. 

28-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls’ trip to Vegas to celebrate in Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers, having just completed her PhD in astronomy. A straight-A high achiever, she is not the kind of person who goes to Vegas and gets drunkenly married to a woman she doesn’t know, until she does exactly that… Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2021 Black Joy”

Pregnancy During Pandemic

The pandemic was a very odd time to be pregnant. All the ideas I had about community and gathering and connection was very different, but also in a way I didn’t have to share this time with anyone besides just my husband and I. I had a small bubble I could reach out to, I could share what I wanted to share, and read what I wanted to read without that added pressure of what peoples idea of this time is supposed to be. If there are silver linings to this – that would be it.

Here are a few books that spoke to me:


motherhood so whiteMotherhood So White: A Memoir of Race, Gender, and Parenting in America by Nefertiti Austin

The thing about being a mother is that it’s different for everyone and hearing stories outside my world view was something I sought before I found out I was pregnant. Especially in a country that views parenthood from a white lens. Nefertiti finds her way to motherhood by adopting a Black child and faces the stereotypes of single Black motherhood, of the foster care system, and raising a child in this America. Continue reading “Pregnancy During Pandemic”

#BookBingoNW2021 Coming of Age

Looking to fill your book bingo Coming of Age square? Check out one of these titles, in which characters confront confusing situations and pursue big dreams as they enter adulthood.

White Ivy by Susie Yang
As a teenager, Chinese-American Ivy is caught between the disapproval and harsh parenting style of her parents, and the love of a grandmother who teaches her how to steal to acquire the trappings of success. As an adult, Ivy reencounters her teenage crush, golden boy Gideon Speyer, and sees a chance to realize her youthful dreams, even as past secrets threaten to derail her.

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry
In 1989, the Danvers (MA) high school field hockey team dabbles in some light witchcraft in order to get to the state championships. Structured as a group story, told from a collective perspective, each character also has a chance to narrate. This is full of sly humor, 80s cultural references, and whip smart girls figuring it all out. Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2021 Coming of Age”