When it came to making Christmas lists when I was growing up, we always said, “It wouldn’t be Christmas without a book.” If you agree, and you can’t think of a better gift to give or receive than a book, here are some notable recent publications. The list includes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry by authors of diverse races and a common love of the endangered Earth.
All the links for these works take you to Bookshop.org, a collective of independent booksellers around the United States. Every book you buy puts money into the hands and books onto the shelves of these valued “indies”!
Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, Green Deen: What Islam Teaches about Protecting the Planet (nonfiction) At a time when Islam is so widely misunderstood, Abdul-Matin shows that the fate of Planet Earth is a spiritual struggle for people of his own faith and for all of us.
Carolyn Baker, Collapsing Consciously (nonfiction) Long an advocate of getting real about the inevitability of global warming, Baker offers both guidance in making that difficult adjustment and help for maintaining gratitude, beauty, friendship, and integrity during difficult circumstances.
Lois Beardslee, Words Like Thunder: New and Used Anishinaabe Prayers (stories/poetry) Ojibwe author Beardslee startles by juxtaposing contemporary objects and people with traditional ones in pieces that are a mix of story, song, poetry, and, yes, prayer.
Andrew Blackwell, Visit Sunny Chernobyl (nonfiction) For sheer delight in armchair journeying, nothing beats this book. The author visits places that most people avoid, including Chernobyl, the most polluted city in China, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and other sites.
Rita Indiana, Tentacle Translated by Achy Obejas (fiction) In this novel, Indiana, a Dominican author, interweaves climate change, voodoo, time travel, queerness, and racism through the story of a young woman working as a maid in the Caribbean.
Trebbe Johnson, Radical Joy for Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty in Earth’s Broken Places (nonfiction) Love of place and the sadness we feel when something happens to hurt it is universal. This book explores those feelings and ways we can give back to hurt places.
Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass (nonfiction) Botanist, professor of plant ecology, and carrier of her Potawatomi traditions, Kimmerer braids science and spirit and shows how an attitude of reciprocity is key to getting along with one another and all beings.
Jennie M. Ratcliffe, Nothing Lowly in the Universe (nonfiction)
Ratcliffe traces how scientific, technological, economic, religious and psychological lapses led to the current environmental crisis and how, it really is a spiritual and moral crisis.
Melissa Tuckey, ed., Ghost Fishing: an Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology (poetry) The first poetry anthology to focus on environmental justice, this collection presents poetry rooted in many cultural traditions.
Michael W. Twitty, The Cooking Gene (memoir) This book, the recipient of the 2018 James Beard Foundation Book of the Year Award, is by a Black culinary historian who travels and cooks through the American South, reflecting on slavery and farming.
Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, ed., Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth (anthology) Vaughn-Lee brings together writings on Buddhism, Sufism, Christianity, and Native American traditions, as well as physics, deep psychology, and other environmental disciplines to point out practices of surviving climate change.
Harriet A. Washington, A Terrible Thing To Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind (nonfiction) Washington reveals the deadly and dispiriting costs of environmental racism as it erupts in poor communities as atmospheric pollution, infectious disease, and industrial waste.