Words To Act On – The Reading List for Adults!
Read and grow stronger!
Aside from being out in nature, hanging with our loved ones, and working at Ecology Action, one of our favorite places to be is a good book store — and Bookshop Santa Cruz is one of the best anywhere. So, it’s natural that we’re partnering with them on their Words to Act On series to bring you recommendations for what we think are the best books written on nature and the environment.
We believe that reading great books helps us participate in the development and exchange of ideas that make a culture great. Sometimes a book can even change the world, as one of our very favorites on the list below attests — the environmental movement as we know it was largely brought about by Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, written back in 1962. All of the books on this list will challenge and inspire you in similar ways. So, read, share and discuss.
Don’t miss the equally great list of books for kids. If you make it through both lists and are hungry for more, check out the full list of books for kids and adults here. Bookshop Santa Cruz generously donates a portion of the proceeds from each book on these lists they sell to Ecology Action in support of our community programs.
Speaking of community programs, join us at one or all of our events that we’re co-sponsoring with Bookshop Santa Cruz. Hope to see you soon — and bring a good book!
By Elizabeth Kolbert
In the long history of our planet, there have been five great extinctions. Now, humans are causing a sixth extinction. In this engaging, thoroughly researched Pulitzer Prize winner, Kolbert takes you through the past five extinctions while outlining the sixth. Informative but never dull, this book is non-fiction at its best – the kind that makes you want to take action. – Flannery
By Naomi Klein
This book is a real eye-opener into how tightly the fossil fuel industry has weaved itself into every aspect of modern life and how difficult, and necessary, it is to unwind from it. Many shocking revelations but offers glimmers of hope and blueprints for change. – Bookshop Santa Cruz Customer Review
By Barbara Kingsolver
In Flight Behavior, one can clearly sense Barbara Kingsolver’s origins as a biologist through her taut and beautiful descriptions of nature. There are no simple answers in this book. – S.M.C.
By Terry Tempest Williams
Ms Williams book helps us understand our deep connection to nature and how it is an important, sustaining part of our well being. – Bookshop Santa Cruz Customer Review
By Rachel Carson, Linda Lear (Introduction by), Edward O. Wilson (Afterword by)
Silent Spring is based on science and was ahead of its time. A heartfelt example of paying attention to research and intent to inform.
By Edward Abbey
Edward Abbey is a grumpy, offensive desert rat. It is this boldness and direct attitude that makes this book so good. His short, punchy prose is packed with both interesting facts about the Utah desert and his own brand of radical environmentalism, but it’s his vivid descriptions of the desert that make you want what any good nature book should make you want: to get outside! – J
By Robin Wall Kimmerer
Beautifully written merging of science and indigenous knowledge and how the two do not need to be exclusive, but can compliment each other very well. Fascinating narrative on how culture shapes our worldview and how we relate to the natural world and view our place in it. – Bookshop Santa Cruz Customer Review
By Paolo Bacigalupi
Aaah, another Bacigalupi. The Windup Girl was one of the best sci-fi novels I’ve read over the last decade, so I’ve been eagerly awaiting his next adult SF work. (His young adult stuff has also been fantastic.) Bacigalupi’s new one, The Water Knife, reminds me of early Gibson, but the playing field is the water-parched Southwest rather than the online world. Like The Windup Girl, it has a hard-hitting environmental theme. – Dave
By J. Drew Lanham
By turns angry, funny, elegiac, and heartbreaking, The Home Place is a remarkable meditation on nature and belonging, at once a deeply moving memoir and riveting exploration of the contradictions of black identity in the rural South–and in America today.
By Malcolm Margolin, Michael Harney (Illustrator)
Clearly and accessibly written, uniquely alive and at the same time informed, this well-loved classic vividly recreates the lost world of the Indian people who lived here such a short time ago.
By Julie Dunlap (Editor), Susan A. Cohen (Editor)
Coming of Age at the End of Nature explores a new kind of environmental writing. This powerful anthology gathers the passionate voices of young writers who have grown up in an environmentally damaged and compromised world.