Environmental Reads for Earth Day 2021

Celebrate Earth Day 2021 with some great environmental literature! And pre-order Clean Air, the cli-fi novel exploring the beauty and harshness of nature and the role we play within it, coming in February 2022.

Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui

An immersive, unforgettable, and eye-opening perspective on swimming—and on human behavior itself.

We swim in freezing Arctic waters and piranha-infested rivers to test our limits. We swim for pleasure, for exercise, for healing. But humans, unlike other animals that are drawn to water, are not natural-born swimmers. We must be taught. Our evolutionary ancestors learned for survival; now, in the twenty-first century, swimming is one of the most popular activities in the world.

Why We Swim is propelled by stories of Olympic champions, a Baghdad swim club that meets in Saddam Hussein’s palace pool, modern-day Japanese samurai swimmers, and even an Icelandic fisherman who improbably survives a wintry six-hour swim after a shipwreck. New York Times contributor Bonnie Tsui, a swimmer herself, dives into the deep, from the San Francisco Bay to the South China Sea, investigating what it is about water that seduces us, despite its dangers, and why we come back to it again and again.

A Time magazine must-read book of 2020 – now in paperback!

Miracle Country by Kendra Atleework

Kendra’s parents taught their children to thrive in the beautiful, if harsh, Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains, prone to wildfires, blizzards, and gale-force winds. Above all, they were raised on unconditional love and delight in the natural world. After Kendra’s mother died of a rare autoimmune disease when Kendra was just sixteen, however, her once-beloved desert world came to feel empty and hostile, as climate change, drought, and wildfires intensified. The Atleework family fell apart, even as her father tried to keep them together. Kendra escaped to Los Angeles, and then Minneapolis, land of tall trees, full lakes, water everywhere you look.

But after years of avoiding her troubled hometown, she realized that she needed to come to terms with its past and present and had to go back. Miracle Country is a moving and unforgettable memoir of flight and return, emptiness and bounty, the realities of a harsh and changing climate, and the true meaning of home. For readers of Cheryl Strayed, Terry Tempest Williams, and Rebecca Solnit, this is a breathtaking debut by a remarkable writer.

Winner of the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award

Clean Air by Sarah Blake (Coming 2/8/22)

A decade has passed since The Turning. The climate apocalypse has come and gone, and in the end it wasn’t the waters rising, as the scientists predicted, nor the temperature climbing, nor the forest fires spreading. It was pollen—spring allergies becoming worse and worse until the air became unbreathable, the world overgrown with trees.

In the past ten years, humanity has rebuilt, and Izabel has gotten used to the airtight domes that now contain her life. She raises her young daughter and attempts to make peace with her mother’s death. She tries hard to be satisfied with this new world, safe and prosperous as it is. Instead she feels stuck.

And then the peace of the new world is shattered. Someone starts slashing through the domes at night, exposing people to the deadly pollen—a serial killer. Almost simultaneously, Izabel’s daughter Cami begins sleep-talking, having whole conversations about the murders that she doesn’t seem to remember after she wakes. Izabel becomes fixated on the killer, both tracking him down and figuring out the type of man he might be. What could compel someone to kill, after ten years dedicated to sheer survival, with humanity finally flourishing again? For fans of climate-centric science fiction.

Pre-order Clean Air now.

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