a book club about the environment
What a perfect time to read! Join Annapolis Green for our environmental book club, Annapolis Green Reads, to grow your appreciation for the environment while benefiting from the collective wisdom of many authors who write about our natural world and to connect with others!
All you need is an interest in reading books (or listening to the audio version) about our environment and our place in it. No expertise on these issues is necessary, although we welcome those who have some to participate and contribute.
Book club meetings will be held either in person or on Zoom. Our book club leader will make the call and let Green Readers know.
- Wednesday, July 14, at 7 p.m.
The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey
The book is Edward Abbey’s classic comic gem of destructive mayhem and outrageous civil disobedience—the novel that sparked the environmental activism movement. From Harper Collins: “Ex-Green Beret George Hayduke has returned from war to find his beloved southwestern desert threatened by industrial development. Joining with Bronx exile and feminist saboteur Bonnie Abzug, wilderness guide and outcast Mormon Seldom Seen Smith, and libertarian billboard torcher Doc Sarvis, Hayduke is ready to fight the power—taking on the strip miners, clear-cutters, and the highway, dam, and bridge builders who are threatening the natural habitat. The Monkey Wrench Gang is on the move—and peaceful coexistence be damned!”
Once our lives resume typical rhythms, we will meet monthly, in person, at our wonderful, independently owned neighborhood bookstore, Old Fox Books (35 Maryland Avenue). To patronize Old Fox Books while maintaining social distancing, please give them a call (410-626-2020) to place your book order or email firstname.lastname@example.org. It takes them a few days to acquire the book and then they can mail your copy at a cost of just $1 or will even deliver right to your home if you are in the Greater Annapolis area.
The Anne Arundel Public Library has many of our selected books (and eBook and audiobook versions) available.
Questions, comments, want to join? Contact Karen Grumbles, our Green Reads leader, at email@example.com. Happy reading!
Possible selections for Future Months
- We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast by Jonathan Safran Foer
- The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
- Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh
- A poetry collection by Mary Oliver
- Nature’s Best Hope by Douglas W. Tallamy
- Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit
- Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by Adrienne Maree Brown
- The Hidden Life of Trees – What they Feel, How they Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohllern
- The Power of the Sea: Tsunamis, Storm Surges, Rogue Waves, and our Quest to Predict Disasters by Bruce Parker
- Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All by Michael Shellenberger
- Every Woman’s Guide to Saving the Planet by Natalie Isaacs
- A New Garden Ethic: Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future by Benjamin Vogt
- Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
Past Green Reads
May 2021: Running Silver: Restoring Atlantic Rivers and Their Great Fish Migrations by John R. Waldmann
Running Silver is an informative and fascinating history of the migratory salmon, shad, herring, and other runs that once swarmed the rivers and estuaries of the Atlantic coast. Most important, this book explains what we can do to restore these fisheries to their former abundance. This is a hugely important, fascinating, and unique look at the fish of North America whose history and life-cycles and conservation challenges are poorly understood. Despite these primordial abundances, over the centuries these stocks were so stressed that virtually all are now severely depressed, with many biologically or commercially extinct and some simply forgotten. More about the book.
April 2021: Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
Published 59 years ago, it can be said that Silent Spring was the inspiration for the environmental movement. The book focuses on the effects of indiscriminate use of pesticides but goes beyond as a study of the need to protect the planet upon which we depend for our very existence. Earth Day month seems like the appropriate time to return to this seminal book. More about the book.
- Fifty Years After ‘Silent Spring,’ Attacks on Science Continue – Yale Environment 360
March 2021: Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmere
Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, and as a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings―asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae,
and sweetgrass―offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices. In reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings will we be capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learn to give our own gifts in return. More about the book.
February 2021: Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors by Carolyn Finney
This book addresses why African Americans are so underrepresented when it comes to interest in nature, outdoor recreation, and environmentalism. In this thought-provoking study, Carolyn Finney looks beyond the discourse of the environmental justice movement to examine how the natural environment has been understood, commodified, and represented by both white and black Americans. Bridging the fields of environmental history, cultural studies, critical race studies, and geography, Finney argues that the legacies of slavery, Jim Crow, and racial violence have shaped cultural understandings of the “great outdoors” and determined who should and can have access to natural spaces. More about the book.
January 2021: Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life by E.O. Wilson
Half-Earth proposes an achievable plan to save our imperiled biosphere: devote half the surface of the Earth to nature. In order to stave off the mass extinction of species, including our own, we must move swiftly to preserve the biodiversity of our planet, says Edward O. Wilson in his most impassioned book to date. Half-Earth argues that the situation facing us is too large to be solved piecemeal and proposes a solution commensurate with the magnitude of the problem: dedicate fully half the surface of the Earth to nature. More about the book.
December 2020: The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
In this groundbreaking book, one of America’s most fascinating, original, and elegant writers turns his own omnivorous mind to the seemingly straightforward question of what we should have for dinner. More about the book.
We did something a little different. Our leader, Karen Grumbles, provided a recipe so each prepared the same meal and enjoyed a virtual dinner together while we discussed the book! We fed the mind and body and think Mr. Pollan would approve.
November 2020: The Overstory by Richard Powers
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, this book is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of—and paean to—the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, the novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. It is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe. More about the book.
October 2020: Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants by Douglas W. Tallamy
Tallamy reveals the unbreakable link between native plant species and native wildlife—native insects cannot, or will not, eat alien plants. When native plants disappear, the insects disappear, impoverishing the food source for birds and other animals. More about the book.
September 2020: The World is Blue: How our Fate and the Oceans are One by Sylvia Earle
From National Geographic: “A Silent Spring for our era, this eloquent, urgent, fascinating book reveals how just 50 years of swift and dangerous oceanic change threatens the very existence of life on Earth. Legendary marine scientist Sylvia Earle portrays a planet teetering on the brink of irreversible environmental crisis… Earle argues passionately and persuasively… to find responsible, renewable strategies that safeguard the natural systems that sustain us. The first step is to understand and act upon the wise message of this accessible, insightful, and compelling book.” More about the book.
Other Earle links:
- Short Trailer for Mission Blue Netflix movie featuring Sylvia Earle
- TED Talk on Mission Blue “Hope Spots”
- National Geographic Sylvia Earle page
August 2020: Chesapeake Requiem: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island by Earl Swift
“A brilliant, soulful, and timely portrait of a two-hundred-year-old crabbing community in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay as it faces extinction.” More about the book.
July 2020: The Rise of the American Conservation Movement by Dorceta Taylor
“…sweeping social history … [examining] the emergence and rise of the multifaceted U.S. conservation movement from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth century… [showing] how race, class, and gender influenced every aspect of the movement. More about the book.
June 2020: To Speak for the Trees: My Life’s Journey from Ancient Celtic Wisdom to a Healing Vision of the Forest by Diana Beresford-Kroeger
“…in a captivating account of how her [the author’s] life led her to these illuminating and crucial ideas, she shows us how forests can not only heal us but save the planet.” More about the book.
May 2020: Inconspicuous Consumption: The environmental impact you don’t know you have by Tatiana Schlossberg
“…a compelling and unexpectedly entertaining look at how climate change is entangled in everything we use, buy, eat, wear and how we get around.” More about the book.
April 2020: The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac
A recent book, it is both cautionary and hopeful. Given that we are already dealing with so much uncertainty in our lives, this is a good, more optimistic read with suggestions for actions that we can take. More about the book.