Monday, April 22, 2013

Reading for Earth Day and for Life

Every time I write a new novel about something sombre and sobering and terrible I think, 'oh Lord, they're not going to want to go here'. But they do. Readers of fiction read, I think, for a deeper embrace of the world, of reality. And that's brave.        ~ Barbara Kingsolver

Today is Earth Day 2013. What are you reading? Here is a very eclectic list of suggestions to read, or re-read, today, tomorrow, this year. These are just a few of my favorites - I can't list everything! - so I have also listed some resources for more "to-read" suggestions and other environmental resources.
In the coming weeks I will be casting a wider net to include writers from non-U.S. and non-Western traditions. If you have suggestions, or would like to write a guest blog in that vein, let me know.  
In the meantime, I hope you will add to my list in the comments. More than that, I hope we will all read at least one serious book about an environmental subject in the coming year. Earth will survive us, but we (and many other living things who share our Earth) may not survive ourselves.
~ Sheila


Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
Buffalo Gals and Other Animals Presences by Ursula LeGuin
Dune by Frank Herbert
Tracks by Louise Erdrich
At Play in the Fields of the Lord by Peter Matthiessen
All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
The Dragon Keeper by Mindy Mejia
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
The Sea Wolf by Jack London
Native Tongue by Carl Hiassen



Narrative Nonfiction

Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez
Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
The Book of Yaak by Rick Bass
The Land of Little Rain by Mary Austin
The Solace of Open Spaces by Gretel Erlich
The Immense Journey by Loren Eiseley
Entering the Stone by Barbara Hurd


Rather than list individual poems, here are ten poets whose work often has an environmental focus.
Joy Harjo
Mary Oliver
Ted Kooser
Annie Finch
Walt Whitman
Gary Snyder
Seamus Heaney
Denise Levertov
Wallace Stevens
Elizabeth Bishop


The Association for the Study of Literature and Environment - check resources for bibliograhies & syllabi





  1. Thanks, Sheila, for a wonderful Earth Day reading list!

    1. Thank YOU, Midge. If you'd like to add a few titles or a link, feel free.

  2. Another vote of thanks for the Earth Day list, and my own addition: Frederick Buechner's "Godric". Buechner's in my Hall of Fame, and I always admire his ability to blend a number of disparate themes into a compelling story. Here he has a twelfth century monk wandering the land and reflecting on spirituality, familial affection, and the natural world, giving each a voice and a role in the story. Hard to wrap it all into one sentence, but it's a moving experience for me...and for Godric! See you tomorrow.


    1. Bob, thanks for the suggestion. Sounds fascinating! I have added Godric to my wish list.