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2018 Environmental Book Club selections

January 23 - Apocalyptic Ecology: The Book of Revelation, the Earth, and the Future
Category: Religion & Spirituality 
Author: Micah Kiel
The author of the book of Revelation struggled, as we do today, to live out a Christian faith in the context of an empire that trampled and destroyed the earth and its creatures. The author will look at how and why Revelation was written, along with how it has been interpreted across the centuries, to come to an understanding of its potential contribution to a modern environmental ethic. While the book of Revelation is replete with images of destruction of the earth, Kiel shows readers, through Revelation’s ancient context, a message of hope that calls for the care of and respect for the environment.

February 27 - Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
Category: Astronomy
Author: Neil deGrasse Tyson
What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day. The book will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.

March 27 - The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise
Category: Environmental History
Author: Michael Grunwald
The Everglades was once reviled as a liquid wasteland, and Americans dreamed of draining it. Now it is revered as a national treasure, and Americans have launched the largest environmental project in history to try to save it. The Swamp is the stunning story of the destruction and possible resurrection of the Everglades. The author takes readers on a riveting journey from the Ice Ages to the present, illuminating the natural, social and political history of one of America's most beguiling but least understood patches of land.

April 24 - Spirits of the Earth
Category: Native American legends and rituals
Author: Robert Lake-Thom
Much of the ancient knowledge that has been passed down from Native American medicine men, or shamans is in danger of being lost. Bobby Lake-Thom, a Native American healer known as Medicine Grizzly Bear, has sought to preserve this powerful heritage by sharing his wisdom and experience learning from the world around us. The result is Spirits of the Earth, an extraordinary compilation of legends and rituals about nature's ever-present signs. From the birds that soar above us to the insects beneath our feet, Bobby Lake-Thom shows how the creatures of the earth can aid us in healing and self-knowledge.

May 22 - 
The Good Good Pig
Category: Animal adventure
Author: Sy Montgomery
Montgomery's books on exotic wildlife (Journey of the Pink Dolphins , etc.) take her to the far corners of the world, but the story of her closest relationships with the animal kingdom plays out in her own New England backyard. When she adopts a sickly runt from a litter of pigs, naming him Christopher Hogwood after the symphony conductor, raising him for slaughter isn't an option: Montgomery's a vegetarian and her husband is Jewish. Refitting their barn to accommodate a (mostly) secure sty, they keep Christopher as a pet. As he swells to 750 pounds, he becomes a local celebrity, getting loose frequently enough that the local police officer knows to carry spare apples to lure him back home.

June 26 - Zoobiquity
Category: Animal kingdom
Author: Kathryn Bowers
Do animals overeat? Get breast cancer? Have fainting spells?
Inspired by an eye-opening consultation at the Los Angeles Zoo, which revealed that a monkey experienced the same symptoms of heart failure as her human patients, cardiologist Barbara Natterson-Horowitz embarked upon a project that would reshape how she practiced medicine. Beginning with the above questions, she began informally researching every affliction that she encountered in humans to learn whether it happened with animals, too. And usually, it did: dinosaurs suffered from brain cancer, koalas can catch chlamydia, reindeer seek narcotic escape in hallucinogenic mushrooms, stallions self-mutilate, and gorillas experience clinical depression.

July 24 - The Urban Bestiary
Category: Wildlife
Author: Lyanda Lynn Haupt
Acclaimed nature writer Lyanda Lynn Haupt journeys into the heart of the everyday wild, where coyotes, raccoons, chickens, hawks, and humans live in closer proximity than ever before. Haupt's observations bring compelling new questions to light: Whose "home" is this? Where does the wild end and the city begin? And what difference does it make to us as humans living our everyday lives? In this wholly original blend of science, story, myth, and memoir, Haupt draws us into the secret world of the wild creatures that dwell among us in our urban neighborhoods, whether we are aware of them or not. With beautiful illustrations and practical sidebars on everything from animal tracking to opossum removal, THE URBAN BESTIARY is a lyrical book that awakens wonder, delight, and respect for the urban wild, and our place within it.

August 28 - The Beak of A Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time (1995)
Category: Evolution
Author: Jonathan Weiner, winner of the Pulitzer Prize
On a desert island in the heart of the Galapagos archipelago, where Darwin received his first inklings of the theory of evolution, two scientists, Peter and Rosemary Grant, have spent twenty years proving that Darwin did not know the strength of his own theory. For among the finches of Daphne Major, natural selection is neither rare nor slow: it is taking place by the hour, and we can watch. In this dramatic story of groundbreaking scientific research, Jonathan Weiner follows these scientists as they watch Darwin's finches and come up with a new understanding of life itself.

September 25 - The Rural Life (2004)
Category: Natural History/Climate Change
Author: Verlyn Klinkenborg
The book is organized into a single year: Twelve chapters that flit from topic to topic, relying on a few short passages of news or descriptions of holidays to mark the passage of time. Likewise, the author never sticks to one place for long, but ranges across the continent of the U.S. and glimpses events in dozens of country towns from Wyoming and New Hampshire to Minnesota and New Mexico. Some episodes are emblematic of contemporary American culture: a high school football game, President Clinton's dedication of Walden Pond, the disquiet in the days following September 11. Others are more intimate passages discussing the author's family and the solace he finds in keeping bees, stacking hay or simply turning earth.

October 23 - Windfall, The Booming Business of Global Warming
Category: Climate Change
Author: McKenzie Funk
McKenzie Funk has spent the last six years reporting around the world on how we are preparing for a warmer planet. Funk shows us that the best way to understand the catastrophe of global warming is to see it through the eyes of those who see it most clearly – as a market opportunity.
Global warming’s physical impacts can be separated into three broad categories: melt, drought, and deluge. Funk travels to two dozen countries to profile entrepreneurial people who see in each of these forces a potential windfall.

November 27 - How to Read Water: Clues and Patterns from Puddles to the Sea
Category: Adventure
Author: Tristan Gooley
In his eye-opening books, Tristan Gooley helped readers reconnect with nature by finding direction from the trees, stars, clouds, and more. Now, he turns his attention to our most abundant – yet perhaps least understood – resource.
Distilled from his far-flung adventures—sailing solo across the Atlantic, navigating with Omani tribespeople, canoeing in Borneo, and walking in his own backyard – Gooley shares hundreds of techniques in how to read water.

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