Earth Day is April 22nd. Whether you’re out planting trees or just enjoying the scenery of your backyard, bring along one of these books about the beauty and power of our planet.
Tree Dreams by Kristin Kaye
Jade Reynolds is only seventeen when she witnesses a clash between an environmental activist and a local logger. She abandons her home, the land of the redwood forest, and ends up Portland, Oregon to avoid the conflicts dividing those she knows and loves. Even so, she can’t escape the pull of the forest.
Jade joins a ragtag group of environmentalists and anarchists desperate to see change in the world, but soon returns home to confront what she’s tried to escape. She’s forced to make decisions about who she’ll stand with: the loggers and her family or those wanting to protect the forest. Tree Dreamsis a poetic coming-of-age tale, moving readers to both reflect on and celebrate humanity’s relationship with the natural world.
Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer
Area X, a coastal territory cut off from the rest of the continent, is a mystery. Separated from civilization by a mysterious veil, the region is ruled by nature. Eleven expeditions have been sent to explore Area X, but each has ended in devastating tragedy. Now, a twelfth expedition is preparing to venture inside.
The expedition includes a team of five women: an anthropologist, a surveyor, a psychologist, and a biologist. They’re being sent to map the terrain and collect samples of plant life, but their real goal is to survive. A suspenseful page-turner, Annihilationfollows these women as they journey into a world in which humanity is no match for nature.
Serenade by Emily Kiebel
The death of Lorelei Clark’s father haunts her. He was struck by an oncoming car, leaving Lorelei, a gifted singer, devastated and alone at age eighteen. When her great aunt Helen invites her to visit Cape Cod, Lorelei accepts. She soon discovers that Helen and her two nieces are hiding something. They’re sirens, mythical creatures known for bringing sailors to their demise with their enchanting song. Even more surprising, however, is that Lorelei is one too.
She realizes the extent of her ancient powers as she learns to tap into the forces alive in the ocean. But no matter how powerful she becomes, fate is always stronger. When she rescues a handsome sailor on the brink of death, she defies fate with grave consequences. This book is a thrilling story of a defiant young woman and the ancient mysteries found on both land and sea.
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
Originally released in serialized excerpts in the New Yorker in 1962, Rachel Carson’s work is often credited with launching the environmental movement. Carson examined the effects of poisons from insecticides, weed killers, and other sprays in agriculture. By combing through evidence, Carson found that these pesticides had a devastating effect on both food sources and the larger environment.
Carson’s work eventually led to the banning of certain pesticides and regulations affecting the land, water, and air of the United States. Influential and surprising, Silent Springis a classic of environmental literature and is still as relevant today as it was fifty years ago.
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
A man called Snowman is a survivor of a devastating catastrophe. Desperate to survive, he mourns the loss of his best friend Crake as well as the beautiful Oryx, who they both loved. Possibly the last surviving human, Snowman avoids contact with the Crakers, an odd race of human-like creatures, but soon joins forces with them to set out into the ruined world.
The world he journeys into is the result of rampant genetic engineering and unstoppable global warming. As Snowman ventures into a ravaged land, he’s forced to confront his tragic past and what led to the death of those he loved. Imagining a world both terrifying and familiar, Oryx and Crakewill make you look twice at the planet we inhabit and the world we’ve constructed around it.
Elly in Bloom by Colleen Oakes
32-year-old Elly Jordan owns Posies, a boutique wedding florist in St. Louis. She surrounds herself with flowers and beauty after she abandoned her entire life just two years ago after finding her husband with another woman. Besides the occasional bridezilla, Elly’s life is pleasantly uneventful now. That is, until she’s faced with the prospect of designing her husband’s lover’s wedding.
The extravagant wedding could solve her financial problems, but can Elly manage to face her past while creating the future she wants? With the help of her best friend, a snarky assistant, and even the new eye-catching neighbor, Elly is determined to take on the event. Elly in Bloomis light, lush read that will make you appreciate the beauty in your life just a bit more.
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Originally published in 1950, this collection of short stories examines what happens when humanity abandons Earth and colonizes a new world. The stories stand alone, but come together to tell a history of the near-future in which Earth becomes unfit for civilization.
After teams of space explorers reach Mars, they come into contact with the Martians, a race of people desperate to protect themselves and their planet. Germs brought from Earth almost entirely destroy the Martians, leaving the deserted planet ripe for colonization. A nuclear war on Earth nearly eliminates the human race, forcing Mars to fall victim to the same devastation and destruction. A stunning reflection on Earth and the ways humans treat it, The Martian Chroniclesis a spellbinding cautionary tale.