Green books proliferate on library shelves, in book stores, online, on our sidebar. There are so many great green reads out there that it is hard to know where to start, what to pick up next. By amassing book reviews from all you bookworms, we hope to make that decision a bit easier. If you are just beginning to explore ecologically relevant books, though, even that list can be a bit daunting. So here's a list of my favorite five to hopefully kick start things.
1) The Omnivore's Dilemma: Omnivore's Dilemma explores eating in the industrial food chain (think McDonalds), eating big organic (think Whole Foods), eating small organic (think farmers' market) and eating food you've hunted and gathered (think hunt and gather). I will warn you that the book is dense. It is a slow read because you need to stop every other page to overcome your outrage but you'll never reach for another factory farmed burger without thinking twice. The truth behind "big organic" will also surprise you and the earnestness with which smaller farmers approach your dinner plate will awe you. Rating: 5 out of 5 stars; Readers: recommend for light to medium green readers.
2) Animal Vegetable Miracle: Ms. Kingsolver chronicles her family's attempt to eat locally (mostly from their own yard) for an entire year. The journey is a beautifully written, lyrical romp through seasonal eating and is chock full of the most memorable, meaningful quotes I've encountered. This book was a favorite among my Green Book Club members - many of whom identified with Ms. Kingsolver as a parent. This book will motivate you to grow an edible garden, possibly raise heirloom turkeys and to fight for your local farmer. Some have found AVM to be a bit idyllic but, as I love the idyllic, this is probably my all time favorite green book. Rating: 5 out of 5 stars; Readers: recommend for light to medium green readers.
3) Little House on the Praire Series: Admit it. This one surprises you. Not all "green" books need to be written by Nobel Prize winners and require a PhD in economics to understand. Last year, I wormed my way through Laura Ingalls Wilder's entire series, enjoying every adventure, absorbing every detail and appreciating the beauty of a truly "simple" life. Rating: 5 out of 5 stars; Readers: recommend for light, medium and dark green readers.
4) Last Child in the Woods: The book has spawned a movement to get our children back in touch with nature in an effort to save them from obesity, consumerism, boredom and a myriad of "disorders" as well as to instill in them a love for and need to protect the natural environment. If you are a parent, you must read this book. You will be saddened by the disconnect between this generation and anything without a plug. You will be motivated to help your children reconnect and armed with tools for doing just that. The book is, however, a tough read. It took me a couple months to complete, but, as DramaMama pointed out, "the chapters are set up as shorter essays that can be read as stand alone pieces." You can work your way through the book bit by bit. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (wish it was a bit easier to read); Readers: recommend for light and medium green readers and ALL parents.
5) Break Through: I struggled with this last "favorite". Part of me was inclined to go with Common Wealth, because - although it is a difficult read and there are bits (GMO seeds) that are tough to swallow - I think the book is hugely important to the global green movement. I recently reviewed Break Through and, even though I did not love the book, I feel that anyone serious about moving the green movement forward, gathering a political force to effect real environmental change or wondering what to do beyond individual changes must read this book. It changed the way I think about "the environmental movement" and motivated me to get off my . . . chair and do something about it. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Readers: recommend for medium and dark green readers.
There you have it. My fav five. Please, share yours. I too am looking for my next green read.